Corvus Stone - II
01. The Simple Life 02:00
02. Early Morning Call 03:52
03. Boots For Hire 08:58
04. Sneaky Entrance In To Lisa 00:29
05. Purple Stone 03:22
06. A Stoned Crow Meets The Rusty Wolff Rat 07:37
07. Lisa Has A Cigar 00:46
08. Mr. Cha Cha 04:49
09. Dark Tower 01:48
10. Scandinavians In Mexico 05:06
11. Mystery Man 06:37
12. Camelus Bactrianus (Tuolla Tuonnempana) 08:42
13. Uncle Schunkle 04:38
14. Eternal Universe 03:53
15. Moaning Lisa 14:08
16. Campfire (Tulen Luona) 02:16
Normally when I write a review of an album, I like to include some kind of background about the band, a history of the group we're getting ready to dig in to. However this time, since this disc is such an immense platter of musicianship and impeccable writing talents, we're going to jump right in and, if you'll pardon the cliche, let the music do the talking.
First off, there is no real way to categorize this album into one all encompassing musical genre, as the album combines just about every genre you could think of, and even adds a kitchen sink or two to the mix. The musicians involved are all at the top of their field, and they use their talents to craft an album that will continue to reveal many nuances and surprises after even multiple listens.
The album starts off on a bit light note with a seemingly straightforward track called "The Simple Life". And though the vocals themselves are very simple, the music is anything but. Very orchestral and melodic, with a cacophony of intensity around each corner, this two minute track is the perfect way to start an album that is all over the musical map. After this all too brief intro, the disc really kicks in and takes us through an emotional spectrum with instrumental music, the likes of which hasn't been heard since the bands debut album, and builds on the strengths of that album, and multiplies it.
If you can't find something to satisfy your music loving ears on this album, you're just not listening with an open ear. The first instrumental track on the disc, "Early Morning Call" is another deceptively simple track, propelled forward on a beautiful melody and some enchanting guitar placed expertly atop a haunting synth line, and pulled together by a driving rhythm section that climaxes perfectly with an amazing guitar solo and an orchestral outro of breath-taking beauty.
For the first vocal track, we are treated to a stellar cover of the Murky Red song "Boots for Hire". With a vocal performance by Murky vocalist Stef Flaming, this tune is a bluesy, progressive rock masterpiece, made all the better by this talented group of musicians. The instrumental break down in this song is something almost from the Led Zeppelin play book, and is sure to get your fists pumping in the air, keeping time with this brilliant song.
Following "Boots for Hire" is a very short, and beautiful instrumental piece, "Sneaky Entrance In To Lisa", with its acoustic melody enchanting my ears, I almost wish it were longer. After this track, we kick things into high gear with a song clearly inspired by the great Deep Purple. Featuring the vocals of Mr. Blake Carpenter, this is a song that goes right for the jugular, with its heavy tone, killer organ work, and its pounding rhythmic drive. Those of us that have heard this song prior to the album release will be amazed by its new crisp sound.
"A Stoned Crow Meets the Rusty Wolff Rat" is another instrumental track, and is a brilliant piece of music. Kicking off with some perfectly played acoustic guitar, and a perfect underlying synth line, the start of the song can be a bit deceiving as the band kick in with a very hard rocking epic, complete with many theme changes and moods. This track is what progressive rock is all about, throwing everything at a song, while still crafting a cohesive and structured piece of music, with a central theme that pulls you back into the song with every repeated listen. Not since Rush's "La Villa Strangiato" have I heard a more perfectly written and performed instrumental track.
"Lisa Has A Cigar" is another brief instrumental track, with piano being the star of this show. "Mr Cha Cha" is yet another masterful instrumental piece, with a bit of a harder edge. Sort of a 70's hard rock feel, with that signature Corvus Stone guitar sound and driving rhythm section.
Once again, we're treated to another shorter breather after "Mr Cha Cha", but this time with vocals, expertly delivered by Blake Carpenter. "Dark Tower", at just under two minutes long, is another melodic beauty, with its simple melody and stunning vocals.
"Scandinavians In Mexico" follows that up, with a killer tune that sounds like Carlos Santana wrote while on a bad acid trip through the seventh layer Hell. With the guitar and keyboards being the star of this song, it is the percussion that really keeps this song moving forward at a perfect pace towards its vocal driven, percussion filled outro.
After quite a few listens, "Mystery Man" has pulled forward as my personal favorite track on this disc. Once again, Black Carpenter (Minstrel's Ghost) steps in on the vocal department, delivering some very well written lyrics. Musically the song is another one of those that seems to run through quite a few genres in just one track. A beautiful intro, brings us into the first couple verses, at time sparsely played, and an almost metal sound, with plenty of killer guitar work. This peice delivers a very dark mood through both its music and vocal performance, and features some of my favorite vocal on the disc. As far as the music itself, this is another one of those songs that prove what a fine group of musicians have been assembled to write, and perform on this album.
"Camelus Bactrianus (Tuolla Tuonnempana)" is another lengthy track, and one that is going to be an obvious classic right from the opening segment of the song. And though I don't understand the language of the vocal track, it's a beautiful performance from Timo Rautiainen, and adds an exciting layer to this song. Once the music really kicks in, this song is a scorching piece of brilliance, with some of the best instrumental work I've ever heard.
"Uncle Schunkle" is another instrumental tune, and while aspects of it are very familiar in the context of this album, it's a very different beast. More of a rhythmic piece with some very amazing solo work atop the driving rhythm work, this song seems like quite the work out piece, and another very pleasing tune to the ears.
"Eternal Universe" is a real piece of beauty. The music and the lyrics are just so perfect that they give me goosebumps. Musically this is a very simple track, but the mood that the instruments deliver really help to make the vocal track so ethereal and magnificent from start to finish.
"Moaning Lisa" is an epic track in every sense of the word. At just over fourteen minutes long, it is the longest track on the disc by more than five minutes. Musically, it is a roller-coaster ride that sums up the mood of this disc perfectly... all over the board. The classical guitar that has been so evident the entire album drives the first part forward, and sets the mood for the vocals, delivered by Sean Filkins. As the music picks up slightly, we are treated to more of that amazing instrumental work that has defined this album. About halfway through the song things start to get crazy, with the entire band sliding in to a groove that is sure to keep your head bobbing, with every instrument turning in an absolutely frenzied, albeit brief, performance. With this song, the band have found the perfect marriage between a very Spanish sounding piece, and progressive rock.
Sadly, all good things must come to and end, and Corvus Stone does so in fine fashion, with this brief, and again beautiful, piece of music called "Campfire (Tulen Luona)". With vocals once again delivered by Timo Rautiainen, this song is the perfect way to close out the second disc in the bands discography. And though it may have taken them a while to craft this album, in the end it was well worth the wait, as this follow-up is everything that I could have hoped for from the band, and in my opinion, perfect from start to finish.