reviews

Album review archive (from old Advent website)

by Alan on September 8, 2014

Cantus Firmus reviews:

Guitar Player (Barry Cleveland)
as seen in the March 2007 (magazine) issue

Fire of Unknown Origin (Raffaella Berry)

Prog Archives (Torodd Fuglesteg)

Progressive Ears (Floyd Bledsoe)

ProgressiveWorld.net (Tom Karr)

Progwereld (Dick van der Heijde) [Dutch]

progVisions.net (Douwe Fledderus)

Sea of Tranquility (Pete Pardo)

USA Progressive Music (Mark Elliot)

 

Excerpts from additional reviews and commentary on Cantus Firmus:

  • “… this is what prog rock is all about: wonderful compositions, great musicianship, a mixed bag of sounds and atmospheres—and not just noodling about just for the hell of it!”
  • “The 18-minute ‘Ramblin’ Sailor‘ is a real masterpiece by any standards.”
  • “This CD is—to me at least—a desert-island disc.”
  • ***** (five stars)”

Carsten Schaefer

  • “This is an important landmark that hopefully will be remembered for a long time as one of the great masterpieces of symphonic prog.”
  • “Fantastic work!”

Ernie Denov

  • “Let me start with a bold statement here: ‘This is one of the best prog albums ever made!'”
  • “If you are a food connoisseur, this album is a French meal with a dash of Yes as a starter, great ELP soup with main course à la Gentle Giant and a Genesis dessert. Add to this a vintage red wine full of talent, imagination, creativity and instrumental perfection, and you get a perfect prog meal called Cantus Firmus.”
  • “Absolutely essential.”

Adam Baruch

  • “It’s been quite a long while (decades, actually) since I last heard a collection of music of such amazing high quality, making me eager to immediately listen to it again! You’re in a division of your own.”

Örjan Strandberg

  • “I’m astounded by your music—JUST BLOWN AWAY gentlemen!! Your CD is in constant rotation in my car—track six—HELLO!!! Your compositions and musicianship are first class, and I’m transported by the beautiful sound you make. I’m a huge fan and am SO glad I found out about you. What more can I say? I have no words that describe my appreciation for what you’re doing!!!”

Lyle Workman

  • “As I listen to this music, I’m reminded of looking at a fine piece of sculpture, where every chiseled detail stands out in stark relief against the whole. Advent makes no concessions to neo, metal, or any current commercial idiom, yet the music is quite melodic and approachable in the traditional sense. The familiar is there, largely because the instrumentation consists of the familiar synths, guitars, and drums, along with terrific touches of acoustic guitar and mandolin. But everything is filtered through swirling, morphing progressions that move from light to dark and back again—shifting curtains of sound color that can instantly transform from brass flourishes into a wall of crescendoing guitars.”
  • “Such harmony! The arrangement details, choice of notes and transitions are carefully considered and fully inspired at the same time—a combination that is difficult to achieve. During the journey I experience the gothic and the majestic, sadness and soaring, undercurrents of hope.”

Ken Watson

  • “Man, you guys write some beautiful stuff—I loved every minute of it.”
  • “‘Parenting Parents‘ is exquisitely beautiful … SO beautiful it’s become a favourite.”
  • “It’s just brilliant.”

Kimara Sajn

  • “The band’s strive for perfection—or as close to that state as is humanly possible—has really paid off. It would only be fitting if all of you were to receive the praise and recognition that you so deserve for this work of art. A big, big thumbs up!”

Allen Bruce Ray

  • “Sensational.”
  • Cantus Firmus is lush with glorious themes and tapestries envoking fond memories of The Enid’s In The Region Of The Summer Stars, Camel’s Nude, and even the minstrel-like vocals and writing of early Jethro Tull, with a sprinkling of the progressive virtuoso twins Steve Hackett and Andrew Latimer.”
  • “… the album is perfectly balanced in its light and shade, and after having listened to it four or five times already, it beckons me to just hit the replay button. Not too many albums command the absolute attention of Cantus Firmus and I assure you it is very well positioned at the pointy end of my all-time favourites and in some very good company.”

Tony Doran

  • “‘Ramblin’ Sailor‘ is an 18:14 (minute) epic that will blow any diehard progger away!”

Chris Fox

  • “Great vocals, strong songwriting, fantastic playing and arrangements throughout.”

Bill Knispel

Excerpts from reviews and commentary on Advent’s debut album:

  • “For no other reason than their name, they will draw comparisons to Gentle Giant. There are similarities, especially in some of the vocal arrangements and, of course, their excellent Gentle Giant tribute piece, ‘BITB.‘ In most cases, however, the similarity is merely that both groups feature complex and finely crafted compositions. These musicians understand the kinds of influences that helped to generate the progressive movement in the first place, so they don’t come across as merely aping some of the characteristics of the ’70s bands, rather they draw from the same well of inspiration. Rock & Roll, early liturgical polyphony, 20th-century rhythm and harmony, and even a little Henry Mancini figure into a mix of influences that swirl under slight gothic overtones.”
  • “The music on this disc is busy, tight, detailed and squeaky clean, everything in its place.”
  • “One of America’s finest unknown music ensembles.”

Ken Watson

  • “This CD is nothing but an absolute pleasure to listen to, which I know I’ll be doing time and again.”
  • “‘Alison Waits (A Ghost Story)‘ matches Genesis at their ‘Epping Forest’ best.”

Jez

  • “I think any GG fan would enjoy Advent’s original material. It’s carefully composed and well-performed progressive rock with definite GG influences, especially in the vocal counterpoint and harmonies. ‘Maginot Line‘ has been in my head for years.”

Dan Barrett

  • “‘Maginot Line‘ – Very sophisticated, did remind me a lot of the equally sophisticated early works of Ambrosia or Kansas.”
  • “‘Rear View Mirror‘ – A potential hit! They should make this into a single. Very smooth.”
  • “‘Nowhere Else To Go‘ – Reminds me of Missing Piece-period Gentle Giant. The song evolves into a small motet. The lovers of strange time signatures will like this one.”
  • “‘In The Tree‘ – The high point of the record. This could have been on Free Hand, with Philip Shulman making a guest appearance. One of the Ptak bros. has a voice somewhere between Phil’s and Kerry’s. I will play this one often for my GG-biased friends. Almost worth the cost of the whole CD.”
  • “‘Caminando‘ – A composition by Joaquín Turina (19th/20th century)…. A cute and very clever little miniature.”

Robert Eksteen

  • “The traditional musical influences they cite are as diverse as church motets, sea chanteys, Procol Harum and Gentle Giant. These qualities are evident throughout the songs found here, and digital synths and modern guitar tones add the contemporary touch to Advent’s sound.”

Mike Taylor

  • “… because of their broad range of influences I think they have a very unique style that pays a certain amount of homage to the past but doesn’t dwell on it.”
  • “The next track ‘Alison Waits (A Ghost Story)‘ is my personal favorite. It is my belief that this song ranks up there with anything any of the ’70s prog rock groups did. The highlight of the song is an instrumental development section which is simply fantastic. The lyrics have a certain slightly morbid/romantic feel which is one of the things I always liked about Procol Harum’s lyrics.”

Rick Meyer

  • “Discordant vocals, odd chord progressions, and complex rhythms all gathered together in a vaguely disquieting manner.”
  • “All this adds up to a strong, complex release.”

Louis Hesselt-van-Dinter

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