The Emerald Dawn - Nocturne

(CD 2019, 51.15, World's End Records)

The tracks:
  1- Prologue(0:30)
  2- As Darkness Falls(10:44)
  3- Moonlight(8:33)
  4- In the Dead of the Night(10:43)
  5- The Child Within(20:45)

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The Emerald Dawn was originally formed in 2010, in the Scottish capital Edinburgh by Tree Stewart (keyboards, piano, flute, acoustic guitar, percussion, and vocals) and Ally Carter (electric and acoustic guitars, guitar synthesizer, tenor and soprano saxophones, keyboards, and vocals), before moving to St Ives, Cornwall in South West England, where they were joined by jazz drummer Tom Jackson. The band describes themselves as a multi-instrumentalist, symphonic progressive rock group, who combine elements from classical music, jazz and rock to produce their own original sound. The name is meant to suggest an environmentalist revolution. The Emerald Dawn's first album entitled Searching For The Lost Key was released on October 8th, 2014 and has been widely played on progressive rock radio stations around the world. For their second album (released on August 21st, 2017) entitled Visions the band added bass player Jayjay Quick (fretless and fretted bass guitars, electric upright bass, electric violin and cello). On February 1st, 2019 The Emerald Dawn released their third album entitled Nocturne, with their new bass player David Greenaway (who replaced Jayjay in the spring of 2018).

1. Prologue (0:30) : This introduction delivers soaring keyboards and spoken words.

2. As Darkness Falls (10:44) : A slow rhythm in a dynamic and bombastic climate with powerful guitar and drums, a sultry sounding orchestral synthesizer sound (Middle-Eastern undertone), strong interplay (Rush comes to my mind). Then a brass synthesizer sound, fiery guitar runs with a distorted sound and flashy synthesizer flights, fuelled by dynamic rhythm-section, this is very pleasant Old School instrumental prog. The music slows down to a hypnotizing atmosphere featuring a fat synthesizer sound, slow drum beats and soaring keyboards. Finally again that distorted guitar sound, fiery and compelling, supported by powerful drum beats, the energetic and powerful vibe reminds me again of Rush.

3. Moonlight (8:33) : First wonderful piano play, from tender to sparkling. Then a slow rhythm with piano, now a wah wah driven electric guitar joins, what an exciting contrast between fiery electric guitar and tender Grand piano, to me it sounds like “Chopin meets Jimi Hendrix”. The exciting wah wah guitar work continues, now with support from the organ, and slow drum beats, culminating into heavy and biting runs, wow! Then the atmosphere shifts to dreamy with tender Grand piano play, again the wah wah guitar joins, what a captivating duet. Gradually it becomes more dynamic and the tension builds. In the end the music turns into very mellow, with fragile piano runs, what a wonderful piece of music!

4. In the Dead of the Night (10:43) : First the distinctive sound of the Fender electric piano, blended with an orchestral keyboard sound. Then a slow rhythm with fretless bass and gentle drum beats, dreamy vocals and a long and powerful saxophone solo. The atmosphere is hypnotizing but then a bombastic eruption with wonderful orchestral keyboards. Now the focus is on moving guitar work, from sensitive to fiery, simply beautiful. Halfway a break with an ominous climate, orchestral keyboards, turning into a slow rhythm with fretless bass runs, then hypnotizing male and female vocals (low and high), evoking a horror movie-like atmosphere. Suddenly a majestic church organ sound, gradually the atmosphere becomes more bombastic when propulsive guitar riffs join, what a compelling atmosphere, topped with howling guitar runs and sumptuous keyboards. The final part is like the start, featuring a dreamy Fender piano sound.

5. The Child Within (20:45) : It starts dreamy with soaring keyboards and melancholy vocals, reminding me of the song Child Of The Universe by Barclay James Harvest. Then orchestral keyboards, matching with the melancholy atmosphere, now a distorted electric guitar joins, intense, raw, with howling runs, blended with celestial female vocals. This music evokes to me, the good old days of Steve Hillage, and German prog legend Grobschnitt during the epic Solar Music. The music turns into a slow rhythm with the focus on a splendid fiery guitar play, with again those high pitched female vocals, like an angel, contrasting with the heavy guitar sound. Halfway a break with the sound of thunder and bells, then an accelaration with tight drums, repetitive organ runs and heavy guitar, blended with spooky female vocals. Now soaring keyboards join, and the mood shifts first to dreamy with moving guitar runs, and then to a slow rhythm with those spooky female vocals and a fiery guitar that rocks. This is topped with a long and flashy synthesizer solo and propulsive guitar riffs, what an exciting sound, I love this sumptuous prog sound! Then again the sound of thunder and bells, followed by tight drum beats, repetitive organ and a raw guitar sound, very compelling. Finally the dreamy atmosphere from the start of this epic composition returns, featuring soaring keyboards and melancholical vocals, and in the end a spacey synthesizer solo with subtle use of the pitchbend, and soaring keyboards, a wonderful goodbye.

To me The Emerald Dawn sounds as interesting (mainly instrumental) music, with lots of strong musical ideas and exciting moments.

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

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