I've been looking forwards to making posts about CoA. I've been away from the GH forums for a while, mostly due to having such problems liking TIS. Once I got CoA I decided to have a lorra lorra listens before writing some feedback. I think Prog can be like that - the music is not always designed to be enjoyed on the first listen, but it is definitely enjoyable on listens 5-100. (I clearly remember the confusion when I first heard Going For the One after a happy diet of 90125.)
So... in general, I like it very much. It is very cool to have even more class musicians added to the group, especially having lead singers singing lead vocals - in my view some other GH tracks have not been as good as they could because they have been delivered by Steve or Fred, who don't have the vocal technique and conviction of singers like Suzie and Carl.
I don't think Shreddy is going to make my top 10 of guitarists, based on this CD, but I like hearing a talented player with his own style. This gives GH the feel of Yes, with their constantly shifting lineup and changing styles. Its fun when a new flavour gets added to the GH recipe.
I compare the Shreddy sound to, say Steve Vai, or maybe Peter Banks, and the Shreddy sound seems thinner. I wonder if this is an attempt to make the guitar cut over the top of all the other instruments? I'd like to hear a fuller tone.
Matt Mendians continues to impress me, though I think he has not got the kindest of productions - to my ears he sounds distant and apart from the rest of the band. Given what I hear on Lex Live, this seems unlikely to be anything Matt has done. Therefore, when GH come to play these CoA songs, I think they may sound better than on the CD, more 'whole'.
The Adonai chamber group is very good. It's quirky having a trio instead of a full string section (as you might hear with a mainstream band) (for instance, the thinner accompaniment to the first subject of Ember, which I think is more interesting than a full string section). In the same way that a Mellotron doesn't sound like a string orchestra, nor does a Trio, and I like that. I also get the feeling that they're not consider to be 'extras', but play as band members, and with parts written for them. (I do not think that they make GH sound like Kansas! )
I like what other commentators have described as a colder feel, I'd say that its the use of dissonant harmonies, certain digital effects and a few whoosy wind noises.
Edgy prog can be good, and this seems to poke GH music in some unusual directions.
Thanks to Fred and Steve for making another album worth really getting your teeth into and replaying!
(First post of many today!)
Summit Expedition - Summer of 07
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