Website info. “Green Mars is the second album release from Viriditas, like its predecessor Red Mars, Green Mars is loosely based on the events of the book of the same name by author Kim Stanley Robinson. The music portrays events and emotions drawn from the multitude of characters in the expansive and inspiring book, from the teenage runaway Nirgal on his journey of exploration and self-discovery, to the scientist Sax Russel, a diminutive introvert quietly working out a way to thwart the plans of the blundering planetary government.”
The multitude of characters in the book inspired UK based sextet Viriditas (with guest musicians) to write varied and dynamic music featuring awesome work on keyboards and guitar, an excellent rhythm-section, lots of interesting musical ideas, and strong duo vocals (male and female), the lead male vocals reminds me in some tracks of Todd Rundgren.
My highlights on CD-1:
Between bombastic eruptions (Mellotron choir sound and fiery guitar) and mellow with tender Grand piano (evoking Yes and Spock's Beard in the more complex parts) in Green Mars.
From an atmospheric intro to a bombastic and powerful sound, with strong interplay (Gentle Giant-like), topped with exciting play on Hammond and electric guitar in The Timeslip / Zygote.
A swinging rhythm with duo vocals, then a swirling Hammond solo and powerful bass, next a kind of jam featuring percussion, Hammond and bass, and in the end a blistering guitar solo with heavy riffs in Small Boy In The Big City, wow!
Another swinging rhythm with strong vocals and excellent interplay (it sounds a bit funky), tastefully coloured with rock guitar and Hammond organ in Going Away.
A catchy beat featuring powerful Hammond and bass, strong vocals, halfway an exciting break with Hammond and rock guitar (evoking early Spock's Beard) in A New Face.
And a percussive keyboard sound with bombastic eruptions and heavy guitar, then mellow with female vocals, and finally again bombastic with a blistering guitar solo in Uncharted.
My highlights on CD-2:
CD-2 starts with Nomads. First the distinctive sound of the clarinet, then a sultry atmosphere (like the Arabian influence in flamenco) with hypnotizing percussion and ethnic instruments (adding a special flavour) and orchestral keyboards (strings), how fascinating! Halfway a sumptuous outburst with heavy guitar, soon the mighty Hammond organ joins, the music has turned from mellow ethnic prog into Heavy Prog, another strong example of their interesting musical ideas.
After a short acoustic intro, a bombastic eruption follows with rock guitar and Hammond, then a mellow part with strong vocals, halfway rock guitar blends with lush vintage keyboards (Mellotron choirs, Minimoog and Hammond) in The Spinner, wow!
From a dreamy climate with acoustic guitar and celestial female vocals (evoking the mellow side of Led Zeppelin) to an instrumental part with fiery guitar and Minimoog (Spock's Beard comes to my mind) in The Poet And The Mystic.
First a slow rhythm with the focus on jazz-oriented guitar, and a flashy Minimoog solo with pitchbend, then it is 'solo time' with a swinging Hammond, fiery guitar and mellow saxophone in Ecotage.
And finally a swinging rhythm with lots of shifting moods, embellished with rock guitar, Minimoog, Hammond and strong vocals in Soletta.
I am impressed by this second effort from Viriditas, what skills, ideas, variety and dynamics this promising new band presents!
**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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