Today, I am going to talk about an album that instantly impressed me the first time I listened to it and grew on me with each time I returned to it.
Each and every second of this CD is packed with quality, experience and virtuosity. I am not joking you, if someone gave me this CD without the booklet, I would have been able to tell it is a supergroup…
Yes, as I’m sure you have guessed, this is going to be one of those fan-girl-y reviews of mine. But this is only proper as there is nothing tasteless in this album; you can’t add anything or remove anything – of course, if you are for diversity. Songs have different styles and it is clear that they have tried different things with each member referencing to their own style in differing proportions. These differences in style, however, were put so masterfully, the album flows from start to finish.
There are songs standing out – or better to say, take my breath away – of course; there are some definite moments of awesomeness. Forever in a Daze, for instance, struck me silly across the face!
Bass guitars are very loud which is something I love… and Flying Colors actually spell out the reason why you’ll definitely love the bass guitars (and I quote); “LaRue continues to be the go-to guy for many leading guitarists, having worked with Joe Satriani, John Petrucci, Vinnie Moore, The Hellecasters, Pat Travers, Steve Lukather, Mike Stern, Eric Johnson, Andy Timmons, Albert Lee, Paul Gilbert, Tony MacAlpine, Rik Emmett, Ace Frehley, and Steve Vai.”
Casey McPherson may be the one member prog-heads wouldn’t expect to see in this project as his voice may seem to be more at home with modern pop genre. However, I am very pleased with his work. I think his voice adds a lot of value to the album and the classic prog sound in synergy with his different style works very well both for the softer songs and the heavier ones equally.
Now, all of the members have a very good chemistry and I reckon there are two factors affecting this.
First off, most of the members have tangents in their past with each other – for instance, Steve Morse and LaRue worked together in Dixie Dregs as Protnoy and LaRue in Hammer of Gods.
There are a lot of criss-crossing connections here – if you’d like to know more, check out Dixie Dregs, JR’s solo albums, Planet X albums, and Steve Morse solo albums.
Second factor is the mix – it is a masterful work indeed.
Now, for a bit of a more personal touch, most of you already know my relationship with ballads. For those new to my site, yeah, I don’t like them generally – the general rule is a ballad has to grow on me insistently for me to like it.
Softer songs in this album, however, oddly impressed me. Maybe they are a very good fit for the band… Of course, the vocals should be a big influence here. Also the lyrics are great – they sound sincere, real somehow… Combination of these and I was astonished to find out that I liked each and every soft tune in this album listening to them for the first time.
Now, for the songs…
Let’s start with the ballads then….
Kayla quickly became one of my favourites… You know those songs – the sadness flows naturally through the voice of the singer or the sound of the guitars… there would be no need for a “look at me, I am sad!!” – I think you got the idea… This one is one of those.
Everything Changes has the most impressive bridge… It kind of takes a U-turn at the 3:00 mark with a very nice twist and a Queen vibe kicks in! Love it!
Love is What I’m Waiting for is another song that left a Queen taste in my mouth with just a hint of some Supertramp… Portnoy’s love of Queen is no secret and I am not complaining at all! The tasty guitar solo is just the best icing on the cake.
Better Than Walking Away will give you a good shake with its lyrics while I’m sure the Beatles fans will love Fool in My Heart. These two are ballads and even though I like them I kind of can’t comment much about them and be objective… You know, they are ballads…
Blue Ocean starts with laughter recorded in studio. It is like an early warning telling us that they had a real good time recording this one and that we are in for a treat! It starts with a 60’s vibe and if you like the decade, you’ll love this one. Of course, the song is not only that but has a very uplifting sound and a very nice chorus – very good opener!
Shoulda Coulda Woulda might have good lyrics but in my humble opinion, is the weakest link…
The Storm is one of those songs I can see becoming the favourite of masses. The titular lyrics, very nice tune…
Forever in a Daze can be summarised in two words – mind blown! God, what kind of sorcery is this?! Excellent song, very catchy, masterful backing vocals… the album’s staple, the rich instrumentation is here as well. I instantly fell in love with this song… If you have seen my DJ performance video here, you must have seen me singing along at the end of the video. The song had a very good reaction from the crowd that night as expected!
All Falls Down being the heaviest, proggiest song, I am deeply in love!
Infinite Fire with its soft, proggy and dark atmosphere, is one of my favourites in the album. Its intro is so impressive! Chorus vocals are killer as well… Excellent musicianship… If their reason for being so diverse was gauging the audience and deciding on their focus for the next album, this one has my vote! I hope they focus more on this style – an awesome closing song for an awesome album!
The album had a running start and believe me when I say, if you like Dixie Dregs, Transatlantic, Spock’s Beard, Dream Theater et al, check it out. Considering that the members have different and massive fan bases, I am sure the album will be huge…
The flow I talked about earlier, it is there and it is a great experience witnessing it etching itself into your very soul…