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Future Now - Utopia Awaits Award winner

Future Now
Utopia Awaits
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 13 May 2019, 4:57 PM

From their Facebook page, FUTURE NOW “is a Prog Rock/Metal band looking to capture your imagination and expand it to the furthest reaches of the universe.” I wasn’t able to find out much more information about the band, so let’s let the music do the talking. “Remnants” is a shorter piece of about two minutes. Strange, harrowing sounds fill the background, as the drums roll slowly. It builds an anticipation of what might be coming. “Creation of Man” opens with a bit more heaviness and aggression in the instruments. Dark and somewhat anomalous, the melodies are subdued in the vocals. Suddenly, a melodic passage rears its head with a lead guitar solo…and they let it out unabashedly. “Dying Universe” opens with a guitar that sounds like it is coming from outer space, and an ominous feeling. It rolls fairly straightforward from there, with some shifting meters. Just after the half-way mark, it drops to soft strings and guitars in a light dance. The guitar solo is par excellence!

“From Legend to Myth” opens with clean guitars and simulated flute. The vocals are very strong here in this song, which has an ethereal and atmospheric sound overall. As with other tracks, it takes a sharp 180 into an angry passage that is unlike the other sections of the song, and then it’s back to the ethereal elements again. “Pillars of Creation Pt. 1” is oh so pleasant out of the gate, with soft and warm melodies. But it turns dark pretty quickly, and then bounces back with positive melodies. The chorus is full and rich, and it has a more traditional Prog sound…one that is easy to assimilate. “Born into the Underworld” opens the album, with a dissonant guitar riff and some off the normal path rhythms. The strings in the background bring another element to the song, as do the vocal harmonies. It’s really an odd song, but in good way. When they sing the song title, it’s done with strength and vigor. The guitar solo ushers in a completely different passage to the song and then it’s all tied together going forward.

“Wisdom of Harmony” has a tough and aggressive riff complete with pig squeals and a fast moving pace. It has some more of those darker elements I was talking about earlier, with some smooth vocals. It ends in another pretty piano sequence, with a hard transition. “Past Present Future” has a bit of more laid back entrance, with held vocal notes and an air of mystery. It’s a moody song overall that stretches into many different areas. It attacks at times and then retreats, and you never know where it’s heading. The next two songs represent the longest on the album. “Pillars of Destruction Pt. 1” has a deep and dark opening as the title would suggest. When the vocals come in, they remind me of PAGAN’s MIND. It’s the way they are sung and that there are two vocal tracks, making for a richer sound. It fades to a very pretty passage about three-quarters of the way in, showcasing the band’s sense of melodic timing, with a grand ending.

“Stand as One (Foreign Lands)” opens with some clean guitars and eerie keys. When the vocals come in, an aggressive riff follows. Here I am reminded of the mighty QUEENSRYCHE, as the band begins to play with the meter a bit. An absolutely spectacular guitar solo rounds out the sound to another beautiful ending. “Utopia Awaits” is also an instrumental, at just over three minutes in length. It opens with a soft and easy melody, and drums that march. Brass instruments begin to join the fold, and then guitars carry the melody away from there. The second half is gorgeous. Man does this album know how to find these perfect moments and run with them.  “Time and Time Again” opens with a dark mid-tempo riff and some lead guitar pyrotechnics. The instrumental is a great way to set the mood for the final two tracks. “Sky Racers” opens with cheers from the crow and majestic keyboard notes. The riff that follows is very positive and gets you up out of your seat. It’s easily the most melodic song on the album and the push those vibes most prominently.

13 songs is a lot to get through, but hang in there, and you will see the bigger picture. The album was a very ambitious effort, but I felt that the band hit the mark almost every time. Transitions are the key here, and there are so many, you sometimes feel lost. But if you really concentrate, everything is there that you would want out of an album. It runs you through just about every emotion you have…happy, sad, angry, and depressed. And it take you there through a journey of musical transcendence that you have probably not been through before.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Remnants
2. Creation of Man
3. Dying Universe
4. From Legend to Myth
5. Pillars of Creation Pt. 1
6. Born into the Underworld
7. Wisdom of Harmony
8. Past Present Future
9. Pillars of Destruction Pt. 1
10. Stand as One (Foreign Lands)
11. Utopia Awaits
12. Time and Time Again
13. Sky Racers
Lineup:
Jaz Hunter – Guitars
Charlie Mckenzie-Stewart – Drums
Riko Burrows – Vocals
Richard (Nejjy) Nejman – Keys
Michael Knowles – Bass
Record Label: Independent
     


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Edited 17 July 2019
 

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