Different Light -
Binary Suns (Part 1 - Operant Condition)

(CD 2020, 56:40, Progressive Gears)

The tracks:
  1- Amphibians(8:54)
         - i. Water
         - ii. Land
         - iii. Sky
         - iv. The Message
  2- Faith(4:12)
  3- Spectres And Permanent Apparations(21:31)
         - i. Ataraxia
         - ii. Two Shadows
         - iii. Small Mercies
         - iv. Hand of Providence
         - v. BarBrera
         - vi. Synestesia
         - vii. Midas Gold
  4- The Answer(3:47)
  5- Two Faces(7:42)
  6- On The Borderline(10:45)
         - i. Talking To Strangers
         - ii. Seduction
         - iii. Obsession
         - iv. Vindication
         - v. Demonic
         - vi. Now Just Go Away

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If there was a Google Maps Timeline of the neo progressive rock band Different Light it would be a rather interesting one. You would see that the band, which was founded in 1994, had a long timeline period on the isle of Malta. It was on Malta where front man Trevor Tabone formed the band. After a lot of touring on the island, Different Light released their 1996 debut album All About Yourself. After this achievement it became quiet around the band. It took the band approximately 12 years to break the silence. In these years Trevor Tabone move from Malta to the Czech Republic. Most outsiders will find this a remarkable move.

In 2008 Trevor Tabone reformed the band in Prague, the beautiful capitol city of the Czech Republic. In the same year the band released Icons That Weep. The album often is categorized as a crossover neo progressive rock album. The album sounds mediocre and didn't get much attention.

Seven years later The Burden Of Paradise (see review) was released and the bigger story of the band is revealed. The album was picked up by most of the influential media. For me personally this was also the first moment of contact with Different Light. I checked my personal Background Magazine Top10 of 2016 and I saw that I ranked this album on the third place on my personal list. It was ranked just after Distance Monsters of Martigan and Déjà vu of Bad Dreams. But most important is that I rated the album before albums of e.g. Anima Mundi, Marillion and Huis. This demonstrates the impact this album had on me.

The Burden Of Paradise sounded as a fresh neo progressive rock album. The music, generally, isn't too complicated. Most of the songs have a head and a tail and have chorus lines which are rather catchy. Trevor Tabone has a very pleasant voice, which also benefits the songs. For me this album was one of the biggest surprises of 2016. Now, 4 years later, I still listen to this album often.

The new album is called Binary Suns (Part 1- Operant Condition). The release of this album was postponed a couple of times. But it was worth waiting for. The fresh sound of The Burden Of Paradise continues on Binary Suns. So one thing is clear, it's an album which can be qualified as “easy to listen to”. I don't mean to be denigrating. No, on the contrary, it's a very interesting album but it isn't too complex and isn't totally over the top.

The line up of the band is: Trevor Tabone (vocals, keyboards), Petr Lux (guitars, backing vocals), Jirka Matousek (bass) and David Filak (drums).

The atmosphere of The Burden Of Paradise is from the beginning to the end of Binary Suns present. All of the tracks are mainly fresh and up-tempo. But of course there is enough space for excellent bridges, guitar solos, keyboard intermezzos and above all heavenly harmony vocals. I once said that Different Light is a very modern neo prog version of Supertramp, but a Supertramp which is complemented with brilliant- and melodic guitar solos. Petr Lux is a very talented guitarist. He is completely subordinated to the band. He has the quality to put all the tension in melodic solo's. This instead of choosing the way of long and complex solo's. Personally I really like his solo on the last track of the album, On The Borderline. This one is so incredible melodic that it gives me shivers.

Opus magnum of the album is the track Spectres And Permanent Apparitions. With approximately 21 minutes is the longest of the album. The track is built up with several parts that all slide together to a magnificent song. Due to the variety and the pleasant atmospheres, it's my favorite track of the album.

This brings me to the Achilles' heel of the album. The album has a sort of constant flow. I think this constant flow with lot of similar atmospheres is the only downside of this beautiful album. I wouldn't name it a monotone album, but the similar atmospheres sometimes let my attention go.

In my humble opinion The Burden Of Paradise has just a little more variety and more tension in the songs. Nevertheless Binary Suns is a fantastic album which rises with head and shoulders above grey matter. I am curious about what part two will bring. For me it's a certainty that it will be another excellent album.

**** Aad Bannink (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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