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TRACK LIST: 1. Gates of Moria 3:12 2. Entangled in Dreams 10:04 3. Jadis of Charn 11:28 4. March of the Huorns 12:04 5. Dearly Departed 3:06 6. Journey of the Yak 8:30 LINE UP: Martin Morgan keyboards Dave Speight drums Gary Bennett bass
Prolusion. Originally active in the early 80s, it took 20 years and the dedication of keyboard player Martin Morgan to present the music of YAK to the world. Arguably not the best of band names, but thankfully the music is much better than what one might expect from a band with a name which provides some humorous associations.
Analysis. Instrumental, progressive symphonic rock is the name of the game here, with the keyboards as the dominating instrument. Lush, mellow moods and harder majestic ones, slow themes as well as faster one, more complex motifs - the keys are ever present and totally dominating on all songs. More often than not we're served multi-layered keyboards, up to six different layers at most if my hearing and analyzing skills were up to counting them accurately when going through this creation. A minimum of one symphonic layer from the tangents will be found on most compositions, and additional layers will often be provided as organ or piano. Flute-sounding parts and spacey sounds are other often used textures from the keys, and there are also the flowing solo segments with a guitar-tinged sound to them. Additional elements utilized are synthesized versions of backing vocals/choir, lighter floating melody lines and deep, slightly ominous, soundscapes. The focus is on mood and atmosphere rather than complex creations; some dissonances and disharmonies are used for effect but most of all this is a harmonic production in a modern symphonic tradition, which I guess will be classified as neo-progressive by many. Musically we're talking a mix of influences from Genesis and Camel mainly, with inspirations taken from the more atmospheric creations of these fine acts from the 70s. Some compositions sound more like the one than the other, but most times the music comes across as a mix of both.
Conclusion. This is a nice release; no filler material on display albeit nothing truly outstanding either. There are captivating moods and melodies aplenty though, and I suspect quite a few fans of neo symphonic rock will view this as one of the better releases of 2008.
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