In 1996 I started to write CD reviews. One of the first releases I did was from a band from Malta. The name of the band was Different Light and the album they made was their debut All About Yourself. I do not know exactly what I wrote at the time. But I remember that their first steps in the progressive rock scene were not big ones but worth listening to. Their style of neo progressive rock I certainly liked and I wrote a positive review. Strangely enough I never heard anything about them until recently. Trevor Tabone (vocals, keyboards), one of their founding members, contacted me twenty years after the band's debut came out. He wrote me that a new album was released with the title The Burden Of Paradise. If I was interested? Who isn't, if you haven't heard such from a band from a country which hardly has a progressive rock scene for a long time ! So it was only a matter of time until I found a copy in my mailbox.
Before I go deeper into this new album, first some history lessons. A lot of things can happen in twenty years. This also occurs for Different Light. After their first effort they made the EP A Kind Of Consolation in 1999. However shortly after that the band split up. In 2008, Trevor Tabone decided to reform the band. This was done in Prague (Czech Republic). One year later an album was recorded and released, entitled Icons That Weep. In 2015 a compilation album of the band was released. Il Suono Della Luce- A Collection 1996-2009 is a great way to hear what the band has done before they made The Burden Of Paradise.
Nowadays the band consists of the earlier mentioned Trevor Tabone (vocals, keyboards), Jirka Matousek (bass), Petr Matousek (drums) and Petr Lux (guitars, backing vocals). Through 2014 and 2015 they recorded the songs that lead to the release of The Burden Of Paradise in early 2016. They came up with a 66 minute, semi-conceptual album that deals with the idea of individual freedom and acceptance. It is a beautifully crafted piece of work, both lyrically and musically. They play a musical style which can be described as a mix of crossover and neo progressive rock. You can enjoy eight high level tracks, some of which are subdivided into shorter sections. If you listen to the album without interruption from A to Z, the fragmentation leads to a total of 21 "songs", which does not adversely affect the music. This gives you even more the impression of a continuous work with a lot of variety. The album starts with a part of a speech taken from the movie "The Great Dictator" starring Charlie Chaplin. Something that has already been done by other bands before them, such as Seasons Of Time on their album Closed Doors To Open Plains (2014, see review) and Fusonic on their release Fields Of No Man's Land (2015, see review). But I didn't care at all, because it works very well in the concept. Throughout the album you'll hear more sound fragments from the same movie.
Anybody who likes strong melodic songs with occasionally a fine guitar and keyboard solo is in the right place with this album. Lux and Tabone serve it all on your musical plate. So never a dull moment for everybody who wants some adventurous moments in their daily portion of progressive rock. Furthermore the vocals are of a very high level, something you can't always take for granted. I guess you just can't complain when you hear this excellent album, where they display their excellent playing and songwriting skills. Above all you can hear that the songs were recorded with a brilliant modern production.
Highly recommended to all neo progressive rock lovers who enjoy the music made by bands such as Leap Day, Silhouette and Comedy Of Errors. But at the same time also suitable for those who like Pink Floyd and Supertramp. One of the best musical releases of 2016 without any doubt!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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