This is the second album by Spanish formation Scaladei (including two members from 90s band Harnakis) entitled School Of Pure Soul (2023), after their first effort The Swing Of Things (2020). To me the music sounds in the realm of Neo-prog, with hints from early Marillion and IQ, but tastefully blended with interesting own musical ideas. The focus is on wonderful, often moving guitar work, embellished with many Mellotron layers. The vocals are in English, pleasant but with an obvious accent.
An intro with a majestic Watcher Of The Skies-like Mellotron sound and howling electric guitar runs, then a tight mid-tempo beat and bombastic atmosphere featuring a fiery guitar solo in Tall And Proud.
Dreamy guitar and piano and moving guitar in a slow rhythm, layered with Mellotron, next an accellaration that contains a tight mid-tempo and fine synthesizer solo, then a powerful guitar solo, blended with synthesizer and finally awesome Mellotron choirs and strings in Reach The Top.
Gleaming Way is a wonderful ballad with a tender and finally bombastic with a moving guitar solo.
Beautiful Mellotron and acoustic guitar in the short Midnight.
A sumptuous early IQ sound with sensitive and howling electric guitar in Sakura Essence.
And finally the epic title track (close to 17 minutes), it contains lots of fine shifting moods with intense guitar (between Fripp and Hackett) and awesome Mellotron sounds, but at some moment it sounds a bit unbalanced and the vocals too much with an accent.
***+ Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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