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(41:48, Crimsonic Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Time Mirror 17:09 2. Waltz Street 4:50 3. With Death Unreconciled 10:05 4. Sky Door 9:44 LINEUP: P?r Lindh – keyboards; percussion William Kopecky – basses Al Lewis – vocals; drums With: Bo-Inge Svensson – trumpet Anders Lagerqvist – violin Stefan Bergman – drums Svetlan Raket – drums Villberga Choir – b/v
Prolusion. Swedish keyboardist and composer Par Lindh has been given much credit for the renewed interest in symphonic progressive rock, due to his role in the establishment of The Swedish Art Rock Society and his output with PAR LINDH PROJECT that both started in the early 90's. "Time Mirror" is the latest effort from his band, their fourth full length studio album, and follows almost a decade after their previous CD "Veni Vidi Vici".
Analysis. Most anyone with a serious interest in art rock is familiar with Par Lindh and his project, at least if they have had a desire to keep track of the resurgence that started in the 90's and slowly but steadily has reached something of a bloom in the last few years. His endeavors in the symphonic rock scene are heralded, although perhaps not too well known for those who have discovered their taste for this style of music in the last couple of years. This production should rectify that little matter splendidly. The four compositions at hand showcase the scope and width of Lindh and his fellow musicians as composers, instrumentalists and musicians quite nicely. Most anyone with a taste for their chosen style should find lots of delightful experiences tightly packed into this just over 40 minutes long journey. The title track kicks off the proceedings in a timely epic manner, and in just over 17 minutes we're taken on a wild ride into most nooks and crannies one can find within this part of the art rock universe. Booming organ dominated themes, distinctly classical symphonic passages, ragtime inspired movements, good time rock and roll-like excursions, dramatic sequences with a nod or two in the direction of good old ELP and plain old-fashioned richly layered symphonic keyboard dominated constructions, all of them and a few more besides visited, explored and occasionally revisited in less than 20 minutes. Waltz Street then takes an abrupt turn to the left, with a joyful, jubilant piano driven ragtime flurry, telling the tale of how the greed of Wall Street made a mighty impact on the world at large, a piece that would fit in perfectly if someone ever should get the idea of creating a musical covering this topic and have it play on Broadway: A brilliant, fun-filled matinee inspired act, sporting a doom-laden organ-driven insert between the joyful opening and ending parts. If someone ever films a scene depicting a couple dancing in the ruins of Wall Street, they should be forced to use this song for it. With Death Unreconciled is a return to the epic length composition, this time giving the limelight to the organ with various synths and keyboards supporting it, while final effort Sky Door emphasizes the harmonic interplay between bass, organ and keyboards first and foremost. This last piece also sports a slower, dream-laden passage where Kopecky's bass is given the dominant role, gently supported by fragile, ethereal keyboard textures. And the bass guitar is an important instrument throughout. Kopecky is a versatile and skilled musician, and his talent and taste for subtle innovative details enriching this CD in a major way. But one aspect of this production that doesn't quite manage to convince me is the lead vocals. Al Lewis is a fine vocalist who has done some splendid work with Starcastle over the years, and probably in other bands I'm unaware of too when it comes to that. But for this type of music, or at least these compositions, his voice appears to be ever so slightly strained. There is a fine line between high quality and perfection, and for me the vocals make this disc the former rather than the latter. Tastes differ however, and as such this is a personal perception rather than a truth etched in stone.
Conclusion. If you love symphonic progressive rock, have more than a passing interest in the genre or merely are curious as to how a high quality production of this genre sounds like, "Time Mirror" is a disc you should add to your purchase list straight away. Those who know they have strong opinions as far as lead vocals go might want to sample this disc prior to making a purchasing decision, but that minor detail aside this a CD that comes warmly recommended.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: June 20, 2011
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