The album's title is misleading. You'd think a record called August In The
Urals ought to be in your daddy's muzak collection, right? Fortunately
that's far from the truth - this one belongs in your CD collection,
standing shoulder to shoulder with your best progressive art rock.
Think Crimson meets Present - with a stronger keyboard influence. In fact -
the very second note on this record is dissonant and you just know where it's
going. It's a bit challenging, it's symphonic, it's ambitiously artsy, and it's
one of the better albums of the year.
August In The Urals is almost all instrumental - including the vocals.
That means that very few sections are sung normally, most vocals are well back
in the mix, and they sometimes form a sort of melancholy low-register chanted
choral backdrop. So it doesn't matter that the vocals are the only sub-par
aspect on the album, and it's the keys and the guitars that dominate the
instrumentation. The keys include tons of well applied Mellotron and very
pleasing piano work, and the guitar takes on many uncommon voices that play well
into the overall mood of the piece. Add occasional contributions by saxophones,
xylophone, and trumpet - among others - and imaginative song structures with
thickly layered arrangements that adhere to every tenet of the progressive
genre, and you have a piece that could have come out of any decade - from the
There's a somber mood to many of the 5 songs that play over 71 minutes.
"Inaugural Bash" is a complex 27-minute epic that effortlessly holds your
interest as it swirls and eddies around several themes that are constantly
developed and revisited. Some of the nicest moments here are the minimalist
sections with a soft guitar playing over an elegantly simple one-handed piano
line. As you might expect from its title, "A Squirrel" features fast, smooth
piano work that easily evokes images of that creature's restless energy.
Someone recently described this album as fusion. Despite the band's origins,
nothing could be further from the truth because there's very little jazz
influence here. Deluge Grander started as the solo project of Dan Britton, of
Cerebus Effect, and grew into a sort of Cerebus Effect Mark-II. Yet that band's
music gives no clues about what to expect from this new incarnation. It's hard
to find any common thread between the first 2 Cerebus Effect EPs which are pure
fusion, Cerebus Effect's Acts Of Deception which is a very powerful CD
with an eclectic mix of genres - and this one. They're all different.
Anyone who appreciates a sophisticated, slightly avant garde style of moody,
dissonant art rock ought to give this one a try. The vocals and production are
low spots - but it gets 5 stars anyway.
1. Inaugural Bash (26:57)
2. August in the Urals (15:52)
3. Abandoned Mansion Afternoon (12:14)
4. A Squirrel (8:45)
5. The Solitude of Miranda (7:18)