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Arz: Turn Of The Tide

Arz hail from the Portland area and have a new album out entitled Turn Of The Tide. The band originally started as a project involving only Steve Adams. Arz is now officially a duo as Merrill Hale, otherwise known as "M" has joined the fold. On the new album Steve plays guitars, bass, vocals and keyboards and Merrill adds drums and percussion. What struck me immediately after having listened to Turn Of the Tide a couple of times was just how much detail is incorporated in this music. It is amazing to think that the piece was accomplished with only two musicians. It really does have that 'full' band feel. Suffice to say these two guys are extremely talented. The musicianship is excellent throughout and the album sounds great from a production point of view as well.

The band shows a myriad of influences as the music travels from folk inspired prog to full out progressive metal. It is these different styles coupled with excellent melodies that make Turn Of The Tide such an endearing listen.

The album opens with the short instrumental "Arz Nova". It is a dramatic start and one can hear a strong Yes influence. In "Birth Of A Hero" Jethro Tull came to mind, especially the more folk oriented acoustic parts. It goes from mellower sections to heavy progressive rock with excellent drums, keys and guitar as Adams and Hale really get their groove on, almost venturing into jam band mode but never at the expense of song's strong sense of melody.

For a bit of technical bombast try "Hope And Glory" featuring the superb drum skills of Hale. Gentle acoustics turn into heavy rhythms with a slight nod to ELP. Clocking in at over sixteen minutes this song is indeed worthy of epic status.

"To The Better Man" starts off with crisp syncopated rhythms venturing into progressive metal territory. This one takes on a '70s Rush feel.

The softer side of the duo returns in "Lost Lake" with pretty acoustic guitar and piano before ending with "Twilight", an excellent slice of melodic progressive rock.

I really like Turn Of The Tide and the fact that it was made by only two musicians is all the more impressive. If you enjoy any of the bands previously mentioned Arz should be right up your progressive alley. Released on Unicorn Digital.

Track listing:
1. Arz Nova (1:27)
2. Birth Of A Hero (8:22)
3. Shadow On The Wall (6:37)
4. Hope And Glory (16:40)
5. My Friend (6:42)
6. To The Better Man (6:55)
7. Turn Of The Tide (12:57)
8. Lost Lake (3:43)
9. Twilight (11:24)

Added: September 7th 2012
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 2371
Language: english

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