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(64:52, DIN Music)
TRACK LIST: 1. Balad 24:59 2. Traveling Backwards 0:40 3. The Day We Came to Realise 10:02 4. A Way Out 0:24 5. Dire Need of Solution 9:48 6. Dialogue in Angst 0:36 7. Flight over Water 4:02 8. Steadfast 0:33 9. Counter-attack 5:13 10. Last Song 8:36 LINEUP: Fernando Refay - keyboards, Kaossilator; vocals With: Rodrigo San Martin guitars Lukas Argen guitars Ignacio Gulich bass Craig Kerley vocals David Minian vocals Osvaldo Mellace vocals Charlie Giardina vocals
Prolusion. Argentinian composer and musician Fernando REFAY has a number of different band projects to his CV, including Vanished From Earth, S.O.S. and Silion Zelf. In 2011 he launched a solo career with the album "The Paradox". "The Day We Came to Realise" is his second solo album, released in 2014.
Analysis. Among the main contributors to this project, besides Refay himself, are his follow musicians from Vanished From Earth. It's not all that surprising that this production explores music of a similar kind, wedged somewhere in between symphonic art rock rock and progressive metal, although some of the focus in the compositions has shifted towards a more extensive keyboards- driven approach. The long compositions alternate nicely between gentler passages and more vibrant ones, with a certain emphasis on vocals and piano-driven passages for the former and more powerful, majestic keyboard and guitar combinations for the latter. Those fond of elongated instrumental sections get their fill served quite nicely, especially on the mammoth opening track Balad, the title of that song referencing a city in the story-line explored here. This album is actually a rock opera, attempting to be a creation made in the mold of artists such as Ayreon. There's an ongoing story-line with an opening, development and set end to it, with multiple roles given to multiple vocalists to give life to. As someone that used to read a lot of fiction, I'm afraid that the story here does leave a bit to be desired though, and the musical contents aren't of a nature that will inspire to great acclaims either. There is a lot of interesting stuff going on, especially Refay's piano and keyboard passages are noteworthy in that context. He's just as much at ease in delivering delicate ballads or jazz-oriented piano movements as he is in providing majestic, clearly classical symphonic music-inspired keyboard constructions to add life, intensity and a certain majestic grandeur to the guitar and keyboard combinations used in the metal-oriented movements throughout, and is just as able in providing atmospheric textures of a more careful nature as well. The compositions as a whole aren't quite on level with those instrumental details, however, and while they tend to develop quite nicely, quite a few of the more dramatic shifts from one theme to another are handled in a manner that derives momentum and intensity from the composition. The production isn't quite on level with what you'd expect in this day and age either, and some of the vocal roles (and also how the layered vocals are mixed) are detrimental to the total experience. The keyboards and dialogue intermissions are another weak aspect, at least for someone that has consumed a few thousand books so far in life. None of these details are massive flaws in themselves, but combined, they do result in an album experience that is of a substandard quality. How much so will be a matter of subjective taste presumably, but at least I can say with a certain amount of certainty that these aspects will limit the overall appeal of this CD.
Conclusion. Fernando Refay comes across as a skilled performer, and his prowess on the keyboards and skill in crafting compelling and intriguing keyboard passages of various kinds are at times very impressive. The compositions as a whole and the story explored aren't on the same level, unfortunately, and not all the vocal roles are as successfully delivered as others. These are aspects that will limit the reach of this production, but for those who are less concerned about such aspects and are more interested in a rock opera, exploring a dystopian setting, this is a CD that probably is worth giving a spin. Especially by those intrigued by quality craftsmanship and musicianship for the keyboard-driven aspects on this type of output.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: March 7, 2016
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