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2022-05-18 – Progarchives (Review)

Ben CRAVEN is this Australian composer who has been playing everything since 2005. Known thanks to Roger DEAN for the 2011 cover with a symphonic prog rock where he himself quotes FOCUS, Earth and Fire, GRYPHON, CARAVAN, NEKTAR, SOFT MACHINE, CAN, ELOY, Grobschnitt, YES, GENESIS and PINK FLOYD. This 5th album consists of two long vinyl tracks with modern cinematic orchestral arrangements punctuated by instant singing and emotional guitar sequences, pieces dealing with the age-old fight between Good and Evil of man vis-à-vis himself; epic, moving prog

‘Die Before You Wake’ for the 1st musical slap, 7 linked tracks flirting with the cinematic symphony very fashionable today, on a classic flight à la ORFF; an agreed tune with an aerial chorus with choirs, a riff reminiscent of the famous ‘Kashmir’, a break giving pride of place to the Hackettian guitar solo; windy, soaring art-rock progressive break, cloudy in its melodic design, Gilmourian solo; at 11mn it rises even higher before the return of the verse, a synth solo à la BANKS, reminiscences ooze from all sides. The last quarter starts on a floydian bluesy sound of ‘The Dark Side’ with a spleen, moving and warm guitar; we are far on the Creation, the sky, the temptation and we are well.

‘Amnis Flows Aeternum’ and 12 drawers for circulation around eternity, crystalline guitar intro worthy of an ASIA ‘Aqua’, disturbing 70’s spy film style keyboards that plunge into this cinematic genre, between rock prog, music classic and BOF, new fusion. It descends suddenly on a Squirian bass, the sharp guitar solo, vintage and dynamic, then dark and spleen at the same time with a singular tremolo; an orchestral slows down time before starting again, a keyboard and the 2nd ‘Amnis’ sung appears; crescendo bringing the music to the state of art illuminating the symphonic emotion in depth, worthy of a great PINK FLOYD. The last third goes back to the choirs, the vibrating guitar, a majestic experience that makes you forget time by taking up here and there the themes discussed before. 4 bonuses featuring titles from each composition, ‘Die Before You Wake’ and ‘Wicked Delights’ on the one hand for the radio hit edit and the symphonic madness; ‘Guiding Voice’ and ‘Amnis Flows Aeternum’ for the recognizable melody and the desire to immerse yourself in the two compositions.

Ben CRAVEN releases a magnificent album, it is said. Notes of hope, of overcoming, of majestic epic, 6 years used to make a top album 2022 quite simply; mix of intoxicating atmospheres, cinematic passages and dithyrambic breaks to sublimate our subjective vision of music, to bring the psyche to the firmament, to escape from this world where everything is still possible. CD/DVD in 5.1 mix with the illustration of Freya, like daughter of the master of prog covers.

alainPP | 5/5 | 2022-5-18