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(41:21, Melodic Revolution Records)
Although this album was released in 2016, I have only recently come across it. What we have here is a concept album, based on a short story also written by Leon (which is included in the booklet), which concerns a polarized world where two distinct societies lead opposite lifestyles. The rich leave the earth to live on orbiting colonies while the poor are left behind trying to work out not only how to survive but also how to reconstruct the broken environment around them. There is a narration at the beginning of each instrumental, delivered in a wonderful bass tone by Steve Thamer, while the music is provided by keyboard player Leon along with Billy Sherwood (guitars), Rick Wakeman (who provides a Moog solo on one plus some additional keyboards) and Johnny Brauns who provides acoustic guitar on another. I find the artwork incredibly important to an understanding of what Leon is attempting to achieve as the poor are represented on the cover by a girl sitting on a sofa surrounded by squalor, while the artwork on the booklet is the same image of the girl except this time sat on a sofa in the colonies with space behind her. They may be literally miles apart, in so many ways, but they each have problems the other wouldn’t recognise. In many ways this reminds me of ‘Journey To The Centre of the Earth’, except the main difference this time is that the main point of focus for the listener is the dramatic and interesting narration, whereas the music seems often quite one-dimensional. It is solid symphonic prog, no doubt at all, but although there are times when it really does wake up such as on “In Our Quiet Orbit”, for the most part it feels too much at one level. It does work well as background music, with the narration just bringing it back to the foreground, but I had to concentrate as it was easy to lose focus. Overall it is a solid piece of work, something I am glad I have heard, but I doubt it is something to which I will often return.
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