Advent - Cantus Firmus

Year of Release: 2006
Label: Independent
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 69:19:00

If there is an Achilles heel for most progressive bands, or for that matter all bands, it is with vocals. If you are someone who truly enjoys bands who pride themselves on their vocal ability, Advent is a must. Advent's sophomore release is full of exquisitely executed contrapuntal vocal harmonies in the tradition of Gentle Giant. Listening to "GK Contramundum" and "Parenting Parents" is proof of the bands emphasis on meticulous vocal arrangements.

The same care goes into crafting the music, which often reminds me of Trick Of The Tail and Wind And Wuthering period Genesis. The instrumental "Awaiting The Call?" explodes in symphonic glory while also featuring the subtle acoustic moments the band excels at. "Utter Once Her Name" and "Parenting Parents" showcase keyboardist and main songwriter Henry Ptak's ability to create lush pastoral atmospheres. The use of Alan Benjamin's acoustic guitar (featured prominently), keyboard soundscapes, and choral backing vocals create the core of these tracks. The arrangements reveal a conscious attention to space and mood; and flow smoothly. If one song were to define Advent, then "Ramblin' Sailor" is it. Seamless transitions and a wide dynamic range make each section stand out, an incredible piece of music with all the bells and whistles (literally and figuratively). Kenso bassist Shunji Saegusa handles the bass duties as a guest musician on this one. Best of all, it brings an aggressive approach to their music. Two bonus tracks are included that dig back into Advent's early days. Initially, Cantus Firmus came off as a bit too mellow, but thanks to some prodding, repeated listens brought an appreciation for how elaborate and beautiful this music is. One of the highlights of 2006.

GK Contramundum (2:00) / Awaiting The Call... (5:10) / Parenting Parents (6:45) / Utter Once Her Name (5:30) / Remembering When (4:00) / Ramblin' Sailor (18:14) / Your Healing Hand (8:18) / Firmus Finale (4:40) / Bonus Tracks : Rear View Mirror (3:34) / Alison Waits (A Ghost Story) (10:40)

Alan Benjamin - guitars, basses, Stick, mandolin, recorder
Henry Ptak - keyboards, lead vocals, backing vocals, percussion
Mark Ptak - keyboards, backing vocals, percussion
Drew Siciliano - drums

Guest Musicians

Shunji Saegusa - bass
Ken Serio - drums

Advent (1997)
Cantus Firmus (2006)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: May 13th 2007
Reviewer: Eric Porter
Artist website:
Hits: 2183
Language: english


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