Lee Abraham is a multi-instrumentalist (vocals, guitars, keyboards, bass) and music producer from the south of England. He attracted the attention of the media in 2002 with the release of his album Pictures In The Hall. In 2004 Lee released View From The Bridge and one year later joined the UK based progressive rock band Galahad as their bass player. However, he already left them in 2009 to concentrate on resuming his solo career. This resulted in Black And White (2009, see review). The years that followed were spent mostly in doing session work and producing albums of fellow musicians. Throughout 2012 and 2013, he had been working on the recordings for his latest release. Early 2014 Distant Days could be welcomed.
Listening to Distant Days certainly isn't a painful experience. Throughout the entire album it is very notable that he has already spent a lot of time working in recording studios and writing compositions. Everything sounds just perfect. Furthermore, each of the seven tracks are of a very high level. The album opens with Closing The Door and really grabbed me by the throat right from the start. This strong up tempo piece, very much goes into the direction a band such as Threshold moves into music wise. If you know who played the excellent guitar solos you probably would have guessed it right away, because of their guitar picker Karl Groom. Also worth mentioning are the strong vocal parts done by Dec Burke. Next is the title track. This is a rather slow ballad in which Lee himself shines on the electric guitar. His solo is really stunning, just like his vocal performances! The track is followed by The Flame. One particular band came to mind right from the start: Frost*. This, mainly thanks to the strong guitar parts, which in a way sounded as if Frost*'s guitar player John Mitchell (Arena, It Bites) performed them. The ultra-catchy vocals done by John Young (Lifesigns/ John Young Band), fit perfectly to the pleasant sounding music. A return to the style of music of the already mentioned UK progmetal band Threshold comes to the surface on the only instrumental track, Misguided. Another fine ballad is Corridors Of Power, which follows next. It's one of the longest compositions on this album, meaning there's enough room for variety and they included three guitar solos in addition to the wonderful voice of Marc Atkinson (Riversea). John Young's voice can be heard for the second time on the rather up-tempo Walk Away. In my opinion it is the most commercial sounding song on the entire album, even though it includes some strong keyboard melodies and has a fine break in the middle section. The last piece on the album is probably the best song of all and is the longest at the same time. Tomorrow Will Be Yesterday has all kinds of different musical parts. Sometimes the sound of the early King Crimson albums can be recognised. Other times more modern acts such as Porcupine Tree and Steve Wilson shine through. On the whole track it's vocalist Steve Thorne who shines most of all, next to the musicians that play the excellent guitar and synthesizer solos, and occasionally he sounds like a modern day Greg Lake!
In my opinion Lee Abraham certainly made one of the musical highlights of 2014 with Distant Days! In collaboration with a selection of guest musicians, he managed to keep me entertained one whole hour long. I guess a musician such as Mr. Abraham never let you down when it comes to create excellent progressive rock music, just like he did on his earlier releases!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Esther Ladiges)
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