Released By : Self Released
Genre : Progressive Rock, Experimental
Links : http://www.benlevingroup.com
01. Pulse Of A Nation
03. One Breaks Through
05. Ill From The Poisons Of Your Loving
09. We Deteriorate, We Thrive
It’s funny how sometime as a reviewer you end up with themes for a while every now and then, for example last month it seemed I couldn’t get away from all things power metal and I reviewed a lot of it both good and not so good. Lately though my theme has seemed to be all things odd and different that still fit under the rock & metal banner. The latest oddity to come across my desk is a largely instrumental album from the BEN LEVIN GROUP, who were formed of all places at the Berkley School Of Music, which as a lot of you would know gave us the almighty Dream Theater. So as you can imagine, instrumentation is the main course here and I’ll tell you now that these guys are very highly skilled on a technical level, and the entire album is a master class in musical ability. There is a bit of a problem with song structures here and there if you like your music cohesive, but overall it’s an interesting blend of progressive rock, a little touch of progressive metal, some jazz fusion and some avant-garde type stuff, all mixed together with a guitar sound that reminds me in places of Steve Vai and Joe Satriani minus some of the extreme shredding they may have given us in the past.
The band are calling PULSE OF A NATION a concept album based around the final moments of mankind, but due to the fact that there as barely any vocals to be found I think calling it a concept album is a bit of a stretch really. Sure the soundscape can be compared to things, but no matter how good you are you just can’t tell a story without words or images. But really, instrumental based albums are more about just sitting back and trying to draw everything in and the fact that each composition offers of something different to the one that precedes it including the occasional introduction of things like horns instruments, violins and some pretty awesome keyboard playing too.
I’m sure that this album will have a hard time finding its way into peoples collections because it’s a hard album to really digest and not one for people with short attention spans. PULSE OF A NATION is better listened to in a darkened room through some good headphones and with a clear mind. BEN LEVIN and his collection of musical buddies have definitely shown that they have the musical skill to all be world-class high demand players, but this group as it is unfortunately will have limited appeal. BEN LEVIN himself has already found some great success as the guitarist in LADY GAGA’S touring band, a job which he says keeps him very artistically fulfilled. Check it out if you are into virtuoistic performances and instrumental only albums, otherwise there’s not really much else here.
Written By ZeeZee
Rating : 8/10