|Persephone's Dream - Pyre Of Dreams
12 May 2007
Temple In Time
05. Part I: Mist
06. Part II: Nimiane
07. Part III: Soliloquy Of A King [King Arthur Mix version]
08. Part IV: Camlann [King Arthur Mix version]
09. Part V: Avalon
10. Android Dreams
12. Alien Embassy
13. Soliloquy Of A King [Lady In The Lake Mix version]
14. Camlann [Lady In The Lake Mix version]
This album has been in my hands and in my player for a little over two months now and I still cannot figure out how I feel about it. That is on top of waiting for this album for a year and a half after buying all previous Persephone's Dream records together in full confidence of liking and enjoying them - and actually doing so. It is not that I do not like the album. I do - I would not have played it as much as I did. It is not that I did not expect the band to deliver something different; I righteously did. So what is it then?
For me Persephone's Dream has stood out as a band with a certain flavour. An odd flavour. Being essentially a Progressive Rock band, it was not what caught my attention the first time I listened to the sample songs off their website. It was an odd mix of Prog, some Gothic and a touch of electronic sounds. A deep bass, always present, sometimes more felt than heard, pleasant yet odd guitar melodies, great drums accompanied often by tribal drums and very beautiful female vocals. However, two things attracted and still attract the most.
First: the odd melodies. Why odd? What is odd anyway? When you listen to the music, you will find that the guitars and keys play melodies in directions that you do not expect, throwing in unexpected notes creating a dark atmosphere of confusion. As Rowen Poole said in one interview, he has not had any formal musical education and has written music with elements that sounded fit for the song. The result is interesting at the very least, and this sense of the music going off in the direction that I do not expect it to has kept me on and off the albums of Persephone's Dream for a while now.
Second: the vocals. The previous two albums featured outstanding Karin Nicely on vocals - a very high, clean, powerful and attractive voice. However, before this album the band underwent several line-up changes and Colleen Gray, while a great singer, has a completely different voice and different range. It is what has actually bothered me since the first listening. Even though I like the way she sings, I cannot help the desire to hear more songs like "Aphrodite" which features their second singer Heidi Engel who, as I think, can pull off even the bands older songs without problems. While talking about vocalists one cannot leave unmentioned a contribution by none other than DC Cooper, who sings lead on two songs "Soliloquy of a King" and "Camlann" and backing vocals on other songs. I will just point out that both these songs are also sung by Heidi Engel and are included as bonus tracks at the end of the album.
The stronger songs of the album are probably the ones with the speed a bit above the album average - "Synesthesia" and "Android Dreams." However, as I mentioned earlier "Aphrodite" draws attention because of similarities with older songs and standing out with different vocals. In addition, "Camlann" is mighty in the very medieval sense of the word, great song with DC Cooper on vocals. Some will also find the percussion interlude "Cryptoendolith" interesting, but that one is not really surprising since one of the previous albums featured a whole 12 minute such "interlude." In addition, it is of interest to point out that lyrically one of the songs is based on I. Asimov's novel "Nightfall," "Android Dreams" is based on "Blade Runner" movie, and a five song concept piece "Temple in Time" is circling around the theme of death of King Arthur and Avalon.
So, to come back to the question asked in the beginning. Why can I not make up my mind? I have been giving this thought throughout writing this review and I am inclined to think that there are two reasons. First, this album is more accessible than the previous ones. While being good, I feel like there is a loss in amount of challenge to appreciate the music. Overall this might be a good thing, as Persephone's Dream are probably best known locally in the Pittsburgh area and have not been heard about in the world - this album could be a good starter for wider audience. Second, the change in vocals. My association of the band with Karin Nicely's beautiful and incredible voice is a bit too strong. This opinion, however, is heavily biased. At least I cannot say that I do not like all the present vocalists. So, all in all, I must say that "Pyre of Dreams" is worth listening to but this needs to be done with sufficient time for the album to grow on you.
Written on 26.07.2007 by
I shoot people.
Sometimes, I also write about it.