Those who had serious issues with the lyrical content of Supernal Endgame's debut album Touch The Sky Volume I can probably stop reading this review. However if you only go for the musical advises I will give this is certainly a review you must read until the end. Let me first explain why some people had some trouble listening to this excellent album. On the band's debut album released in 2010 the word of the Lord was the subject of their lyrics and the musical concept of the album. Even the name of this US band refers to the Christian faith. Because the word "Endgame" refers to the supposed end of times in the history of mankind, which is then understood as the wait for the Saviour. And "supernal" means "above ground". So no argument about the fact that you are dealing with a so called Christian progressive rock act., just like Iona, Neal Morse and in a way Glass Hammer can be labelled as a band who have religion in their lyrics. If you have no trouble about the way the musicians of this band are proclaiming the faith of Jesus Christ you are certainly in for a very strong progressive rock album with their follow up to their debut. Simply titled Touch the Sky - Volume II. Again an album on which they only sing about religious subjects.
Right from the opening piece Supernal One (Immanence & Transcendence) the band knows how to grab you by the throat with their music. Thanks to the use of the violin on the first track the comparison with their fellow countrymen of Kansas is made. Throughout the rest of the album this wonderful instrument is used more often by several guest musicians. And every time the name of Kansas comes to the surface when they incorporated this instrument in one of their compositions. Did I care? Certainly not, because they are one of my all time favourite progressive rock bands who had their golden years in the seventies. Going back to that period of time only brings a smile to my face, and I guess to many others too! Going through all of the excellent ten tracks on this second release is not something I am going to do. Each of them is of such a high level that words can hardly describe what you hear on them. Every track is filled with amazing musical parts provided by Rob Price (lead and backing vocals, drums, percussion, loops, keyboards), John Eargle (lead and backing vocals, guitars, keyboards, loops, bass, mandolin), Tom More (bass guitar, keyboards, midi pedals, backing vocals), Jett Cheek (keyboards, backing vocals) and John Crafton (guitars, backing vocals). The craftsmanship of these musicians just blows you out of your seat throughout the entire album. The way they perform their excellent solos on their guitars and keyboards makes sure that you never have a moment to sit still or to catch your breath. So bravo for that! Besides the musical links with Kansas more bands could have been possible influences. Acts like Spock's Beard, Neal Morse, The Flower Kings, Yes, or Iona are not entirely wrong when it comes to appropriate comparisons. The last name might come as a surprise. But when you know that one of their founding members was asked to contribute, you think differently. Dave Bainbridge was asked to play some of the lead guitar parts. If he was responsible for the sound of this band, this is probably too much honour for him. The use of the Tin Whistler played by guest Dan Pomeroy gives the band a real Celtic sound. Otherwise the comparison with Iona would have been minimal. Finally I'll have to tell you that a very strong asset on this release is the way they bring back certain musical themes which were already present on their debut.
Supernal Endgame succeeded to come up with a very strong follow up album to their equally strong debut album. Anybody who is interested in the acts mentioned earlier will enjoy this release as well. Even more if you are somebody who shares the faith in Christianity. And if not, but you still love the progressive rock of those bands and don't care about the lyrical content of the songs, this is your album as well! So it's up to you! Well, I already have made my choice!
****+ Henri Strik (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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