In 2016 I got a very good album in my mailbox. Drifting Sun made with Safe Asylum one of the best releases of that year. Now one year later a successor is already in my CD player. After one spin I already can come with one very important conclusion. They made with Twilight the best album of the bands career.
The line up of singer Peter Falconer, drummer Will Jones, bassist Manu Michael, keyboardist Pat Sanders and new kid in town, guitarist Mathieu Spaeter (ex Franck Carducci), managed to come up with a sublime concept album. An album on which everything is just in place as it should be. Sanders wrote all the excellent music and Falconer was responsible for the lyrics and concept.
Here's what he said of the whole Twilight thing: “While we've played with the idea of song-cycles before (such as the Alice trilogy on Safe Asylum), Twilight is the first complete concept album we've done. The protagonist of the album finds themselves at a crossroads in life: trapped in a psychological prison, not being able to understand the meaning of their past, and frightened to move forward into the unknown future. As the album progresses, they explore the dark and the light within themselves and others, before realising that purity of either state is impossible - neither dark nor light can exist without the other. More specifically, battling depression and the demons it brings is an important underlying theme, and the sound is also informed by the darkening political landscape of Europe and the USA. There are dark times ahead, for certain, but the Twilight promises that the light will also shine through somehow”.
The soundtrack that comes along with this concept is mainly based on two musical influences. Some of the compositions move towards the classical prog of the 70s, or as many call it retro prog, while other pieces move more towards the neo prog style. Also the second half of the album seems to have much more brighter moods. This assumption is also confirmed by the cover. There are the first four tracks under the heading Twilight, while the four remaining compositions bear the title The Other Side of Life. The intention of Sanders, therefore, seemed to be to devote one half of Twilight to the retro and the neoprog, each by designing four pieces more complex and four slightly more lightfooted. Which of course doesn't mean the second part of the album is less compared to the first half. No way. Sure there are enough up tempo parts to be enjoyed. No doubt about that.
I will not go in details about every song separately. But believe me the albums opener Twilight sets the standard for the rest of the entire album. It starts with a synth arpeggio à la old Marillion. This is an exciting composition with varied moments. The following songs also contain melodies with recognition. The songs are intertwined with each other, and sometimes lyrical passages are exchanged, which leaves a slightly conceptual impression. The new guitarist Spaeter is certainly an enrichment in the band structure. The very elegant Steve Rothery (Marillion) kind of guitar solos on the title track, Mystery Of Lies or on Summer Skies are certainly a couple of the many highlights on this amazing sounding album. Otherwise, his multi-faceted guitar playing leaves impressing traces. Together with the marvellous keyboard parts of the bands composer, you can say the influence of the old Marillion on Twilight cannot be denied. Something which I like a lot. But also bands such as Genesis, IQ, Arena, Pendragon can be named as possible references, if you want to know what the compositions go to music wise
Conclusion: Twilight is my opinion, so far the best work of Drifting Sun, as I already mentioned earlier. Sometimes words can hardly describe what you feel when you listen to an amazing sounding album. And this is the case when I listened all the way through this excellent album for many times the last couple of weeks. The album grows and grows every time you listen to it. New musical things occur and the music and concept grabs you by the throat more and more. Like the beautiful acoustic guitar and piano parts or the perfect harmony vocals. Or the melodic guitar solos which treat your ears the best possible way and makes your eyes cry. I guess I can go on and on raving about this true masterpiece. Because that's just what it is. And therefore the 5 stars are in place. Well deserved by all means and without any doubt one of the musical highlights of 2017! All I can say is; “Get it while you can”.
***** Henri Strik
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