The band is called "Initiation". They are a 4 member unit from Buffalo,New York.
Mark Partyka - guitar, vocals
John Gilbert - keyboards
Ric Stave - bass, keyboards, vocals
Jeff Jankowski - drums
This is a new band that plays a modern form of progressive rock. The band themselves call it "prog rock with modern influences". There are 7 songs on this CD and the time totals 40:44. Of the 7 songs, "Hyperbaric Flames" and "Lady of Whitehead" are instrumentals.
The music is prog rock, it has some things that sound "retro" and some that seem "neo". I just think they are good. There are plenty of keyboards all over the place. The keys sound like a mix of organs, el/pianos, moog and string synths. The guitarist Mark plays everything just about perfect. He doesn't solo in songs so much as adds lots of melodic fills, when he does solo it is done with much "taste". His tones change and vary from tune to tune, he can roar with heavy distortion or clean it up and play straight up el.guitar. He also plays an amplified acoustic guitar on one piece very effectively. His singing voice is really good. He reminds me of Peter Gabriel mixed with Michael Sadler of Saga.
The bassist Ric plays in the vein of a Chris Squire with a loud upfront bass poking out all over the place but making excellent contributions to the music. The drummer is Jeff, he seems more of the "follow the music and play basic time keeping with fills here and there" drummer.
The best tunes to me are "Hyperbaric Flames" and "Don't Go Near the Water". They are the 4th and 5th songs. "Hyperbaric Flames" is a very cool song with a semi-fast opening section that just seems to build tension and then resolves into a slower section with the guitar and synths playing unison lines. They play these sections twice with the second one having a synth sounding like a vibraphone or maybe a real vibraphone playing a real nice short solo. The bass steps forward to replay the opening section along with guitars and synths to a closing crescendo.
The next song is "Don't go near the water" and along with "Hyberbaric" forms the best section of this CD. This song is wonderful with its well arranged and conceived sections meshing well to tell of what seems a loss of a loved one or girlfriend. It starts out with a pseudo country-ish section with slide guitars and lots of acoustic guitars with a string synth playing sweetly behind. The vocals come in and the lyrics tell of "an episode of remembrance". There is a change with the music becoming faster and louder as the bass and guitar play double lines with drums crashing all around. The melodies within this song suite are really nice. The whole thing resolves into a wonderfully well conceived guitar solo that is played clean and slightly jazzy. It then heats up with some upper register el.guitar soloing which is also great as its perfectly placed. The middle sections have some lilting, ethereal guitar playing over the drummer doing drum roll beats. Acoustic guitar and some nice finger picking is next. The last section has the bass and synths taking the lead in a fast section and then it all resolves into synth with oceanlike sound effects, with nice trebly/echoey guitar strumming. This song is excellent in the way the sections are fleshed out: not too much but just enough changes, speed variations, dynamics and real nice melodies within the section make for a great song. My favorite song from this CD.
The closing song, "Lady of Whitehead" is a wonderful piece that slows things down but has some exquisite amplified acoustic guitar and string synth sections. The melody and slow and dreamy feel of the song is a perfect way to close out the CD.
The production on this CD is great. Everything can be heard without any problems. The keyboards sections are full and majestic. The guitars have enough bite when needed and the acoustics sound warm and clear.
This is really good modern (memorable/catchy) style prog rock. To me they can be compared to stuff like Porcupine Tree, Everon, Saga and Final Conflict. The songs are really good in that the band has taken some chances with mixing different ideas and making them work/fit. The arranging is excellent as well. The song placement works as the opening faster rockier songs are early with the "gems"(imo) coming midway with the latter tunes doing a "chill out". Wonderful CD! Check them out if you get a chance and listen to some mp3's.