For the neo-progressive rock fans Lee Abraham is a settled name in the business. For those who can use some introduction, here is a short update of his career so far. As a guitarist/musician/producer from the south of England, Lee took up recording around 1999. His classic rock and AOR music led to the release of Pictures In The Hall in 2003 and in 2004 Lee wrote a progressive concept album called View From A Bridge, which featured guests like Karl Groom of Threshold fame and IQ's Martin Orford. A year later Lee joined UK progressive rock band Gallahad, a band he stayed with until 2008. Black And White (2009, see review) was released a year later and included guests like John Mitchell (Arena, Lonely Robot, It Bites, Frost*), Jem Goddfrey (Frost*), Simon Godfrey (Tinyfish) and Steve Thorne, just to name a few. His best performance however; at least in my personal perspective, was the release of Distant Days in 2014 (2014, see review). Although the title of the 2016 album; The Season's Turn might indicate the album would be something completely different, The Season's Turn is the perfect successor of Distant Days. With returning guests and wonderful stretched compositions the new album is the continuation of the previous.
The album kicks off in a bold way; the title track; The Season's Turn, which takes you on an almost twenty five minutes trip through the finest neo progressive rock you could wish for. This song holds the very strong combination of Lee's Dave Gilmour based soloing together with Rob Arnold's sublime layers of transparent keyboards and occasional piano parts. Based with solid drums from Gerald Mulligan (Credo) and topped with a vocalist I just totally admire for his distinguished voice; Marc Atkinson, the vocalist known for his band Riversea and his participation in Nine Stones Close and Mandalaband. This mid-tempo song has a nice and gentle flow and leaves a lot of room for nice instrumental escapades. Basically this is one of those compositions that could last forever, without you getting bored or losing interest. Lee just keeps blowing your mind with this brilliant opener. The following; Live For Today is more robust and basically serving the same line-up as the previous song. The solid bass comes from Alistair Beggs, but the vocal duties are on Dec Burke's behalf, another fine vocalist that fits beautifully in Lee Abraham's composition. The delicate piano parts go perfectly with Dec's fragile but tough voice. The guitar solo makes that the song gains power towards the end and is catchy and memorable. Vocalist Atkinson returns on the restrained Harbour Lights; a very strong ballad type song focusing on the emotional vocal parts, backed up with smooth piano parts and soft orchestration. Again Lee's solo ices this beautiful composition. The shortest track on the album has a slightly different touch; Say Your Name Aloud has a happy sound and a very positive vibe. Perhaps due to the uplifting vocal parts of Credo's Mark Colton, this song differs from the previous ones. I am not saying it's not as good, it's just different. The final track The Unknown has the same intensity as the first three compositions on The Season's Turn; moody, high on emotion and ingenious guitar parts that are in perfect balance with multi-layered keyboards. This time Tinyfish frontman Simon Godfrey is the one that handles the vocal parts. The Unknown is perfectly built and has its high in the middle with a powerful guitar solo. Towards the end the song simply fades away like a candle in the wind, leaving me with a feeling: “I need more of this music”!
Being very positive about Lee Abraham's previous album, I can only state that The Season's Turn at least equals that one. The production is great, the vocalists are perfectly chosen and in my opinion the compositions are even better, more emotional, personal and close to perfect.
****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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