Album Reviews

Roswell Six – Terra Incognita Beyond The Horizon

Released by Prog Rock Records – 2009

Review Added August 30, 2009

. Produced By: Shawn Gordon/Erik Norlander
· Running Time: 72:39
· Release Date: Out Now
· Released: June 2, 2009
· Musical Style: Progressive Rock/Metal
· Links:
1. Ishalem*
2. The Call Of The Sea
3. I Am The Point*
4. Letters In A Bottle
5. Halfway*
6. Anchored*
7. Here Be Monsters*
8. The Sinking Of The Luminara
9. The Winds Of War*
10. Swept Away*
11. Beyond The Horizon
12. Merciful Tides*
13. The Edge Of The World
**Hot Tracks

James LaBrie – Vocals
John Payne – Vocals
Lana Lane – Vocals
Michael Sadler – Vocals
Gary Wehrkamp – Guitar
Chris Brown – Guitar
David Ragsdale – Violin
Mike Alvarez – Cello
Martin Orford – Flute
Erik Norlander – Keyboard
Kurt Barabas – Bass
Chris Quirarte – Drums

Roswell Six comes to us from the brilliant mind of Intentional Best Selling author Kevin J. Anderson, his themes in some of his fantasy books deal with sailing ships, sea monsters and this ambitious project is based off the first novel, TERRA INCOGNITA: THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, wich was released in stores in June from Orbit Books. Joining him in this awesome crossover project are some of the most accomplish musicians in the prog genre such as accomplished keyboarder Erik Norlander, well known for his band ROCKET SCIENTISTS as well as his solo CDs, he came aboard at the beginning of the project to write the music and to helm the production chores. His wife Lana Lane, the “Queen of Symphonic Rock,” provides the female lead vocals, and the males vocals come to you courtesy of the “prog legend’ James LaBrie (DREAM THEATER), Michael Sadler (SAGA), and John Payne (ex-ASIA). Among the accomplished musicians contributing their talents to the project are David Ragsdale (KANSAS), Gary Wehrkamp (SHADOW GALLERY), Chris Quirarte (PRYMARY) and Chris Brown (GHOST CIRCUS). Together, the creative team has sold over 40 million copies worldwide.

The opening track “Ishalem” starts out with some interesting keyboard/organ arrangements which leads to a thick guitar riff entry and a voice which most will recognize and that is of James Labrie, while Lana Lane lends a hand with this duet. Pretty cool opening track with some great vocals makes this track a highlight to open the record. Needless to say the keyboards are very prominent throughout the record, but it doesn’t take away from the music, or make it loose it’s focus, rather it sets a great mood that fits in perfectly with the guitar work and symphonic instruments like the cello and flute. Most of the songs follow the same structure as the opening tracks.

As aforementioned is based on a book so it follows the concept story from the book pretty daringly. “The Call Of The Sea” is another great track which kicks things off with the same keyboard layering as the previous song, The style I wouldn’t describe it as metal, but is really a unique mix of heavy metal riffs and progressive rock with of course some great vocals from this talented ensemble of musicians. I couldn’t help but remember some of the albums by “Shadow Gallery” which contained excellent progressive songs and tremendous guitar playing and vocals with great change of rhythm in between the songs, also the over all feel here reminds a bit of other super groups such as the Gary Hughes project entitled “Once And Future King” PT I and II to name a few. Another highlight is “I Am The Point” which has Labrie busting put his vocal pipes followed some amazing oriental orchestration and another nice “epic” riff. Back to more mellow times comes the nice acoustic ballad “Letters In A Bottle”. The opening intro for “Halfway” has a “Dream On” from Aerosmith style melody with the keyboard again setting the tone and Lana spellbinding us with her great voice. The rest of the record follows in the same vain, the amazing voice of John Payne and Michael Sadler keep the record rolling in the stand out track “Beyond The Horizon”.

I guess what is most surprising is that often times we look at Prog music and it’s too “dull” or too “technical” and it doesn’t manage to hold the listener’s attention as much if you don’t pay attention hard enough. But this album is truly uplifting, just great flat out musicianship all across the board. Norlander just orchestrates the tunes so well from the very beginning and you add the amazing vocalists as we mentioned before plus an accomplished guitarist like Wehrkamp and you have yourself just very original and inspiring progressive music. I would recommend this to anybody who can appreciate “good music” played by some talented individuals. One of the top feats of Progressive Rock this year.

Written by Denys

Ratings Denys  9/10

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