Chuck Schuldiner Project

Monday, July 16, 2012

Star Monarchy

Star Monarchy is a prog super project featuring members from some of the biggest and most important groups in modern progressive music. This album features members from Periphery, Soilwork, Protest the Hero, Tesseract and more. Our friend Francesco Artusato of All Shall Perish actually recorded most of the guitars! He once again proves his excellence on this record. In addition the bassist, Ray Riendeau, the mastermind behind this project proves his own technical virtuosity. The drum work, which is shared between 4 guys from great bands is also stellar. Finally, the vocals (Performed by no less than 7 singers) are brilliant, but also coherent. They make sure that the album makes sense in context. In other words, Star Monarchy Vol 1 might just be the prog album of the year!

The guitar work on this album is stellar, with something of a djent influence this album still pays homage to the original gods of prog like Queensryche and Dream Theater. The rhythm parts are very solid and could be compared to some of Mr. Petrucci's more interesting rhythm work. I particularly like the rhythm on the first track Biosfear. The lead work here is a lot more fascinating. While there are some pretty crazy solos, which prove the true guitar mastery of Francesco Artusato, there are also some Art By Numbers style leads going on under the vocals. In other words, the guitar playing is extremely interesting and gives a good summary of what the best modern prog is about, weird rhythms, awesome solos, and a lot of emotion. The guitar playing on this album is some of the best technical stuff that you might ever hear and it will never, ever, leave you bored, but you'll certainly be wanting more.

Ray Riendeau's bass playing is one of the biggest highlights of this record. He shows a John Myung-like level of technical genius and he gets to have his own moments of bass madness. His work proves that the bass can be a dominant aspect of a progressive music album. The fills are brilliant and show a true verve and capability. They add so much raw flavor to the music it offers a brand new vista in prog. The drum work (shared by a handful of drummers) is also fairly cool and it varies from the standard prog-rock feel of Pink Floyd to the mastery of Portnoy, with some jazz and djent thrown in. Again all of the playing is masterful and shows some great musicians at their finest. With an intensity and a vibe that can not be beat (heheh) the drumming on this album is just magic.

Finally we have the vocals. 10 songs knocked out by 7 guys. Normally you would think there would be problems with continuity, that the album might feel disjointed and pasted together. Fortunately, that is not the case. Instead the tracks are ordered as such so that the songs seem to naturally go together and the vocals are never too deeply in contrast. This album has really gotten me into some new singers, in particular, Ben Dixon and Mike Semesky. It's really cool to hear all of these guys collaborating and creating something new and fantastic. Lyrically this album is rather philosophical with some very hard hitting intelligent lines. One of my favorites is “You held the image of a wonderful world/And a twice forgotten portrait/Of the loneliness you threw away”. This basically gives you an idea of how these songs are built, epic and beautiful. Overall, the vocals are brilliant and inspiring and really worth checking out.

In conclusion, Star Monarchy Volume 1 is probably my prog album of the year. With a sound that is unique and varied this is not an album that you will soon forget. The guitar work is brilliant and Artusato once more proves his genius. Ray Riendeau shows that he is quite possibly the best bassists in the world with fills that will rock your brain. The drum work is stellar and all 4 drummers bring the kit to a new level with a plethora rhythms and stylings that will never leave you bored. Finally the vocals fit together perfectly and communicate some truly interesting messages in the lyrics. They show the mind behind these wonderful songs. To finish, Star Monarchy is quite brillliant and anyone who likes prog will love these guys! So go buy the album, NOW!

No comments:

Post a Comment