If Styx and Starcastle met somewhere in Kansas territory you would have what Presto Ballet offers on their new album Invisible Places. Kurdt Vanderhoof enlist his Metal Church friend Ronny Munroe to sing this time around and he has also found a very special musician in the form of Kerry Shacklett who proves he is a keyboard player extraordinaire. Together they have crafted an album that brings back the 70's progressive feel with an amazing display of well crafted epic songs.
Ronny Munroe is the perfect choice for this disc. His vocals are a true testament to the art form that is called progressive music. His voice makes this a very inspirational disc that will not allow you to leave without a smile on your face.
Kurt displays an amazing feel for this type of sound and his guitar playing will bring visions of Steve Howe as you are carried away by this powerful album.
Now to the newest member and one that really makes this effort special. Kerry Shacklett came to the attention of Vanderhoof through a video on You Tube. What a great story as this is the guy who gives this album it's texture. Very reminiscent of of another Kerry who brought the band Kansas into prominence, Shacklett shows a very special talent whether it be the piano, synthesizer, Mellotron or the beautiful, lush Hammond organ he is sitting behind.
All you have to do is listen to the eleven minutes of their opus "Of Grand Design" to realize just how special this disc is. If you do not get lost in this terrific combination of keyboards, guitar and powerhouse vocals then nothing on this planet is going to touch you. This song could be used as the definition of progressive music. Layer upon layer of keyboards are the foundation upon which this epic is built. This is just one of the songs that will make you want to keep playing this disc over and over. The music on Invisible Places is nothing short of a progressive music fans wet dream.
Kerry might bring something special to the disc but he is not alone. Vanderhoof takes charge with his guitar and gives you a very tasty treat with "One Perfect Moment". He does for the progressive music fan what he did for the head bangers in Metal Church. That is give them just what is needed to enhance the listening experience. This song will definitely make you think of Yes in their heyday and there is certainly nothing wrong with that!
The album closes with the magnificent "No End To Begin". This epic song is like a suite which takes you through a multitude of changes and styles which highlight both the exceptional talents of Shacklett and Vanderhoof. Fans of Yes, Uriah Heep and of course Kansas will all find this one to their liking. It is the epitome of all that makes this genre of music so compelling. Kerry with his Mellotron, piano and that special sound of a Hammond organ really carries you away on this one. Easily my favorite on the album and will be one of yours I am sure.
This one is a no-brainer for anyone reading this review. It is all that you want from this music art form and will be a disc that finds constant play. Invisible Places has been the highlight of this years releases so far for me and will easily be on my best of list of the year 2011. If funds are tight and you can only buy a limited amount of music, make sure that this one is on the list. It is just an amazing album.
1. Between The Lines
2. The Puzzle
4. Of Grand Design
5. One Perfect Moment
6. All In All
7. No End To Begin