Event - Electric Skies


Year of Release: 1999
Label: self-released
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 41:52:00

If you're looking for a musicians' musicians band, look no further; but beware, after hearing this disc a few times, you might be inclined to go back and add some practice time to your normal schedule. Add these guys to the growing list of complex, technical, and melodic prog metal/rock bands that lots of people seem to enjoy even though it might not be their thing. Case in point, me. I first [knew of] Event when they were called Mystic Fishhook, and I didn't give the disc a chance as someone brought it over one day and spun a few songs and I quickly dismissed it based on the style. Then, Powermad '98 came along and the newly named Event was on the bill. With some technical problems plaguing their show, and me not in the building for half of it, I still didn?t get a feel for what this band was all about. At the Big Bang in CT recently, I got a lesson in what the band is all about. Surrounded by power metal bands, prog metal bands, and one prog rock band, Event hit the stage and I found out what this band was all about: superior musicianship. Notwithstanding that, I watched as 3 of the members doubled as fill-in musicians for other bands playing on the bill as well as sound men for the show. I was quietly amazed, and when Matt Scurfield asked me to check out the disc and review it, I did so with pleasure.

THE STYLE

It's not my normal listening style, but to describe this would probably start with the words complex-yet-melodic, maybe semi-technical, jazzy, fusion based mix of prog rock with tinges of metal injected along the way, without losing their sense of direction. In short, if you like your music progressive, look no further. This band exemplifies what the word means in a playing sense. How they manage to maintain a steady direction without losing me in the madness is quite amazing, as I?m the first one to point out when I'm lost, and this band has a knack for allowing me to keep my foot tapping while changing the tempo frequently. They use a wide variety of keyboard sounds (compliments of the guitarist) to complement their sound, including some futuristic, techno-style keys all the way to piano. They do not dominate the sound, rather complement it, and they do show up quite frequently on the disc. Just about every aspect of the music is laced with something different to accent it, including the vocal melodies, which get waved and pitched in the harmonies, all adding up to one interesting approach to progressive music. I cannot compare this band to any other band, as I don't believe they fall into the "technical" genre, and I only know metal bands that frequent that area. Event seem to fall into that strange void of description much in the way that Soundscape does, where you have several aspects of styles all coming together to merge into one, tough to describe style.

Therefore, suffice it to say that if you like it mixed up completely, and want that "different" sound in your prog music, this is an excellent place to start. I've heard some people put this band in the Dream Theater clone category, and I wonder what they are listening to when they say that. Ok, so track #7, "Aimless," might have some elements of "Metropolis" in the structure, but that 3:00 piece hardly qualifies this band as a DT clone. Most of the time every instrument is playing something totally different from what the others are playing, as if they each wrote separate songs for each song, and somehow fused them together and making it sound cohesive. An interesting approach again, as you can hear each instrument doing its own thing while coming together as a whole.

THE BAND:

Shaun Michaud / Guitars & Keyboards
Dave Deluco / Vocals
Jay Rigney / Bass
Matt Scurfield / Drums

I won?t go into each individual's abilities here like I normally do - I doubt I could do justice to these guys, as I believe most or all of them have attended the Berkeley College of Music, and it's easier to say that these guys excel at their instruments, and like I said earlier, will make some go back and spend more time with their own instruments or at least in their songwriting abilities. I will say that I was totally impressed with what each guy can do with his instrument, and I was very impressed by the bass player, who played his set with Event, and then went on to play a set with Joe Stump, a shredding metal guitar player, and Jay Rigney had no problem whatsoever going from his own complex style, over to Stump?s speedy style. This impressed the hell out of me, as bass players usually take a back seat to the other players, and Jay stood out for me. Michaud and Scurfield are seriously accomplished musicians as well, and doubled themselves for other bands and acted as soundmen for the show. Listening to this disc will give you an idea of where the talent level of these players lie.

THE VOCALS:

Dave Deluco has a great, melodic, operatic mid-range voice and never strays out of his range. Again, I can't compare his voice to anyone else's to give you an idea of who he sounds like, but he definitely sounds like an experienced singer, using his voice to the max and not trying to show off what he can do. If I had to throw up a name for the hell of it, I think of the Lynch Mob singer, whose name I'll butcher, Oni Logan (is this correct?) only with much more control. The tonal quality is there though. The vocal melody approach is again different here, in that the vocals sound like they were written separate from the original music, and he uses his voice as another instrument instead of trying to sing out in front of the music. It sounds like another instrument coming together with the others to form the whole. Some of the harmonies are pitched at different levels, and at other times you'll hear some wavering in the voices, creating a sense that the whole band is singing background vocals. Dave has a nice vibrato style, and this really adds a nice beauty to the music that might seem a little technical at times, but his vocal style keeps this music in the accessible region if that makes any sense. Had he sung in a technical style, "away" from the music as I like to put it, then this might put the band in a category that would make them somewhat inaccessible to the average listener. Otherwise, it's his vocal style that keeps this music in an accessible state most of the time.

THE PRODUCTION:

This is another area that the band excels in. Shaun Michaud, the guitarist, gets entire credits for mixing and production on this one; and a superior job he does. It's no wonder he was asked to do some sound production on the Big Bang show, as the guy is obviously a master at achieving near perfect sound. The interesting thing about this one is that the production is an all natural recording, one that sounds like theses guys are right in your room playing for you. No reverb, no effects, aside from the keyboard effects, just in your face, superior production. For those of you under the belief that indy bands cannot achieve superior sound on their own, just one listen to this disc will convince you that it can be done. With the right amount of knowledge, and equipment (although I don't know what they used here), a quality production can be achieved, and I'll take a wild guess and say that knowledge probably had more to do with it than anything else. Any indy band out there should take note of the spelling of Michaud?s last name and hire this guy to do your next recording; this is a fabulous sound. Every instrument is perfectly placed in the mix, and every word that Deluco sings can be clearly heard above the instruments. As a standout, this is one of the better drum sounds that I?ve ever heard, and I put this one right up there with the best of the best.

THE VERDICT

You can now count me in as a bonafide EVENT fan. Sure, it took me 2 shows and weeks of listening to this disc to turn me around, but again, I'm not the easiest guy to please musically, and this is not my preferred listening style. I?m strictly a prog metal guy, but after this disc, it looks like I might be able to reach out and expand my horizons a little more. For those of you that enjoy several styles at once thrown into a mix and like it splattered about the stereo but somehow managing to maintain a total sense of direction, Event has come up with a strange approach to song structures that work, even for the most rigid of us. They are semi-technical, complex, add in some nice techno key work, add jazz, fusion, prog rock, and some metal to come up with a great disc that many prog metal fans might enjoy listening to. My only bitch? The disc is only 43:00 long.


Tracklisting:
Perfect Illusion (6:09) / Weatherman (4:20) / Tall Bizarre (4:20) / Muddy Water (3:41) / Tundra (3:57) / Walk On (4:11) / Aimless (3:32) / The Anger (3:40) / Full Of Stars (3:19) / Electric Skies (4:43)

Musicians:
Shaun Michaud - guitars & keyboards
Dave Deluco - vocals
Jay Rigney - bass
Matt Scurfield - drums

Discography:
Electric Skies (1999)
Human Condition (2001)
Scratching The Surface (2003)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: August 1st 1999
Reviewer: Larry "LarryD" Daglieri
Score:
Hits: 765
Language: english

  

[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]