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Chalcedony: Chapter II

I've got to admit that a quick glance at the effeminate Marilyn Manson alike character on the cover of Chapter II by Chalcedony, didn't fill me with much hope of connecting with this, the second part of the Chalcedony story. However after a few detailed listens I have to admit to having been rather captivated by the sheer expanse of the music, lyrics and the individual vision of this album. So much so that I now undoubtedly feel the need to go out and hear Chapter I. Musical cues are taken from a ginormous amount of sources, with out and out prog ala Genesis or Misplaced Childhood era Marillion being counterpointed by classical piano, quirky pop music, metal riffs, power pop sheen and, well a whole lot more, including church organs. Think Peter Gabriel, revisiting his Genesis past, while asking Jackdaw4 and Christopher Franke to alternate on the writing sessions for a progressive workout and, truth be told, I haven't even scratched the surface.

Sound convoluted? You bet! Excessive? Indeed! Self indulgent?? Hugely, massively, almost more than you can imagine!!! Confused?? Well, actually no, not in the slightest. The ten songs slowly creep up to almost the maximum length of information that a CD can hold through a bewildering variety of ideas and styles, but never does the album ever feel in danger of losing focus, or buckling under its own weighty subject matters, or ever altering approach. The concept behind the album (you knew there was one, didn't you?) covers one man who suffers from agoraphobia, limiting his ability to perform his music, or experience the many opportunities that it could open up. Future predictions the sufferer makes begin to come true, revealing a mystical, magical side to the story, although in truth, the weighty subject always feels very real, and uncomfortably personal. With his brother Chris Wilson contributing all of the guitar work on the album, Chalcedony himself plays every other instrument, including (his first love) piano, drums, keyboards, flute, cello and of course vocals. All of which are performed to the highest standard.

Five years in the making, the album sounds fantastic and whether it be the choral voices, poignant piano, gang sighs, bristling riffs and clamouring percussion of "The Angel", or the West End Musical meets early Genesis, via whispered vocals and classical piano of eighteen minute album closer "Final Love", every note, beat and word is crystal clear and razor sharp. What this allows is for is the emotion of the words and music to tumble out of the speakers and while initially the effect is overwhelming and more than a little daunting, return visits reveal a stark, although at times knowing beauty. The hours and effort that have obviously flowed into this album does make it a slightly flawed work that will undoubtedly confuse almost as many as it convinces. However if you are willing to give yourself over to an album that never even considers compromise, or dilution to be an option, then Chapter II will be a harrowing, yet seductive journey you'll struggle to resist.


Track Listing
1. Truth Be Told
2. Regyne
3. India
4. Blood From Stone
5. The Angel
6. Pandora's Box
7. Wrong Again
8. Pulse
9. Mechanical Wind
10. Final Love

Added: July 15th 2012
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Chalcedony Online
Hits: 1415
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Chalcedony: Chapter II
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2012-07-15 14:44:26
My Score:

Never judge a book by its cover they always say...I was just as fooled as anyone into thinking that Chapter II from Chalcedony was perhaps some gothic tinged excursion into Marilyn Manson styled nu-metal after one look at the album cover. However, I couldn't have been more wrong, as Chalcedony (who sings, plays keyboards, drums, bass, cello, and flute) and Chris Wilson have created a wonderful symphonic prog-rock album here that's grand, majestic, melodic, bombastic, and quite memorable.

Visions of classic era Marillion, Pendragon, Queen, Genesis, Arena, and even Saga pop up all over Chapter II, but there's an accessibility at times that make the album as easily enjoyable as anything from say, Asia, Journey, or Toto. Vocally, Mr. Chalcedony is able to push all the right buttons, whether it be melodic crooning, Fish/Gabriel styled dramatics, or over the top theatricality ala Freddie Mercury, and the grand keyboard orchestrations and expert guitar work are simply icing on the cake. Throw in some wonderful prog epics on the back end of the CD and you have a very enjoyable release from a band that might not be on every progressive rock fans radar but probably should be.



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