Konchordat are a duo from Kent (UK) consisting of Stuart Martin (vocals, guitar, keyboards) and Steve Cork (bass guitar, Moog Taurus pedals, keyboards). On the new album The New Crusade we hear the powerful drummer Liam Green as a guest musician. Their debut album English Ghost (2009) didn't stand an excellence chance in the prog community. The second album was written and recorded between February 2010 and April 2011 at the Sovereign Studio. In the title track you'll hear the voices of Peter Harrison and Chad Lewis as Winston Churchill and George W. Bush. Konchordat hold two strong assets and they know how to use them from the first notes until the last of the album. First of all we have the perfectly written progressive rock songs in the vein of Arena, Pallas and Pendragon; secondly the vocals by Stuart Martin which are emotional, powerful and expressive in the classic prog rock tradition.
The opening title track lasts more than fourteen minutes and contains powerful music introduced by a fanfare and historical words of Churchill and Bush. After three minutes the sound of David Gilmour's guitar comes out of your speakers, while Stuart Martin reads his critical lyrics about a young soldier in an endless war. Halfway the song you'll enjoy fine duels between guitar, synth and drums. The last part is rather spooky and has a slow dramatic rhythm as in a funeral march. Listening to A Coming Of Age reminds me of the good old days of Marillion with Fish. After three minutes it changes to a Pendragon-song with a magical keyboard solo by Cork in a waltz rhythm together with the heavy guitar licks of Martin. Speed is the keyword in the 12-minute rocker Panic Room. This piece gives me the feeling as if I'm driving in a racing car during a Formula 1 race at Monte Carlo or Monza. After four minutes it's Arena-time. What a great guitar solo from Stuart Martin! Play this one loud! Several synth and guitar solos fly from the left to the right corner speaker in your room.
The final part has a cinematic and tragic ending with a short Gary Moore or Michael Schenker-like guitar solo. Heaven's Gate is another cherry on the delicious Konchordat cake. It's a smooth and a friendly song with a fine chorus. Scars Inside is a fast played and moving rock song. It's not spectacular, but ideal for a live performance. At the end of this shortest song there's a kind of climax between the duelling synths and guitars. Dramatic spoken words are the first sounds of the final piece Time To Go. It sounds like one of the better IQ-songs. The last four minutes contain two beautiful guitar solos in the vein of Andy Latimer (Camel) and John Mitchell (Arena). Konchordat deserve the full five-star rating; The New Crusade is a beautiful finale of an excellent prog year.
***** Cor Smeets (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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