Expectations are sometimes set very high when you have an album with a stunning album cover and the credits mention a stellar line up. This happened to me when I received Eterniverse Déjà Vu released by Light Freedom Revival. This is a musical project led by the Canadian composer, singer and guitarist John Vehadija, working with renowned musicians like multi instrumentalist Billy Sherwood (Yes, Circa:, World Trade etc), keyboard player Oliver Wakeman the son of the great Rick, guitarist Eric Gillette (Neal Morse Band) and vocalist Marisa Frantz. Furthermore the incredible looking art work was done by the well know Ed Unitsky.
However, when you hear the entire album several times you get rather disappointed. The 13 tracks on this release are very well produced by Sherwood and Vehadija and the quality of the musicianship is of a very high level. That's not the problem. The problem is that the tracks sound too average and mediocre. John Vehadija writes too simple sing-a-long songs which hardly any lover of progressive rock will make his or her heart beat any faster. The hand of Billy Sherwood is very much notable. But it is not enough to get real strong Yes kind of harmony vocals or Chris Squire kind of bass parts. The spark is just missing. There are no real strong guitar or synthesizer solos which makes you get out of your seat and jump around. Sure, occasionally they try to fit in some solo but that's not good enough for me. Even some country and Western music can be heard. Just listen to Go Amplify The Feeling. Is that what we want to hear on an album mainly recorded by progressive rock artists? I guess not! Unfortunately for me only one track could get my attention music wise. The Yes orientated Place Of Power has everything a real proghead likes to hear. Strong vocal and instrumental parts which gets you focused on the music throughout the entire song.
I had wished to be more positive after hearing Eterniverse Déjà Vu. But that's unfortunately not the case. The songs are what they are and move too much into radio friendly territories. Only one piece of music that appeals lovers of progressive rock is too little. If John Vehadija wants to continue in the progressive rock scene my advice for him is not only to find great musicians but also to find a great composer such as Neal Morse to work with! Because average is not good enough for me! Because that's what this album just is!
** Henri Strik (edited by Dave Smith)
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