25 Yard Screamer: Something that Serves to Warn or Remind
"The Lost Outside / Welcome to Here" opens with soft acoustic guitar, whirling keyboard breeze effects and birdsong. A nice surprise perfectly set up for a spring day, despite being released back in November of 2013. 25 Yard Screamer' s latest album Something that Serves to Warn or Remind, will do just that...serve as a reminder as to why you added this Welch band to your watch list. Formed in 2002, the band has released five other albums previously, including the critically acclaimed Blacklight in 2006 and Cassandra in 2007.
25 Yard Screamers includes band members Nick James, lead vocalist, whose voice reminds me of Charlie Dominici off Dream Theater's first album, When Dream and Day Unite. James also plays guitars and keyboards; Matthew Clarke, on bass; Tom Bennett on keyboards and orchestration; and Donal Owen, on drums. This album was released by Whiteknight Records.
This concept album traces the story of Jennifer, a writer locked "in her own world of expectations and lost words". She finds freedom from her self-imposed isolation by a visitor from her childhood, and embarks on a journey of rediscovery of some of the most important moments of her past.
After the over five minute opening instrumental "The Lost Outside / Welcome to Here", full of spirited and majestic keyboards and rocking guitars matched with powerful drums, the band drills the music even higher with "The Ritual". This second track is James' first vocal impression and a great introduction at that, especially if you miss that early Dream Theater sound. This track sounds like a great intersection between Dream Theater's early sound and their heroes Rush. After all it was Rush who inspired Dream Theater to choose Majestic as their original name after the majestic sound of the finale from the track "Bastille Day". Well, "The Ritual" is full of that majestic tone. Great keyboards, power bass, thumping drums and raw lead electric guitar.
"Wilderness" slows the pace with James' vocal set against soft piano. "I welcome him. Embraced the solitude. The permanent blue sky". Followed by great electric guitar soloing. It is a short but excellent track.
"Always There" is full of some soft Hammond like organ/keyboards with James singing, before the keys, bass, and lead electric guitar softly play on. One of the best songs on the disc. At over seven minutes there is plenty to enjoy. Deep, thoughtful lyrics and sounds set to well played music. The bells add just enough mystery before the piercing lead electric guitar takes over. I won't spoil the cosmic ending on this one, but it is full of mind blowing synths and keyboard effects.
The second longest song, "Lost in a Green and Blue Sky", is a real treat. The keyboards, bass, guitar work and solid drums are perfect. James delivers his best vocal performance on the album.
"The Journey" is another of the best tracks on the album. James sings, "This peace of heaven is calling to me. If only I could get there I'll be finally free", set to soft keys, chugging bass and Rush-like electric guitar riffs. James continues, "How will I find it? My peace of heaven. In my head…this world…I feel nothing is resting. But boiling like oil in turbulence". Then the real Rush-like electric lead guitar solos begin. Ripping and tearing like that boiling oil.
"Home Is Not Home" slows the sound down again with deep bass and excellent surrounding keyboard effects. James voice is clearest here as he sets the table full of deep lyrics and emotional moods. The instrumental section of the song only strengthens the deep moods and emotions laid out in the beginning.
"The Empty Ship" is full of power and the majesty of those lead electric guitars, bass and rocking drums. The lead guitar solos are some of the best on the album.
"Just Myself and These Keys" is the longest and best track on the album. Jennifer reaches the end of her journey and the story's final chapter plays out. James sings, "Just let me be. Let me live. Let me breathe. Just myself and my dreams". In the background, that slow, quiet drumming I remember from the final cliffhanger scene from The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. Full of drama and emotion for sure. James sings for Jennifer, "I have found what I need". Excellent slow bass and brilliant electric lead guitar solos.
This album is an excellent addition to my surprises of 2013 list. Absolutely enthralling and entertaining. Music that will draw you into the mystery and wish you had a lyrics sheet to appreciate ever word with each note.
I have definitely added this band to my watch list. Get this album and I'm sure you'll also want to find their full discography, especially the critically acclaimed song "Blacklight", an over 19 minute opus.
1. The Lost Outside / Welcome to Here (5:02)
2. The Ritual (5:22)
3. Wilderness (1:58)
4. Always There (7:30)
5. Lost in a Green and Blue Sky (9:00)
6. The Journey (7:03)
7. Home Is Not Home (6:12)
8. The Empty Ship (6:30)
9. Just Myself and These Keys (9:15)
Added: April 2nd 2014
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
Related Link: http://25yardscreamer.bandcamp.com/album/something
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