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D-Project: The Sagarmatha Dilemma

In the mood for an exciting modern prog rock release with plenty of nods to the past greats? If so, look no further than the latest CD from D-Project titled The Sagarmatha Dilemma, as Stephane Desbiens ('D' to you and me) once again teams with author/producer Francis Foy to interpret a published work, this time it's the Everest Experience that is tackled. Though new to this band, I must say this is a very impressive CD, somewhat like a modern take on classic Pink Floyd, Genesis, as well as some IQ and Pendragon influences, with D's searing, linear guitar lines permeating the mix, along with plenty of symphonic keyboards, violin, cello, Chapman Stick, and drums. There are a few special guests here, such as Derek Sherinian (keys on "Radio Sherpa"), Echolyn's Brett Kull ( guitar solo on the title track), Galahad vocalist Stu Nicholson (also on the title track), and John Green from Singularity (vocals & keys on various tunes).

Opening cut "Closer to Heaven" is quite a beauty, D's emotional guitar leads sounding like a young David Gilmour, tearing through a melodic mix of sumptuous keyboards and emotional vocals. The title track is just a great neo-prog number, complete with Mellotron and tasty guitar licks, while the epic "Red Mountain" has some pastoral violin & cello from Sandra Poulin and Francis Delisle, as well as deft flameco picking from D. Late in the tune the guitarist wows with a stellar electric solo, showing plenty of fire and technique. "Thin Air" is more of a hard rock piece that wouldn't be out of place on an early 80's Dokken album, and sounds a bit out of place here, D's vocals straining slightly as he tries to strike a metal pose, until things quiet down around the middle section where the band goes for a more Genesis type atmosphere. The lush "Even If a Was Wrong" recalls late 70's era Genesis, complete with acoustic guitars, dreamy keys, and plenty of vocal hooks. Planet X wiz-kid Sherinian joins the fray for the wild "Radio Sherpa", an intense instrumental that sees Derek, bassist Mathieu Gosselin, and D trade off some fiery & complex exchanges like the old days of Corea, Clarke, & DiMeola in Return to Forever. Simply awesome. Final track "I'm Coming Down" again hits on the Pink Floyd and Genesis influences, and is an appealing melodic prog number, featuring some haunting violin and dense instrumentation.

Prog fans of all ages should really find a lot to latch onto here. With this kind of talent, there's no reason to believe that D-Project can't compete with the big names of prog and show the world what they have. To top it all off, Desbiens is one hell of a guitar player, and with this talented cast around him there's no telling how far he can take this. Recommended.

Track Listing
1 Closer to Heaven
2 Sagarmatha Dilemma
3 Red Mountain
4 Thin Air
5 Even If a Was Wrong
6 Radio Sherpa
7 I'm Coming Down

Added: June 15th 2008
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 6410
Language: english

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