Greylevel - Opus One

Year of Release: 2006
Label: ProgRock Records
Catalog Number: PRR360
Format: CD
Total Time: 58:59:00

2006 already brought us several excellent releases, but the US label ProgRock Records had a surprise in store for the last week of December: the debut album of the Canadian based prog/art rock band Greylevel called Opus One. Well, I couldn't ask for a better way to close the year than with this excellent release. It is an unusual release for ProgRock records, as most of their releases are a bit more modern and heavier, while Opus One has an atmosphere bordering to New Age, at times at least.

Multi-instrumentalist Derel Barber, along with his wife Esther and good friend Richard Shukin form Greylevel, and while listening to Opus One, I have this strange feeling they are fans of Porcupine Tree... because I taste the same atmosphere from albums such as Stupid Dream and The Sky Moves Sideways on Opus One. But Greylevel added a touch of psychedelica to the music. Some moments I even detect a hint of Smashing Pumpkins in the vocals. Small things that make this music stand out.

With exception of the last song, "Rest," all songs are quite lengthy, two even clocking over 15 minutes. But when you listen to the album, you get the feeling it is just one long track. That is a good thing, because it shows how well the songs are composed. It is not a concept album, although the same themes run through all songs. I have to say I am really impressed by the way the songs are written and arranged!

The music is high quality, although I do miss a real live drummer. Now all drum and percussion is generated by a drum computer and that ruins the great atmosphere a bit. Especially in "Your Light" I find the drum sound too hollow. So far that is one of the two things I hope the band will work on for the future. The other thing is the production. Generally it is good, but it could use some work, like the placement of the bass parts. At times, I miss the warmth and body of the bass in the music.

Despite this, Opus One is a very promising debut album and shows these relatively unknown musicians hold a lot of potential. I am really glad ProgRock signed them, which not only shows their diversity in music, but also their good judgment in selecting new artists. The classical piano training, mixed with progressive elements, result in a great album that will appeal to many people. I can only say: give your musical 2007 a good start and add Opus One to your collection.

Sojourn (6:37) / Taken (7:41) / Blue Waves (16:54) / Your Light (9:10) / Possessing Nothing (15:06) / Rest (3:12)

Esther Barber - vocals
Derek Barber - vocals, keyboards, acoustic guitars, bass and programming
Richard Shukin - 6 string acoustic guitars, 6- and 12 string electric guitars and lead guitars

Opus One (2006)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin CA

Added: January 7th 2007
Reviewer: Marcel Haster
Artist website:
Hits: 3872
Language: english


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