A very interesting album from Versus X, an excellent example of current symphonic rock with influences from the classics of the 70s and 80s (Van Der Graaf Generator, Genesis, IQ and Marillion), but that are able to create fresh music that pleases my ears. "The turbulent zone" is not a paradigm of originality neither of instrumental proficiency to the frets, keys or drums, it is not that, but just a great symphonic classic music modernized by a good group.
This is the third I -believe - CD of this good German group (I have not listened to the previous ones). It includes three long suites of between thirteen and twenty-two minutes and a shorter piece of just six minutes, filled with structures, rhythm changes (the rhythm section is Jorg Fischer to the bass and Uwe Vollmar to the drums), dark blinding and atmospheric melodies of keyboards and piano by Ekkehard Nahm (the best thing in the album), and a melodious and soft guitarist (Arne Schafer) that as a singer is also very interesting. His voice reminds in occasions to that of Peter Hammill, but with its own label. Ah, and the lyrics of the album, of a technological and futurist theme, are very, very good.
Contrary to other suites of the beginning of the century (I remember with horror Flower Kings and Spock's Beard last album), these guys of Versus X achieve in their long suites a coherent structure with rules, that does not seem to stitch together broken pieces without any glue. In definitive, this is a beautiful musical piece with continuous changes that doesn't get boring at any moment.
The first composition, the suite in five movements of 21,50 minutes "Cutting the Veil", is a masterwork of good progressive, mixing sounds a la Genesis, Camel, Banco, IQ and Marillion with classic structures and beautiful piano innuendos. Everything is decorated with an excellent vocal work and a sensation of unity that impregnates the piece at all moments.
The shortest piece in the album, "Between the phases of the night", has filled my heart of tears of nostalgia. Its sound reminds me completely from my idols VDGG (in the softest and wonderful moments of "Pawn Hearts" and "Still Life" with the guitar playing the role of the sax), and the voice is pure Peter Hammill, although without reaching to the emotional peaks and the tension of this one. A pure marvel, for this piece it is worth buying the album.
But the party does not end yet. "Strange attractor" in its thirteen minutes of duration is another festival Hammill-IQ in structures, voices and rhythms, although with more modern and current touches that in the previous pieces. A calm and melodious song that is an eddy of peace and feeling, although in my humble opinion, it is the less interesting moment of the disk.
To finish the record, we meet with "The hostile sea", fifteen minutes of pure beauty that transports us to the golden age of the softest progressive of the 70s. Genesis, Genesis, Genesis whispers this song to me… It is not very innovative, but I like it, I recognize it, I may be a lover of RIO and experimental music, but in my heart I continue being very sensitive to the classic beauty of the good prog.
In summary, an excellent album by a current group of progressive rock that has known how to recover the essences of the progressive of the 70s, even without too many innovations, and to transform them into an essence of good music.
I acknowledge that they have surprised me very pleasurably, maybe because they remind me more from my favorite classic groups (VDGG, Genesis, Camel, Marillion) than of those that satisfy less my neuroses and heart (Yes or ELP) and that subjective component cannot be avoided. Certainly, this disk is an excellent purchase for any lover of progressive. I take out one star because I miss some more innovation, but for those that enjoy a progressive one without experimentalism, consider this a five star album.