Monday, March 07, 2011

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Dan Britton has played keyboards in three other progressive bands: Cerebus Effect (which I haven't heard), Birds & Buildings's excellent album, Bantam to Behemoth, one of 2008's top releases, and Deluge Grander. Britton along with fellow musicians: Dave Berggren on guitar, Brett d'Anon on bass, and Patrick Gaffney plays drums along with a few extra musicians that add to the mix with cello, flute, trumpet, and some other instruments have come together to created Deluge Grander's second album, following on the heals of their fascinating debut, August in the Urals (2006). They continue in the realm of their previous album exploring progressive rock in a neo classical, symphonic, avant-garde style. They've spent two years on this newest effort and it shows, as it's a complex work. For the most part it is instrumental, and although I enjoyed sparse use of vocals on their debut, I don't think the newer album suffers from the exclusion.

There are five cuts on the album each long enough to explore ideas that shift and change in their complexity, odd shifting rhythms, melodies and dynamics that keeps one engaged and listening, wondering where it's going to go next. If you are a mellotron fan that's here as well, and the second cut, “The Tree Factory”, begins reminding me of some of the passages from bands like King Crimson's, In the Wake of Poseidon, before it changes in tone and scope moving into something totally different from the intro. The music contained on The Form of the Good makes me scratch my head in amazement at times wondering at the mysterious process of how the band compose and arrange their music. It warrants multiple listens just to process all the facets on it, a process being a prog fan, I enjoy as it offers a lot of exploring, hearing new passages on further listening.

I think each band member adds to the mix. None of the instruments foreshadow or stand above the other so that the integrated sum gels well for each composition. However, during certain passages of songs you can hear a drum rhythm, a bass or guitar line stand out or trigger a melody that sends the shape of the song in a different direction, like maybe the way a brook or river winds its way into the landscape. It seems that it's an album of paradigms, offered as a map for the ears: urbanism vs. naturalism, dissonance and consonance, avant-garde, yet accessible, grandeur, but not grandiose, romantic, without any negative connotations. If you enjoy exploratory symphonic prog, you should check it out.

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