Although this is a 2007 release, it was not given the proper distribution nor the exposure in my opinion. The first thing that struck me about “Premonitions” is how big it sounds for just a 3 piece band. The second thing is how much ground they cover. The third thing that got my attention was how good the musicians were. This is their 3rd release and it’s a double CD with some very nice epic music. Some might not believe this progressive rock band is from San Francisco, CA but it proves that both the old and new school of progressive rock has made it’s mark all over the world. To say you’ll get your money’s worth from this huge amount of fine music.
Disc one begins with a thunderstorm and a song that I would never tell anyone to make their judgment on for the whole recording. It just seems the most rock oriented in the very beginning as opposed to the rest of the disc being much richer and more airy in some of the songs. Not to say the first song is not good, as it has so many dimensions to it.
D’arcana obviously have listened to tons of different bands (both classic rock and progressive). The parts in the songs can range from Transatlantic/Pink Floyd to Yes to Steve Hackett to Alan Holdsworth and back again. And you will hear influences from Genesis, Peter Gabriel, The Flower Kings, Gentle Giant, and Happy The Man. The first song alone, has all those elements in it as it breaks the 10 minute mark in length. Throughout the rest of Disc one you get high quality music running ( not walking) through the golden fields of progressive rock from lots of classic old school greats. And I am happy to report that the vocals are excellent too.
The reason “Premonitions” sounds more like a 6 piece band is due to the fact that the three musicians are all multi-instrumentalist. None are slouches either. I think you’ll find the musicianship is far above the average neo prog band out there. And to clear any confusion, I would not classify D’arcana as a neo prog band. I hear them reaching far beyond that and pulling up their old classic progressive rock loves in their compositions. Along with those influences you will hear some progressive pop like Supertramp (Crime of the Century), Yes, Roy Harper and a touch of Strawbs. Some more modern moments are included like Porcupine Tree and Tool. D’arcana can cook when they want to. They also sneak in a 60's British invasion sound on a couple of tunes, almost disguised.
Disc two opens like a Pink Floyd album then takes you on a several song ride of ear pleasing music giving you the same range of mellow great pop hooks mixed with all the same fine ingredients of the first disc. There isn’t a dud in the entire package which speaks volumes about the band and their standards. To have this many songs on one release, and not toss in a couple of gimme’s is tremendously excellent on their part. The members of D’arcana prove they can not only play all their instruments exceedingly well, but they can write great music too. I know I certainly am enjoying listening over and over again. I really like the balance of super nice ballad, epic prog and a couple of heavier prog all put together in excellent order on both Disc one and two, from the beginning to the end. This is truly an ultra fine progressive work. RECOMMENDED and if you don’t have this you really should buy it.
Reviewed by Lee Henderson on July 10th, 2011