Akacia, a North Eastern American band which calls itself 'progressive rock with spirit' is a promising new group.
Their first release, entitled An Other Life, creates a new picture of Christian prog, bringing back memories of Yes, King Crimson, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Genesis, in that order. But, it also creates a new style in itself, which is sort of a jazzy, psychadelic prog rock.
The first and title song, “An Other Life” is an unabashedly Christian epic suite composed of five movements: “An Other Day”, an energetic piece which showcases Mike Tennenbaum's incredible guitar talent. Dust You Are”, a psychadelic peice which reminds me of bands like Yes, but also of Jimi Hendrix, and of old Jethro Tull. “Your Calling”, reverting to a more Chicago kind of feel and a more mellow rock piece. “I Look Out” starts out with a chaotic instrumental, displaying Tennenbaums appropriate keys, but ends up having a King Crimson-ish melody and settling into a kind of Genesis groove. “No Other Life”, a conclusion of the spiritual Journey, cleverly incorporates a reprisal of the preceding movements.
“Mary” is a great track, with its acid rock organs, having a distinctly 'southern' rock feel, and is quite enjoyable. 'Hold Me' has great lead guitar, and is my favorite track, second to the first suite.
The last suite is another great epic, and the closer to An Other Life. This is not my favorite track because, while displaying more of the excellent musicianship talked about above, it displays nearly the same music as above, or now, as you have been listening to for 35 minutes. It is still a great track, nonetheless.
Each player on this record has his own unique style. Espescially Stephen Stortz who, while displaying at times technical musicianship, does not get too technical when the time isn't right, creating just what a bass player should be. Mike Tennenbaum is a fabulous guitarist, at times like Howe or Hackett, but especially the influence of Jimi Hendrix shows through.
If you are a fan of King Crimson, Yes, or any of our beloved founding proggers, buy this record, and you won't be disappointed.