Come - I'll Sing To You The Chaosong!
Persephone's Dream is a band that has been around for quite a while, but never was fully recognized until the release of this, their fifth studio full-length. With 17 years under their belt, the band has released one of the best progressive rock albums to come out so far in 2010. Pan: An Urban Pastoral not only immerses the listener with its wonderful atmosphere and beauty, it also manages to impress the listener with instrumental prowess, amazing songwriting feats, and a terrific lyrical concept to top it all off. Add in the fact that Persephone's Dream is one of the most unique and original modern symphonic progressive rock acts around, and you have everything that's needed to amaze prog fans. Needless to say, this is not an album that should fall of the radar of any prog rock listener.
One thing that really amazed me about Pan: An Urban Pastoral was the incredible amount of patience it took to appreciate. When I first heard the album, I honestly wasn't too impressed. Luckily, a good 7 listens proved my lukewarm first impressions completely false. Although the album can be incredibly hard to digest at first, it's all worth it in the end. What once came across as a drawn out, pompous, and inconsistent collection of songs soon became a terrific, unique, and beautiful conceptual work of art. Although a there are a few (albeit small) moments of weakness throughout the album, the vast majority of this work is nothing short of incredible. The 70's symphonic prog style that is utilized throughout this album really helps give Persephone's Dream a stable foundation, but avant garde, heavy rock, folk, and Celtic influences give the band their own sound in an often extremely derivative genre.
As I mentioned earlier, Pan: An Urban Pastoral is amazingly consistent for an album of almost 70 minutes. There are a few moments that have weak melodies (notably in "Nectar Of The Gods"), but when I say moments I really do mean moments. Although there is a weak melody or two in the aforementioned track, it doesn't last for very long and soon returns to more strong music. I' m going to refrain from mentioning any other tracks simply because I want to emphasize that this entire album NEEDS to be listened to as one big long song. The relatively short songs typically aren't great as standalones, but that definitely changes when you hear the entire concept from beginning to end!
The musicianship is great on Pan: An Urban Pastoral. All of the musicians definitely know what they're doing, and they do it exceptionally well! I especially have to applaud keyboardist Jim Waugaman for his keyboard talents, but also for his terrific vocal pipes. The frequent vocal tradeoffs between himself and Ashley Peer add a lot of variation into Persephone's Dream's music.
The production is really good, although a bit of an acquired taste. It's much more raw and unpolished than most modern prog is, but that's a good thing in my opinion. The over-produced sound of almost all modern prog bands is really starting to bother me, so it's great to hear a band like Persephone's Dream who isn't afraid to go against the norm. The production has a distinct 70's sound throughout the album.
Pan: An Urban Pastoral is a fantastic 5th album by Persephone's Dream. After such a successful and enjoyable concept album, I simply cannot wait to hear where the band goes in the future. My rating will be 4 stars for a unique, enjoyable, and creative progressive rock release. If you like symphonic prog but not the really cheesy and derivative kind, I can't recommend this album enough!
(Originally Posted on ProgArchives.com)
1. Prelude (0:39)
2. Invocation (1:18)
3. Pan's Labyrinth (7:28)
4. Those Who Remember (3:42)
5. Chaosong (1:25)
6. Sidewalk Soliloquy (2:50)
7. Chaosong Reprise (1:31)
8. Denouement of a God (1:02)
9. Le Defile Satyrique (1:32)
10. Maenads, Melody and Meter (3:01)
11. Ubi Sunt (1:12)
12. The Seduction of Daphnis (4:59)
13. Nectar of the Gods (3:12)
14. Youth's Denial (1:16)
15: The Temptation of Icarus (2:14)
16. Selene Rising (2:03)
17. The Tears of Selene (9:31)
18. Erato's Pulse (11:06)
19. Silhouette (8:45)