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progVisions

progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members. Our objective is to become a centre of information that contributes to the knowledge, growth and development of progressive rock.

album reviews

album review

Advent - Cantus Firmus - 2006


    

“An album that leaves the listener in a state of bliss”

Advent is a unique progressive band for the adventurous progfan. After releasing a selftitled debut album on the Italian Mellow Records label, this successor “Cantus Firmus” is an independent release. Advent's music is influenced by English and Italian Renaissance music, church motets, sea chanteys, film scores and progressive bands as Gentle Giant and Procol Harum. As one of the happy few who has attended several Gentle Giant gigs in the seventies, I get very excited when listening to the music of Advent. It brings the mellow side of Gentle Giant's music to a next level. “Cantus Firmus” is a must for all Gentle Giant fans.

Alan Benjamin - guitars, basses, Stick, mandolin, recorder; Henry Ptak - keyboards, lead vocals, backing vocals, percussion; Mark Ptak - keyboards, backing vocals, percussion; Drew Siciliano - drums

guests:
Shunji Saegusa - bass on “Ramblin' Sailor”; Ken Serio - drums on “Alison Waits (A Ghost Story)”

When you listen to the vocal harmonies of the opening track “GK Contramundium” you immediately must think of Gentle Giant. You will associate the voice of Henry Ptak with Gentle Giant's Kerry Minnear. “Awaiting The Call” is a delicate piece of mellow prog with great melodies. The acoustic guitars gives the track the atmosphere of an old Genesis song. But the electric guitars are more in the style of Gentle Giant. “In Parenting Parents” ... it is like you are listening to the voice of Kerry Minnear. A song with some influences of the band The Enid. It has also influences of church music and it is a song of pure beauty. “Utter Once Her Name” is again a meltingpot of Gentle Giant, classical music and church music. The melodies are great and Advent's music goes nowhere over the top. “Remembering When” is an instrumental with acoustic and electric guitars and beautiful bass lines. But the Magnus Opus and highlight of the album is the long (18:14) epic “Ramblin' Sailor”. In the first part are a lot of Gentle Giant influences, but later on there are also some neo-classical influences. Mellow progrock with beautiful melodies and harmonies. All members of Advent have incredible musical skills. Only for this track I would buy the album. The track “Your Healing Hand” is heavily influenced by church music. Music you would expect on a release of the German label ECM. “Firmus Finale” is another orchestral prog piece which reminds me sometimes of The Enid. Both bonus tracks “Rear View Mirror” and “Alison Waits (A Ghost Story)” are older songs from 1992 and appear on the group's debut CD. These 24-track versions have now got a proper mix. These older songs have the same musical quality as the rest of the album.

“Cantus Firmus” is a wonderful album with an almost cinematic musical style. The band got their inspirations from the music of the English and Italian Renaissance, church music and some of the progbands of the seventies. I hear a lot of influences of the mellow side of Gentle Giant's music. Reference could be the period of “Acquiring The Taste”. Intelligent compositions that are skillfully performed. An album that leaves the listener in a state of bliss. Highly Recommended for the adventurous progfan and a must for the lovers of the music of Gentle Giant.

Douwe Fledderus - August 2006
rating - Independent Release

 

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