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Lucid Dream - The Great Dance of the Spirit

Lucid Dream
The Great Dance of the Spirit
by Mark Machlay at 07 April 2020, 4:24 AM

For most newer bands, as the consumer used to browse through the new cd/album racks – now scrolling through an endless online database in so many different apps it’s hard to keep track – the first impression of a band is the cover artwork of the album. It can make or break a band. Whether they choose a simple amateurish copy-paste job done in a free version of Photoshop or – more smartly – they choose to farm it out to a professional and they create high-quality but ultimately uninteresting art, the band rely heavily on your interest in the artwork.

Upon seeing the artwork for Italian progressive hard rock band LUCID DREAM’s fourth release “The Great Dance of the Spirit”, I had really high hopes. Designed by Nicoletta Mignone they are evocative images that are meant to symbolically convey the final chapter in their trilogy of concept albums – the first two being 2013’s “The Eleventh Illusion” and 2016’s Otherworldly. It was developed as ballads, hard rock songs and “introspective moments” occasionally accompanied by a string trio. It sounded right up my progressive rock alley.

The one through line of all these albums is the masterful guitarist Simone Terigi. His style is very reminiscent of Marco Sfogli, frequent collaborator on James Labrie of DREAM THEATER’s solo albums as well as solo artist in his own right.  But there are also many nods to NWOBHW bands such as IRON MAIDEN and JUDAS PRIEST, especially in the intro of opener “Wall of Fire” and throughout. “Desert Glass” dives more into prog with an asymmetrically rhythmic main section and even some EMERSON, LAKE AND PALMER vibes in the keyboard solo section. “By My Side” slows things down with almost TOM PETTY type of radio-friendly ballad with a bluesy STEVIE RAY VAUGHN guitar solo. “A Dress of Light” opens very much like a better produced DIO’s “Don’t Talk to Strangers” before going super prog with an extended solo section. “War of Cosmos” and is anthemic with a great sing-along chorus complete with “woh-woh” vocalizations.

That was the good and there is plenty to love with the heavier heavy metal influenced tracks. Unfortunately, there are some downsides. Instrumental interlude “The Realm of Beyond” while having some an interesting main melody line, is overly repetitive and could literally be cut in half because it is the setup and structure played twice, quite disappointing. A similar thing could be said for the albums ender “Wakan Tanka” with the title vocally repeated over and over as if it’s a mantra with very little compositional variation that goes on for much too long. “Prayer for the Great Spirit” – the title tells you everything you need to know – is simply a spoken prayer with ambient sounds in the background. An acoustic version of “Wall of Fire” while sounding interesting on the surface, does little to add much to the original composition. Also, I’m not sure who thought it was a good idea to have nearly a minute fadeout on several of the tracks. Seems to only artificially inflate the running time of the album.

I wanted to be impressed by this, it ticked many progressive rock boxes for me: concept album, awe-inspiring artwork, virtuosic and interesting guitar playing and just enough odd-time signature work that it is satisfying. It was enjoyable but there are many tracks that are skippable or parts of songs that can be fast-forwarded through. I would still recommend this for fans of more adventurous IRON MAIDEN work, Queensryche, and if you enjoy some truly emotional and creative guitar work.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 10
Memorability:8
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Wall of Fire
2. Desert Glass
3. By My Side
4. Moving Sands
5. A Dress of Light
6. The War of the Cosmos
7. The Realm of Beyond
8. Golden Silence
9. Wall of Fire (acoustic reprise)
10. Prayer for the Great Spirit
11. Invisible Stranger
12. Wakan Tanka
Lineup:
Simone Terigi – Guitars
Roberto Tiranti – Bass
Karl Faraci – Vocals
Paolo Tixi – Drums
Luca Sherani - Keyboards
Record Label: Sliptrick Records
     


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