Dante - Saturnine,
Given the quality of their debut, it was no surprise that for the follow-up, released in 2010, they had signed to one of the largest labels in the genre. By now the band had been augmented by a bassist, Michael Neumeier, who had joined Dante when they started playing live. This album is basically a continuation of the debut – why change a winning combination? There is bombast, there is a delicacy and emotion, complex arrangements yet also a simplicity to some of what they do. They may have started life at a Dream Theater concert, and indeed they have taken on some of those influences, but they are no way a DT clone. They obviously pay attention to bands such as Porcupine Tree and Yes, as well as some elements of Genesis right up to Neal Morse.
Yet again this is a great album, and one that I have enjoyed playing immensely but I did find that this time I felt that there were times when Alexander was struggling. He is a great singer when allowed to be more emotional and controlled such as on slower pieces, but when the band is rocking out he allows himself to push his range and control and it doesn’t always work. That being said, this is an album that I really enjoyed playing, although possibly not quite as much as the debut. But this is still very much a new band, and I hope that we soon get to hear the third instalment of what promises to be a long and fruitful career. If you enjoy prog that knows how to mix it up with slow and fast, emotional and bombastic, then this would be worth searching out. For more information visit www.progrockrecords.com.