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Lunatic Soul - Lunatic Soul II CD (album) cover


Lunatic Soul


Crossover Prog

3.83 | 345 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars This is a very strong release from the solo project of Riverside's Mariusz Duda, and is just about as far away from prog metal as you can get from one of the sub genre's key modern exponents.

The key to enjoyment in this album is the almost perfect atmosphere which classy musicians create.

The opener, The In Between Kingdom is a luscious instrumental, almost Arabesque in its sound and execution. Ambient progressive rock at its finest, and perhaps the best of its kind I have heard since Peter Gabriel's Passion.

This leads into Otherwhere, a stripped down ballad which is almost painful in its lovely melancholy. A feeling vocal is accompanied by some very good guitar work.

This dark atmosphere is continued as the track segues into Suspended In Whiteness. Almost minimal in its execution, I do love the keyboard work of Duda's colleague Szelenbaum in the background. There is also some great percussion work by Wawrzyniec Dramowicz as the track enters its main phase. Strong rhythms give this the perfect accompaniment to feeling vocals. Very broody and also very good, this is one of the many highlight's on the album.

Asoulum is almost so bleak as to be Arctic in its execution, but really is utterly beautiful in its melancholy and atmosphere. Very painful and almost mentally lost lyrics are portrayed very nicely, and accompanied by acoustic guitar, pounding bass, and background keyboards, all of which combine to create a massive sound, and you really do listen in wonder at the "lunatic" sound effects created by the background vocals. A very powerful piece of music which lingers in the memory for some time after you have finished listening.

Limbo is a short instrumental, just short of two minutes, featuring some interesting keyboard sound effects, and, again, really does remind me very strongly of some of the music that Gabriel experimented with.

This leads into Escape From Paradice, and the inescapable comparison to Gabriel continues, with some quite fantastic drum work which bears all the hallmarks of the best of what we started to call World Music. The main "help me" vocal theme of the album is reprised here, and the bittersweet, melancholic mood is predominant, before the track explodes into something that Riverside fans would find a little more recognisable in a couple of short, heavy, bursts.

Transition is the longest track on the album, clocking in at over 11 minutes. It begins with more world music influenced passages, executed very well. Keyboards take over to create, alongside vocal effects, what can only be described as an extremely unsettling and heavy ambience. I'm not quite sure what demons Duda needed to purge in the recording of this album, but whatever they were, I can only say that they are better out than in! The main body of the piece features Duda singing accompanied by only piano, minimalist synth effects, and bass drum thumping. Just over half way through, the track gives way to a louder section, and more in keeping with the darker side of heavy rock. The riff is so gloomy and loud that Sabbath themselves would have been proud to include it on their albums, and this continues right until the close of the track, where keyboards also explode into a lush symphonic backdrop to the riff.

The penultimate track is Gravestone Hill, which sounds like a title or location from a classic Western movie of years gone by. It is, in fact, a dark and lovely ballad featuring some lovely acoustic guitar work and more keyboard effects.

The album closes with Wanderings, which, to my knowledge, ends the two album sequence and project. If so, it is a fine way to end. A decidedly more upbeat track than much of what went before. The demons have clearly been exorcised, and the entire ensemble plays a quicker and sunnier backing to lyrics which look forward, rather than back.

This is a fine album. Aside from, as mentioned, the obvious similarities in parts to Gabriel's Passion, this is quite unlike anything else I have heard in some time. Ambient, atmospheric, (until the end) very dark, and brooding.

Four stars for this. An excellent addition to any prog rock collection.

lazland | 4/5 |


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