The Austin-based American progressive rock band Thirteen Of Everything surprised many progheads in 2005 with their debut album Welcome, Humans. Including our own reviewer. Erik Neuteboom at the time wrote: “... beautiful electric guitar ... flashy synthesizer flights, powerful vocals, dynamic interplay and many shifting moods.” I couldn't agree more! For many years the band did not release anything. But it didn't mean they were not writing music for a successor. Between 2009 and 2018 they were very busy with several line ups to come up with an album that will be released June 7, 2019. They named it Our Own Sad Fate and after hearing the album, it shows that the long wait has certainly paid off.
As stated on the intro, the album was made while the band went through several line up changes. The personnel changed twice before the album was completed. All but one song on the album was recorded by Ted Thomas (drums, cymbals, vocals), Mick Peters (bass, stick, bass pedals, nylon acoustic guitar, vocals), Joe Funk (electric guitar, steel-string acoustic guitar, synths on West Texas and guitar synth on Plague) and Bruce Mcintosh (piano, organ, synthesizer). Furthermore, you can hear guest vocalist Rick Clark on Walk On Water and guest violinist Mark McMillan on Event Horizon. A special mention goes out to Thad Miller (keys) and Brett Cosby (guitar), who (as the most recent members) performed on one track (Life Is Change). Though Thad left the band after the recording was complete, and Brett is still very much a current active member.
It's always nice to know if a band choose to work on an album with a theme or concept. But according to drummer Ted Thomas the new album does not have a particular theme or concept but, like the first album he happened to choose artwork that seemed to aesthetically reflect some of the various lyrical themes in a way that one could interpret it as an overall concept of sorts. But that was not the intent as he wrote me. There was also no master plan in that regard. He chose the cover picture mainly because it had a #13 billiard ball that barely survived a storm (which at the time seems to reflect the bands own situation of staying the course against adversity). He also mentioned that by choosing the title Our Own Sad Fate (which is taken from a line in the final track Plague), it makes the photo take on a different tone, tying into the final line in Plague about the sea and the land and the sand which is nicely reflected in the photo of a post hurricane wasteland, and in general reflects the world's current turbulent times, both politically and environmentally. So, it turned out to be coincidentally apropos.
As for the music I can only put both thumps up. Just like I did when I heard the band's debut for the very first time. That album really did blow me away. An album which compares the band to acts such as Gentle Giant, Genesis and Yes. But that would not completely do justice to the fantastic progressive rock they performed on that album. Because they certainly have a style on their own. This can be heard on the second album as well. The seven tracks on this album are all excellent progressive rock tunes which are not always easy to describe music wise. Therefore, I will not go into detail. But believe me you will have a great time while listening to them. Because you can hear catchy melodies and at the same time complex arrangements with unexpected twists and turns. Moreover, there is a lot of instrumental interplay, and are tons of melody. What more do you want as a lover of progressive rock? Nothing, I guess!
For me personally, Our Own Sad Fate is the first real musical surprise of 2019. All of the seven songs on this album entertained me from start until finish. Never a dull moment or a weak musical passage. It's all there for a true lover of progressive rock. This album really made my prog heart beat faster. Well done guys! The only sad news is that they are seeking a new keyboardist player for live concerts and the recording of new compositions. But they will come up with a good one no doubt about that! Just like I am sure their third release will be a good one as well!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Dave Smith)
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