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(47:13, ‘NePlusUltra Music’)
TRACK LIST: 1. Reach 5:54 2. Angels Desire 4:15 3. Fallen 4:50 4. To Me 4:12 5. One Dark Moment 5:37 6. My Goodness 4:23 7. Head on Your Platter 3:03 8. Empty Me 5:00 9. The Battle Rages On 4:37 10. Spooning Out the Sea 5:22 LINEUP: Shane Lankford – vocals John Neiswinger – keyboards; vocals Tim Kehring – drums; vocals Bill Yost – bass; vocals Shane McBridge – guitars Tony Correlli – loops, programming; keyboards
Prolusion. The US outfit ORPHAN PROJECT was formed in 2001, first and foremost as the creative vehicle of Shane Lankford. The name of the band reflects Shane’s own personal past as an adoptee, which also was a central topic on the outfit's initial effort “Orphan Found”. “Spooning out the Sea” is their sophomore production, and was issued in the summer of 2009.
Analysis. Orphan Project is among the bands that classify themselves as Christian Progressive, or at least have that tag attached to their name, due to the lyrical contents of their ventures. In this case we're not treated to missionaries with a desire to convert the masses, nor are we treated to believers who have the need to praise their God in every other sentence. These guys do come across as proud Christians though, and the lyrics may not be to everybody's taste due to that. Musically, Orphan Project is one more representative of a Christian band doing regular music, and their belief starts and stops with the lyrics as far as music creation goes. In style they reside somewhere in between hard rock and metal of a progressive variety, and the guitar is the central instrument. Slow riff passages and drawn out riffs are the foundation for almost all aspects of the songs on this disc, while the acoustic guitar is utilized in the passages and songs exploring a gentler sonic tapestry. Electronic sounding guitars are used on a couple of tracks to good effect, and there's a fair bit of variety in the instrumental passages, too: some shredding, some old fashioned melodic guitar soloing as well as some instances of distorted yet melodic riffs taking the lead in these parts. Swirling synths, lush keyboards, organ and piano are all used to add details to the proceedings to a greater or lesser extent. The piano in particular gets to shine on a number of occasions, providing strong themes contrasting with the heavier guitars beneath in sound and mood alike in a very intriguing manner. Add in the strong, emotional vocals of Lankford and a steady rhythm section and you end up with a good band. Their compositions are well made as well, in a kind of King's X meets Dream Theater kind of way, with good drive and energy throughout. The compositional structure does tend to be mainstream oriented - the songs mostly below 5 minutes in length - and it is the sophisticated sonic tapestries created as well as shifts in pace, sound and intensity that cater to the progressive aspect of this outfit’s musical constructions.
Conclusion. “Spooning out the Sea” is a solid effort by Orphan Project, and their blend of art rock and progressive metal is an intriguing experience in itself. And while their output may not be among the most progressive around they are skilled in crafting and performing songs with strong atmospheres and a good drive, and should be an ideal band to check out by those who enjoy sophisticated hard rock with metal edges to it.
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