Roswell Six - Terra Incognita: Beyond the Horizon
(Prog Rock Records PRR720)
From Aural Innovations October 2009 update
Now this was something to put together. Kevin J. Anderson (Sci Fi Author) has a new novel called Terra Incognita:The Edge of the World. Together with his wife (author Rebecca Moesta), they wrote the lyrics and Erik Norlander wrote the music and together with Shawn Gordon of Prog Rock Records assembled the all star band with members of Kansas, Saga, Dream Theater, Lana Lane, Shadow Gallery, Ghost Circus, Asia, Prymary, Under the Sun and IQ. The CD features 13 tracks and a large well illustrated booklet. To get the most out of this project it is probably best to check out the book. I have provided the link to the site below. Ishalem starts off with a church like organ and has soaring vocals by 3 men and one woman (Lane Lane) before the progressive metal guitars kick in. This 11 minute track features a lot of solos and moods and many layers of vocals by the different singers, lead by James LeBrie. The tracks heavily feature the keyboards of Eric Norlander, who wrote all the music here. Gary Wehrkamp and Chris Brown provide the guitars. Some of the tracks feature violin (David Ragsdale), cello (Mike Alverez) and flute (Martin Orford). Let’s just say that the tracks feature a lot of very intense playing. Call of the Sea features Michael Sadler on and Lane Lane on lead vocals. John Payne also contributes vocals to this fast paced song with many of the similar elements of the previous song; a fast pace, chunk chunk guitar riff, melodic overtones, keyboard leads, and male and female vocals. I am the Point starts spacey and has a very different drum rhythm and features James LeBrie on vocals. I like the eastern influence on this one. Great track. Letters in a Bottle features acoustic guitar and violin and Michael Sadler on vocals. Halfway features Lane Lane on lead vocal and this is a slow building keyboard dominated track and features some slide guitar as well. Anchored begins with organ and features James LeBrie once again in what is my favourite track after the opening epic. Here be Monsters features John Payne as the main vocalist but also Michael and Lane. The track musically is just a mid paced rock track, with all the soaring aspects that Erik writes so well. I really wish he would challenge himself a bit more. This type of music is just too easy and predictable in some way when you have heard some of Erik’s other music. The Shining of the Luminaria is a heavy instrumental track which features a lot of solos, starting off with the violin and trading solos with Erik on keys until the heavy bass line drops the hammer and changes the dynamic of the song totally. The guitar players get their turn later. The Winds of War features Lane and is a bit too standard, like I have heard this song many times before on many albums. Swept Away has a heavier guitar riff and features Lane and Michael on vocals. Nice guitar solo as well. Merciful Tides is the last real song on the CD and features Lane on vocal. It starts with some acoustic guitars and flutes and more or less remains a ballad. The CD ends with the instrumental, Edge of the World, in total a 72 minute journey created by some pretty creative folks. Enjoy. If you are not a fan of men singing in the high register, you will not like this much as it is very dominated by these soaring male vocals all the time on nearly all the tracks.
Visit the Prof Rock record label site at: http://www.progrockrecords.com
Check out the band web site at: http://www.wordfire.com
Reviewed by Scott Heller