After listening to Vicious Circle I sat in my chair and to be honest, I was absolutely, totally flabbergasted. This is just sensational! Nashville based band Edge Of Reality is the brainchild of 21 year old Joey Frevola. You may know him as one of the guitarists of British band Kyros (the former Synaesthesia). The first album, the more instrumental, jazz rock orientated, Elephant In My Pajamas was solely written by Joey, in this new album Vicious Circle he was assisted in writing by Jesse Peck. That young Joey is a massive talent, who not only plays guitars on this album, but also does the bass and keyboards and sings backing vocals. Jesse Peck plays guitar and sings backing vocals too. The amazing drum parts are played by Branndon Center. Joey was responsible for editing and mixing the album. And it sounds fantastic!
Joey, Jesse and Branndon are the official members of Edge Of Reality, but also important is singer Ruben Vasquez Amos of British band Seasick Swan. What a great voice this guy has! He sings lead on all tracks with the exception of the instrumental, jazzy, Khanfusion and shares them with Megan Rasmussen on the last track Into The shadows. Besides them a lot of other musicians played some parts on the album.
This album is complex. Zappa meets Haken, meets Dream Theater meets Yes, meets The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band... and a lot more. Metal, jazz, rock, prog, polka, symphonic themes, folk, it's all there. I know, this sounds like a mess, but it isn't. It's so original, so well made, so musical! And on a quality level that blew me away. The musicality of these guys sets new standards. I know Joey as a brilliant guitarist (far better than his role in Kyros until now), but his keyboard parts are stunning and his bass playing is so tasteful. Then the tracks, well it's not doable to describe them all. This album is one big highlight, but I need to mention the beautiful chorus in Teeth Of The Universe, the earlier named very jazzy Kahnfusion and the epic, nearly twenty minutes long, Into The Shadows. This track has a symphonic start, goes a bit folky and just before you think it's going in the direction of an Ayreon song it changes, a choir, a church organ, a hymn and then a techno beat. And so tastefully done! Technically complex stuff that results in great melodies and very quiet passages. Brilliant.
OK, I'll stop because I will start repeating myself. But not before I have said that this for me is the album of the year already. If prog has a future, this is it! These young guys name it Art Metal, but this is really progressive rock music. Amazing music! I wish I could give Vicious Circle more than 5 stars!!!
***** Arne van Os van den Abeelen (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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