Drifting Sun - Veil

(CD 2024, 47.09, Private Release)

The tracks:
  1- Veiled(2:00)
  2- Frailty(12:05)
  3- Eros And Psyche(5:12)
  4- The Thing(7:49)
  5- 2-Minute Waltz(2:00)
  6- Through The Veil(5:45)
  7- The Old Man(5:44)
  8- Cirkus(6:34)

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Drifting Sun were formed in the early 90s (originally named Drama), after French natives Pat Sanders (keyboards) and Manu Sibona (bass) left their home country and landed in Chesham, UK. There they met American singer Rafe Pomeroy and four pieces were recorded in a London-based studio, then sent to Musea for evaluation. The French label decided to sign the band on their branch-label Brennus and in 1996 the self-titled debut of the band sees the light with Karl Groom participating on one track. Drifting Sun decided to move on as an independent group, the line-up was expanded with the addition of Tobin Bryant and Bryant's friend, guitarist John Spearman, while Pomerey was replaced by another American vocalist, Chris Martini. By the end of 1998 the band had launched the sophomore effort On The Rebound. What followed was a very long break (1999-2013), but in 2014 Sanders gave his band another chance, gathering a new line-up with singer Peter Falconer, drummer Will Jones and bassist/guitarist Dan Storey. The third work entitled Trip The Life Fantastic (see review) was released in early 2015, then the band released 5 albums, between 2017 and now, their previous effort is entitled Forsaken Innocence (2021, see review) and now the brand-new CD Veil (2024), with in the 5-piece line-up featuring next to Sanders John 'Jargon' Kosmidis (Verbal Delirium) on vocals, Ralph Cardall (The Deepstate) on guitars and mandolin and a Neo-Prog rhythm-section featuring Jon Jowitt (ex-IQ) on bass and Fudge Smith (ex-Pendragon) on drums.

Veiled (2:00) A short but wonderful blend of tender piano play, an orchestral keyboard sound, Minimoog, choirs and moving guitar, in a mellow atmosphere

Frailty (12:05) A dynamic sound, shifting between dreamy and bombastic, with strong work on guitar and varied keyboards (synthesizers flights, powerful organ, tender piano), topped with inspired vocals (at some moments slightly theatrical). Finally a sumptuous climate with emotional vocals, howling guitar and choirs, to me it sounds like a mini rock opera, very well done.

Eros And Psyche (5:12) First a duet between beautiful Grand piano play and dreamy high pitched vocals. Then a slow rhythm in a bombastic atmosphere, featuring spacey synthesizer runs, powerful guitar riffs, and harder-edged guitar with moving runs. And finally again tender piano. What an excellent, very elaborate song, these guys know how to please the progheads.

The Thing (7:49) The first part alternates between dreamy, slow rhythms and bombastic, embellished with soaring keyboards, choirs, flashy synthesizer solo and moving guitar runs topped with inspired vocals. Halfway a long and moving guitar solo with biting runs, with choirs, wow! In the second part mainly a bombastic climate, again with excellent guitar play.

2-Minute Waltz (2:00) Awesome Grand piano work, between tender and sparkling, I love this!

Through The Veil (5:45) It starts with powerful Hammond organ and fiery guitar, fuelled by a powerful rhythm-section, then a slow rhythm with strong vocals, followed by a tight mid-tempo with Hammond. Now the music has turned into a dynamic and powerful sound, impressive, topped with strong vocals. In the second part a synthesizer solo and heavy and howling guitar runs. This bands deliver a good balance between song-oriented and instrumental parts.

The Old Man (5:44) First a dreamy atmosphere, with melancholy vocals. Then synthesizer flights join, in a slow rhythm and a bombastic sound, topped with inspired vocals. The music is coloured with piano and synthesizer. The tension builds, and culminates in heavy guitar solo, with biting wah-wah pedal driven runs. Finally dreamy with twanging guitar and soaring keyboards, wow, what an exciting composition!

Cirkus (6:34) I am delighted about the way the band has translated the title into music: a cheerful and catchy climate, fuelled by a dynamic rhythm-section, and embellished with strong, slightly theatrical vocals. In the first part a moving guitar solo and flashy synthesizer runs, then a female choir joins, in a sumptuous atmosphere, again like a mini-opera. Finally a dreamy climate with tender piano and violin, what a wonderful contrast with the rest of this captivating and dynamic song.

Well, I am impressed after my first musical encounter with Drifting Sun: skilled musicians, varied and elaborate songs, coloured with strong work on guitar and keyboards, and topped with inspired vocals. For those who are not into Neo-Prog, give it a try, this band sounds like Neo-Prog Plus, way more elaborate and varied than the average Neo-Prog music.

**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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