Album Review – Drifting Sun’s “Forsaken Innocence”

CoverDrifting Sun, Forsaken Innocence, 2021
Tracks: King of the Country (11:37), Insidious (8:08), Dementium (9:11), New Dawn (6:49), Forsaken Innocence Part 1 (10:52), Forsaken Innocence Part 2 (14:53), Time to Go (2:29), Hand on Heart [Bonus Track] (4:49)

I’ve been following Drifting Sun for a while now, having reviewed two of their albums in the past rather favorably. I have to say that their latest, Forsaken Innocence, is their best record to date. The album is sprinkled with neoprog overtones, but there’s also a touch of baroque classical influence right from the get go.

One of my favorite aspects of Drifting Sun is the keyboards and piano, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering the band is the brain child of keyboardist Pat Sanders. His use of synth sounds and clean piano brightens up the album, giving it both prog flair and a depth of sound. John Jowitt’s bass adds a subtle low end that nicely complements the keyboards. Mathieu Spaeter’s guitar adds a baroque element along with the synths at times, as well as the heavier rock side when needed. He reminds me a bit of Martin Barre. Drifting SunThe wonderful Gareth Cole also plays guitar on “Time to Go,” along with Eric Bouillette, who also plays the violin on “King of the Country” and “Forsaken Innocence Part 1.” The violin adds a nice touch, which perhaps could have been used even more throughout. Even so the album sounds great as is. Jimmy Pallagrosi’s drums pull everything together in gentle crashes of snare and cymbal.

The vocals are courtesy of someone named only as Jargon on the band’s website. His voice matches this style of prog very well, and it is rather versatile. He sings in a few different styles throughout the album, adding a layer of theatricality to the record. He helps bring the story to life, as well as makes the album a real treat on repeated listens.

As you can see from the track listing, most of these songs are on the longer side. The music has the chance to grow and build. I love the way the album opens with a bit of a classical and fantasy overtone, which is carried throughout the album in various ways.

When played together, “Forsaken Innocence” Parts 1 and 2 create and almost 26-minute-long epic, with part 2 being a 15-minute-long instrumental track. These songs are the high point of the album. The instrumental portion is particularly excellent. The band really jam well together, and the length gives the song space to develop, grow, and move through different themes. Everything about it works so well, to the point that you get lost in the prog madness. The swirling synths, the corresponding guitars, the solid bass shining through, the drums keeping everything together. This song rocks hard. I love the moment when they move back into the main musical theme for the album with about two minutes to go. The melody repeats over and over, and it’s just so good.

The album closes rather quietly with the brief “Time to Go,” which is a nice little debrief after the 15 minute instrumental epic. The bonus track, “Hand on Heart,” doesn’t follow naturally from that [duh, it’s a bonus track], but it’s one of my favorite songs on the album. It has a heavy back and forth between chorus and verses with that great interplay between the keyboards, guitars, and bass.

The album’s lyrics have a dreamwork quality to them. They’re very poetic, which supports the baroque fantasy elements in their music.

I used to hope that life could bring me peace
Could lull asleep my deeply gnawing mind
I was a fool: the senses clear with time
I used to love to cure my old disease
Lovе led me to a thick of enmitiеs
I used to hope that life could bring me peace
I was a fool: the senses clear with time

A church bell grieves, a log in the fireplace smokes
And hums falsetto to the clock’s catarrh

My head on my hands, I watch from my lofty home
Spring, Summer, Autumn, and then, with Winter’s monotone of snow
I close my shutters – a time to be alone

Summer days gone, taking stock of the misty dawn
(fall in the well of dreams – wander through aimlessly)
I dream my way into treacherous labyrinths
Nothing can draw me away from this neverland
(a world of kisses sweet – birds singing merrily)
Sun rises in my heart, warming my aching soul

– “King of the Country”

Forsaken Innocence sees Drifting Sun at their very best. The album is thoroughly enjoyable with every listen. It’s heavy on the rock, the synths, and the story. Highly recommended.

https://driftingsun.co.uk/home
https://driftingsun.bandcamp.com

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