Pangaea - The Rite Of Passage

Year of Release: 1996
Label: self-released
Catalog Number: IF 2404 80062-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 53:51:00

Pangaea have a sound that is light and far from challenging - The Rite Of Passage falls somewhere in the same area of prog as Ambrosia, 80's Genesis, and other marginally progressive acts (by which I mean, they are on the outer fringes of progressive, not that the bands are marginal). Throughout, you'd think this band must be European, because few American prog rock bands are making music like this anymore.

Sonically it is rich, and it does sound great. But for those looking for something with a little more bite, this might seem a little tame. Throughout, as well, one can see how latter day Pink Floyd provides some sonic influence.

Now, having said all that, there is no doubt that some thought has gone into their arrangements, as there is some good instrumental interplay. Vocalist/guitarist Darrell Masingale does have a voice similar to Spock's Beard's Neal Morse at times - same tonal quality at a higher pitch. But this band would never be mistaken for Spock's Beard.

LarryD passed this disk on to me, suggesting that I was going to hate it. I responded, Hate it? No. It's okay. Its listenable, but because it is so smoothly produced (by Robert Berry, no less), it tends fit more squarely as background music. Nothing here grabs you squarely by the lapels and demands that you pay close attention.

The centrepiece is the trilogy suite "The Traveler" which is the rite of passage of the album's title. It is a common theme, in literature at least, for a person to take a journey to find oneself - and we all know that "the quest" forms the backbone of many a novel, not just in fantasy where the quest can be literal. Perhaps one of the most universally known quests is King Arthur and his knight's quest for the Holy Grail. But I digress. The journey here in "The Traveler" is that inner quest manifest in an external journey. The concept is big enough to have built a whole album around it, yet it is given to us in three chapters: "Part 1 Father (He Shall Add)," "Part 2 Hollow Dweller," and "Part III A Gift." The latter follows classical form as it contains (as it says) a declaration, theme and fugue, and reprise. There is an undercurrent of spirituality, though it isn't explicitly stated, one might assume that the gift at the end of journey involves God (or a god) to some degree. But of course, it's left unstated enough that the comfort that comes from knowing who you are is the gift itself. Ask anyone who has been on one of those survivalist tests - Outward Bound, for example. So, while the music isn't weighty, the themes can be.

There is a section in "September Park" where Masingale's guitar lead is very much like David Gilmour; in fact, the whole feel of the track is of Pink Floyd, circa Momentary Lapse of Reason.

I don't much care for "Navigator," a mostly instrumental tune. It isn't that instrumental part that I dislike, necessarily, though it is a bit dense and a bit off-kilter. No, it is just the delivery of the chorus ? I can't quite place my finger on what it is exactly.

There are 10 tracks listed, but there is, in fact, a hidden bonus track (refered to only as "13" in the liner notes, crediting the gongs used) - the vocal performance is a bit weak, but it is, overall, an okay track. It's more of the same, and could have been part of the album proper.

This isn't awful, not by any means, and there are many moments that are quite nice, but it will seem too lightweight for some.

Time Syndrome (3:55) / The Ship (That Must Come In) (5:59) / Trilogy: The Traveler: Pt I Father (He Shall Add) (4:10) / Pt II Hollow Dweller (From The Valley) (3:45) / Part III A Gift (5:28) / The Winds (Behind The Door) (4:00) / September Park (4:25) / Navigator (4:55) / Lonely Is A Place (3:55) / Beggar's Hand (5:28) /

Darrell Masingale - lead vocals, lead and rhythm guitars
Ron Poulsen - bass, vocals
Andi Schenck - drums, percussion
Corey Schenck - keyboards, acoustic and electric guitars

The Rite Of Passage (1997)
Welcome To The Theater (1998)
A Time And A Place (2002)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: February 1st 2000
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Hits: 1325
Language: english


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