Drifting Sun - Veil

Kev Rowland

It is strange to think that it is now nearly 30 years since the release of the debut Drifting Sun album, which I reviewed at the time, and although the band had a long time away from the scene they returned with their third album in 2015, and since then have been quite prolific with this being the eighth overall. I must confess I missed out on 2021’s ‘Forsaken Innocence’ and did not realise the line-up now involved bassist John Jowitt (IQ, Ark, Arena, Jadis etc) who replaced founder Manu Michael. John has returned for this one along with founder and keyboard player Pat Sanders and singer John 'Jargon' Kosmidis, who was also on the last release, while they have been joined now by Ralph Cardall (guitars, mandolin) and long-time Pendragon sticksman Fudge Smith.

When I played this the first time, I must admit I was somewhat surprised at what I was hearing as it felt as if the band had really stepped up their approach in all areas, from performance to songs, arrangements and musicianship. I have always enjoyed their music, and their albums since reforming have been wonderful examples of modern progressive rock, but this is taking everything to a new level. John’s vocals are delightful, incredibly melodic and controlled, while Pat knows the arrangements do not always need massive bombast when he has a singer like that to work with so he is more than happy to layer keyboards to provide support such as on the lengthy introduction of “Eros and Psych”, while the rhythm section have been major players in British prog for the best part of 40 years and knows exactly what is needed and Ralph Cardell has also been around professional music for many years, being a found member of both Deepstate and Rattlesnake Kiss.

This is neo-prog moving bravely into symphonic, progressive rock at its finest, and one can hear just how much has changed in the camp. Only Pat remains from the 2019 line-up who released ‘Planet Junkie’, which was until now my favourite album from the band, and there is no doubt that this line-up has produced an album which will surely be in many critics’ top ten at the end of the year (I am not surprised to see this safely within PA’s Top 20 for 2024). Drifting Sun are a band who have been through a lot of changes over the years, both musically and with personnel, but now is the time to fully investigate what is a truly wonderful album. I only hope this line-up stays together and we get another album soon as they have combined to produce something quite special which all progheads will love.

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