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Svilpa, Robert & Paraesthesia: a fine line between…

Robert Svilpa's new release a fine line between… is an excellent new album and one that caught this reviewer totally by surprise. Other than Svilpa who plays guitars, keyboards and vocals, band members include Paul Harrington (keyboards) and Mark Parris (bass). Nick D'Virgilio, Andy Edwards and Zsolt Galantai were guest musicians on drums and Alan Morse adds his guitar on one track. This is the first I have heard of this talented band and I have to say the music drew me in almost immediately. This is progressive rock with elements of neo, symphonic rock, and pop that comes together remarkably well. Bands like IQ, Porcupine Tree and Pink Floyd came to mind while listening but this is by no means a derivative recording. The album is very listenable and full of melodies but at no time did I find it boring or uninteresting.

This is a concept album about a person named Ben who goes through life in a dreamlike state and finds himself in the middle of some unusual circumstances. Its an original concept although it was hard to follow as my promo copy did not include lyrics. Now on to the music…

Beginning with the hard edged prog of "The First Piece In The Puzzle" with its prog metal riffage and great rhythm section propelling the song, before turning into a lovely piano melody followed by more crunchy riffs and synth solos, the album is off to a great start. The epic "Temple Of Lost Souls" is a real treat. Melodic guitar and scrumptious bass along with tasteful orchestration help to make this one of the album's best songs. The darkly melodic "Frantic" has a moody Porcupine Tree feel with soaring lead guitar and a nice bass line before ending with starkly somber piano. Svilpa's slow vocal delivery is downright menacing at times effectively conveying the mood of the piece.

Another favourite is the proggy pop of "In The Shadows" where Svilpa gives one of his best vocal performances as he sings:

"In the shadows, underneath the stair.
Inside the closet, another ghost inside your head.
Bathed in spectral light, I'm washed in my confusion.
Little concern about where imagination might lead.

chorus
I'm watching you, watching everything that you do.
I'm inhaling you, intoxicating scent of you."

I love the imagery Svilpa conveys through these lyrics.

The spacey "Mesmerize", featuring Morse on guitar, reminds me of Division Bell era Floyd complete with voice samples of Stephen Hawking before the keyboards transport the listener to the days of Dark Side of the Moon. These are just a few of the highlights found on this album.

Robert Svilpa and his band have put out a fantastic sophomore effort with a fine line between… Do yourself a favour and check it out. You will not be disappointed.

(originally reviewed for progressiveears.com)


Track Listing:
1. The First Piece In The Puzzle
2. Mirror Mirror
3. Temple Of Lost Souls
4. Frantic
5. In The Shadows
6. The Only One
7. Mesmerize
8. Adagio In A Minor
9. Atonement
10. As Time Goes By
11. Drawing The Short Straw

Added: December 22nd 2009
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Score:
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 2695
Language: english

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Svilpa, Robert & Paraesthesia: a fine line between…
Posted by Michael Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2009-12-22 14:10:10
My Score:

With classy artwork from Ed Unitsky (The Flower Kings and The Tangent) and a guest list that boasts Nick D'Virgilio and Alan Morse of Spock's Beard, plus Andy Edwards of IQ and Frost*, Robert Svilpa certainly must have some pull among proggers. I'd never heard of the vocalist and multi-instrumentalist until A Fine Line Between…, his first full-length project with the tongue-twisted two-man outfit Paraesthesia, landed on my desk in the form of a CDR and photocopied booklet pages. Now, I can't believe he's not signed to a label like ProgRock Records or InsideOut Music.

In the works for almost three years, A Fine Line Between… opens with "The First Piece in the Puzzle," a cathartic, riff-tastic instrumental that declares Svilpa's mighty symphonic-prog-metal tendencies. Other powerful pieces, such as "Mirror Mirror" and "In the Shadows" adhere to the album's story of a man who converses with his mirror. Svilpa & Paraesthesia blur elements of Marillion, Arena, Spock's Beard, Pendragon and Transatlantic into a sound completely their own. "Frantic" segues from angry, synthesized vocals to bittersweet piano in a matter of seconds, "Temple of Lost Souls" borrows the "Yes, we can" sound bite from U.S. President Barack Obama (the first such reference I've heard in a prog song), and "The Only One" dances along the mainstream.

There's a lot here to absorb: Eleven songs in 78 minutes, and an abstract storyline. But Svilpa manages to keep listeners engaged throughout most of this epic work — thus towing the fine line between excess and moderation damn near perfectly.




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