(All Album Reviews by ffroyd)
First off, let me just say that I am very glad this band decided to continue. In my review for their last CD, 2006ís The Eclectic Measure, I reported that the band had split up because that was the information that I gathered through the web and the press release that I received. I guess the positive vibe generated from the responses to that album kept the band together and I am very proud that there is now a brand new Hypnos 69 album to explore. The moonlit drive goes on.
The band has roots that date back to the late 1980s but their first proper album was released in 2002. While they are most often associated with the stoner rock scene (moat likely due to the fact that they are on Elektrohasch Records) their sound is much more sophisticated combing elements of classic progressive rock, space rock, psychedelic and jazz rock. They put out several albums before getting the blend just right on The Eclectic Measure, a disc that got them worldwide exposure and invitations to some very prestigious music festivals all over Europe.
The new disc Legacy continues in the same direction and sees the band expanding its sound and building more confidence along the way. The tracks are longer highlighted by two multi-part suites that bookend the album. Itís refreshing to see this band mature so gracefully and yet lose none of the edge that made their last album so special. As with The Eclectic Measure, thereís a special hidden classic prog riff somewhere on the album. I guess itís not that hidden becauseit can be picked out right away.
If you havenít heard the band before, thereís a definite progressive rock influence yet they arenot trying to sound like any other band out there. Chief songwriter and sound architect Steve Houtmeyers has crafted some engaging music and his guitar playing is always exciting without being flashy. The vocals might not be the strong point but they are delivered with originality and a flair for the dramatic. The lyrics are very interesting and deeply thematic with abundant symbolism. Thereís plenty of moody keyboards and synths in the mix, including a healthy dose of mellotron passages. I canít forget the excellent woodwind work from Steven Marx that comes up quite often giving the band a unique jazz rock edge.
Overall, Legacy either matches or exceeds the high standards set by the band and I would highly recommend this one to anyone who found The Eclectic Measure to be a refreshing alternative to all of the overblown clichťd progressive rock out there these days.