DELUGE GRANDER - August In The Urals

Deluge Grander - August In The Urals

5 songs
70:58 minutes
***** *****


The dyslexic prog kings from smalltown USA are back with a new band. Stopping after three albums with the misspelled Cerebus Effect, keyboarder Dan Britton and drummer Patrick Gaffney are back with another failed attempt at orthography. The word game is alright, but it should be spelled "Grandeur" instead of "Grander". But as this is not about winning a spelling bee, but about high octane prog antics, Deluge Grander don't have to worry about losing points in the pedagogical department.

Where Cerebus Effect still needed eleven songs to cross the 50 minute border, Deluge Grander may have a certain "delusion of grandeur" as their five songs take up more than 70 minutes, something which might be "fatiguing in all its earnestness", to freely quote the band inforsheet. Well, I wouldn't go that far. People who don't get this album probably lack the right musical education. So this is aimed at those who are routined in listening to weird avant rock sounds, but what the heck, we pretentious pricks also need sometimes to get a masturbatory treat.

August In The Urals starts with the 27 minute heartpiece and ironically titled Inaugural Bash. The first sections are deeply rooted in Western European Zeuhl (Univers Zero) and Eastern European classical music (Igor Stravinsky), with Dan Britton's varied keyboard work overshadowing the not to be dismissed genius by the rhyhtm section and also guitarist Dave Berggren. After 18 minutes, you notice that this is where the track was once supposed to end, but it continues with a severely dark theme before progressive rock elements make it familiar to fans of the Canterbury scene. And when the four- and six-stringer decide to let it all loose, it sounds a lot like Chris Squire and Steve Howe duelling, showing that just like their compatriots 5uu's, Deluge Grander are just another RIO (rock in opposition) band with a fondness sometimes just too close to Yes. Two more longtracks follow, although the title track and Abandoned Mansion Afternoon (the band's first song written) need to combine their running times to equal the opener. Both are slightly more accessible than the very demanding opener, and therefore probably more airplay fodder, if there are still radio stations about that like to play quarter hour long tracks. Two shorter (9 resp. 7 minutes), more or less instrumentals end the album, not reaching the level of the earlier songs, but then they would still be highlights on any lesser album.

August In The Urals is certainly not a very original album. Its progressiveness lies mostly in quoting different influences, but instead of relying on the typical 70s prog bands, you get Zeuhl combined with early Genesis/Yes sounds and the occasion jazz part. Another interesting fact is that bass player Frank D'Anon invited his uncle as a very sophisticated guest musician, playing various rock-untypical instruments.

This is definitely not for the faint-hearted, but a sure challenge for every hardcore prog fan who cherishes complicated (and still thoroughly composed) compositions. The production is good even though rather basic, but weren't most masterpieces in the good old times? Cerebus Effect offered their wisdom is more digestible slices, but Deluge Grander have more of a concept and therefore end up being even more brilliant than their predecessors. This may be a little bit on the pretentious side of prog, but shouldn't that be something every well-educated prog fan should be looking for?

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