"Distant Echoes & Close Encounters"

By Dark Starr

I've reviewed these guys in the past and been impressed with their music. This new album surpasses what I've heard of their previous stuff. In fact, this has landed onto my "best of 2017" list. The blend of sounds these guys assemble is so cool - from modern prog to classic prog, alternative rock, pop and more. The way they can shift and change so much throughout each song and keep it all together is quite impressive, too. All in all, if you like prog and are willing to try bands that have leanings toward the modern alternative rock based stuff, I can't recommend this enough. It's catchy and meaty at the same time. 

"Signs" comes first, and some cool keyboard driven space rock opens things. As it shifts more toward rocking sounds it still has a space rock element to it. The vocals bring a bit of alternative rock to the mix. There are some killer shifts and changes. This has a lot of alternative prog rock built into it, but it works toward more traditional prog and space rock, too. It's an ever-changing tapestry that is very effective. 

I love the echoey kind of guitar sound at the backdrop of "Empires." The piece has a great energy and some cool hooks. Yet it still manages to convey that alternative meets prog type of sound. They drop it back to a mellower movement that has plenty of electronic space music in the mix. Again they pack a lot of changes into this thing. 

I love the soaring kind of trippy vibe that a lot of " Invincible (In the Shadows)" has. It has some mellower movements built into it, too. There are some particularly cool keyboard sounds here. Once more this is full of changes in a very dynamic arrangement. 

"Levitate" is next, and fairly quick paced and powerful modern prog rock is the idea here. There are some particularly pop rock like sections here. Yet it all gets woven into a shifting musical tapestry that's complex and compelling. 

Picked guitar that's rather mellow and echoey leads "Distant Echoes" out of the starting gate. It works out from there in a nice way, powering into trippy kinds of modern prog that keeps reaching upward. The mellower dropped back movement is an intriguing section and grows back out nicely in a very gradual progression. 

With a different sound on it the guitar patterns at the beginning of "Meander" could be some kind of technical metal. The song works out into more of that type of prog rock one expects here. I really love the driving energy that they get in parts of this piece. It's one of my favorite tracks on the disc. 

While the changes in the first half of "Porcelain" are less crazed than a lot of them we've heard earlier, it still manages to transition from a mellower opening movement to more soaring rock later. The instrumental section later is a powerhouse prog rock excursion that definitely makes me think of Dream Theater. 

I really love "Shaman," too. It makes such great use of the balance between the mellower stuff and more powered up stuff. This thing really soars. It's a killer modern prog rocker with some awe-inspiring moods and modes. I love the powerhouse prog jamming later in the piece. That section is another that makes me think of Dream Theater a bit. 

Cool keyboard textures start "Close Encounters." The track works out from there with some killer fast paced prog rock. There is some pretty awesome guitar work as this continues on its journey. They make good use of the balance of soft to harder edged, too. This instrumental is so classy and such a great way to end the disc.