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Under The Sun

Progressive Metal

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4 stars I almost gave this CD a 5 star rating but could not quite due to the fact that in my opinion there are 2 songs not deserving that status (Seeing Eye God and Dream Catcher) But those 2 songs only make up 10 min. of a 67 min. CD. All the other 8 songs (again, in my opinion) are perfect. Under The Sun are a nice brew of prog rock and prog metal. There are no ball squeezing vocals thank god. As a matter of fact it's Chris Shryack's clear, John Wetton like tone (although Chris will sometimes sing higher then Mr. Wetton could comfortably) that 1st caught my ear on the 1st listen of this CD. I would imagine the drummer, Paul Shkut had Neil Peart for some inspiration as his grooves share the same characteristics (nimble ride patterns, great high hat work and best of all...a groove that makes odd time signatures seem like 4/4.) Under The Sun also share another thing with Rush. The CD was mixed by Terry Brown who was responsible for the sound of many Rush albums. If I was to use 1 word to describe U.T.Ss sound it would be "Shimmering". The Key's, voice, guitar even the drum's (at times) seem to have this quality about them. And it's not a bad thing nor is it overstated and it took me awhile to think of exactly what it was that made this band sound different from other well produced prog bands. I am not going to go into a blah, blah about each song. All I can say about Under The Sun is they have their very own distinctive style in production, song writing and musicianship. And what else can you ask for in the true nature of progressive music.
Report this review (#33007)
Posted Monday, January 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Interesting, Seeing Eye God and Dream Catcher are my favorite tracks on this CD, although Seeing Eye God is too fun and bouncy for pure prog. Very appealing though, I love the funky sound of it. The bassist & drummer are a perfect solid backdrop. This CD is on my all-time top ten favorite list. The live Schematism is great too, Souljourner is such a cool song.
Report this review (#42775)
Posted Sunday, August 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Thank God or whoever, nobody called it Neo. I hate that word. It's just good music with nice old fashion song build up's. Some keyboards, awesome bass, solid drums, good voice, and no guitar in front. It's fresh, and everybody who buy's it will have a favorite. Not that difficult with all the rhytem changes. Although I like it a lot, I can't go as far as giving it 5 stars, but 4 is not bad anyway. It's the first album I've heard from them, so maybe in future, if they still exist, they can earn their 5 stars. I've got no idea if the band is still alive, unfortunetly the link to their site does not work. But I keep hoping. I would really like to hear more.......
Report this review (#56030)
Posted Saturday, November 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars My only regret is that this site does not let you rate 0 stars. If ever there was an album that deserved it, it is this one. I listened to this years ago in preperation for their NearFest performance. I almost didn't attend that performance after hearing this. But I thought I should give them a chance to prove they were better live. They were not. As the other reviewers say, this is not neo. They are all decent musicians, but their compositions just don't work for me on any level. There is no emotion, no direction, no appeal. Very much what I would call "cheese prog" in that they somehow manage to make relatively complex prog music sound like 80's hairband cheese. Quite an accomplishment. AVOID!!!
Report this review (#56064)
Posted Saturday, November 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I first took notice of this CD when I read an interview with Rich Williams (Kansas) He was saying that Under The Sun are a fantastic band that should apeal to most Kansas fans and the prog world in general. This CD has some fantastic songs on it and really is a classic Prog CD ... Under The Sun are known as a great band !
Report this review (#56084)
Posted Saturday, November 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I can easily see why this album would appeal to Kansas fans as Under the Sun really do sound like vintage Kansas. That's not to say that they are a pure clone, far from it. I wouldn't call these guys prog-metal, they are actually more art rock and at times even a little symphonic prog. You can also hear influences like the Talking Heads, the Police (especially on Perfect World) and jazz/fusion.

You know Terry Brown had an influence on this recording when you listen to the bass line for Gardens of Autumn. If the sound of the bass guitar doesn't make you recall Geddy Lee from Rush, I don't know what would. Kurt Barabas was the musician that first caught my attention with his fluid bass lines. He has a fusion-esque style that I really like and has a couple of really great runs on From Henceforth Now and Forever that show his great deal of skill and talent. The drummer makes excellent usage of all his cymbals to add great high end texture to the songs. I've always had a deep respect for drummers that know how to really work the cymbals. In fact, all of the instrumentation is both very good technically and diversely interesting at the same time. The songs are well composed and I really don't hear any filler material. I really like Seeing Eye God because it is a strange, funky tune that's actually a lot of fun.

I'd really recommend this album to people that liked vintage Kansas. I may not a big fan of Kansas myself, but I really do like this album a lot. It was definitely worth the $13 and I can only hope that they put out more material in the future.

Report this review (#68787)
Posted Wednesday, February 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is such a good record, and it was mixed by Terry Brown.The vocals are really unique, i've heard them described as sounding like Ozzy, but in a lower tone.They sound strained but in a good way.

These great vocals and harmonies are the focus of the first song "This Golden Voyage". I really like the vocal melody (instead of words) that are used on the chorus of "Tracer", and the guitar solo rocks and the piano melody is nice. "Seeing Eye God" is an ok, uptempo tune. I feel the same way about "Gardens Of Autumn" although the intro is good with heavy guitars, synths and drums. "Perfect World" is one of the highlights for me, it's different sounding, and the instrumental sections are fast paced at times. The vocals sound almost like they are yelled, and there are some really good guitar solos. "Reflections" is another really good song that is a slower paced, powerful tune. "Breakwater" is amazing, opening with bagpipes and the sound of seagulls.There are some good drums, organ and some crazy guitar melodies.The vocals are incredible ! The melody at five minutes is awesome !

"The Time Being" has some tempo changes, sampling, crisp drumming and best of all, lots of great guitar solos ! "Dream Catcher" has some narration from Chief Running Bear, a Cheroke Native American. Lots of organ in this one, as well as a scorching guitar solo 61/2 minutes in. "From Henceforth Now And Forever (PS 124)" is the best song in my opinion, opening with synths and drums and a vocal line ( that is the title of this song) that are the only words sung, on and off throughout the song. Lots of guitar, drums, synths and even a bass solo. The song ends with thunder and rain. Psalm 124 is about Isreal stating that if God had not been on their side their enemies would have destroyed them. So I think the band is saying that God is on our side now and forever.

I highly recommend this record, it's well worth checking out.

Report this review (#101182)
Posted Thursday, November 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars UNDER THE SUN!Oh,another forgotten,or almost,musical jewel from MAGNA CARTA,once a legend in prog metal labels,the mark of of good quality,where some incredible bands made their first steps in the prog world !Magna Carta was the craddle for SHADOW GALLERY,MAGELLAN,ENCHANT,ICE AGE,CAIRO,to name only a few sure values of progressive,high quality progressive bands!This album may be considered one amazing first try from some very skilled musicians,very devoted to progressive music,era GENESIS...KANSAS...YES...GENTLE GIANT but with a more modern touch!The production is superbe and the quality of the compositions very solid!We have all the time the feeling that the guys in UTS have put all their creativity and passion to break the boundaries of a common good debut album !On a hand they did it,because the album had at it's time some excellent reviews in the prog community,but on the other hand,they didn't confirm with a second try! WHY?It's a pity ,because they were at the right time at their place and it could be a sure value of the genre!THIS GOLDEN VOYAGE marks in a very promissing way the debut of an album of more that 1 hour of very enjoyable album and the following isn't at all dissapointing!Au contraire,the album has an uptime rhythm with some very beautiful compositions!Each instrument has it'sown place and the vocals are very nice!Changing of rhythms and breaks ,all in a very professional way ,proved that the guys had a huge potential!THE TIME BEING is a complex song,very well structured ,with many brilliant musical ideas incorporated,surprising breaks and change of rhythms and definitelly this song could be considered the highlight of the album,under all aspects-strong composition-clever text-sensational musicianship-a little masterpiece!Sometimes we feel that the guys have too many ideas to put them in only a simple song,and UNDER THE SUN's songs aren't at all simple!In the end,what we feel is a imense satisfaction of an audition of a great album from a very skilled band! 4,5 STARS for a true musical pearl!
Report this review (#256899)
Posted Saturday, December 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Under the Sun self titled album from 2000 is the only release of this american band. Issued by Magna Carta same year. Well, what we have here is a good pleasent type of prog rock with sporadicaly some prog metal elements thrown in but Under the Sun never being a prog metal band in overall sound. They remind me of bands like Rush with an americanized sound quite similar with Tiles or Enchant in manner of composing. Overall is a good album, even great in places, but I can't see this album as a masterpieces or close, is fairly decent with strong musicianship and some great ideas on some pieces like Breakwater for instance being I guess the best tune of the album together with The time being. Very nice solid guitar parts and keyboards. I think this album were little higher for me in rating if wasn't the crisp vocal parts of Chris Shryack, while is far from bad is the lowest point of the album, the instrumental sections are really tight. Overall 3.5 stars, worth to be discovered.
Report this review (#984519)
Posted Sunday, June 23, 2013 | Review Permalink

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