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2016-06-13 – Jerry Lucky (Review)

Originally published:

Band: Ben Craven
CD Title: Last Chance to Hear
Label: Tuneleak Records (2016)
Rating: Great Stuff 4/5

Australian based multi-instrumentalist Ben Craven is back with another wonderful recording. Last Chance to Hear is Craven’s third CD and it’s a grand musical affair; large in scope and panoramic in sound. It’s a speedy forty-six minutes long, ten compositions, seven of which are actually instrumentals so there is a tremendous amount of musicality on display here. As before Craven is the mastermind behind every note, writing, performing and producing everything except for one track which actually features William Shatner on vocals and production and engineering from Billy Sherwood, other than that it’s all Craven here folks. And I will say this; there is a powerful majesty that exudes from the music crafted here. A song like “Critical Mass Part 1” [3:00] with its haunting choral vocals and twinkling notes immediately summon up images of spacey space travel which then morph into a myriad of other amazing images. Like his other albums Craven is a master at writing music that summons images like a soundtrack to a movie that hasn’t been made yet. In and out of this are classic Progressive Rock riffs and motifs; music that is constantly changing and incorporating styles outside the norm. Once again he’s injected hints of James Bond sounds here and there that tie into the liner notes “Ben Craven Will Return”. I feel the need to stress just how much musical variety is incorporated into these ten tunes; so many styles, so many different motifs and it’s not all happy and up-beat, there are plenty of minor haunting segments as well, much of it revolving around the multi-part compositions “Critical Mass” and “Spy in the Sky.” Amazing stuff. The disc comes with not only the audio CD that is structured like vinyl with a side 1 and side 2, but there’s also a bonus DVD that features some videos and a making of documentary. All this put together in a nicely designed Roger Dean package and you have a first rate musical experience. Highly recommended to fans of symphonic prog.