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Sonic Desolution – Explorer

Sonic Desolution
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 30 May 2021, 7:59 AM

Swedish Melodic Progressive Rock Band, SONIC DESOLUTION, featuring members of KAIPA, KEE MARCELLO, OUT OF THIS WORLD, and ARTIC RAIN, have announced the release of their debut album “Explorer,” on April 30th, 2021 via GMR Music. “Explorer” is a melodic progressive thematic Art Rock album, reflecting on the different phases and insights of life, in eight ‘chapters’, there’s a bit of classic Prog, Symph, Pomp… even Pop. Three main vocalists cover the wide range of dynamics of each song. The album contains eight tracks.

“Explorer” leads off the album. It opens with some harmonica and soft guitars. The female vocals are…interesting. They are super high at first. The male vocals however have an edge to them. The instrumentation is quite good…these guys sound like they have been playing together for a while. It’s a tender song with charming touches. “The Waltz” begins with some spacey keyboards and the sound exudes energy. The interchange of male and female vocals does indeed cover a wide range of dynamics. But it’s the exchange between guitar, bass and keys that really shines.

“Eye to Eye” is a near ten-minute opus. It begins with a nice interplay of guitars, bass, keys and drums. No instrument stands out and it builds a synergy that you don’t often hear. The female vocals here are as smooth as butter…ditto for the male vocals. The melodies are like a warm breeze on a spring day…they just fill you with contentment. “Midlife Insight” is another pleasant and tepid offering with blissful melodies and charming vocal harmonies. It takes a slightly darker and more oppressive turn towards the end of the song, and ends with alluring piano and clean guitar notes.

“Fair Warning” is another lengthy song. The melodies come at you straight out of the gate. Although the length of the song will keep it off the radio, you could easily enjoy this song on FM radio. I get a touch of TOTO here. It’s just so damn soothing you can’t help but leave your troubles at the back door. “New Beginning” feature some more melancholy tones. But it also has a message of hope. “It’s time to make amends” Mads declares. The female vocalist really puts her soul into her performance. “Too little too late” and “do we care about each other” are other themes in the song.

“Tranquilandia” is just that…a tranquil song with playful and easy-on-the-ears melodies. The lead guitar work here is worth mentioning…it’s fantastic and follows the melody line so well. “21G” is a very short closing instrumental, featuring haunting and ominous melodies, and the sound of someone breathing. It’s an odd way to end an album, but I suppose in Prog, anything is possible.

This ensemble was put together perfectly. As I mentioned above, the band sound like they have been playing together for years. The instrumentation is tight and all three vocalists are quite talented. The key here is the synergy created in the instruments. They all play a supporting role and although the guitar work is perhaps the best part of the album, the bassist, keyboardist and drummer are no slackers by any stretch of the imagination. It’s a beautiful album that if you give it your time and attention, you won’t be disappointed.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Explorer
2. The Waltz
3. Eye to Eye
4. Midlife Insight
5. Fair Warning
6. New Beginning
7. Tranquilandia
8. 21g
Jan Johansen – Vocals
Annica Svensson – Vocals
Mads Clausen – Vocals
Morgan Ågren – Drums
Ken Sandin – Bass
Magnus Berglund – Guitars
Peter Lazar – Guitars
Record Label: GMR Music Group


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