Pittsburgh, PA composer John Crispino paints a bleak picture of our dying planet in his post-apocalyptic concept album "The Great Deception". Weaving a nihilistic tale of a dystopian planet ravaged by war, corruption, poverty, pollution, political repression, and social upheaval where people are color-coded and collated into tight little lines to be herded like cattle to the slaughter. And if that's not bad enough - an infectious plague-like disease spread by moon dust awaits those who survive.
Crispino interjects clever little snippets of innocuous 1950's radio commercials with unsettling spoken word samples between tracks. The over-all effect is a savory witches brew one part Stephen King's novel "The Stand", one part Neil Marshall's 2008 movie "Doomsday", a jigger of Pink Floyd's "The Wall", and a spoonful of Geritol to create a toxic potion and a macabre musical masterpiece.
Crispino's lofty rock project 'Seconds Before Landing' was two years in the making, and features a bevy of talented collaborative artists including members of prominent bands like King Crimson's Trey Gunn, Tim Bogart (Vanilla Fudge, Beck Bogart & Appice and Cactus) and two time Grammy nominated Pink Floyd recording engineer Andy Jackson.
The complete line-up includes: John Crispino (composer, drums, percussion, vocals, midi keys, effects), Trey Gunn (Warr Guitar), Tim Bogart (bass guitar, "They're All Around You"), Maurice Witkowski (acoustic and rhythm guitar, Ebow on "Alice Springs" and "all guitar parts" on "They're All Around You"), Steve Schuffert (lead Guitar on, "Solitary Man", "Instructions","I'm All Alone", "Elmendorf", "My Time To Go", and acoustic on "Message In A Field"), J.D. Garrison (bass guitar), Guy Bar Tor (bass guitar on "My Time To Go", "Alice Springs"), Asaf Rodeh (front end guitar on "Elmendorf"), Kati O'Toole (lead vocal on "My Time To Go"), Vanessa Campagna & Carrie Marie Jackson (female background vocals), Lior (trumpet), Jamie Peck (piano on "Alice Springs") and MIchele Cricco (lead and rhythm guitars on "Mikey Get Your Accordion").
A wide range of artists spring to mind while listening to "The Great Deception" - everything from obscure dark ambient bands like Dol Theeta to the beautiful 80s' ballads of Mike Oldfield and Maggie Reilly featured on classics progressive albums like "Five Miles Out", "Q.E. 2", "Crises" and "Discovery". A perfect example is the track "My Time To Go" with lead vocals from the talented Kati O'Toole.
Also quite prevalent are element's of Porcupine Tree's cautionary tale "Voyage 34: The Complete Trip" and Pink Floyd's oppressive "The Wall".
Bands like Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd, Kino and O.S.I. ring out on tracks like "Welcome, To The Future", "Solitary Man", and "I'm All Alone". While the manic echoes of Arthur Brown's Kingdom Come resonate on the track "Innocent". And both the catchy hook laden rocker "They're All Around You" and the melancholy ballad "Mikey Get Your Accordion" brings to mind the late-great Kevin Gilbert.
It takes a hodge-podge collection of diverse musical references to fully describe the music on "The Great Deception". And to Crispino's credit his compositional skills make it impossible to pigeon-hole Seconds Before Landing into one specific category.
"The Great Deception" is an imaginative, theatrical, prog/rock concept album well worth adding to anyone's collection. File it alongside your Pink Floyd and Roger Waters solo CDs.
Reviewed by Joseph Shingler on November 28th, 2013