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Tracklist: 1. Refracture 4-44 2. Resurrection 5-39 3. Resurgence 5-11 4. Return 5-28 5. Relentless 8-03 6. Reduction (inst.) 3-15 7. Resilience 5-00 8. Remission (inst.) 7-19 9. Requiem (inst.) 4-43 10. Reflexion 6-21 11. Redemption 8-13 Line-up: Vora Vor - electric & acoustic guitars, programming, vocals Sebastian Elliott - lead vocals (chameleon) With: Robynne Naylor - keyboards, violin & viola, backing Andrew Bunk - 5&6 string bass guitars Stygmie Von Skunk - real percussive instruments All music by Vora Vor. All lyrics by Sebastian Elliott. Produced, engineered & edited by Vora Vor. Tracked at "Sonic Adventures" (New Jersey) and at "Purple Fish"(Colorado) studios. Mixed at "Audiology" studios, NYC. Edited at "Vor-Techs", NYC.
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Prologue. I don't even remember when I received a wonderful mini-poster from Progressive Darkwave Co for the first time. For the second time I, as well as some of you, brothers and sisters in 'prog-pen', received Braindance's another mini-poster a few months ago. But then, at the beginning of the promotional activity for the band's second full-fledged album, the people at PDV, in response to my personal request (thank you!), sent me a promo cassette with short samples of the songs from the Braindance upcoming album. So the first, short and quite naive pre-production review on "Redemption" I wrote some time ago. Having heard just these brief samples, at the time I had no doubts that it was within the grasp of a band with such an unusual yet bright poppy sound to bomb down any popular hit-parade and even get a "Grammy". And only now, having listened to Braindance's "Redemption" album completely, I've really understood how unique this band is.
The Album. There are eight songs and three (sort of) instrumentals on the album. Despite the fact that all songs on "Redemption" are made up of five, at least, structural constituents, related to both Classic / Neo Art Rock and Prog Metal, and also to (newly improved and adapted to the contemporary Progressive) New Wave (can you still remember it?), each of them sounds highly innovative and amazingly harmonic at the same time, while all of them taken together form a unique, united and monolithic (just wonderful) stylistics. Also, all album's eight songs, without exception, can be potential killer-hits for the mainstream market, yet each of them is at the same time filled with characters rather typical for true Progressive, the kind all of us Prog-heads like it: Phenomena. All instrumental parts of the songs are extremely diverse and rich in progressive arrangements. Vora Vor presents herself on this album not only as a great composer-innovator, but also as an incredibly inventive and virtuosic lead guitarist. Yes, this is exactly Vora who plays a prominent part in creating progressiveness in the instrumental arrangements (that, by the way, work even underneath the vocal parts, always) with the help of impressive keyboard player Robynne Naylor and bassist Andrew Bunk. Vora guitar's fast, heavy, variegated themes-moves at first go along with highly ingenious passages and solos of keyboards, played in a different key and, often, even in a different tempo, provided by the rhythm-section. Quite unexpectedly, the bass-guitar becomes another soloing instrument and then there are bass and electric guitars solos crossing each other at the head of arrangements, supported by effective chords of keyboards and a rhythm-section that now looks as a tight tandem of electric guitars riffs on the low register and excellently programmed drums, sometimes enriched by the sounds of seemingly real percussive instruments. Sebastian Elliott, with his chameleon vocals, adds from time to time more progressive flavour to the musical palette of the album. Surely, Sebastian could use his unique vocal qualities more often than he actually does, but the album would lose that essential brightness, a little yet very hypnotic mainstream-nucleus, if he really had done so. Now I'll try to use the word "pseudo" with regard to instrumentals, which happens for the first time in my practice of a reviewer. Three pseudo instrumental pieces (Reduction, Remission, and Requiem), located in the album's second half (but before two last songs), sound in many ways different from songs. Also, they sound different even in themselves: otherwise Braindance would never place two pseudo instrumentals Remission and Requiem in a row. Apart from a lot of various sounds and plays, - from industrial noises and sirens to truly avant-garde parts of piano and strange duets between guitar's intricate riffs and solos, they're also filled with male and female talks, screams, whispers, and other human sounds. This way, they create additional, very specific atmospheres that make the album as a whole a more diverse fruit in itself. Of course, these pieces, with their obvious psychedelic (sometimes spacey) character, were created by no means for hit parades. After all, I find Braindance's "Redemption" an absolute masterpiece, all told. What's more, I'm sure this is an album we ('at Progressive') need very much.
Summary. Earlier, when I wrote about some 'border' album, representing, for example, moderately complex Art Rock, I always noted, that such music will probably be appreciated by "classic" and "neo" Prog-heads alike. When I reviewed an album the music on which was a blend of Art-Rock and Prog-Metal, I mentioned this one would, most likely, be loved by Prog-lovers from both the Metal and Symphonic camps of the genre. Now, for the first time, I am sure that "Redemption" will not only be appreciated (at least) by most of the "classic" and "neo", "symphonic" and "metal" Prog-heads. This is one of the few progressive albums that have the potential to appeal to a mass audience, to enter today's music mainstream. I recall that Mr. Spock (of Beardless Band and Transatlantic) was inducing "Sony Music" to release the debut album of the latter band, in vain. "Redemption" is a self-released album, but surely "Sony Music" (and other majors as well) has already a special view on Braindance. Their "Redemption" may be the first real stage for Progressive to reach an audience that is much larger than it is today, while still being on the rise, by the way.
VM. September 7, 2001
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