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Illuminae: Dark Horizons

I am immediately impressed with the beautiful cover art and packaging of Dark Horizons. Ian Jones (Karnataka, Chasing The Monsoon) and Agnieszka Switz (Caamora) have surrounded themselves with Prog Rock heavyweights for this self-described Prog Ensemble, setting the expectation bar high. Craig Blundell is behind the drums, having made a big name for himself recording and touring with Steven Wilson and Steve Hackett. The core of the band is rounded out by Luke Machin on Lead and Rhythm guitars.

The press release describes the music ranging “from dark twisted symphonies to sweet lullabies, embracing symphonic, progressive and Celtic influences”. No time is wasted as the opening track “The Lighthouse” treats us to the sonic bliss of Steve Hackett’s guitar playing. It is clear early on that this is a highly melodic musical venture, complemented by the layered vocals of Switz, who has a wonderful voice. “Blood on your Hands” appears to be the first single, with an accompanying video, and a hook laden chorus that is reminiscent of October Project (an influence I continue to hear throughout). “Lullaby” and “Twice” slow things down into ballad territory, with Machin adding some tasteful licks to both tracks. “Sign of Infinity” features John Helliwell of Supertramp on Sax and Clarinet. The song shines during Johns solo, accompanied by the piano of Gonzalo Carrera. A perfect example of where the band should have been allowed to go further, the instrumental section is begging to be extended. The title track closes the CD with Machin treating us to a terrific guitar solo; I really enjoy his playing throughout.

Dark Horizons is going to check a lot of boxes for Neo-Prog fans, it’s a well performed, produced, and packaged CD if a bit slick and safe for my personal taste. I would love to have heard more extended instrumental passages; there are some very interesting moments when they do stretch out. For fans of melodic progressive rock, this should be right up your alley and will probably rate much higher with fans of the genre.

Ian Jones - bass, bass pedals, piano, keyboards, acoustic guitar, string arrangements, programming
Agnieszka Swita - Vocals
Craig Blundell - drums
Luke Machin - Lead and Rhythm guitars
Special Guests: Steve Hackett, John Helliwell, Troy Donockley, Gonzalo Carrera

Track Listing

  1. The Lighthouse (9:48)
  2. Blood On Your Hands (6:07)
  3. Edge of Darkness (4:50)
  4. Lullaby (6:01)
  5. Twice (5:08)
  6. Heretics & Prophecy (5:01)
  7. Sanctuary (4:16)
  8. Black Angel (4:05)
  9. Sign of Infinity (4:29)
  10. Dark Horizons (11:20)

Added: April 17th 2021
Reviewer: Eric Porter
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 936
Language: english

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