Just to be fair, I think DarWin took the best elements of his previous album; Origin Of Species (2019, see review) and added a little bit more fusion and progressive rock, when he created DarWin 2: A Frozen War. Backed up again with the amazing Simon Phillips on drums, keyboards and production and bass player, vocalist Matt Bissonette, the outcome is a relatively short album, EP if you like.
Just five tracks, but amazing ones, intelligent progressive rock elements are embedded in the melodic base of DarWin, the fusion parts are the icing on this nice cake. Matt's vocals are multi layered, something like you could hear on his albums with The Mustard Seeds. But what makes these song exceptional is the participation of some of the best musicians in the scene. Bass player Billy Sheehan is featured on most of the tracks both keyboard players Derek Sherinian and Jeff Babko add their specific sound to some of the compositions. Again, for me the icing comes from guitar players Greg Howe, Guthrie Govan and acoustic player Alex Sill. The Reykjavik String Quartet joins on several tracks, creating a very nice atmosphere.
For me personally, the first four tracks are the most interesting, I love Matt's multi-layered vocal lines in combination with sometimes powerful melody lines and delicate keyboard parts. All backed up with one of the best rhythm sections possible nowadays. Too bad the final composition has a bit of a poppy touch, perhaps the female vocal parts take away my attention, but when you have heard Matt, who also participates in this track, the female voice just doesn't work for me.
In the end Darwin 2: A Frozen War turns out to be a very fine EP with four amazingly played, intelligent compositions, by the best of the best musicians.
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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