Leap Day -
From The Days Of Deucalion, chapter 1

(CD 2013, 53:37, OSKAR 1059 CD)

The tracks:
  1- Ancient Times(2:08)
  2- Signs On The 13th(9:40)
  3- Changing Directions(7:48)
  4- Insects(11:12)
  5- Hurricane(5:09)
  6- Ambrosia(5:09)
  7- Haemus(5:30)
  8- Llits Doots Nus - Sun Stood Still(6:57)

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Worlds In Collision is a book written by the Russian-Jewish psychiatrist Immanuel Velikovsky (1895-1979). It was first published in April 1950 and it deals with a comet-like object that passed near Earth in the 15th century BC. The object changed the Earth's orbit and caused numerous catastrophes that were mentioned in early mythologies and religions around the world. Velikovsky looked for concordances in myths and written history of unconnected cultures across the world. The historical-cosmological story of this book is thus based upon historical texts of many peoples around the globe, but also on classic literature, epics of the northern races, sacred books, traditions, folklores of primitive peoples, old astronomical inscriptions and charts, archaeological finds and geological or paleontological material.

52 years later, the object again passed close by, stopping the Earth's rotation for a while and causing more catastrophes. However, the courses of the planets stabilized over the centuries and Venus and Mars gradually became 'normal' planets. Many of the book's claims are completely rejected by the established scientific community as they're not supported by current available evidence. Still Velikovsky's theory is very interesting.

You may wonder what this book has to do with progressive rock? Well, the Dutch guitarist Eddie Mulder came across this theory and wanted to use it for a concept album. At the time he was still a member of Flamborough Head, and he asked them to use it for one of their albums. However, the other band members seemed not to be interested and therefore he tried to use it for one of the albums by Trion. But again, his fellow-musicians weren't interested in this concept. Finally he suggested the idea to the band members of his current band Leap Day; they appeared to be captivated by the story and so they started to work out a concept. They were so excited that they wrote too much tracks for a single album and as a result they decided to release all of the material on two albums. At first they intended to release a double album, but eventually they thought it to be better to release two separate albums. They called it From The Days Of Deucalion, chapter 1 and 2. The first chapter has been recently released; the second one is due in 2014.

During the first Northern Prog Festival (see review) the band presented From The Days Of Deucalion, chapter 1. They performed a large part of the album. At the time most of those tracks were new for me. My first impression was that they once again had recorded the kind of excellent songs that appeared on the previous two albums Awaking The Muse (2009, see review) and Skylge's Lair (2011, see review). After listening to the studio versions of these tracks and to the other remaining songs it was easy to conclude that Eddie Mulder, Gert van Engelenburg (keyboards, backing vocals), Jos Harteveld (lead vocals, acoustic guitar), Koen Roozen (drums), Peter Stel (bass) and Derk Evert Waalkens (keyboards, percussion, backing vocals) again recorded a great album. I think Mulder must have inspired them a lot to write and record this concept album.

It's obvious that next to the lead vocals, the guitars and the keyboards have a leading role on this record, so excellent solos can be enjoyed throughout. The music mostly reminded me of acts like C amel, Focus and Pink Floyd, but also well-known neo-progressive rock bands crossed my mind like Pendragon and IQ. In general the album has a rather laid-back approach. Most of the compositions are slightly mellow, but they included several up-tempo parts to give the songs the necessary variety, which has been done greatly. This doesn't apply to the up-tempo track Hurricane, but what else would you expect from a song with such a title!

By using soundscapes in between the tracks you get the impression that the album consists of only one piece of music. These soundscapes clarify the concept for people who got problems to fully understand the story. So in between the tracks you'll hear the sound of thunder, footsteps, explosions and even insects were recorded on Insects. Mentioning any highlights isn't easy because all compositions have their own beautiful parts. But I guess I slightly prefer Insects and Llits Doots Nus - Sun Stood Still to the other songs. To visualize the concept they asked the Polish musician and designer Rafal Paluszek − who plays the keyboards with Osada Vida − for the artwork. He tastefully designed images both for the cover and the booklet which make the concept come alive!

From The Days Of Deucalion, chapter 1 is a fantastic album that will probably be loved by people who like the music of all the above-mentioned bands. Hopefully the second chapter based upon the fascinating book by Velikovsky will be of the same high quality level!

**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

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