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TRACK LIST: 1. Into the Past 6:52 2. Enslavement 7:58 3. Pleading 1:39 4. Plagues 15:31 5. Escape 6:54 6. Pharaoh's Revenge 5:30 7. Wandering 3:10 8. Is There Anybody Out There? 2:51 9. The Golden Calf 2:47 10. Commandments 4:19 11. Canaan 12:38 12. Avadim Hayinu 1:37 SOLO PILOT: Robert McClung guitars, bass; violin; keyboards; vocals With: Mattan Klein flute Tim Nunes violins Adam Nunes cello Kristen Miller cello Hoi Yan Pang violin Alix Victorin keyboards Rob Harvie didgeridoo Isaiah Freeman vocals Bat Ya Yehya vocals &: A few more singers
Prolusion. The US project TELERGY is the creative vehicle for composer and instrumentalist Robert McClung, which he utilizes to musically conceptualize important stories within a progressive rock context, enlisting the aid of additional musicians as needed and when available. "The Exodus" is the first of these productions, and was self-released in 2011.
Analysis. The title of this disc and the CD cover art, depicting a dove in chains, is one that most automatically will associate with a specific religious view, namely Christianity. But in this case it's probably much fairer to describe this production as a Jewish one, or possibly Hebrew, with religious connections to the roots of these people. And the story told is one mostly without words, where the majority of lyrical content are spoken words as a running theatrical feature that makes up the contextual framework of this production. It is a concept and a story that basically operate on three different levels. The framework is a running dialogue between a Jewish grandmother and her grandson, where we get to hear them talking about the story. But when the story, or rather stories, are told, words are left behind for cinematic type sound effects, some of them with pieces of dialogue used to enhance the mood, from which the mostly instrumental music develops. Operatic backing vocals are sparingly used on some of these sequences, and a spoken word passage appears on Commandments, but other than that the twelve compositions on this disc are void of actual lead vocals. These are stories told without lyrics as such, framed in by a theatrical dialogue, spoken words and vocal effects for mood enhancement. The compositions are rather varied in style. The guitar is a central instrument throughout, and a wide array of heavy metal, power metal and progressive metal sequences are explored, as are gentler parts with acoustic guitars taking the lead and passages closer to old fashioned progressive rock, often combining two or more of these modes within an individual piece. The shorter songs are the main exceptions, as they tend to stick to the gentler parts of the landscapes explored, supplementing the guitars, bass and drums are keyboards of varying kinds, but more sparingly used than what is common for a project that by and large merits a description as progressive metal. Instead, McClung has opted to go for a true symphonic backdrop, employing the services of a number of musicians to cater for the flute and string part of the symphonic backdrops, only brass and some additional effects appearing to be of a digital nature. These classical symphonic backdrops are utilized extensively, occasionally given partially dominant spots as the most dramatic parts of the Exodus are given musical form. And at best the end result is stunning. The theatrical framework is well set up, the use of sound effects is clever and effective, and the build-up showcases the work of an accomplished composer. The epic length feature Plagues is arguably the musical highlight of this production, building up to a finale that is expected yet performed in a manner that will chill the spine of most listeners on first encounter, even when familiar with the story and expecting the next development. What may be a downside for some is that the theatrical dialogue and cinematic sequences haven't been separated into standalone tracks, instead being a part of each and every track. So those who tend to not like features of this kind may find this CD to be a tad annoying due to that, especially on opening piece Into the Past, where some amount of time is spent on establishing this framework.
Conclusion. "The Exodus" is a fairly challenging, refined and varied run through one of the central parts of the Old Testament and Jewish history, a story told with music and cinematic effects within a contextual story framework briefly but effectively played out as a theatrical feature. The album features gentler acoustic pieces and instances of purebred progressive rock alongside progressive metal, and warrants a check by those with a relatively broad taste in music, who are fond of conceptual creations and don't mind a setting where religious names and historical events are explored.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: February 5, 2012
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