Unified Past - From the splintered present surfaces - 1999
"The Unified Past’s interpretation of progressive rock is certainly not a new one.. but it is a powerful one"! I love this sentence, extracted from the booklet of the Cd of this band, that seem to me really nice guys just from reading it. Sincerely I am tired of so many bands that think that they have discovered something unique while that their music is only a copy of something already done. Unified Past (Stephen Speelman - guitar and voice; Vinny Krivacsy - keyboards and voice; Peter Palmieri -bass; and Mathew Wood -drums) are humble and that makes their virtues stand out.
Unified Past is a heavy-melodic-progressive band, far from the epic poetry of the German metal (fortunately), and that is patent in the almost 54 minutes of the Cd. The singing of Speelman is clearly metallic, with certain nuances that go from Vince Neil (Mötley Crüe) to Geddy Lee (mainly in "Dream of love"), but with much better vocal inflections that the previous ones. With the guitar he is competent and he plays very melodic and powerful riffs (I believe you understand the nuance). The rhythm section of Palmieri-Wood accomplishes its objective. The most surprising is the contribution of Krivacsy in the keyboards... do you imagine a heavy-prog band with keyboards inspired by Birth Control or Atomic Rooster?, Vinny is able to surprise by interspersing 70´s sounds inside metallic structures as in "Head" (4:59) or "Unearthed" (4:57).
The tracks in the album are nice to the ears, being powerful without falling into noise or the excess. Amongst them, I would stand out, apart from the two mentioned, the mid-tempo-very typical but very beautiful - "Tree House" (5:39); the "suite" "Just like that" (8:04), with moments for experimentation by Krivacsy; "Kingdom of the stars" (4:35), an instrumental song a la Rush ("Leave that thing alone"!) in which Palmieri has its moment of splendor; and "Dream of love" (6:31), another Rush influence piece that is also very good.
The formula of Unified Past has the following ingredients: a guitarist that extracts very good melodies of the guitar, a keyboard player who is nostalgic for past times (and this is not something negative!!) and very direct compositions. Anyway, the secret ingredient that can be vital for later works is something as strange in these times as humility and modesty. They say that it is not something very innovative, but it can end up being it in a future if they continue working this way. My advice would be the following ones: 1) Speelman should choose a form of singing (there are times in which he changes too much of registrations) and 2) leave more space for Krivacsy’ 70s playing style.
Recommended for the lovers of melodic hard progressive and for all the progheads that want to convince their wives that not everything in progressive is Magma or Van der Graaf Generator.