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Psychedelic Ensemble, The: The Tale of the Golden King

The magic started in 2009 with the release of The Art Of Madness and continued with The Myth Of Dying (2010) and The Dream Of The Magic Jongleur (2011). All three are excellent with each successive release adding to the artists considerable repertoire of outstanding musicianship and fine song craft. Fast forward to 2013 and TPE's new album The Tale of the Golden King.

The Tale of the Golden King just might be TPE's best album yet. For those of you unfamiliar with the band TPE is essentially one musician who prefers to remain anonymous. There is the occasional guest on vocals as well as the TPE orchestra. His previous albums are conceptually based and that trend continues here. The concept involves a magical kingdom and it's great king who is transformed into gold and the kingdom laid to ruin. A time of darkness descends over the land until one day the kingdom arises once again. The music meshes beautifully with the lyrics and concept, making for an absorbing and intriguing listen. This is complex stuff and the music often careens in different directions but never at the expense of the wonderful melodies found throughout the disc.

The CD begins with "Overture Our Great Kingdom". The moody section at the start carries a darker motif. One gets the feeling the music will burst forth as the orchestral instrumentation continues onward. A myriad of instruments join in, including pretty acoustic guitar and intricate synth work. The melody is one those that you want to hear again and again. Eventually the intensity level increases as organ, synths and frenetic guitar passages take hold, almost reminding me of the Yes classic Relayer. This leads directly into the second track "The Prophecy of the Seer The Transformation of the King" where delicious acoustic guitar and synth work ensues. Yes and ELP fans will love the intense orchestral moments and as the electric guitar took on more bite, my mind wandered back to those glorious '70s prog rock epics that we all know and love. "The Golden King" starts in an orchestral vein with a myriad of instruments making for a breathtaking intro. The softer tranquil moments will make fans of the Moody Blues happy before the music gets heavier turning into a full blown prog rock epic. "Captive Days" is one of two songs under five minutes, the other being the frenetically intense instrumental "The Battle". The former has a somber feel, with splashes of piano, synths and other orchestral flourishes. The synthesizer work is particularly spellbinding.

Other moments of excellence include the wistful "The Queen of Sorrow" with sublime lead vocals courtesy of Ann Caren. I really dig how TPE injects heavier organ and guitar parts into the mellower acoustic framework. The album ends with the equally satisfying "Finale Arise Great Kingdom". Melodies and themes are revisited closing the album in grand fashion. The other tunes not mentioned are also superb with not a duff track in the bunch.

The Psychedelic Ensemble is able to weave rich sonic tapestries of complexity and melody like few others can at the moment. To put it simply, The Tale of the Golden King is one of the best modern symphonic progressive rock albums I have heard in a very long time. This is without question an outstanding work of art that needs to be in every progressive rock collection.

Track Listing:
1. Overture Our Great Kingdom
2. The Prophecy of the Seer The Transformation of the King
3. The Golden King
4. Captive Days
5. The Queen of Sorrow
6. Save Yourself
7. Make a Plan Golden Swords
8. The Battle
9. Great Day
10. Finale Arise! Great Kingdom

Added: January 5th 2014
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 1926
Language: english

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