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Druckfarben - Second Sound CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.94 | 127 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars "The new Yes album is too soft!". "Wobbler/Glass Hammer now sound like a Yes clone!". If these are comments you're sick of reading, then perhaps you should be investigating a band that takes some key Yes ingredients and crafts them to their own distinctive style! Canada's Druckfarben start off like a mix of all the Yes albums since 90125 thrown in a blender, a pinch of Spock's Beard modern symphonic approach with a much punchier, gutsier sound, a focus on strong melodic vocal driven compositions and tightly implemented instrumental passages expertly grafted to the winning melodies. Lead vocalist Phil Naro comes across like Jon Anderson if he were forceful and had a bit more hair on his chest, he has a charismatic and distinctive personality on disc, and he's ably backed up by a top-notch group of musicians. With an assortment of tunes ranging from three to seven minutes and ending with an 18 minute epic (of course!), Druckfarben have delivered a terrific hard rocking collection that will hopefully and deservedly increase their status in the modern prog community based on their superb efforts here.

`An Answer Dreaming's sprightly piano, murmuring bass and snappy drumming opens the disc, soon joined by twinkling Hammond organ and a bit of guitar crunch by way of a catchy chorus. Short pop/rocker `In Disbelief' is joyously synth driven, with plenty of tasty Moog runs and just the lightest of Mellotron touches from William Hare. Peter Murray's slab-like bass punishes all in its path on the heavy chugger `Dandelion', some searing viola from Ed Bernard and oppressive Mellotron choirs rising from the background are also a highlight. Listen out for some relentless metallic harshness along with lines of the Genesis track `Keep It Dark' too, very nice! `Liberated Dream' brings some surprisingly groovy dirty wah-wah guitar fuelled funk, with racing jazz/fusion guitar licks through a whole bunch of twisting instrumental melodies played impossibly fast. The scorching Hammond wouldn't sound out of place on a Spock's Beard album, and Peter's knockout bass in the final minute virtually erupts!

Nothing will prepare you for the exquisite vocal harmonies of `Long Walk Down'. Starting as a ballad based around grand piano and Phil's warm raspy voice, one by one the different band members introduce their own voices and they all seamlessly weave together. The piece takes on a lush dreaminess with climbing Mellotron and violin dancing together in a stirring symphonic finale. Those blissful group vocals truly take flight and glide throughout smooth rocker `Surrounds Me' as well, which could have easily appeared on the Yes album `Union', with a catchy memorable chorus, bristling Mellotron, snarling electric guitar runs and Troy Feener's urgent drumming. The group vocal arrangements get even more ambitious, complex and luscious on the banjo-driven `Another Day', with a sighing, almost gothic quality before racing through a nimble collection of instrumental passages. The closing 18 minute title track is loaded with glistening piano, Kansas- like commanding violin, more spirited banjo, lively acoustic guitar, dizzying synths and menacing Mellotrons that race through a collection of grand symphonic themes. It's a very powerful extended piece with seamless transitions between the numerous sections, it's only slightly let down by lack of a big finale.

Listeners wanting an album with reliable influences without being a total rip-off and devoid of originality should investigate `Second Sound' immediately. If you liked the last few Spock's Beard, Glass Hammer and Big Big Train albums, this does everything they do but even better, and with more muscle and dynamism. It sure as heck leaves the recent album from symphonic kings Transatlantic `Kaleidoscope' for dead! Those who prize inspired instrumental skills carefully applied to strong song writing won't find a finer modern band than Druckfarben, and despite only being on their second studio album, this talented Canadian band are already climbing the ladder, developing their own sound and delivering the prog goods at an enviable level. There's not many modern symphonic style albums that come even close to this real winner, and `Second Sound' is a triumph for melodic focused prog in 2014. One of the best prog albums of 2014? Maybe, just maybe...

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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