Release Date: 29th February 2016
Label: User Friendly Records
The band, Different Light, was originally formed in Malta back in 1994 and released the debut album, All About Yourself, in 1996. They spent some time touring to promote the album and released a mini album, but then split up and thus ended chapter 1 in the story of Different Light.
Fast forward to 2008 and one of the original members of the band decided to reform Different Light, this time based in the Czech Republic and this resulted in the release of another full length album, Icons That Weep, in 2009. Continuing on from this point has seen the release of the newest album, The Burden Of Paradise, earlier this year.
The band on The Burden Of Paradise is a 4-piece, comprising Trevor Tabone (vocals, keyboards), Jirka Matousek (bass), Petr Matousek (drums) and Petr Lux (guitars, backing vocals) and the album is a 9 track release with a playing time in excess of 66 minutes.
There are two long suites on the album which are made up of several sections, “In The Grand Scheme of Things” (22:20) which is made up of 8 parts and “Eternal Return” (14:13) comprising 6 parts. Not surprisingly the former track is the longest on offer and the shortest is “Mare Ibrium” at 1:17 minutes.
The opening opus, as there is no other way to describe the 8 part suite, on The Burden Of Paradise is “In The Grand Scheme of Things” and is an amazing journey over the 22+ minutes. The track switches tempos, has some superb keyboard work from Trevor, some amazing guitar riffs, themes and melodies by Petr L and vocals which fit the changing musical styles like a glove as the track progresses from the full band thundering workout sections to the delicate ballad style sections. I should also point out the amazing playing of the powerhouse of the band, Jirka, on drums and Petr M, on bass, form the musical foundation to everything.
As this opening track progresses, you realize that you are listening to something very special and by the closing notes of the 22+ minutes, you are totally convinced of that fact.
The shorter tracks on The Burden Of Paradise, “Voice of Outside” (5:38), “A St. Martin’s Summer” (3:07) and the 5 tracks that escort the album out, “Transient Dream” (5:25), “Mare Ibrium” (1:17), “In Love and War (Love)” (3:35), “In Love and War (War)” (6:34) and “All For You” (4:25), although very different in some styles, have that superb anchoring sound of the piano/keyboards and the excellent themes from Petr L on guitar.
The second suite on The Burden Of Paradise, “Eternal Return” (14:13) is another truly stunning piece of work. Commencing with a gentle piano theme, the suite starts in slow ballad style and progresses along with the band picking up a little bit of steam, with the clear powerful vocals entering along the way. The movement through different tempo changes, maintain the interest of the listener and, almost disappointingly, the 14+ minutes of this majestic track have come to an end.
This album is unashamedly grounded in 70’s style progressive rock, superbly played by an excellent group of musicians. At once, depending on your age, you feel very comfortable with this retro-style, and while there are no sudden ventures off into the realms of experimental areas, prog rock, prog metal, symphonic prog and ballad all combine to provide an amazingly satisfying listen.
This album has nudged itself into my top releases of the year and both suites have featured on The Ancient One radio show. I would recommend that you give Different Light a moment, well, the time it takes to listen to the first suite, “In The Grand Scheme of Things,” and I can almost guarantee that you will be clearing a small space on your CD shelves to accommodate this release.
Key Tracks: In The Grand Scheme of Things, Voice of Outside, Eternal Return
1 In The Grand Scheme Of Things
i The Schemer Wakes
ii Letters For Alice
iv The Stalker Walks
v Pascal’s Wager
vi Out Of The Goldilock’s Zone
vii Together There
viii The Schemer Sleeps
2. Voice of Outside
3. A St Martin’s Summer
4. Eternal Return
i New Promise
ii At First Light
iii Nectar Junky
iv A Carpathian Day
v Default Setting Escape
vi Waking Moment
5. Transient Dream
6. Mare Ibrium
7. In Love and War (Love)
8. In Love and War (War)
9. All for You
Jim “The Ancient One” Lawson-Sr. Reviewer Prog Rock Music Talk
May 4, 2016
Review Provided By Prog Rock Music Talk