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(53:33, Oskar Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Ancient Times 2:08 2. Signs on the 13th 9:40 3. Changing Directions 7:48 4. Insects 11:12 5. Hurricane 5:09 6. Ambrosia 5:09 7. Haemus 5:30 8. Llits Doots Nus 6:57 LINEUP: Gert Van Engelenburg – keyboards; vocals Jos Harteveld – vocals; guitars Eddie Mulder – guitars; vocals Koen Roozen – drums Peter Stel – bass Derk Evert Waalkens – keyboards; percussion; vocals
Prolusion. LEAP DAY, from Holland, was formed in 2008, consisting of veterans from the Dutch Neo-progressive scene. They were signed to the Polish label Oskar in 2009, and since then three full length albums have been issued by the band through that label. "From the Days of Deucalion: Chapter 1" is the most recent of these, released in 2013.
Analysis. When you have a band that consists of veteran musicians from a distinct neo-progressive scene who are signed to a label that specializes in the very same type of music, you kind of know what kind of album you're dealing with even before you start listening to it. As I understand it, there's a fairly large audience in Poland for the more melody based varieties of neo progressive rock, and Leap Day is a band that will most likely fulfill the expectations of such an audience quite nicely. From the delicate acoustic guitars of opening atmospheric creation Ancient Times with its dramatic end phase and through the next three compositions, concluding with Insects, Leap Day actually explores a branch of that kind of music that isn't archetypical either. Clever use of sound effects and cinematic oriented sequences does give these compositions a nice variety and some nifty dramatic touches at times, and while accessible and melodic it is also well made and well performed, and rather cleverly assembled at times too. Those who are tired of neo progressive rock may have more issues with the following three numbers however, as Hurricane, Ambrosia and Haemus all have their fair share of references back to 70's symphonic progressive rock in general and Genesis in particular, explored in what I think most would describe as a typical neo progressive manner. Lead vocalist Harteveld does resemble Bruce Dickinson more than Peter Gabriel when he indulges in more dramatic vocal exploits admittedly, and there are some guitar details that are a tad more harder edged than what many neo bands may want to opt for, but fairly typical neo progressive rock with a distinct Genesis touch to it is what we're served here. Well made and well performed, as you'd expect from a band with seasoned members. To conclude this album we're treated to an instrumental affair called Llits Doots Nus. This is, basically, the band taking a run through the width of their repertoire, at leas that is my impression, as we're treated to cinematic movements with ambient touches to them, some AOR-oriented passages, fairly typical neo-progressive sequences and a fair few parts that appear to reference classic 70's progressive rock by way of instrument details, arrangements or overall moods too. All of this in less than seven minutes too.
Conclusion. Leap Day's third full length album is one that fits the description well made, well performed and pleasant to perfection. Apart from at times slightly weak vocals there's nothing you can point your finger at, and while it didn't give me any goosebumps while listening to it this is a production that has a defined audience that will appreciate it highly. If you love 80's and early 90's neo progressive rock, Leap Day is a band you should take note of, and their latest production one that should satisfy your cravings for more music of that kind quite nicely.
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