Deluge Grander: August In the Urals
Dan Britton – keyboards, vocals, guitars
Patrick Gaffney – drums
Dave Berggren – guitars
Brett d’Anon – bass, oud
Frank d’Anon – xylophone, trumpet, flute, keyboards
Jeff Suzdal – saxophones
Adnarim Dadelos – vocals
In a time when the veteran prog rockers seemed to dominate the scene, I began to wonder if some new artist would come along and wow me. Deluge Grander did it. Not that there aren’t other very good new artists out there, but none had snapped my head around like this. This is modern symphonic prog at its very best.
The highlight of the album is the opener, “Inaugural Bash.” For those of you that think very long pieces are boring, this one may just change your mind. It is an amazing journey of emotions, and playing styles. It begins sounding a bit like jazz-fusion, but that all changes. There is grand piano, mellotron, guitar riffing, jam outs, and soft interludes. However, this is not loose improvisation, it is well thought out orchestration. There are some soft vocals that resemble chanting, but it is primarily instrumental.
The next two tracks are in a softer, murky mood, and are the weakest on the album. That is not to say they aren’t good, but after the grandeur of the first track, they don’t measure up as well. The musicianship is just as polished, and offers some beautiful themes. This is also where the vocals come in, and could be where some people get turned off. It is a bit of a mix between Peter Murphy (Bauhaus), Ian Curtis (Joy Division), and a little Andrew Eldritch (Sisters of Mercy).
The fourth track, “A Squirrel,” jams it up again, beginning with the guard chant tune from “The Wizard of OZ” (Oh we oh, oh weee oh …). And that leads us into “The Solitude of Miranda” to close it all out. It may not have the epic length of “Inaugural Bash,” but it is no less grand.
Don’t let the variety of styles fool you, this is symphonic composition at its finest. Deluge Grander have managed to bring Symphonic Prog into the present, without sounding derivative. This would be a true five star album if not for the letdown of the middle tracks. It suffers a bit from the “2112” syndrome. If you pull out all the stops in the beginning, of course the rest will pale. However, it is just under five. I’d say 4.75 (so I’ll round up), and one of the best albums of 2006.