Reviews roundup – Everglow vs. Opus Doria vs. Loudon Wainwright III vs. Tusmorke
Everglow is a worship band based in Chillicothe, Ohio made up of Colt Harrington on vocals, Nick Bradley, lead guitar, Jay Scott (bass/ background vocals), Matt Blosser on keyboards and drummer Jacob Purpero.
They only got together last year when Harrington and Bradley began playing worship music in local Ohio churches. When they added drummer Jacob Purpero they headed into a local studio to record this album and, well, it’s OK. It probably all sounds a bit better in context, but with the exception of a couple of songs, nothing leaps out and grabs you.
The opener, ‘Heart Of A Lion’ is by far the best song, with ‘10,000 Reasons’ toddling along in second place, but as with so many Christian rock bands, they seem to think that second rate eighties rock in the vein of Simple Minds and U2 is the way forward. It isn’t. Fair play, though, they are good musicians, and if they find a good songwriter, then who knows.
A Day On Earth
Time for some French female fronted, symphonic folk metal. Oh, yes, we get about. And it’s album number two from Opus Doria following on from their 2011 debut, “Infraworld”. And it’s rather enjoyable.
For sure vocalist Christel Lindstat, cellist Flavie Nicogossian, keyboard player Laura Nicogossian, guitarist Bruno Rodrigues, bass player Yannick Hubert and drummer Benoît Brune aren’t exactly breaking new ground here, but within the confines of what is acceptable behaviour in their field, they do a fine job.
They got together to fuse metal, classical and epic film music, and that’s pretty much what they’ve done. After the opening ‘Prologue’, they fire off into ‘The Mission’, an excellent up tempo number which is a definite album highlight. At the other end of the spectrum, ‘Lost Children In The World’ is the most folk metal track on offer, and the go all epicus metallicus on ‘Requiem For A Wise Man’. An excellent offering from those who mourn the passing of early Nightwish and Epica.
LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III
Haven’t Got The Blues (Yet)
I was quite partial to a bit of LW III when I were a lad. ‘Motel Blues’ remains of my favourite, horrible songs of all time. But unlike some, I haven’t thought much of his more recent material. How many times do you get fooled into thinking that a late renaissance has arrived, only to be greeted by some MOR honking.
Well, I’m not going to claim that this is one of the best LW III albums ever, but it is rather good. His lyrics have retained their acerbic edge, but there is a spring in some of the arrangements that help push this one up a few places in the LW III league table. No more so than on the sprightly brass enhanced opener ‘Brand New Dance’, which addresses the issue of ageing in an engaging manner. ‘Depression Blues’ and the title track are also classics in waiting.
There is a rather odd cover in the shape of ‘Harmless’, a Michael Marra song, which simply adds to the mystery of Marra, a songwriter who has never knowingly used a melody. That apart, this is the LW III album you want, if you’ve been missing since “Attempted Moustache”, and for the 26th album in his long (44 years and counting) musical career, is quite a splendid achievement.
No I haven’t passed out on the keyboard, for “Riset Speilet” is an album from Norwegian progsters Tusmorke, a band formed from the ashes of the rather better named Captain Cumulonumbus And His Wondrous Cloudship. Tusmorke is, apparently, furrin for ‘twilight’, which may explain their gentle, pastoral approach to the world of prog.
I won’t be the first and I won’t be the last to scribble the word ‘Canterbury’ on a piece of paper while listening to this, and it’s an obvious comparison. Now I’m no expert in Norse, but I reckon that vocalist and bass player Benediktator, vocalist, flautist and thereminist Krizla, drummer HlewagastiR and keyboard player Fenomenet Marxo Solinas are either using pseudonyms or are in the witness protection programme.
Musically, however, they are rather splendid. Tunes like ‘Gamle After Kirke’, ‘All Is Lost’ and the title track swirl you off into a musical world of make believe where things aren’t quite what they seem, and all the more spooky and off-putting for it. The modern world of prog is often, surprisingly conservative, but if you want to take a chance on something a bit different, then you should really give this a listen.