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(67:40, ‘Carpe Nota’)
TRACK LIST: 1. Thoracic Park 10:41 2. Welcome to the Edge 5:18 3. Obsession 9:28 4. It Can't Be So 9:19 5. Obsidian 8:39 6. Batovich 4:45 7. Bio-Freez 9:30 8. For All Time 10:00 LINEUP: Dan Pluta – keyboards Pete Rubinetti – guitars Phil Derenbecher – drums Ken Sundling – bass
Prolusion. The US quartet CARPE NOTA was formed sometime around 2006, and is from what I understand an active live entity as well as a recording unit. "Carpe Nota" is their first CD, and was self released in the spring of
Analysis. Carpe Nota is among those bands that will make a few reviewers a tad frustrated I suspect. A subject I have broached on previous occasions too is the reason for that, one that is filed somewhere under stylistic expressions and contextual descriptions. The easy and superficial manner to place this entity within a given framework is to point out that they do indeed play progressive rock, and that they have opted for an all-instrumental approach, a description that says quite a lot, but also one that has a few massive gaps that need further description. I guess the best manner in which to fill those missing gaps is to right away describe Carpe Nota as a symphonic art rock band. Not in the manner of bands like Yes or Genesis however, and while there are some tendencies that fans of bands like ELP will recognize, this particular beast is built on in a radically different manner in all aspects but a few flamboyant keyboard movements that appear now and then. As far as references go, those with a soft spot for Deep Purple will also encounter the occasional nod in that direction, as will those who enjoy the likes of Dream Theater, I suspect. What we're dealing with is a band that basically blends and mixes elements from hard rock and metal with symphonic art rock. Vintage oriented organ and guitar driven constellations that will please Deep Purple fans in their most basic expressions and refined takes that add keyboards, synthesizers or the good, old Mellotron to the proceedings for a more purebred symphonic oriented delivery. But also lighter toned keyboard-driven passages with ample room for layered keyboards delivered in a distinct harmonic manner as well as tighter, dramatic exploits closer to what fans of aforementioned ELP will enjoy. Harder edged, guitar riff driven parts bordering on progressive metal in nature is also a part of the proceedings, at times closer to 80's heavy metal than to progressive metal as such, but also with a fair few themes that are pretty close to what Dream Theater produced in their formative years. It is a relatively broad palette this band employs, and while some parts have a distinct emphasis as described, just as many mix and blend elements from some or all of these together in arrangements whose general characteristics are harder to place in a set context. But the general tendency for a symphonic oriented keyboard construction to be present in some for or other ultimately makes me regard this foursome as a symphonic art rock band first and foremost. The general emphasis on distinct melodies and harmonies makes this act a fairly accessible specimen of its kind too, although their harder edged sound may limit their audience somewhat.
Conclusion. "Carpe Nota" is a fairly well made production, and while it isn't a brilliant one as I experience it, the songs are fairly accomplished, pleasant at worst and compelling at best. Not a CD that will draw in new fans to this type of music, but those who suspect they might enjoy a blend of instrumental hard rock, metal and symphonic art rock, with a distinct focus on the latter throughout, should check out this promising US foursome.
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