To be honest Monsters From The Id, this new album by Ben Craven (autodidact, born in Brisbane, Australia), his fifth since 2006, is my first musical encounter with his music. But I am blown away, what an awesome Seventies Symphonic Rock inspired music, very tastefully arranged, with flowing shifting moods, strong work on guitar and keyboards, and despite the long running time of the two epic compositions “never a dull moment!”.
Die Before You Wake: The albums starts with a bombastic and slightly chaotic sound collage, the prelude of wonderful and impressive 24-carat symphonic rock, alternating and compelling, very melodic and harmonic, from start to finish this music succeeds to keep my full attention, wow! The one moment from a slow rhythm with a bombastic atmosphere and fiery guitar leads to mellow with tender piano and vocals, then turning into more lush and dramatic. Or from a bombastic outburst with compelling classical orchestrations, blended with harder-edged guitar and propulsive drum beats to sparkling piano and classical orchestrations with heavy guitar and tight drum beats. The other moment from a spacey guitar solo, or a sound collage featuring an electronic undertone to a slow rhythm with dreamy synthesizer flights, and another moving guitar solo with howling runs. Or from a flashy synthesizer solo with a majestic Mellotron choir sound, melancholy vocals to a David Gilmour kind of slide guitar and tender piano, in slow rhythm. The final part delivers a long and moving Gilmourian guitar solo, topped with Mellotron choirs and military drum beats, goose bumps!
Amnis Flows Aeternum: First a mellow atmosphere with dreamy acoustic guitar and piano, to me it sounds like a soundtrack, a bit ominous, the Pink Floyd kind of slide guitar rules. Then the music turns into a catchy beat (Eighties King Crimson come to my mind) with a sitar-like guitar. Gradually the sound becomes more lush and dynamic with strong guitar work and bombastic orchestral keyboard layers. Now back to mellow with tender piano, and halfway again that ominous atmosphere, like a horror movie. Then soft drum beats, with pleasant vocals and Mellotron choirs, followed by a mellow climate with Floydian slide guitar and a spacey synthesizer solo. The second part of this epic delivers a spectacular Minimoog solo with Mellotron choirs in the best tradition of Rick Wakeman, and then a sumptuous accellaration with a long and moving guitar solo, in the best tradition of David Gilmour, this is Symphonic Rock Heaven!
This album is concluded with 4 single edits: Die Before You Wake, Wicked Delights, Guiding Voice and Amnis Flows Aeternum. incredible how inventive Ben Craven turns the epics moments into strong single edits.
Highly recommended, and especially symphomaniacs alert, this is top notch Seventies Symphonic Rock inspired music!
****+ Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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