Coalition – Bridge Across Time

cover_RingMasterReview

Coming almost five years after the band’s last album, British progressive rockers Coalition release Bridge Across Time, an encounter which takes ears and imagination on a colourful creative journey. Over nine melodically and lyrically suggestive tracks, the album engages on every level, sweeping the listener up in accomplished and stylish endeavours sure to please all prog rock favouring appetites.

Since the release of In Search of Forever as 2012 opened its eyes, the 2010 formed, Reading hailing Coalition has seen its line-up change around the constant presence and songwriting of multi-instrumentalist Steve Gresswell, the man also behind the just as enthralling project The Inner Road. A long time in the making, Bridge Across Time sees guitarist Colin Tench of BunChakeze/Corvus Stone and vocalist/lyricist Blake Carpenter from The Minstrel’s Ghost/Corvus Stone alongside Gresswell, both adding their own distinctive presence and talent to a release showing Coalition at a whole new level of songwriting and adventure.

Steve Gresswell

Steve Gresswell

With Gresswell handling keyboards, drums, and bass guitar, Bridge Across Time swiftly captures the imagination through opener Across the Sea. From the inviting sound of a coastal scene, a picture of melodic beauty courtesy of Tench quickly involves the imagination with darker rhythms in close attention as the warm tones of Carpenter caress the senses. Straight away the gentle climate and welcoming air of the song seduces; its subsequent catchy stroll just as persuasive as Tench’s captivating melodies and craft wrap around it. It is a potency matched in Gresswell’s keys, their presence floating across the picturesque landscape with the emotive heart of the song portrayed by the fine vocals. Jazzier elements add to the enjoyable aural scenery though the operatic background cries do less for the appetite.

It is a potent start to the album which only blossoms further as Fantasy Island escapes the imagination of the trio. For no apparent reason thoughts of a Wicker Man solitude and secrecy is sparked by the opening setting of school children within another pastoral setting, though soon lost as keys and guitar weave an intimate yet broad canvas of sound and suggestion. A festival of riveting hooks and infectious ideas, whether brief or lingering, the track hits the spot in no time, Carpenter’s voice a thought engaging narrator to it all. Across its eight minutes, there is a plethora of things going on which eventually unveil themselves across further listens, something applying to the whole of the release, with the wonderful almost mischievous flames of sax a treat which instantly excites, as too the rolling bouts of piano and floral strings.

From its initial colder climate, the following Labyrinth becomes a festival of folkish hues and catchy revelry, again a more insular atmosphere to the song’s story coming over; a village bound character accompanying its sound as emotive outpourings line words and voice. That operatic texture is repeated again and makes a better fit if still not for personal tastes but only adds to the eventful elements and character of the magnetic track before Land of Dreams serenades with its simple but so potent melodies and Carpenter’s intimate presence within rising orchestral breezes. Bewitching and increasingly powerful with every outing, the track keeps the album in command of attention with sublime ease especially as its livelier side takes care of a physical involvement.

Through the melancholic yet vivacious Lost Soul and the Celtic spiced River Song, the track more with an undercurrent of that flavouring than openly wearing its charm, Bridge Across Time invites greedier attention from ears and imagination, that even though neither quite matches up to their predecessors. This alone shows the strength and quality of the album, a potency more than reinforced by The Light with its flirtatiously bubbly keys and evocative melodies and Valley of Shadows where wistful but bold melodies join the poetic enticement of brass and strings.

Completed by the worldly and epically compelling exploits of The Watcher, a final major highlight, Bridge Across Time is a progressive treat to embrace and take your time with, the rewards a continuous offering. Its tracks are certainly lengthy but no track feels anywhere near its distance and only holds ears and focus tight throughout to defuse any prior objections from a punk bred appetite.

Coalition is back and revelling in the imagination of three rather talented and technically adventurous musicians.

Bridge Across Time is out now and available @ https://coalitionprog.bandcamp.com/album/bridge-across-time

https://www.facebook.com/CoalitionProg/

Pete RingMaster 21/01/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Inner Road – Ascension

Ascension promo

Taking the listener on a compelling and expansive journey through soundscapes which evoke and provoke thought and imagination, Ascension the new album from The Inner Road, is a vibrant and classy adventure which incites personal invention and interpretation to its narrative whilst equally creatively directing thoughts into a proposed direction. It is an enveloping kaleidoscope of instrumental progressive rock with each movement and moment drenched in a full blaze of sonic colour and inspirational craft from its creators for the deepest pleasure.

The Inner Road is a project founded by keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist/ songwriter/producer Steve Gresswell as an outlet for

Steve Gresswell

Steve Gresswell

his more symphonic style of  instrumental progressive rock, sounds and ideas which do not find a place within the creativity of his other band Coalition. The Inner Road also finds Gresswell collaborating with other musicians who bring something special to fit the need of the music. 2011 saw the release of debut album Visions, a record made with renowned guitarist Phil Braithwaite which was met with strong acclaim, and here for Ascension the musician has teamed up with one of the UK’s finest guitarists and rock songwriters to emerge in recent years, Jay Parmar. Fresh from the release of his own stunning album Circle of Fire via Steve Vai’s Digital Nations label, Parmar brings a style to the new album which sets tracks on fire with passion and evocative invention, his striking style drawing out the same hunger as inspired by his previous solo work for this album As well as his own releases and Ascension, the guitarist is also recording the new album from Exorcism featuring Csaba Zvekan and Joop De Rooij (both also in Ravenlord) as well as again joining up with Zvekan in new band D.O. Messiah, showing the appeal and impressive reputation Parmar has earned over recent years, which will only grow further when, after being invited by Gresswell, he joins Coalition who record their new album later this year.

Ascension wastes no second of its inventive presence to light up the senses and thoughts with full and extensive atmospheres, their embrace consistently fuelled by the sonic skill and grace of Parmar’s melodic incisions and alchemy; sounds and imagination which comes more often than not with a breath and caress of eastern influences and suggestion within an almost exhausting creative temptation. Set alongside the equally captivating and warmly invasive keyboard enterprise and ingenuity of Gresswell  the union makes for a release which leaves visual and emotional alchemy in its enthralling wake.

Jay Parmar

Jay Parmar

The title track opens up the adventure, a piano aiding a sun of melodic enticing to introduce the first steps on the departure into the vast realms of the album. Its company comes from crunchy riffs slowly bringing their voice to the brewing unveiling of this beckoning expansive landscape. With the sounds of both musicians coming together to sculpt the view there is a sense of depth and long passage ahead in the exploration of the immediately majestic world. The song appears as a travelogue of textures and sonic exhilaration instantly in league with the wonderful orchestral seduction at work , and their unity finding itself in tandem with the melodic weaves and wash already igniting the passions. As in all songs the music is like a ‘travel guide’, a provocateur to beauteous scenery and imagination whether visual or reflectively emotive, an investigation which is enjoyed physically and imaginatively.

From the immense opener the album takes flight through The Steel Sky; sinewy almost cold riffs from guitar and bass guiding the listener through shadowed clouds and imposing structures to find the sonic rays of light and melodic coating of sun brought from the keys and the stunning persuasive guitar commentary. It is then followed by the equally powerful Two Worlds Two Tomorrows, the track seemingly the sister to its predecessor as deeper in to the heart of the emotive terrain we go. Every song within the album feels connected to what came before and follows, for a fulfilling and ear widening melodic peregrination.

The smouldering and sizzling sonic traverse of Altered Reality and the provocative Troubled Memories step forward next to raise the temperature further. The first has fire to its intensity and creative sonic discharge whilst ensuring a continually evolving surprise in its presence with a compelling regal mid-section with potent and sirenesque strings, their orchestral embrace stepping in to temper the heated insistence of Parmar and set celestial cascades of melodic glory falling upon the ear, whilst the second is a dazzling candescent of melodic and harmonic craft leaving again only rising emotion towards its enthrallment

The biggest highlights of the thrilling album come with the final three tracks starting with A Fleeting Dream, a piece which triggers an unbridled flood of thoughts and ideas with furnace bright melodies and descriptive paint box rich sonic colouring. Parmar wrings out every emotive drop of incitement with his playing whilst the keys of Gresswell especially when he flows through a stunning sea of floral melodic expression which reminds of Dave Greenfield at his best, inciting the fullest ardour for what is the best track on the album. The outstanding and riveting The Awakening has its say on the final choice of top dog though with its initial colonial call moving aside for another poetic and provocative voyage of shifting gait and imagination whilst the closing Flight through Eternity simply lures the last of any passion still sheltering out with its strongest Eastern sultriness and inflamed closing sunset.

Ascension is an excellent and continually giving album, a release which just gets better and more potent with each travel of its ambient hot pilgrimage. The Inner Road has produced a release which is not only progressive/ instrumental rock at its best but melodic enterprise of any description.

http://www.inner-road.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Steve-Gresswell/442768909088975

https://www.facebook.com/jayparmar

9/10

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Careless – Coalition

 

To all extent and purposes Coalition the debut album from US rock band Careless has been 25 years in the making. With half of the tracks that make up the album written and recorded in the 80’s and the remainder post 2008, the album has been on a long journey to realisation but now it has unveiled its great rock sounds the album is a definite welcome addition to this year’s releases.

The journey began in the early 80’s when guitarist Walt Kosar and drummer/vocalist James Collins met whilst attending a college in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Finding mutual musical minds and loves the duo began writing and recording music together. Bassist Nolan Ayres was added to work on these initial songs and their home recording via a Tascam 234 4 track cassette machine. These songs ‘Curtains’, ‘Boundaries’, and ‘D.F.M.’ open up Coalition continued by tracks ‘Out of Control’ and ‘Blackened Walls of Freedom’ which were also created at the time. Life, circumstances, and opportunities etc came into play and the guys went their separate ways, losing touch over the years. Despite the members being in different geographical regions 2008 saw Kosar with the aid of modern technology find and make contact with his band mates. This resulted in the band revisiting the older material and working on brand new songs, the result becoming Coalition

As mentioned the 80’s written songs make up the first half of the album and apart from the actual song quality the notable thing is how easily and seamlessly they play against the newer material. There is not a majorly distinct difference to the sound quality to tell the music was created and recorded two decades, apart at no point does Coalition particularly feel like an album of two parts. Opener ‘Curtains’ reveals the band’s influences and love of 80’s new wave of British heavy metal bands with its clean and melodically powerful guitars which often unveil intriguingly surprising meanderings and the strong but never indulgent vocals of Collins. The other thing that shines is the great bass play from Kosar; every track pulsates with his honed ability and imaginative lines.

The early songs like ‘Boundaries’ and ‘Out Of Control’ continue this flavoursome rock sound , vibrant and fresh sounding despite the material’s age it engages the ear eagerly ensuring all classic/hard rock fans will find much to get excited over. These songs carry a Maidenesque essence too that ignites thoughts of the times the songs were spawned from.

The newer songs have firmer steel to them, a metal edge that demands attention without deliberately abusing the ear. Tracks like the excellent ‘Against Stupidity’ and ‘Contend In View’ with its commanding riffs and frisky solo, stand as confident examples of the quality songwriting and individual skills of Careless. The new songs also feature a grouchier bass from Ayres, his riffs veining these later songs with even more depth to feed all primal needs.

For all these great songs the ones that actually made the deepest mark are the three instrumentals on Coalition. Each is strongly different to themselves and the rest of the album to show the diversity of the band. ‘As Time Passes…’ is an emotive piece with wonderful guitar work from Kosar against atmospheric keys, its beauty sparking emotions within the listener. ‘Between the Mayhem’ is a similar piece with this time the delicious bass of Ayres having full reign minus the keys. To some these tracks might feel like fillers or indulgences but with their quality and satisfying effect they more than deserve their worthy inclusion. The third ‘5ive’ is the best, a cyber energised rhythm creation from Collins that would grace any sci-fi movie soundtrack. As with the other two it explores and gloriously reveals the talents of the members of the band.

Coalition is diverse, strong and most of all very enjoyable. With all indications that the album is the start of a sustained stay by Careless it suggests future glories as well as current pleasures that will light up the senses of all rock lovers.

RingMaster 30/11/2011

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