No Brass - The Crowning Of The Sun

Year of Release: 1999
Label: self-released
Catalog Number: HD4438
Format: CD
Total Time: 54:12:00

Missing classic Rush? Or Boston? Or the Allman Brothers Band? Deep Purple, maybe? Well, from the opening notes of Ohio based No Brass' The Crowning of the Sun, you'll think the heavy rockin' 70s have returned. Big guitars, deep bass, heavy drums, open arrangements. None of these songs are rehashes of any specific 70s band, but there are elements of those mentioned and more. It is a 70's sound with a 90's spin - as the song topics are certainly present day concerns.

This is more rock than progressive - at least as we've come to think of progressive. And pretty good stuff to boot. The weakest aspect is the vocals, which aren't that bad. Drummer and guiding force for the band Mike Kovacs sings in a style that leans toward early Geddy Lee, but not quite. Certain sections of certain tracks are more effective than others.

The dynamics of the recording are good - the drums (not unexpectedly) stay up front without dominating. You can hear Kovacs' cymbal work as well. The sound fills out well, the basses of Dave Kovacs and Erol Somer each taking Mike's lead (Dave plays on half the tracks, Erol on the other half). No Brass features three guitarists, though not all three play simultaneously. Steve Ronyak plays rhythm guitar for half the album, Dave Zuppert for the other. Zuppert and Dirk Garman share soloing credits - again split about half-and-half. But, for all that, this album has a seamless and cohesive feel.

"A Star To A Star" has the quirkiest rhythm, just on the rock side of 80's New Wave. It belies a thoughtful lyric, though in no ways unique. Not because you've heard it all before, but because you've probably done it before - stared at the starry sky and contemplated the universe, and the arrogance our species has concerning not only the other creatures we share this planet with, but the universe at large. While the aliens probably haven't landed (that we know of), they are no doubt out there. We cannot assume, however, that they have any interest in exploration - that they've evolved for that to even be a consideration. Well, I'm taking the theme in a direction Kovacs isn't - his assertion moves along the lines of God being more industrious than we give him credit for - that we aren't alone in the universe (I agree, to a point, stopping short of assigning any divine causality to our being).

In more worldly matters, "A World Within" uses the incident at Waco as but one image in painting a picture of separatists, from the inside. And this can be interpreted in two ways - in one view we see the government as the "bad guys," in the other, we see a portrait of a separatist and what might be going through his mind. It is one key phrase that can be interpreted either way: "I look around and see my family/There so quiet there so still." If they're dead, by the government's hand in trying to get at the protagonist, or by his own hand in a misguided attempt to save them from the government's clutches? That isn't clear, as an earlier lyric states: "I am not quite sure 'bout my family/But I know I'll take myself."

Not quite "Highway Star," hmm? So, in this they are closer to Rush, in that Neil Peart writes many songs about weighty issues. Of course, this gives the music a small amount of irony - here you have a rocking beat, great guitar leads?not quite party rock?but air-guitar ops, for sure. This music is deeper than the arrangements would lead you to believe. Subversive!

This is great stuff that grows on you as you dig deeper. I just love the final guitar solo (Zuppert) of the final song "True Passion" - it is evocative without being imitative of every great lick of the 70s. Not truly progressive, mind you - but some really good AOR. Recommended.

The Crowning Of The Sun (4:24) / The Castle Dweller (5:31) / Around The Corner (6:08) / A World Within (6:07) / A Star To A Star (7:20) / A Love Song (4:13) / Roll On (5:34) / The Death Of A Drone (6:48) / True Passion (7:48)

Mike Kovacs - drums and vocals
Dave Kovacs - bass (2,5-8)
Erol Sumer - bass (1,3,4,9)
Steve Ronyak - rhythm guitars (1,3,6-8)
Dave Zuppert - rhythm guitars (2,4,5,9), guitar solos (2,4,6,7,9)
Dirk Garman - guitar solos (1,3,5,8)

The Crowning Of The Sun (1999)

Genre: Rock

Origin US

Added: January 1st 2000
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1841
Language: english


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