Kim Seviour is the former vocalist of British prog act Touchstone, she had to step down from the band she was with for the best part of a decade due to health issues. However despite not being with the band anymore she was still focused on writing and recording new music. The music on this record as the title probably suggests was written while Kim was coming to terms with her CFS, she found solace in the music and art she loved so the record acts as part of her catharsis.
The record was written in conjunction with John Mitchell (Frost, Lonely Robot, Co-Owner White Star Records) who I believe not only co-wrote most of the music but also plays most of the instrumentation and produces the record, the collaborations between John and Kim grew naturally with Kim putting her heart on her sleeve for most of the albums lyrical content.
As I've said it's a cathartic record and interviews have revealed it gave her a sense of freedom to explore a little more with the compositions despite being very ill during the recording. Kim's vocals have always been beautiful, playful and pure, her angelic tones are perfect for the emotional Where She Sleeps and Fabergé which are both slow burning tracks with a lot of drama, but she also shows she can still go pure prog of The Dive while Recovery Is Learning is an uplifting anthemic title track.
Every song has different style to it letting you explore her musical freedom with every listen, personally I think she's hit gold with the prog pop of Mother Wisdom which is one of my favourite songs on the record. I've always been drawn to Kim's voice Touchstone ranked very highly in the UK prog scene for me and it was pleasure seeing her on their final tour dates, this solo record has everything good from that period but this frank and earnest record take more creative risks, which can only be a good thing. 9/10
Arturius: Arturius (Self Released)
Well this came out of nowhere, Arturius are a Swedish symphonic metal band, they have apparently been around fro 10 years but this surprisingly is their debut album. What attracted me was the mythical story line, the moody masquerade promo shots and the inclusion of Spiritual Beggars, ex-Firewind front man Apollo who returns to the power/symphonic metal genre for the first time since leaving the Greek band. Arturius are a different prospect than Apollo's previous employers though the use of orchestral synths and cinematic flourishes mean that the record has more in common with Kamelot or Serenity.
The whole album carefully treads the balance between hard rock anthems, galloping metal and classical overtures (the track Arturius Theme is a stirring instrumental while Emperor's Herd to lures you in as a Zimmer-like piece) meaning that despite the rough and readiness of the production the record doesn't just pass you by.
The band are helped by their intelligent compositions which are progressive and melodic enough for broad appeal, the record is made by the players with all of them at their best as the synths are the major element of but the guitars shred and solo, the bass gallops like a thoroughbred at Kemptown and the drums rumble and rock from the outset. The record is moody, heavy, dramatic and does sound an awful lot like Apollo fronting Kamelot especially when the female vocals come in for the duets of 7 Days & 7 Nights before the the female singer (there is very little info on band members) takes the lead on the breezy love ballad Always Will.
This record is a bit of mystery, I've never heard of the band, I know none of the members (other than Apollo) but the music is right up my street, conceptual, symphonically led metal that is equally as influenced by Andrew Lloyd Webber as it is Iron Maiden. A strong debut record that would be very special if given better production values, still you can't fault the music on offer. 8/10
Doom Side Of The Moon: Doom Side Of The Moon (Self Released)
I'm a massive Pink Floyd fan, I've got every album, seen every DVD, watched every tribute act, seen both David Gilmour and Roger Waters and hell I even saw Floyd reunite at Live 8 (watching them twice in 2 days). Because of my fandom I have also heard every iteration of every Floyd song, from Gvt Mule, through to Blue Floyd there is very few Pink Floyd covers, reinterpretations or projects I haven't heard.
I will admit though most of them are shit, some are good and some even come close to abysmal but on the whole it takes a special kind of band to really nail the other-worldliness of the Floydian soundscapes (Anathema & Crippled Black Phoenix stand up please). So coming out of Texas like a Pig On The Wing, the Doom Side Of The Moon project have formed to play, you guessed it, a doom metal tribute to Pink Floyd's seminal album (the 7th highest selling album of all time and the highest album in the list never to be number one).
The whole project was the idea of The Sword guitarist Kyle Shutt who came up with it after consuming some suspect substances. Roped in to help him are The Sword band mates Bryan Ritchie (bass), Santiago Vela III (drums) along with Alex Marrow of Brownout/Brown Sabbath (vocals), Jason Frey (Sax) and Joe Cornetti (keys) and rounding out the project is Stuart Sikes who sits int he Alan Parsons chair of being engineer and mixer.
For a project it's pretty ambitious, not content with maybe a cover song on an album the band have set about covering Dark Side Of The Moon in sequence in it's entirety but with a heavier emphasis on low tuned guitars. Due to the reasons stated in my preamble I expected to hate this but I really, really don't. It's actually really lovingly done, the rock elements are heavier by a country mile but they don't detract from the iconic songs, there are still those long instrumental sections you know.
However tracks such as Money, Time and Us And Them are given a meaner sound but the heaviness is never overwhelming, this is more Clutch than Electric Wizard with dreamy desert rock and fuzzy stoner the major soundscapes. What I found particularly interesting was the way they adapted the songs, The Great Gig In The Sky for instance hasn't got Clare Torry's immense vocal performance but a sterling effort from the sax. Many will hate this and label it blasphemy but not me, I like this album I played it back to back with the original and it is so faithfully recreated that I loved every second of it, now if only I could by a physical copy in the UK? 9/10