- Artist: Seconds Before Landing
- Released: July 27, 2018
- Genre: Ambient Progressive Rock
- Review by: The Closet Concert Arena
The door to The Closet Concert Arena is always open to the prog faithful, and I intend to keep bursting through it with new and exciting music! While the polar vortex prepares to make a return visit to the good ol’ USA, the time seemed right for the search for all things prog to continue on its quest. It’s always an absolute pleasure to visit with old friends–especially when they bring new music to the Concert Closet. Seconds Before Landing, a band that is as intense as it is creative, takes center stage this time around. SBL released their fourth album/first EP “Trio Volume 1” this past summer, and just in case you missed it, let me fill you in…
I have been a fan of Seconds Before Landing since my first encounter with their music back in 2016. In an era when many bands and artists tend to follow a safe path, SBL founder John Crispino consistently blazes his own trail, pushing the envelope to create music that can be dark, haunting, and thought provoking. John claims to be a pretty upbeat guy, just a witness to the world around him. To the headphones we go…
The opening tune is called “192” and to call it powerful is an understatement. Janusz Korczak ran an orphanage in Poland when the Holocaust happened; this song honors one man’s bravery in the face of evil. The entire piece is shrouded in a darkness that is almost tangible–you can feel it permeate the headphones as it wraps around your mind, penetrating your auditory sensors and grabbing your conscience. The aromatics remind me of Pink Floyd in their “Atom Heart Mother” or “Ummagumma” period; occupying a not very crowded section of the prog garden. Seconds Before Landing strikes a nerve with wrenching lyrics:
“It wasn’t that long ago
Back in ’42
Just me and the children
We numbered 192”
“…one day, they came to take them
They gave permission that I could stay
I didn’t want to see them go alone
So we all just marched away…”
“…They’ll be coming soon so we must prepare
Get on the train and take this ride
Remember what I told you show your pride
Once inside let’s sing this song
I promise children it won’t take long”
The brush strokes on canvas these words evoke are dripping with emotion you won’t find spinning the radio dial…the dark background has splatters of bright red and subtle streaks of blue…because hope always accompanies strength…
Next up is “Maybe I’m a Weirdo.” In typical SBL style, the opening is a gateway down an absolutely unknown rabbit hole that I can’t wait to fall into. The darkness almost illuminates; there is a madman in the room but you can’t tell which facade he hides behind. John is extremely adept at identifying with that which makes us uncomfortable…are these the ramblings of a depressed every man or are we peering through the cracks of a psychotic mind? The vocals have a Frank Zappa feel as you sit through an autobiographical run down of why this person takes up occupancy in all of us.
Seconds Before Landing is the creation of John Crispino. John has had several prog and rock giants on his albums, including Trey Gunn, John Palumbo, and Tim Bogert. The core of SBL includes John on drums, percussion, keyboards, synthesizers, vocals, and special effects. Joining John is Steve Schuffert, Eric Maldonado, and Rick Witkowski on guitars, J.D. Garrison and Guy Bar Tor on bass, Jamie Peck on piano, and Vanessa Campagna on backing vocals.
Seconds Before Landing may produce their final product along the dark outer edges of the prog garden, but they travel every square inch of earth within its confines putting ideas and thoughts together to do so. John views the absurdity, cruelty, and irony of life through a different lens and uses those awakened emotions to breathe life into his work…
The final cut for review here, “You Won’t Deny Me,” drips with a foreboding and anger reminiscent of “I Don’t Like Mondays” by the Boomtown Rats. The song grabs your attention immediately; tension so thick nerve endings are exposed. Seconds Before Landing crawls inside the macabre mind of a school shooter as he walks you through his day right up to that final, fatal moment. Guitars scream with anguish while a haunting vocal similar to Gregorian Rock pierces the veil around your soul.
So fellow progheads I hope you enjoyed your time this week. Seconds Before Landing lives everywhere in the prog garden, shining a light into the abyss we humans prefer to avoid. It is rare to find someone who can take tragedy, sadness and evil and turn it inside out the way John Crispino does–and he does it quite elegantly. Progressive rock can be the beautification of a world drenched in flaws and shortcomings, and that makes the journey all the more relevant and worthwhile.