Presto Ballet - Peace Among The Ruins
This new band was formed by Metal Church's guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof, and this, their debut album, is packed full of the classic seventies sound which was performed by such giants as Yes, Deep Purple and Styx.
Kurdt himself performs guitars, Mellotron, Chamberlin, Hammond Organ, synths, bass pedals, electric pianos, and the sound of the Mellotron is a joy with the mix of the crunching guitar sounds, a sort of early Purple meets Fragile period Yes. Other members of the band are Scott Albright on vocals, acoustic guitar, Brian Cokeley on keys, Brian Lake on bass and on drums Jeff Wade, and between them, this sounds like a band who have been around for many years. Scott's voice is treat to listen to, with a nice vocal range which glides through the songs, and I would say the balance between the vocals and the instruments fit like a glove.
There are some nice keyboard passages too, but the Mellotron for me is the real bonus, it just sounds like the TARDIS (all time travellers should know what this is!) has hit the seventies! Reading the notes, this was put down on analogue tape, but the sound is very crisp and is a credit to the band.
So, just over the forty-seven minute mark and eight tracks make up the album, and from the opening burst of guitar and Hammond Organ of track one which is the title track, has a slight Purple's Speed King to it, but with the electric piano give it the Wakeman buzz.
As before, the keyboards are a welcome addition to this opus, but the guitar joins in on the act in the second track The Fringes, and again the Mellotron blasts it's way to the front combined with the vocal harmonies and Hammond make this one of the strongest tracks.
The Kansas influence creeps into the third track Seasons, while the dark tones appear in Find The Time. The gentle acoustic guitar and Mellotron start the fifth track before it explodes into the Yes/Kansas feel, where the Hammond chords flow and run very smooth before the Mellotron and vocals hit us full face.
The sixties spacey sound of Sunshine could make a good
single, as it has the right mixture of Mellotron and vocal harmonies and for me
is a favourite on the opus. The classic up tempo jazz like riffs appear in
Slave, while closing the album Bringin' It On is a gentle ballad
again with the acoustic guitar, Mellotron and vocal harmonies which don't leave
you wanting more, just to the back button to
This is simply a great album with a nice sound and a nice
mixture of harmonies and instruments. I would recommend this to anyone who is
fond of Yes, Deep Purple, Styx and Kansas. Check out the sound files on their
website to see for yourselves.
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