Albion - Unsongs

(CD, 2015, 51:56, Lynx Music LM107CD-DG)

The tracks:
  1- Golgotha(9:14)
  2- Through The Rainbow(10:03)
  3- Fear(10:04)
  4- Particle Of Soul(10:17)
  5- This Is The Way Where We Go(8:23)
  6- Shadow(3:37)

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This Polish neo prog made its last album in 2012 (as far as I recall) and comes now with a CD that contains six tracks from previous albums. I've some of their music in my collection, including the 1994 debut on cassette, but I must say that it has been a while since I listened to them, so time to refresh my memory!

Golgotha from the first CD (or tape) opens the album very moody with keys, a dramatic bass. There's a fine synth solo followed by delicate acoustic guitars. A great track to open and a good re-acquaintance as far as I'm concerned. The disc continues with the 11 minutes long Through The Rainbow that reminds me a bit of Ayreon through the industrial pattern until the neo prog keys set in and determine the sound. The piece is almost all instrumental and (save for a brief acoustic guitar interlude) carried by keyboards with occasional effects. Interestingly the piece reminds me rather of great German prog-art-pop group Propaganda because of the way the synth-pop elements are built in. Fear is also an instrumental piece, building on keyboards, accompanied by acoustic guitars and bubbling rhythm. A soaring electric guitar solo in best Andy Latimer (Camel) style cuts in at one point. Halfway through the piece turns into a rockier direction, taken there by electric guitars.

At this point I start to wonder, because as far as I recall Albion had a female singer (check my archive - yes they do), but so far I've only heard some vague female backing vocals on Golgotha. So if this is a compilation of their earlier work it for sure isn't one that shows a representative picture. But then, I presume the title of the CD is meant to signalize this: Unsongs- these are no songs and neither are they sung (well, in case of Golgotha this is not true, but that's the only song with male vocals on Survival Games and thus the odd one out on that album). Particle Of Soul is a piece carried by soaring electric guitar in Gilmour style that gives it a clear Floydy atmosphere. If we have to take the title This Is The Way Where We Go literally I'm a bit concerned about the band. The piece starts with keyboard oriented neo prog, then throws in some dance-synth bits before turning (prog)metal, then around 4 minutes it ends up in trippy ambient music. This isn't really what I appreciate about Albion, even though I must say that the music is good, despite the unusual styles. Then we switch over into a rhythmic symphonic part that rather reminds of the Alan Parsons Project. The closer Shadow is the shortest piece from this disc. It's another beautiful track with flute-like keyboards and acoustic guitars.

A fine introduction to (or, as in my case, re-acquaintance with) this group. Even though it's not their most typical music that is presented here, you can hear their talent and it's some fine symphonic music all the way through.

***+ Carsten Busch (edited by Astrid de Ronde)

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