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Corvus Stone - Corvus Stone II CD (album) cover

CORVUS STONE II

Corvus Stone

 

Crossover Prog

4.08 | 327 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
5 stars Prepare to take flight with Corvus Stone.

Welcome passengers to "Corvus Stone II" airways. Your cabin crew are here to ensure you have an enjoyable flight this morning. We would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to the cabin crew consisting of Captain Colin Tench on guitars, Pasi Koivu, the whizkid on keyboards, Petri Lemmy Lindstrom, the bass guitar aficionado, and Robert Wolff, the drummer perfectionaire. That babe on the album cover is just there for looks, she's not on board. However later you will hear about lonely Lisa who smokes and moans her head off throughout the flight.

Okay put away that album cover depicting the semi clad nubile femme fatale and pay attention. Yes, I know it features exceptional artwork by Sonia Mota, and is a perfect likeness of a Samba Latino girl, but we have some things we would like to familiarize you with. Yes, some incredible progalicious music. Even if you are a regular air traveller, familiar with Corvus Stone's previous airline, we insist you take note of the following: Before we take off on this musical journey, please ensure that your seatback is in the up- right position, your earphones adjusted, your lyric sheet set up on the tray-table, and your portable electronic devices are switched off, so that you won't be disturbed from hearing some mind blowing music. Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy flight. This is not prog as we know it.

The flight will begin with some 60s psychedelic counter culture music; "The Simple Life". Yes, we know it's been done before by Spinal Tap, but it worked then and it works now! Just feast your ears on those harmonies, it's as if The Beatles jumped aboard The Monkees limousine and sold their souls to 13th Floor Elevators. What a bouncy happy way to begin the morning. Guest crewman Phil Naro has a pleasant voice and the saccharine crystalline harmonies will cleanse the froth out of your ears to prepare you for the outstanding prog to come.

You are not allowed to use mobile phones, pagers, radio receivers, transmitters, or MP3's aboard the aircraft. These devices might interfere with your hearing pleasure, and the aircraft navigation instruments. However we will pump out of the speakers some amazing music such as "Early Morning Call". You will note how the instrumental is very optimistic sounding; a happy melody seguing nicely from the previous Morning call. The lead guitar tones are wonderful. The keyboard pads have that Genesis feel; bright and upbeat throughout. There are some beautiful synth sounds and piano tinkling by Koivu.

We have reached cruising altitude at this point in the flight. There are earphones for hire to hear this awesome music and more importantly we have "Boots For Hire" with lashings of lead guitar finesse, a slow tempo reminiscent of Pink Floyd or Nektar perhaps. The dreamy melody is perfect to lull you into a dream state. Then vocals enter by guest passenger Stef Flaming, a hypnotic tune with spacey lyrics "Songbird hanging in his cage, Upside down and locked in space, freeze this moment hold my breath, inside out and oh so wet." I would have preferred he sung "lost in space" but that's my fandom coming through. Suddenly the tempo quickens like a heartbeat racing, crashing drums, relentless organ and an ever present lead guitar melting the fretboards ruthlessly. The feel is broken by Egyptian sounding melodies, back to the main tune, with soaring guitars over weird estranged synths, tripping out of the atmosphere. It ends with a heart monitor beeping then it flatlines, announcing clinically dead. That's what can happen when you fly with us. In any case, this is my most beloved song on the album; an absolute masterpiece of Space Rock Bliss!

You may need to use our facilities mid flight, the bathrooms are to the rear but that does not mean you are permitted a "Sneaky Entrance In To Lisa". In this case the music actually diverts into a Flamenco guitar solo, just to remind us we are flying over Spain.

Your carry-on baggage must be stowed underneath the seat in front of you, or in the overhead bins, especially if you have on board a "Purple Stone". As we hear a V8 roar its engines and screech skidmarks up the road, a heavy rhythm crashes through. The vocals of guests Blake Carpenter and Andres Guazzelli are well executed. It features some homages to Deep Purple, you might recognise certain Purpleish moments, notably Highway Star and Burn. The organ has a familiar Jon Lord sound, so no complaints from me. It is a healthy dose of Classic Rock with some odd moments, and lyrics "everythings going wrong, looks like I don't have long, right there in front of me, running my own grand prix, my future is getting short, maybe I should abort." The lyrics are a rev head's delight, harking back to the good old classic metal Speed King or Wheels of Steel themes.

If the cabin pressure in this aircraft fails, oxygen masks in the cabin and toilets will drop automatically from the ceiling. Please remain in your seat, and listen to this insane music, "A Stoned crow Meets the Rusty Wolff Rat". How did they get on board? This may disturb some with its shimmering Hammond sound, choppy guitar riffs and soulful lead guitar playing, but its all in the name of Prog. The percussion keeps perfect meter along with the bass. The music drifts along an organ motif, returning to it and then is allowed to break free into fast paced jamming. The shades of tension and release are augmented by a unified approach to the music, where the instruments are given a chance to shine. The ending is divine with the synth foundation and spacey lead guitar embellishments.

Please note that this flight is non-smoking. Smoking is not allowed at any time, anywhere in the cabin, by anyone? unless you are having a cigar with Lisa. In this case you will have the pleasure of hearing "Lisa has a Cigar" and she is welcome to it. This excursion into piano and sparkly synths may not lift your skirts up, gentlemen but it certainly is a nice transition from the chaos.

Should the aircraft have to make an emergency landing, a command "Brace for impact, Brace for impact" will be announced then "Heads down, Heads down" shouted by "Mr Cha Cha". This adopts a nice formula of glorious glam seventies Doppler effects and chugging guitar riffs. Another instrumental with some awesome lead playing, reminding me of James Bond melody at one point and then breaking into Steve Hackett like arpeggios. The time signature switches to a steady four to the floor beat. The synths build into jagged shapes, then the rhythm locks into a hand clapping beat. There are some Cha Cha rhythms, and elegant Hammond organ sounds. Then it changes to a half time feel, jazz fusion approach, the lead guitar doesn't stop, pumping out melodious tones as the synths twinkle madly away. This is sensational music by any standards. At this point every track has been diverse and equally delightful.

We are heading into some turbulence as we approach the "Dark Tower" with very light weight guitar and tinkling ivories. The bass is free form jazz, and then Blake Carpenter returns to sing about the tower; "it is ominous, and oh so frightful, it is in its final hour." A dark sound ends the short song and then makes way for the runway; the piece de resistance.

Prepare yourself passengers as we head over Mexico for a fuel stop. While there, we will be entertained by guest artist, Sean Filkins, hot off The Big Big Train, who will perform "Scandinavians in Mexico". The Samba rhythms are a feature, the rototoms resound, there is a Santana like guitar sound, and a hint that the Black Magic Woman is lurking nearby. We hear the harmonised mantra "Aya-huasca, Aya-a-ahhhh huasca", repeated as a chant. The Latino dancers and Mexican chili performers crank it up with this foot tapping oddity; a totally diverse approach.

Should an evacuation be necessary, we ask you remove all high-heeled shoes, leave all your luggage behind, yes even that sensuous album cover, and move as quick as possible to the nearest exit, just follow "Mystery Man". Jump onto the escape slide, and hear some gorgeous acoustic Spanish style guitar and Blake Carpenter will serenade about the mysterious individual "the little man in the shadows, daily there he takes his repose, never once giving a glance, seemingly he is in a trance." The music is again like Deep Purple especially with all the Hammond organ reverberations, over a heavy slow guitar. The instrumental break maintains the steady plodding pace, as sensational lead guitar croons mournfully over the chopped up organ and ascending distorted guitar chord progression.

"Camelus Bactrianus (Tuolla Tuonnempana)" is heavy and dramatic with timpani rolls, and a slow march to the gallows. The song is sung by Timo Rautiainen entirely in Finnish. We're deep in foreign territory here with some off kilter, wah wah guitar, a driving beat and swirling synths, as the pace picks up. Due to the non English lyrics, and unusual time changes, this is strange beyond the Knights Who Say Ni, and even odder than the Great Prophet Zarquan. It is such a diversion from previous tracks that it jars the ears. The guitars emit phased grunts howling in the netherverse and a quivering keyboard is heard wavering in the wind.

If you look out your side window you might catch a glimpse of "Uncle Schunkle" on the wing trying to rip out the engine, but we assure you it's all just an illusion. The music really moves into another realm. This instrumental is driven by a tail shaft full of spacey keyboards, and an omnipresent lead guitar trading off beautifully. The percussion is sporadic and it is a genuine pleasure to hear real drumming with passion here. The band really take off into full flight with this instrumental. It is power packed with keyboard and guitar soloing, competing wildly against each other like a duel for dominance. The bass guitar is fabulous moving up and down the scale, but I am really in love with that squelching synth. This is a Tardis full of proud prog, replete with spacey psychedelic grandeur.

Passengers, take note, should a landing on water happen, there is a life jacket stored underneath the seat. Inflate by pulling down the red tag, and yell rather loudly "inflate you stupid sod!", and blow the whistle to alert the "Eternal Universe" players. The dreamy relaxing song will lull you into a calm state of existence. The harmonies are gorgeous, and there is a pleasant vocal performance by Phil Naro. The lyrics are tranquillising "I see the world as a grain of sand, hold it in my hand." It is a nice diversion after the hyper weirdness previous.

Now place the mask over your nose and mouth and breathe normally while securing the elastic band around your head, that is to ensure maximum benefit is gained while hearing Tench on the acoustic guitar. We are now at cruising altitude and about to hear the longest song on offer, "Moaning Lisa". Sean Filkins sings of lost, lonely Lisa "betrayed by fate and love, lost to the sea, now she is free, lonely, lonely Lisa." The song penned by Mota, feels like a sea shanty in places, with lilting flute synth, and acoustic vibrations. The ballad travels along pleasantly with melancholy vocals and acoustics, til the instrumental shakes it up. The time sig changes to a swing leading to an extended coda. The new section is joined by German Vergara, with yet another language to sweeten the sound. That is so catchy; that confounded melody haunted me long after the flight.

We hope you have enjoyed the in-flight entertainment. We are now preparing to land. The bar is closed and we have one last song to titillate your eardrums. "Campfire (Tulen Luona)" takes us to Finland again with the voice of Timo, and some acoustics. It ends the flight with a feeling that the journey is over and things can now return to normal. The Prog Odyssey has ended. Thankyou for flying "Corvus Stone II" airways, we hope you have enjoyed the journey as much as we have. Please ensure you revisit this amazing airlines at the earliest opportunity.

This is an album you can play at anytime for any reason for anyone, and deserves full recommendation in the prog community. It is a genuine surprise package, full of very diverse music and innovation. I have visited it at home relaxing, in the car on a long journey, and after work at home to wind down. It is an album jammed with inventive musical ideas that consistently surprise and soothe the senses. There is space rock, psychedelic 60s, jazz fusion, Heavy Prog, Celtic folk, Symphonic, Samba, Mexican rhythms, and acoustic ballads mixed in this Prog potpourri. One of the albums of the year and an absolute pleasure to listen to; jump aboard "Corvus Stone II".

AtomicCrimsonRush | 5/5 |

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