Release Date: 6th November 2012
Label: Melodic Revolution Records
This must be the longest time that has passed between an album being released and a review taking place, but as they say, “better late than never!” The album in question is from the band, Corvus Stone and is self-titled, being released back in 2012. This is not a new album to me as there have been several tracks aired on the radio show.
The band originally came together by the power of the social networks, when the core trio of the band started to work together and realized that they were producing amazing music through their collaboration. This original trio, Colin Tench (guitars), Petri Lemmy Lindstrom (bass) and Pasi Koivu (keyboards) expanded to include Robert Wolff (drums), Blake Carpenter (vocals) and, whilst not a musician, still an integral cog in Corvus Stone, Sonia Mota (artist). It is Sonia’s stunning artwork that adorns the cover and CD insert of the album. There are also contributions from Stef Flaming (vocals, guitars), John Culley (guitars) and Victor Tassone (drums).
One point that should be made, is that most, if not all, of the music on the album, was put together by musicians recording their parts in various places, before it was seamlessly “bolted together.”
There are many influences listed by the members of the band and include, Pink Floyd, ELP, Camel, Porcupine Tree, King Crimson, David Bowie, Riverside, Jeff Beck, Peter Gabriel and Deep Purple, which certainly indicates a background steeped in classic progressive music.
Corvus Stone is a 21 track single album release (with a further 2 bonus tracks on the early digital releases) with a running time that is only seconds short of 80 minutes, the maximum recommended to maintain the required sound quality. The track lengths are very variable, with four of them, “The Curtain Rises,” “Horizon,” “Intermission” and “Ten Inch Lisa,” all being less than 2 minutes in length, while track 18, “Cinema” is the longest track at 10:50 minutes.
The starting track of Corvus Stone, “The Curtain Rises” (1:32) is an aptly titled track, and is a short instrumental with some excellent acoustic guitar and a middle eastern instrument, which you are just settling into when it is gone and we are onto track 2. “October Sad Song “ (4.57) has some wonderful guitar work throughout and there is amazing synth/keyboard playing which means that this instrumental, together with the odd time changes and interjections by other instruments, maintains the listeners’ attention. Some heavy riffing guitar heralds track 3, “Highway to Emptiness” (2:28), the third instrumental, which motors along with some more superb synth passages. The fourth track, “Ice King” certainly changes the style, as for the first time, vocals appear, and are provided by Blake Carpenter (The Minstrel’s Ghost), which together with the excellent guitar work by Colin Tench produce an atmospheric track, which ultimately seems just too short.
“Corvus Stone” (8:20), the title track, being a longer track allows the ideas in the music to evolve a little more and there is more evidence of the amazing interplay of guitar and synth/keyboards. This is a hugely atmospheric track, shifting this way and that, and at times recalls the superb keyboard sounds produced by the (late) Bo Hansson, with those amazing grandiose swirling techniques. The guitar of Colin is always there, behind the keyboards of Pasi and they paint an amazing aural scene, and if you then throw in some subtle time changes, you have another majestic slice of progressive music.
The longest track on offer, “Cinema” (10:50) has some simply stunning guitar and keyboard passages, and as the track unwinds with similarly changing time shifts, some superb acoustic guitar work and beautiful electric guitar passages, which interchange frequently. This exudes a feeling of taking you on a journey with the music, allowing you to drift into the aural palette they are plucking the sounds from. “Cinema” also reappears as a bonus alternative version on the digital download early release.
It is not possible to detail all the tracks on this 21 track album, but to summarize there is a myriad of different styles on display encompassing more jazzy and blues styles from time to time. One or two of the tracks, especially the very short ones suggest ideas that possibly never really came to fruition and there is a feeling at times of patchiness. A real oddity in today’s musical world must be “The Rusty Wolff Attack,” which is a straightforward drum solo, introducing the new drummer.
After many plays, my overall impression of Corvus Stone is that the band have huge ranges of musical ideas which when they all come together correctly, result in pieces of sublime music, but at times the fusion isn’t perfect. The band were keen to demonstrate the range that they possess, but I feel that with more prudent trimming here and there, Corvus Stone could have been a simply stunning album, whereas, although there are some simply stunning tracks, some tracks don’t hit that musical peak.
As always, grab this album and give it several listens, as I am sure that my personal choices of the lesser successful tracks might not be what others think. I would still award the album a “One to Buy” sticker and I look ahead eagerly to the follow-up album, which has already had some video teasers released.
Key Tracks: October Sad Song, Corvus Stone, Cinema
Jim “The Ancient One” Lawson-Sr. Reviewer Prog Rock Music Talk
June 25, 2014
Review Provided By Prog Rock Music Talk
The Curtain Rises
October Sad Song
Highway To Emptiness
I’ll Leave It All Behind
Moustaches In Massachusetts
The Rusty Wolff Attack
Lost And Found
You’re So Long
The Ice King (Instrumental)
Ten Inch Lisa
The Stones Meet Cheryl In Soundtrack From Hell*
Cinema (Alternative Version)*
*Bonus tracks on early digital download versions.
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