Sunchild is one of the three bands of the busy and very talented Ukrainian mastermind Antony Kalugin. His other two bands are Karfagen and Hoggwash. After the release of the two conceptual Sunchild-albums The Gnomon (2008) and The Invisible Line (2009) he recorded his third and final fairy tale The Wrap in 2010. Central themes of The Wrap are hope, weakness and deceit. Just like on The Gnomon-album the story is about a boy and a girl and a big masterplan in which a ruthless game is being played. The protagonists have to fight to win back their values and love by finding a way out of the wrap.
The beginning of the first song Day Of Destiny sounds quite similar to the music of Shadowland. A slowly played piano and vocals are followed by a well-played electric guitar solo by Maxim Velichko. The lyrics in the chorus are easy to sing along with. The song ends with a bayan played by Sergey Kovalev. Next is the five-minute instrumental piece The Wrap (intro). The music is a blend of the finest instrumental passages of Vangelis, Alan Parsons and Camel. The rhythm-section consisting of Sergey Balalaev (drums) and Kostya Ionenko (bass) are constantly duelling with Kalugin's keyboards and Velichko's guitars. In this song the excellent production of Antony Kalugin and Will Mackie becomes evident too.
The long epic Under The Wrap lasts over 36 minutes and contains mainly up-tempo and interesting progressive rock music. Although it has some heavy guitar parts, it's still no hard rock or prog metal. That's quite remarkable regarding the heavy themes of the album. The voice and keyboards of Antony Kalugin always sound bright and never get dark. The last part of the epic is like a rollercoaster with beautiful instrumental passages and dazzling duels. Under The Wrap also has a fantastic epilogue by violins introducing the final electric guitar solo of Maxim Velichko and the flashy synths of Kalugin. An Angel is a more traditional symfo ballad followed by a short second acoustic instrumental piece called Illusionist. The final piece The Wrap (outro) starts and ends very relaxed, but the middle-section is a straight rock song with some spacey sounds.
After seeing Antony Kalugin playing live at the Progfarm Festival in The Netherlands, he convinced me again with this excellent third Sunchild-album. This album certainly belongs to the best releases of 2010. If you enjoy the traditional progressive music of legendary prog bands like Genesis with Peter Gabriel, IQ, ELP and Pendragon than you certainly will enjoy every minute of this outstanding album by Sunchild.
**** Cor Smeets (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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