I had never heard of DeeExpus, but I loved their debut album Halfway Home (2008, see review). Therefore I was really looking forward to their follow-up King Of Number 33. On this album, and to my great surprise, the band joined forces with no one less than Mark Kelly, the keyboardist of Marillion, one of my favourite bands ever. This amazing album opens with Me And My Downfall, an up-tempo neo-prog rock song filled with heavy riffs, melodic guitar solos, wild and howling keyboard solos and crystal clear vocals. In other words: an amazing opening track which tastes morish! Sadly the follow-up Artension-like Maybe September is a bit boring at certain passages, but the third instrumental piece Marty And The Magic Moose is again very well played.
Undoubtedly the masterpiece of this album is the 27-minute epic King Of Number 33, which has been divided into six chapters. This outstanding neo-prog monster track describes the downfall of a local eccentric from vocalist Tony Wright's childhood, arising from the lunatic's obsession with buses and past kings and queens of England. The music of this epic is hard to describe, but it features everything a classic prog rock song needs. For me Accession (chapter 2) and The Physician And The Traitor (chapter 3) are the best chapters mainly due to the breathtaking Arena- like melodies and the beautiful guitar solos. However, you have to experience that song for yourself to be truly amazed. The album ends with the rather weak track Memo, which is rather poppy and dull. It features a vocal guest appearance of Nik Kershaw, who is of course famous for his super Top Of The Pops hit Wouldn't It Be Good. So, if you skip the second and the fifth song you have a superb neo-prog rock album. Enjoy!
**** Martien Koolen (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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