Revered Aussie drummer Virgil Donati has released an outstanding instrumental recording titled In This Life. With the exception of the title track where Doug Shreeve and Dennis Hamm were also involved in the arrangement Virgil took care of the production, writing and arrangements for In This Life which was over a year in the making. Fans of Virgil's previous instrumental work with On The Virg and Planet X amongst others will relish what he's recorded here.
Besides his amazing intricate drumming Virgil also performed some of the keyboards on In This Life, and yes there is more than drums and keyboards as Virgil performs alongside a gifted list of musicians performing ten tracks that combine progressive, jazz and rock music. Those participants who possess the skills to play what's required along with Virgil's challenging patterns are:
On Guitar: Marco Sfogli, Irwin Thomas, Alex Argento, , Brett Garsed, Alex Machacek, Rafael Moreira and Simon Hosford.
Keyboards : Alex Argento, Ruslan Sirota, Dennis Hamm and Jeff Babko.
Bass: Doug Shreeve, Evan Marien, Anthony Crawford and Tom Kennedy.
Cello: Artyom Manukyan
Oboe and English horn: Paul Sherman
In This Life isn't your straightforward hooks loaded repetitive instrumental album, there is a high level of complex and tasteful musicianship on display performing a most appealing kind of music without going over the top. To truly appreciate what has been achieved In This Life requires your utmost attention, as you let the musical magic take you in. It's so impressive to hear the way Virgil plays such complex patterns while still maintaining that groove, the level of his independence never ceases to amaze. While his drumming is a major component of this album the other instruments do have their share of the spotlight including many tasteful solos as all participants do their parts to make the finished product sound so good. The songs also have themes that are explained in the accompanying notes like the gripping opener "Rhythm Zero" that refers to the effects of "the extreme globalization of world culture and its wrenching separation from the traditions and customs that anchor an individual to a territory". While the excellent title track "In This Life" is about how "The world we were born in is vasty different from the world we live in."
In This Life is so impressive, actually I would go far as to say that In This Life is easily one of the finest Virgil Donati related releases that I have had the pleasure of experiencing if not the best, prog fusion perfection.
1. Rhythm Zero
3. In This Life
4. Red Air
5. Paradise Lost
6. The Fall Of Dreams
9. Voice Of Reason
10. The Empire