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Gregorian Rock: Atmosphere

Gregorian chant and rock, this could be interesting or completely off the mark. Time will tell.

Gregorian Rock is a project led by Roland Dale Benedict and has four albums to his credit, his latest is titled Atmosphere. Dale wrote and produced the album and supplies keys, vocals and stick. Each song is associated with a psalm, presumably taken from the Book of Psalms, an ancient musical form, a Biblical hymn. Gregorian chanting has its roots in the Roman Catholic Church, dating back centuries. So what we have is a marriage of the ancient and modern encompassing these ten tracks. Besides Dale other musicians include Paul Garretson (drums), Jerry Marotta (drums), Tony Levin (bass, stick, upright electric bass), Phil Keaggy (guitar), Vinnie Moreno (guitar), Pat Neil (guitar), Suro Lopez (drums), and Scott McCullor (vocals). As you can see some notable guests indeed.

This is an unusual album for me as the scripture lyrics are a little out of my comfort zone. The lyrics are in both Latin and English. The disc begins with the rocking prog of “Who Rides The Clouds” bursting with great keyboard work and melodic vocals from Dale. Throughout the album the vocals sound slightly processed which is not a big deal for me. “Shine Like The Sky” has a funkier edge with a low-end keyboard and a slightly fragmented guitar solo from the excellent axe slinger Pat Neil. Phil Keaggy adds some lovely guitar in the tuneful “Caelum” whereas “Who Then Is This” is an all-vocal affair featuring chanting from Dale, bringing back the far off sounds of the past. One of my favourites is the poppish “Rain” with sumptuous bass from Levin and lovely piano and vocals courtesy of Dale.

I wasn’t quite sure what to make of Atmosphere initially but after a couple more spins the tracks started to grow on me. Dale has a somewhat different approach to progressive rock and his chosen musicians are all up to the task. This one earns a solid 3.5 stars.

Track Listing:
1. Who Rides The Clouds
2. Shine Like The Sky
3. Caelum
4. Who Then Is This
5. Rain
6. Spiritus Vehementis
7. Clouds Rise
8. Wind
9. Earth And Sky Fled
10. Ends Of The Earth

Added: September 15th 2021
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 358
Language: english

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