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Project Creation: Dawn on Pyther

Part 2 of an ongoing concept piece and follow-up to The Floating World, you won't be surprised to find several themes reprised in Dawn On Pyther. But you will be pleasantly surprised by the improvement in the songwriting and musicianship - which were very good to start with.

Portugal's Hugo Flores is probably tired of hearing himself compared with Ayreon, but listen to the Space Odyssey: 2001-inspired "Intermission", and you half expect to hear Fish's soft Scottish burr emerging, a la Electric Castle. That Ayreon comparison is the easiest way to describe the Project Creation albums since they share so many characteristics: The product of a talented multi-instrumentalist, unlikely sci-fi stories that extend over multiple CDs, countless guest artists, lush productions of symphonic progressive rock that dip a toe tentatively over the borderline with metal ... the similarities abound. And like his mentor Flores has a flair for strong compositions, rich melodies, fulfilling multi-part vocal sections, and high technical standards that tread uncomfortably close to the dreaded 'over-produced' critique. One major difference though is that most of Flores's artists speak and sing with heavily accented English, which is a deterrent. Kudos to project Creation for their grasp of the language, which is far superior to our knowledge of Portuguese, but on this CD the narrative - in particular - ought to be in a the flawless tones of an English speaker.

The story so far:

The new planet name Pyther is now growing. Humans and dragonflies are living together in harmony, and a new breed of 'Flying Thoughts' appears to have been created by a living Cheops pyramid. But there is one mechanical dragonfly who wants to see more...

...well there may be a few sci-fi buffs who'll buy into the unlikely yarn but for most, Dawn On Pyther will be better appreciated for its music than for its storyline.

The music is more cohesive than it was on the first album, and although Hugo Flores is principally a guitarist, it's the keyboard textures that define this record. They're lush and pleasing, though they won't enamor fans of the vintage '70s sounds. This is modern progressive rock in every way. We've commented favorably on Flores's guitar work since his first Sonic Pulsar CD. There are very few blazing solos - which he does very well - but the guitar tones are always rich and varied. Full credit to him for avoiding the trap of cranking out the same sounding guitar lines song after song. The female vocals are also particularly pleasing and feature throughout the record. There are, however, many sections that are protracted walls of sound with no space, and at times you might wish for a little more breathing room.

The ten longish tracks are stretched over an epic hour and sixteen minutes and are book-ended by matched songs "The Dawn on Pyther" and "The Dusk on Pyther". "Dragonfly Garden" is a standout piece, mostly instrumental piece, defined by excellent yet simple piano lines. "I Am (The Restless One)" is restless alright - chaotic in parts, which works well in many progressive rock works, but feels somewhat uncomfortable here. "Voyage of the Dragonfly" closes with a wonderful flute / piano dialog that ought to feature more frequently.

If rich, modern progressive rock is your preferred sub-genre, there's no doubt you'll keep Dawn On Pyther in rotation for a long time. Recommended.

Track Listings
1. The Dawn on Pyther (9:58)
2. Flying Thoughts (9:27)
3. I Am (The Restless One) (7:15)
4. Dragonfly Garden (6:44)
5. The Voice of Cheops (9:51)
6. Intermission (1:57)
7. Sons of the Stars (6:11)
8. Growing Feeling (8:54)
9. Voyage of the Dragonfly (9:46)
10. The Dusk on Pyther (6:05)

Added: November 18th 2007
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Related Link: The Band's Website
Hits: 5129
Language: english

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