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Anabasis: Back from Being Gone

Well, just when I thought 10T Records had unveiled all of its fantastic surprises, which this year have included, TCP's Fantastic Dreamer, as well as new albums from Mars Hollow, From.UZ, Man on Fire, and Farpoint, they pull another rabbit out of the hat with The Anabasis! I am nominating them for record label of the year if nobody else does!

"The ANABASIS is a progressive rock collaboration project, conceived by USA multi-instrumentalist and composer, Barry Thompson, with lyrics by noted professional author, George Andrade, who is also Executive Producer. A group of extraordinarily talented musicians were recruited from all over the world to take part in the project. The premise was to provide a basic framework for the songs and then to allow the musicians to play their parts with their own style and sound", (http://www.theanabasisproject.com/Home.aspx, 2011).

This is a great combination of Mandalaband meets Terra Incognita. If you enjoyed any of their epics, you'll probably like this one as well. The big difference for me was the inclusion of Ryo Okumoto, of Spock's Beard, on keyboards. He really does make an incredible difference in the sound and quality of this album. An example of how important Okumoto's keys are to the mix comes in right around the 13 and a half minute mark, of "Egypt". He joins in with a nice slower keyboard/synth solo to save the song from being overwhelmed by too much of Pellek Åsly's lead vocals. The guitar soloing also helps give Pellek Åsly's vocals a break. The slower pace of the second half of the track brings out the good quality of his vocals from the first three songs of the album.

Speaking of epics, there are only six tracks on the album; the shortest comes in at 5:48, so fans of epic long tracks, this is your feast to devour. The longest track, "Egypt" clocks in at over 23 minutes.

As with all epic albums, you have the excellent with the good. For me the strongest side of the album includes the first three songs. The final three songs feature too much of Per Fredrik Pellek Åsly's loud vocals, except for the second half of "Egypt".

"Rome", "Fly", and "Carpe Diem" are excellent tracks and are worth the price of admission alone.

Track Listing:

1. Rome
2. Fly
3. Carpe Diem
4. Vikings
5. Epiphany
6. Egypt

Added: February 25th 2012
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
Score:
Related Link: Anabasis Project.com
Hits: 2242
Language: english

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Anabasis: Back from Being Gone
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2012-02-25 05:18:23
My Score:

Any project featuring members of Spock's Beard, Galahad, and the Lee Abraham Band (among others) really has to be of interest to anyone with a progressive bent, something which a few spins of the debut release Back From Being Gone from The ANABASIS only reinforces. The brainchild of American multi-instrumentalist Barry Thompson and respected author George Andrade, who between them split all of the music and lyric writing on this album, The ANABASIS offer up a concept album with a broad subject matter with Back From Being Gone recounting the triumphs and disasters of three long gone Empires. Those Empires, namely, Romans, Vikings and Egyptians each receive an "epic" song which tells its particular tale in wonderfully constructed words and even more captivating music. In between come three shorter songs with themes which could translate to any of the many failed Empires of the past, although across all six songs the words can also easily translate into more modern settings. In fact George W. Bush's famous "If this were a dictatorship, this would be a heck of a lot easier. Just as long as I'm the dictator" quote is actually sampled into the song "Rome", which also houses the quote from Augustus Caesar "I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble".

So having established that the lyrics and subject matter on this album are incredibly complex and grand, you'll be delighted to know that the important bit - the music - is even better! Thompson, who I must admit I haven't come across before, proves to be a fantastic guitarist, bass player and keyboardist, although his three main conspirators, singer Per Fredrik "Pellek" Asly, drummer Gerald "Mully" Mulligan and keyboard whizz Ryo "He doesn't appear to have a nickname" Okumoto actually shine through as integral parts in realising these deeply complex songs. Unsurprisingly the end results do have touches of Spock's Beard and Galahad (Lee Abraham adds bass on two songs, as well as producing and mixing an album that has a sparkling sound), but you can also expect to find some Enchant like oomph in places as well and in general if a mixture of post Neo-Prog mixed with traditional Prog values, a hint of Neo itself and a nod of the head to Prog-Metal sounds like a tantalising concoction, then be prepared to be completely and thoroughly hooked. The three weightier tracks are majestic, pompous, intricate, yet accessible, while the shorter tracks offer a more focused, song based respite. Thompson's guitar histrionics sit beautifully with the mellotron, organ, synth and piano work of Okumoto although it does take the beautiful clear vocals from Asly to really transform some of this music from good to spectacular.

Running at just over 74 minutes in length The ANABASIS have created an album with immense depth, skill and intrigue, but have done so by playing music that is catchy and convoluted at the same time and put simply, is a triumph!

Anabasis: Back from Being Gone
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2012-01-21 21:44:05
My Score:

The Anabasis is a project constructed by US musician Barry Thompson and freelance writer George Andrade in 2009. The lyrics and concept belong to Andrade while Thompson (arrangements, electric and acoustic guitars, bass, keyboards), wrote the music and gathered the other fine musicians who appear on the album. Back From Being Gone is truly a global effort. It is also interesting to note none of the musicians actually played 'together' as this project evolved totally over the internet.

Besides Barry and George we have Ryo Okumoto (keyboards, arrangements) and Per Fredrik Asly (lead vocals and arrangements). There are also a slew of guest musicians including Stefan Artwin (lead guitar) and Gerald Mulligan (drums).

Back From Being Gone is a grand effort, all the way from the concept to the music. First the concept. From what I can gather the concept looks back on three ancient civilizations; the Romans, the Egyptians and the Norse exploring the sociopolitical nature of each. These are explored in the album's three longer epics. Somehow the past and present are linked with three shorter compositions that seem to be of a more personal nature. I have yet to fully immerse myself into the lyrics but suffice to say this is an interesting and complex story. Spoken word narrative helps in moving the story along.

Now the music. Dare I say Back From Being Gone is a superlative progressive rock/metal album. Excellent musicianship from everyone involved, interesting song structures, long epic compositions that allow for expansive playing following many different paths, and some shorter numbers where the melodies are always at your fingertips. Also of note are the strong lead vocals of Asly. His voice takes on a rich timbre, sometimes delicate and other times more intense and he can soar with the best of them. Guitar riffs and solos abound from no less than six guitarists with a nice balance between acoustic and electric. And what can I say about Okumoto that hasn't already been said? His stamp is all over this album ranging from purely textural elements to some outstanding solos. Whichever course he takes, his playing is pure class.

The album's three epics are all excellent and provide the listener with over fifty-five minutes of music. Talk about bang for your buck. "Rome" gets things rolling with Middle Eastern riffs and loads of Hammond. The heavier parts bleed into softer ones where Ryo's delicate piano textures hold it all together. In the four part epic "Vikings" the story moves forward a few hundred years as the narrator sets the scene of a Viking invasion along the English coast and the story progresses from there. This is an absolutely massive track. Okumoto in particular really sets the mood of the piece with his pretty piano and layers of Hammond and fittingly ends the song after some screaming guitar soli.

The album ends with the twenty-four minute "Egypt". Ripping guitar solos, beautiful orchestration and a great vocal arrangement. Asly's vocals really exhibit his soulful side and the background vocals are spot on.

The three shorter tracks are also excellent making for seventy-four minutes of progressive rock/metal bliss. If you enjoy bands like Circus Maximus, Dream Theater and Spock's Beard buy this album immediately. It's a beauty!



Anabasis: Back from Being Gone
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-11-20 09:15:41
My Score:

Back From Being Gone is the new prog project from the collaborative efforts of multi-instrumentalist Barry Thompson and lyricist/author George Andrade. The duo have assembled a stellar cast of musicians to flesh out the project, the most notable being Spock's Beard keyboard wizare Ryo Okumoto and lead vocalist Per Fredrik Asly.With lyrical contact centering on ancient Roman, Norse, and Egyptian civilizations, and loads of symphonic prog & metal arrangements, Back From Being Gone is quite enjoyable from start to finish.

Thompson and Okumoto work very well together, as these songs are littered with commanding keyboard passages and tasty guitar riffage. Ryo has been one of the genre's most underrated talents for many years, and his 70's inspired tapestries permeate the mostrous epics "Rome", "Vikings", and "Egypt". Expect some wild duels with the guest lead guitar players, as Ryo's stabbing synth and Hammond darts in and out of the mix with reckless abandon, making for some exciting listening experiences. "Carpe Diem" has a strong Dream Theater or Vanden Plas feel to it, as tasty prog-metal track with catchy melodies and crisp arrangements, and the previously mentioned "Vikings" gets quite heavy at times, offering up serious crunch for those who like the heavier end of the spectrum.

Asky's vocals fit the songs quite well. Though he hits the upper registers often, which might be too much for some, I think his style meshes nicely with the dramatic flair that the album presents.

If you like grand, symphonic progressive rock and metal, Back From Being Gone is a very enjoyable platter from the folks at 10T Records, just in time for the holidays.



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