Presto Ballet - Peace Among The Ruins

Year of Release: 2005
Label: InsideOut Music
Catalog Number: IOMCD 210
Format: CD
Total Time: 47:19:00

Progressive rock is still not embraced by the world, but more and more people "come out of the closet" and confess they have always loved prog. Many metal artists have surprised friend and foe with changing styles and going a more progressive way. Such an artist is Kurdt Vanderhoof, guitarist of the well known thrash band Metal Church. After two solo albums, he now is involved in a more ambitious project that is quite extraordinary!

Presto Ballet is the new band by Kurdt Vanderhoof. This is not just a side project, as this band will also try to play live as much as they can. The sound of Presto Ballet's debut album Peace Among The Ruins is heavy, but with a strong 70s feel to it. The opening and title track is a driving rock song, with great Hammond sounds and a very good vocalist, Scott Allbright, who also sang on Vanderhoofs previous solo album. When you listen to the album, you hear 4 amazingly talented musicians, that play so tight, you'd say they have played together forever.

The songs really send out this spark that will set you on fire when you hear the music. It has a lot of energy and the choice of instruments is just fantastic. The unique thing about the album is they way they recorded it: completely analogue! No Protools, no samples or digital effects. What you hear is what they played. So a real Hammond, real Mellotron, real Moog. And recorded on analogue tape, rather than on computer hard disk. And for some reason that brings this amazing atmosphere to the album.

The reason for bringing in this 70s atmosphere is explained by Vanderhoof at his website: "For me, the seventies was the most interesting time, with the most skilled bands, the best songs and the best ideas," says Vanderhoof. "I've never understood why nobody has gone back to that kind of music again." This is why a song like "The Fringes" has a recognizable Yes touch to it, yet it still has the heavy rhythm section and a cool guitar solo. You hear the 70s influence and at times even recognizable parts from classic 70s prog bands, like Yes, King Crimson, Genesis, but never annoying, disturbing or giving you the idea they are copying parts. That is absolutely not the case here.

Peace Among The Ruins is an album that I truly love! It has a timeless sound, a lot of variety and the love of the musicians for the music, is both evident and contagious. Despite the fact I love the album from begining to end, I do have a few songs that stand out just a little bit more. I already mentioned "The Fringes," clocking in at 7:34, which is a real 70s epic rock song. Also "Find The Time," with a bit of an AOR touch and great synths on it, is a very good song. It has a slow pace, with a soft bass line and gentle guitars. If someone would have told me this is a genuine 70s song, I would have believed him!

I know, I am a total sucker for analogue synthesizers and keyboards, especially the Hammond, so I could be biased. But the fact remains Peace Among The Ruins is a fantastic album, with a top notch production and highly talented and experienced musicians. Kurdt Vanderhoof said he wrote the songs over the years, but still, the album has a consistent sound and has managed to blend the 70s progressive elements, with the modern driving rock sound of today. My only regret over the album? With a little over 47 minutes of playing time it is way to short! Please Mr. Vanderhoof, make more of this amazingly beautiful music.

Peace Among The Ruins / The Fringes / Seasons / Find The Time / Speed Of Time / Sunshine / Slave / Bringin' It On

Scott Albright - lead vocals, acoustic guitar
Kurdt Vanderhoof - guitars, Mellotron, Chamberlin, Hammond organ, synths, bass pedals, electric pianos
Brian Cokeley - piano, Hammond organ, synths, electric pianos, lead and backing vocals
Jeff Wade - drums and percussion
Brian Lake - bass

Peace Among The Ruins (2005)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: July 31st 2005
Reviewer: Marcel Haster
Artist website:
Hits: 959
Language: english


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