About a year ago, InsideOut Music announced the arrival of a new prog-rock supergroup, calling themselves The Sea Within. The band features drummer Marco Minnemann (The Aristocrats, Steven Wilson, UK, Joe Satriani), bassist Jonas Reingold (The Flower Kings, Karmakanic, The Tangent), keyboard player Tom Brislin (Yes Symphonic, Renaissance, Camel, Spiraling, Meat Loaf) , guitarist/vocalist Roine Stolt (Anderson & Stolt, Transatlantic, The Flower Kings), and vocalist/guitarist Daniel GildenlĂ¶w (Pain of Salvation, Transatlantic), along with a few guests which include Casey McPherson (Flying Colors), Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), Jon Anderson (Yes), and Rob Townsend (Steve Hackett). Their self-titled debut album was just released, and it's a good one.
Quickly looking at the line-up, and one might suggest that half the group is a familiar fit; obviously Stolt & Reingold have plenty of history together, and Gildenlow & Stolt have shared many a stage together. Minnemann and Brislin are however the wild cards, both virtuoso players who perhaps were always meant to find their way into a supergroup of this nature to really let their talents shine, and they do so in a big way here. The Sea Within is a mixture of classic progressive rock, some pop, and plenty of brooding rock. Opening track "Ashes of Dawn" floats a plethora of melody, Gildenlow's always unique vocals emotional and to the point, with lush keyboards, tasty guitars, and a lovely sax solo from Townsend all adding to the immediate impact of the song. "They Know My Name" ups the prog quotient, complete with intricate drumming from Marco and a sizzling, Holdsworthian solo from Stolt. The guitar legend again shines on the passionate "The Void", complemented by a lovely Gildenlow vocal, majestic piano, and melodic bass lines courtesy of Reingold. The upbeat & groove laden "An Eye For an Eye For an Eye" follows, a killer modern prog tune packed with hooks and a rock sensibility, while "Goodbye" keeps the grooves flowing, a quirky little number with playful vocal interplay between Gildenlow & McPherson, and tight musicianship. Fans of classic Yes will love the fiery instrumental "Sea Without", complete with booming bass, legato guitar lines, acrobatic drumming, and intense keyboard work. The epic "Broken Cord" is another highlight here, filled with charming influences of The Flower Kings, Genesis, and even The Beatles, Gildenlow again showing what a great vocalist he is whether working solo or alongside both McPherson and Anderson. Casey takes the lead on the beautiful "The Hiding of Truth", a great, memorable pop track filled with sweeping Ruddess piano and Stolt's biting guitar leads.
Over on CD 2, things kick off with the mammoth "The Roaring Silence", complete with symphonic arrangements, powerhouse drumming, and another stellar vocal from Daniel. Eerie vocoder pops up on the pastoral "Where Are You Going?", as well as ominous Mellotron on the melancholy "Time" before things climax with the very Pain of Salvation-ish closer "Denise", another tune featuring some brooding Mellotron. While the bonus CD isn't as strong overall as the regular tracks on the first, at least two of these songs slot right in just fine.
Word has it that the band are scheduled to make some notable appearances on the festival & cruise circuit in the coming months, but it will be without Gildenlow & Reingold, who both have prior commitments, so McPherson and Pete Trewavas will be stepping in to fill the void. Time will tell how much staying power this new unit has, but the results here on their debut are quite strong and we can only hope that The Sea Within has similar staying power to another supergroup, Transatlantic, who manage to pop back into our lives every couple of years.
01. Ashes of Dawn
02. They Know My Name
03. The Void
04. An Eye For an Eye For an Eye
06. Sea Without
07. Broken Cord
08. The Hiding of Truth
01. The Roaring Silence
02. Where Are You Going?