Just a few months ago I had the pleasure of reviewing Dutch progressive rock band, Leap Day’s debut Awaken The Muse. Now I have the opportunity to review their sophomore release for 2011 entitled Skylge’s Lair. The band line-up remains the same, which is a good thing so that the listener is familiar with the musician or vocalist.
From the opening track, “The Messenger” (7:14) you instantly hear how the band has refinished their sound as well as their presence. I noticed that the music switched over more towards the symphonic side with very little neo-prog this time around. The music is still on the melodic side, similar to Camel, as well as a contemporary peer from Australian called Unitopia. I’d also add Marillion, but a mixture of both the Fish & H eras.
Before I continue, I was going to explain about the origin of the album title but I decided to let the listener search on their own for the meaning while listening to the album as well as online research. Sorry folks, no spoilers here.
Some of my favorite tracks off this album are “Home At Last” (8:27), the first long track on the album. No I didn’t pick it for that reason, alone. Here we hear the band flexing their muscles a bit with soaring guitar and Hammond parts that are woven together as they compliment each other.
Next is a two parter with the first part being an acoustic introduction that remind me of Steve Hackett‘s acoustic guitar work in Genesis as well as solo “Humble Origin” (1:39) which segues right into “Walls” (9:14), a nice melodic track that reminds me of the1990-1999 era of Camel. The tracks ends off with some beautiful electric guitar soloing melodically.
The final two songs, the title track “Skylge‘s Lair” (6:23), an instrumental guitar based, similar to a blend of Hackett/Latimer. Ending off this wonderful album is the longest track, “Time Passing By” (11:03) which closes the album perfectly (in my opinion), in epic form. While the energy level on this song is of a somber nature, there are moments of energy with the tasty guitar soloing by guitarist Eddie Mulder.
I feel that this album shows the strengths of the band as a whole and it’s individual members. I hope on a future album that they pull out all the stops with some epics of both time duration as well as subject matter. So I leave you with two words that best describes my experience with Skylge’s Lair, Highly Recommended.
(Editor’s note: Be sure to listen to the last minute or so of the last track. You may or may not find it amusing as I did.)
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on May 30th, 2011