Telergy is a project of the American singer and multi-instrumentalist Robert McClung, who plays keyboards, guitars, piano, flute, bass, percussion, lap steel guitar, violin, mandolin, ukulele and balalaika. After playing almost twenty years in bands and with musicians in the popular music scene, he wanted to create something that was more related to his passion for progressive rock. Drawing on the influences of Pink Floyd, Rush, Kansas, Dream Theater, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Nightwish, Kamelot, Within Temptation, Symphony X, Rhapsody Of Fire and numerous other bands, he started his own project Telergy. His goal with this project is to put on music significant historical events through powerful and classically inspired progressive rock.
The result is a concept album that reflects the biblical story of The Exodus. The story is not told from the perspective of the participating characters, but by a grandmother cleaning up the basement with her little grandson and finding an old vinyl record. From that point on the story comes alive through sound effects and the voices of people who play the most important parts. The dialogues between the grandmother and the boy are continuously present between the tracks. The music has not only been influenced by progressive rock, but by classical stuff as well. However, don't think this stuff is soft and mellow, because from time to time the music also includes influences of heavy metal. On the mostly instrumental compositions Robert McClung shows what a talented musician he is. Although several guest musicians contribute on the twelve tracks, their parts are less important than Robert's. Since most people have learned the story of The Exodus at the primary school, there's no need to tell you what it's all about. Instead I'll tell you how this project sounds and whether he did a good job or not by telling the story of Moses leading his people out of Egypt.
While listening to the seventy minutes of music I specially got the feeling that I was listening to a radio play wherein some music for distraction has been included. Sometimes I felt that the story sounds too dramatic with the many sad moments. The crying of babies, the sound of a whip flogging, it's all too much even considering the tragedy of the story. Sure, McClung knows how to use music to tell this story. The aggressive guitar parts stand for all the harsh moments while the classical parts, performed on the cello and the violin, bring a lot of emotions to the surface. Telergy included Eastern sounding musical passages to tell parts of the story that took place in Egypt. He even used the Pink Floyd-track Is There Anybody Out There? to express the feelings of the people banished from their country. As for the rest this is one of the better compositions on the album. The remaining tracks aren't that bad, but music wise these compositions are rather flat. I didn't hear many musical moments that made me sitting on the edge of my seat and I didn't get goose bumps either despite several strong and emotional guitar solos. Don't get me wrong! Robert McClung is a very talented musician and songwriter, but he didn't succeed in getting my attention all the way. I found it difficult to compare his music to any well-known names in the prog scene, but I guess that the above-mentioned influences might give you an idea of how the music sounds. However, he still has a long way to go to obtain the same status as those bands!
With The Exodus Telergy has recorded a debut album that certainly contains some fine moments. But the overall feeling remains that the compositions are too mediocre to get me focused till the end. It's probably the perfect soundtrack for the Christmas-season or any other Christian event. Hopefully Telergy's next story will be more adventurous for me!
** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2013