Years Of Breathing is the third album recorded by the Austrian prog rock trio PHI consisting of Markus Bratusa (guitars, vocals, keyboards), Arthur Darnhofer-Demar (bass, backing vocals) and Nick Koch (drums). Previously the band already released For The Love Of Ghosts (2011, see review) and The Deflowering Of Reality (2012, see review).
This new release is a concept album containing a more melodic, but also a more heavy sound. It starts with the title track featuring rather boring vocals and piano passages, but luckily at the end of the song Bratusa plays a great guitar solo in the vein of Pink Floyd. Empathy And The Crowbar - a weird title by the way − sounds quite similar to RPWL with its mid-tempo melodic prog rock, nice guitar work and sometimes heavy riffs. The instrumental piece Singularity is the first highlight of the album. It's dominated by the bass guitar, heavy guitar riffs and tricky solos.
Then PHI comes up with a prog epic called Life Passing By that lasts over twenty-one minutes which is far too long to really impress. Maybe this song is too ambitious and moreover, I don't like the dominant saxophone solos that ruin this song as far as I'm concerned. The album ends with A Clear View, a rocky and funky song with some aggressive parts reminding me of Porcupine Tree. Not a bad song and no bad reference to end a rather interesting album. Check it out yourself!
*** Martien Koolen (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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