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Cryptic Vision: Moments of Clarity

In the candid photos included in the CD booklet for Moments of Clarity, the members of Florida's Cryptic Vision can be seen wearing Yes, Spock's Beard and Dream Theater T-shirts appropriate attire considering that Cryptic Vision's highly accessible and pleasing music plays out like an amalgam of those three bands. Throw in some additional inspiration from Saga and Kansas, and you've got a fresh-sounding symphonic progressive rock band that's not afraid to aim for mass appeal. And Cryptic Vision comprised of three American music veterans: vocalist Todd Plant, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Rick Duncan, and guitarist/keyboard player Robert Van Dyne do so without sacrificing any of its artistic integrity.

Save for the out-of-place spoken-word section on "Contemplation," Moments of Clarity is a thought-provoking concept album. The disc opens with a five-minute instrumental that encompasses the band's musical dexterity before segueing into "New Perspective," which highlights Plant's crystalline and emotional voice. From there, the layered harmonies on "Grand Design" lead into the soaring AOR arrangements of "Angeline" and the brief "Losing Faith," which give way to the heavenly choir on "Angel's Requiem." The extended guitar and synth solos in "Colored Leaf" offers shades of Pink Floyd, while "Shock Value" is a solid rocker that echoes Eighties arena rock. And the 12-and-a-half-minute, four-part title track will have progheads salivating amidst swirling synths, odd time signatures and vocals that recall Enchant. By the time closing track "Ascension" plays out, the album is over much too quickly even with a running time of almost an hour.

Plant was a solid rock vocalist in the AOR outfits Eyewitness and Millenium (and he apparently sang wrestler Hulk Hogan's theme song) but who knew he had something like Moments of Clarity in him? And Duncan may be just maybe a budding Neal Morse, sans the voice. Cryptic Vision's second album will be crucial to this band's trajectory.

(NOTE: Even though Moments of Clarity boasts such guests as ex-Kansas violinist David Ragsdale and current Iced Earth guitarist Ralph Santolla, a live roster for Cryptic Vision now includes former Circle II Circle members Matt La Porte on guitar and John Zahner on keyboards.)

Track Listing:
1) Introspective (5:06)
2) New Perspective (4:05)
3) Contemplation (4:16)
4) Grand Design (7:16)
5) Angeline (4:22)
6) Losing Faith (2:25)
7) Angel's Requiem (2:14)
8) Colored Leaf (4:44)
9) Shock Value (4:03)
10) Moments of Clarity (12:28)
11) Ascension (5:42)
Total Time: 56:43

Added: March 22nd 2004
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Cryptic Vision Web Site
Hits: 6352
Language: english

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