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Athelstone - The Quiet Before The Storm CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

2.98 | 17 ratings

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3 stars This is a new trio from Malta whose debut album was released in 2011 with the name of The Quiet before the Storm', which features only three songs, but two of them are long epics that reach the 20-minute mark, while the shortest is an 8-minute offering. This trio has also some guest musicians that play some of the non-basic instruments such as sax or cello. The music here could be described as eclectic prog, since they take elements from jazz, folk and even heavy side of prog, so in their music we can find very different passages that make the music pretty original.

A colorful and challenging first track is offered with 'The Quiet before the Storm', whose 23 minutes show the quality of these musicians as composers and of course as performers. The music is instrumental here, so we have a lot to imagine while the seconds/minutes pass. The band brings several changes and a lot of nuances that produce a diversity of textures and emotions; I like how the music is progressing little by little, because the first minutes are slow and careful, but later the guitar produces a rockier sound so drums and bass follow it and make more intense music for some minutes until it slows down and becomes relaxing. As you can imagine, it is only a short passage because later they give us a new powerful moment, which again, is shared for a minute or two until it changes and becomes calmer. These changes in moments become predictable, so there are some passages that I would have enlarged a bit more, in order to create a more solid track, which overall, is a pretty good one.

'Jaaz' starts with cadence and a slow rhythm, after one minute drums and bass enter, accompanying the guitar and making a clear (as the title suggests) jazzy mood. A couple of minutes later a female voice appears creating a bossa-nova style sound. This lasts four minutes until they all of a sudden surprise us and create a heavy rock sound with powerful guitars, heavy drums and a sound full of energy reminiscent of some 70s rock acts. After five minutes the sax enters but in a delicate way, and seconds later it explodes when the sound becomes crazier. The last seconds are calmer and with the bossa nova style.

And finally 'Coming Full Circle' with other 23 minutes of a carousel of sounds. This is my favorite track, the one I believe is the best composition and the one with most audacity and dynamism. Since the first minutes I felt the connection and I was attracted by the sound, by that musical expression that let our imagination fly. The use of acoustic guitar along with female voice (wordless) and the synth produce a very relaxing atmosphere, calm and beautiful, excellent for a good read or write. Some minutes later the music changes becoming more intense and with a combination of heavy prog with some space rock hints, which is pretty cool. Later it becomes even heavier, but this is not my favorite part. The carousel continues with some highs and lows until it reaches a climax at minute 15 with an excellent hypnotizing guitar that is greatly complemented by the other instruments, creating a chaos and a nervous sound, this is probably my fav part of the whole album. The song finishes with a calm style.

And with it, the album ends. Overall is a good album, with some excellent moments and some average ones; the band has talent without a doubt, but I believe they can even do better. My final grade will be 3 stars.

Enjoy it!

memowakeman | 3/5 |


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