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Old 09-16-2014, 02:25 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default PRAC Discussion Thread: Anubis, "A Tower of Silence"

This is a thread created for discussion of the album referred to above by the members of the Prog Rock Album Club. Anyone can join in, but please try to have something constructive to say, and please make sure you have listened to the album at least once before commenting. Discussion will commence when all PRAC members have heard the album and have indicated they are ready to begin talking about it.
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Old 09-19-2014, 07:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Before I go on I just want to say that I am bad at reviewing albums and don't know how to structure myself so I might be all over the place.

I recently just got into prog rock through listening to Scenes from a Memory by Dream Theater and Rising by Rainbow. So I was a bit spoilt when it came to long instrumentals. I especially look forward to those. 'A Tower of Silence' had some long instrumentals and they were very epic but they weren't where the album shined for me. (Although that saxophone solo towards the end of "The Holy Innocent" has to be applauded.)

I found the lyrics to be the best part of this album. They were very poetic and combined with the rhythmic style of the music, really made it feel sort of mystical and atmospheric. As for the concept, for some reason I find it hard to remember and keep track of whats going on. I went on to their website and read up afterwards and once I go back for a second listen, the impact of the album will be greater.

All in all, it gets a 8/10 for me. I am looking forward to seeing what other prog rock albums are put up in this club thread. Please feel free to criticize me as much as possible if need be. I am aware that my experience in prog rock is very low so maybe if you recommend albums so I get a better idea with the genre. Also I have never done a review of anything so sorry if it is pretty vague or boring.

Thanks for reading.
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Old 09-19-2014, 09:00 AM   #3 (permalink)
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No that's fine. People can review if they want, but generally we're kind of moving away, or hoping to, from that format, with people just posting ideas, impressions, notes etc and we discuss them back and forth.

FTR, the album's story is actually heartbreaking and if I remember correctly concerns the haunting of a prison/orphanage by a little girl who was brought there very young, died there and her soul is now trapped within its walls. Seems there is no god and she will never be rescued, and mostly the lyrics concern her recounting her story and wondering if she will ever be freed, wondering what she ever did to deserve such eternal loneliness and punishment, and I think her mind remains that of a child, even though her body has long since turned to dust.

Mind you, the stunning choral vocals at the very end seem to indicate the angels arriving to take her to Heaven, so it may have a happy ending, but I know it's made me cry (yeah yeah, wimp I know!) more than once while listening to the lyrics and the way the music perfectly complements them is fairly rare, even in a prog rock album. I'm amazed a band this unknown could put out such an incredible album, though of course I'm expecting some of the other guys to say what do you find so great about this album; maybe everyone will not be as blown away by it as I was.

Anyway thanks for the comment and once the others get through listening we'll hopefully have a better discussion about it.
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Old 09-23-2014, 10:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Interesting band: sort of like a more overtly symphonic Motorpsycho. I like the story and the easy flow from cut to cut, but I dunno...the album has a slight plodding quality to it that dulls the overall listening experience for me a bit. That being said, the title track has a cool Floydian mood about it (with plenty of flute and Mellotron: a nice plus). Liked 'The Holy Innocent' a lot too, especially the sax over the last few minutes.

I guess for me, I'm looking for some kinda obvious "oomph" factor in my modern prog. Bands like Moon Safari have their mindblowing vocal harmonies, Big Big Train have former Genesis vocalist front-runner David Longdon at the mic and a full-fleshed brass band accompanying the main group, Brother Ape have a Yes-meets-Rush-meets alternative rock energy, Subsignal have an incredibly charismatic lead singer, etc. etc.

I think these guys could go far if they could bring in some kind of "x factor" into their core sound, because while the songs are alright the overall execution is missing the distinctive power of their more "popular" peers. Its that elusive factor that separates the Tier 1 guys from everyone else, but these guys don't quite got it yet.

But again, I'll cut any young band who are trying to craft pure symphonic prog fun over in the Land from Down Under a lot of slack. There's definitely some great stuff here. Especially when they pull out sax and flute despite those things not being trendy in any genre outside of jazz or fusion nowadays.

I'm pretty interested in hearing everyone else's thoughts in any case. Maybe I'm just not emotionally resonating with Anubis enough here?
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Old 09-24-2014, 05:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Listened to it at work, but that never goes well since I can't really turn it up, then came home and gave it a proper listen. Here's some real-time thoughts:

Anubis - Tower Of Silence

The Passing Bell

This behemoth sets the stage for whats to come. A bit droning, but I can see how it's a necessary evil to give the listener a bit of passage into the story-line. That change from C to A is very effective.

Archway Of Tears
A bit more uptempo. Not too fond of the 80's flangy guitar on the solo (of course I'll be looking at the guitar playing mostly), but more of the same droning just a different approach.

Final Resting Place
The melancholy drone shines through this one again. There's that prog change at the end. Ok.

A Tower Of Silence
Good arrangement here, but I'm getting a bit bored. Nice vocal harmonies though. Holy crap... how long is this song? Ok, at 7:20 something finally happens. *grabs guitar*... Nice guitar solo, love the reverb laden effect. ...and softly out.

Weeping Willow/And I Wait for my World to End
Very Jon Andesron-ish... There's some rain, and then... the prog kicks in. Good bass line. They really like to stretch their rythyms out don't they. A bit of some Floyd style (megaphone) vocals here at the 6:00 mark. Nothing wrong with that. Mode changes are cool too.

The Holy Innocent
Pushing the envelope here with a hint of some Patton-ish vox. Strong organ impact on this at the onset. I can clearly see some Gilmore influence in the solo. Kind of 'Animals' era. More drone though... then the sax saves it. Kind of.

All That Is
The use of flute/synth carrying into the heavier riff is cool. Alright, some different tempo... finally. Ending on a pretty good guitar solo, and some chorus/synth after that.

Final thoughts:
I can appreciate the theme and the vibe of it, but it's really not something I'd pursue. The emotional connection that some may have with this is a great thing to be a part of, but for me it's just a bit boring, and I couldn't wait for it to end.
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Old 09-27-2014, 08:14 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Well it's been a week since I listened. I will listen again as this discussion continues and try to recall my thoughts. I recognized many of the guitar solos as very Gilmour'esque, mirroring Anteater's association with Pink Floyd.

The vocals were, largely, unappealing to me. You've probably heard this complaint from me before, but I tend to be picky about vocals. I think I don't appreciate much when people sing in their talking voice. Occasionally throughout the album, the singer gets into his singing, and starts to develop character and I liked that, but for the majority of the album, the singing was forgettable.

I didn't pay much attention to lyrics, as I was grading student's homework as I listened, so it was melodic and rhythmic content that I recognized when it stood out. But this is normal for me anyway unless I happen to hear a really good line that's linguistically and conceptually appealing - then I start paying attention.
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Old 09-27-2014, 09:16 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I guess nobody was as impressed as I was with this album. I was just knocked over by how well it was put together, being from a relatively young and unknown band. Xurtio, pity you didn't listen to the lyrics, as I find those a huge strength of the album. I see the Gilmour influence definitely, but personally see that as a good thing.

Well, I guess nobody's going to have much to say about the album at this point. Maybe whoever is up next would like to select a new one?

"Return of the King"? Meh, not quite! Ingrates!
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Old 09-27-2014, 09:54 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I know, I'm too late as always. But I have to say I really dug this album. I am so inundated with new music right now I feel like i'm not giving any of them enough of a listen but this is one I want to go back and dig in on. The David Gilmour references are spot on and that guitarist should be paying royalties to him. But having said that, he has great chops and tone and it works. I think I was most impressed with the vocals and they reminded me of someone I could not figure out. But really liked the singing throughout. I listened to it a few times at work and really focused on the music textures and melody. Now I want to go back and listen for the lyrics. I'm a sucker for a good concept album and I like the theme of this one. Have to spend some time in headphones with this one.
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Old 09-27-2014, 11:19 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Glad somebody liked it!
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Old 09-27-2014, 02:17 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I liked a lot of the ideas in A Tower Of Silence though. I was just a bit underwhelmed I guess by how they tried to weave it all together.
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