In 2013 the Dutch progressive rock band Leap Day released the first chapter of From The Days Of Deucalion (see review).The first album by the band, based on the book "Worlds In Collision" written by Immanuel Velikovsky. Now two years later the prog community can enjoy the final chapter of this ambitious musical project, entitled From The Days Of Deucalion Chapter 2.
When the band gave me a review copy I told them that I probably wouldn't discover much new stuff on this new release. The reason for that was very obvious to me. During the concerts I attended the last couple of years they had already played a lot of songs from both chapters. Therefore a large part had been revealed. Well, you probably have guessed I was very wrong! The new album does feature several compositions that were on the setlist during their last concerts. However they made those tracks sound like rather new pieces of music, including many extra musical parts and sound effects.
The album opens with the three minutes long instrumental Pseudo Science. First we hear the sound of thunder mixed with sampled Mellotron flutes, followed by fabulous up tempo parts by the whole band. Right after that it is time for the first ballad on the album.
Amathia (Homo Ignoramus) sounds a bit like a Kayak track. For the first time we can hear the excellent melodic guitar parts played by Eddie Mulder. During the recording of the next track lead singer Jos Harteveld wasn't needed in the recording studio. The reason for that is very simple. Taurus Appearance is a piece of music on which only the other musicians in the band can shine by playing lots of solos on the bass guitar (Peter Stel), electric guitar (Mulder) and synthesizers (Derk Evert Waalkens and Gert van Engelenburg). The tempo chances are very beautiful and move from very fast parts to gentle passages. Without any break the song goes into the next track Phaeton. This tune can be described as a kind of ballad with occasionally some faster parts. It features very strong dual parts between the electric guitar and the synthesizer. Moreover the slapping on the bass guitar gives the song a funky sound occasionally. The musical orgasm of solos performed on the guitars and synthesizers near the end sound truly amazing. The next composition has a real musical surprise in store. This time no Western music at the start of this track. Ya-Who has a real Far Eastern sounding opening and even some Chinese spoken words can be heard. Beautiful flute parts done by Margriet Boomsma are next before the whole band continues on this rather mellow piece. Also on this track there is an awesome break, to give the song something extra. Another melodic guitar solo ends the song in style and blends into God Of Wars. A great up tempo tune with excellent solos on the guitar and synth. The centre break is superb with powerful drum parts by Koen Rozen, atmospheric keyboards parts and the sound of a fighting cat. This by Camel influenced composition is, for me personally, one of the highlights on the album. For the next tune the band goes into lower gear. Deucalion is a rather mellow piece with fine guitar and synth solos and has a perfect climax near the end with an amazing guitar solo. I am not sure if they used a real trumpet for the intro of In The Shadow Of Death, but I can tell you it really sounds great. It is followed by a great synthesizer solo and an even greater guitar solo. I am not sure if they used a real church organ on the same track. I do know that it really sounds cool! After this the sound of trumpet returns, just like the great guitar solo and leads to an amazing musical climax. Wow! The album ends with Ancient Times (Reprise). You might say it is in a way the echo of the first track on From The Days Of Deucalion Chapter 1. This has the title Ancient Times. It is a rather laid back composition which starts with piano parts before the rest of the band joins in. When the song develops you can hear great guitar parts which remind me of Pink Floyd and Focus. When you hear this final track you realise it has the perfect ending for a perfect album. Leaving you behind with many questions about our own planet Earth.
I have to tell you that just like on the first chapter the band used the so-called soundscapes in between most of the tracks. This way you get the impression that the album consists of only one piece of music. These soundscapes once again might clarify the concept for people who have problems to fully understand the story. You'll hear many sound effects such as the tuning of an orchestra for example. I can only say 'bravo'; the way they incorporated those sounds into the music and making it sound like we hear one whole hour of music in one go!
I guess words can hardly describe what Leap Day has achieved on their fourth album. For me From The Days Of Deucalion Chapter 2 is a true masterpiece with no weak compositions at all. The band is at its peak on this release and shows an unbelievable strong musicianship by all musicians that participated. Together they have made their best album so far. An album they can be very proud of. It is once again, just like all their previous releases, of an international level. Highly recommended for lovers of the neo prog genre and those who like bands such as Kayak, Camel, Pink Floyd and Focus! Only the highest score can be given to this superb Dutch progressive rock album. For me one of the musical highlights of 2015, without any doubt!
***** Henri Strik (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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