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Supernal Endgame: Touch the Sky-Volume II

Dallas, Texas progressive rock band Supernal Endgame find themselves on 10T Records for their second full length release, Touch the Sky: Volume II. Consisting of Rob Price (lead and backing vocals, drums, percussion, loops, and keys), John Eargle (electric, acoustic, and synthesized guitars, keyboards, loops, bass, mandolin, secondary lead and backing vocals), Tom More (bass guitar, keys, midi pedals, backing vocals), Jett Cheek (keyboards, backing vocals), and John Crafton (electric, acoustic, and classical guitars, backing vocals), they are also joined here by special guests Dave Bainbridge from the band IONA and Carl Baldasarre from the band SYZYGY on lead guitar. There are also a host of guest violinists on board who add that 'Kansas' type flair to the songs. Finding a home on the 10T roster seems like a perfect fit, as their modern take on the classic '70s symphonic prog theme, along with a powerful pop sense, thought provoking lyrics, as well as hard rock muscle, adds another layer to the already growing list of fine bands currently residing on the label.

If you can imagine a studio session between Kansas & Genesis in 1974, that's kind of the feel you get when listening to Touch the Sky: Volume II. With Peter Gabriel styled vocals, lush symphonic rock passages that at times contain plenty of crunch & complexity, as well as soaring violin on occasion, it's not hard to conjure up images of the two great prog rock bands. The 14-minute "Eden's Song" brings all these wonderful elements together, easily one of the highlight tracks on the CD. "Different Stage" is another lengthy piece, with driving rhythms over which stunning keyboard passages and intricate guitar lines can explore, while "Supernal One (Imminence and Transcendence)" is a tasty instrumental that sees all the trademark classic prog elements come together. For a more melodic, somewhat pastoral side to the band, there's the majestic "Swim in Your Ocean", and the Celtic flavored "Immutable". To add another side to the band, you have the engaging power pop/prog of "Again and Again", a tune with some catchy hooks to go along with soaring musical arrangements...think Saga meets '80s Genesis with a little Kansas thrown in for good measure. A fun tune.

Look no further however than "White Flag" for the pure essence of what Supernal Endgame is all about, a tale of two protagonists' that sees their story told weaved into a framework of emotional & powerful progressive rock, with all the grandiose trimmings provided by incredible guitar, keyboard, and violin passages. Throw some intricate rhythms and great vocals into the mix, and you have the makings of a stunning modern progressive rock song. It's just one of many gems on Touch the Sky:Volume II, a really strong album that just gets better with repeated listens. If you are only going to purchase handful of prog albums here in 2014, try and make sure this is one of them.


Track Listing
1. Supernal One (Imminence and Transcendence) 4:40
2. Different Stage 11:30
3. Again and Again 5:00
4. Eden's Song 14:06
5. SOS 5:26
6. Immutable 5:31
7. White Flag 10:02
8. Swim In Your Ocean 5:46
9. Orwelled 0:30
10. The Endgame 15:12

Added: December 2nd 2014
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score:
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 2178
Language: english

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Supernal Endgame: Touch the Sky-Volume II
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2014-12-01 18:00:09
My Score:

Five years ago Dallas, Texas outfit Supernal Endgame released a rather spectacular Prog album that took the best of Kansas, Genesis, Saga and It Bites and crafted it into Touch The Sky Volume I, a release which not only made a strong initial impact but which has, over the years, proved to have serious staying power.

In short, Touch The Sky Volume II is more of the same and equally as captivating. The keyboard work from, well I'd tell you but three people are credited as adding their keys-magic, leads from the front, making the opening pair of "Supernal One (Immanence & Transcendence)" and "Different Stage" a mighty and immediate introduction. Tony Banks springs to mind and yet there's a more exuberant feel to the guitar work as it cuts through, while the vocals from Rob Price bring a Gabriel like husky authority.

Lyrically, as with ...Volume I, there's a similarity in spiritual subject matter to that of, say, Neal Morse, the themes fitting perfectly with the uplifting music. However where Supernal have varied things from their previous work is the length of the compositions, four of which hover around the ten minute mark. This extended length really allows the songs room to establish a variety of attacks and approaches, which the album benefits from hugely. Of the lengthier numbers "Eden's Song" takes an 80s Genesis keyboard motif and marries it to a gritty riff and soaring violin (of which this album has quite a lot, hence the Kansas comparisons), while "White Flag" leans more heavily towards earlier Genesis to dance sprightly on the back of some exceptional drumming. Add in the shorter delights of "Swim In Your Ocean" where flute adds a plaintive air and 'Again And Again' which again (sorry) feels like Kansas, although this time combined with Neal Morse.

If I was to pick out one issue, then it's that the otherwise excellent production/mix is a little "bright" for my taste; initial reaction on first listen being to turn down my usual volume setting to reduce the sharpness of sound. However that really is the only complaint, for otherwise Touch The Sky Volume II reaches for the stars.

Supernal Endgame: Touch the Sky-Volume II
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2014-10-11 10:05:20
My Score:

Supernal Endgame play melodic symphonic progressive rock and their music is as catchy as anyone in the business. Their first album Touch the Sky Volume I was released in 2009 and five years later we have the follow up Touch the Sky Volume II.

The core of the band is still John Eargle (lead and background vocals, guitars, mandolin, keyboards, kaossilator, loops, bass) and Rob Price (lead and background vocals, drums, percussion, djembe, keyboards, loops). They are joined by Tom More (fretted and fretless bass), Jeff Cheek (keyboards, background vocals) and John Crafton (electric, acoustic and classical guitar). Guest musicians include guitarists Dan Pomeroy and Dave Bainbridge.

If melodic symphonic progressive rock is what you are after you cannot go wrong with Supernal Endgame. Their last album was excellent and the new release continues that trend. Outstanding musicianship, strong melodies, complex arrangements and a positive uplifting message are at the root of these ten tracks. If you are at all familiar with the band you will know the lyrics have a strong spiritual bent, similar to what Neal Morse has been doing these last few years.

The album begins with the instrumental "Supernal One (Immanence and Transcendence)". The steady groove gives way to quieter bits where a bit of fusion creeps into the guitar sound but really this is full out symphonic prog. Guest musician Nigel Deane provides violin which adds an obvious Kansas feel. "Different Stage" is eleven minutes of melodic prog in the vein of Spock's Beard complete with soaring guitar, moody keys and crunchy rhythms. Fantastic playing all around. The Kansas feel returns in "Eden's Song" where gentle acoustic guitar/piano interludes morph into some of the catchiest symphonic prog you will ever hear. The album ends with the grandiose "The Endgame", fifteen minutes of emotive guitar, spine tingling synth/keyboard work and excellent lead vocals.

If you into classic bands like Kansas, Supernal Endgame will be right up your alley. It's not original but damn, this is good stuff.



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