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

Bryan’s Best of 2017

Here we are again, folks. We find ourselves at the end of another great year for prog. Sadly, we’ve had to say goodbye to some amazing artists this year, including John Wetton, but we at least have their music by which to remember them.

I know I’ve been a bit quiet here at Progarchy lately due to beginning graduate school this fall. Hopefully things settle down going forward, and I’ll be able to contribute more. For now, here are my favorite albums from 2017 in vaguely ascending order.

Continue reading “Bryan’s Best of 2017”

Watson’s Best Prog Albums of 2017: Part 3 — TOP TWENTY # # 10 — 1

Having previously (in the last couple days) shared my 20 “Honorable Mentions” and the first half of my TOP TWENTY ( numbers 20 through 11) I come now to the pay-off.  The following ten albums are, obviously my favorite discs, but also I submit, The Best 10 Progressive Albums of 2017.  Making no apologies for my penchant of melody over rhythm, of consonance over dissonance, I have selected ten works that are heavily laden with beauty and harmony rather than experimentation and edginess (hey! while my friends were listening to the Rolling Stones I was chilling to The Moody Blues)

THE TOP TWENTY:  # # 10 through 1

10)  COMEDY OF ERRORS/House of the Mind

comedyOFerrors

After their great 2015 release SPIRIT, this Glasgow band returns with their crowning achievement.  HOUSE OF THE MIND surpasses their prior releases with a mixture of large-scale symphonic fervor and slower and delicate textured emotionalism. The band is tight and Joe Cairney’s vocals are a real highlight. My favorite tracks are the two longer songs ‘House of the Mind’ and ‘Wandering Jacomus.’  Some of the best new prog is coming from Scotland and Comedy of Errors is perhaps the best of the best.  A+

Continue reading “Watson’s Best Prog Albums of 2017: Part 3 — TOP TWENTY # # 10 — 1”

Drifting Sun at Twilight: An Inter-Review

Drifting Sun, Twilight (2017)

Tracks: Twilight(9:27), Wings of Hope (5:13), Mystery of Lies (5:46), Soldiers (7:23), Summer Skies (10:49), Remedy (5:19), Outside (5:24), Remain, (8:11)

Drifting Sun have made another leap forward with their latest album, Twilight. With their last two albums both reviewed favorably here at Progarchy, that is no light praise. A UK based studio project, Drifting Sun has re-emerged over the last few years from their initial formation in the early 1990s to produce high-quality music worthy of any progressive rock fan’s collection.

The lineup has remained relatively stable since their last album, 2016’s Safe Asylum, with only one member changing: Mathieu Spaeter replaces Dan Storey on guitars. Other members include founder and keyboardist Pat Sanders, vocalist Peter Falconer, bassist Manu Michael, and drummer Will Jones. All of these guys are at the top of their game. Throughout the album I found myself thoroughly enjoying the musical complexity of drums, guitars, keyboards, and bass. New guitarist Spaeter adds a classic touch of rock brilliance to the band’s overall sound. Furthermore, Peter Falconer has a fantastic voice with a remarkable range. At times smooth and others times rough, his voice matches the music perfectly.

Continue reading “Drifting Sun at Twilight: An Inter-Review”

Drifting Sun Announce Pre-Order for New Album

From Drifting Sun HQ:

Hi guys!

This is to announce that the new Drifting Sun is now officially available to purchase as a pre-order from our official web and from our Bandcamp page, see details below.

For those who haven’t received the news of the release yet, the album will be offered as a 4-panel Digipak with a 12-page booklet insert.,

A free sampler track is now available for download from our Bandcamp page (URL below), and our new single ‘Eternal Cycle’ comes free with every order of Twilight.

We hope you will enjoy listening to the album as much as we have had fun making it!

Kind regards,
Drifting Sun

Review – Drifting Sun – Safe Asylum

Drifting Sun – Safe Asylum – 2016

King of Hearts (8:44), The Hidden Truth (6:31), Intruder (10:42), Alice (7:32), Wonderland (8:34), Gods (6:07), Desolation (5:29), Retribution (3:54), Emphasis (For Sienna Joy) (Bonus Track) (1:11), Vagabond (Bonus Track) (3:40)

coverMy first impression upon listening to the very beginning of this album was 1980s sci-fi drama. Then I looked at the track list, and I quickly picked up on the Alice in Wonderland theme. The album art also reinforces the mystery and fantasy of the music, and it adds to the mystique of Drifting Sun.

The English band dates back to the early 1990s, when keyboardist Pat Sanders moved from France to England. After forming a band, Drifting Sun released a couple of albums, but they put the project on pause after 1999’s On the Rebound. In 2015, Sanders decided to revive the band with Trip the Life Fantastic. The band is now composed of Peter Falconer (vocals), Dan Storey (guitars) Pat Sanders (keyboards), Manu Michael (bass), and Will Jones (drums).

Falconer’s vocals set a high bar for this band. His voice is smooth, warm, and mysterious. The band lives up to his voice masterfully. The guitar is clear, with layered keyboards, supporting bass, and drums full of chops. The production is also quite good. In short, Safe Asylum is what you would expect from a progressive rock album in 2016.

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The Earnestness of Drifting Sun’s Trip the Life Fantastic (2015)

A Review of Drifting Sun, Trip the Life Fantastic (2015).

Drifting Sun's 2015 album, TRIP THE LIFE FANTASTIC.
Drifting Sun’s 2015 album, TRIP THE LIFE FANTASTIC.

Drama.

This is the best word to describe Drifting Sun’s 2015 release, Trip the Life Fantastic.  From its opening note to its final one, Drifting Sun’s album brings a sense of drama and theater to rock.  There’s a Queen, Ordinary Psycho, and Muse feel to the drama, but Drifting Sun are too interesting to be derivative.  Respectful of the past, for sure.  Derivative, no.

The prominence of the grand piano helps define the drama of their sound, but so does the lead singer’s voice.  Peter Falconer (what a great name!) possesses a warm and captivating voice.  It’s not necessarily a beautiful voice, but it is a compelling one, one that effectively invites the listener to become a part of the story.

In addition to Queen and Muse, already mentioned, I’m also reminded of mid-70s Supertramp and mid-80s Tears for Fears when I listen to Falconer’s vocals.  When I listen to the variety and flow of the album, I’m reminded of Fragile from Yes.

Based in the U.K., Drifting Sun has been in existence for almost twenty years, but Trip the Life Fantastic features a brand-new line up of musicians with only the keyboardist, Pat Sanders, remaining from earlier incarnations of the band.  It’s rather clear—even from the most cursory listen—that each musician in this band takes his craft very seriously.

If I had any complaint about the album—and, believe me, it’s a minor one—it would be that some of the keyboard sounds, especially when imitating strings, sound a bit forced.  The band is at its best when it simply plays piano, guitar, bass, and drums.  There’s such a raw honesty to the album that the employment of synthesizer seems out of place.  Perhaps, however, this is merely a production, engineering, and mastering issue rather than a song-writing one.  And, the synths only appear a few times on the album.  It is, thankfully, the grand piano that predominates.

Indeed, one of the things I most appreciate is the lack of irony in the album.  Though these guys are singing about wizards, witches, and other unworldly and other-worldly things, they do so with grand seriousness.  This is quite a nice contrast to our post-modern world which tends to wink “knowingly” at all such things.

Drifting Sun is a fine band, and it’s a band that bears much watching.  It will be interesting to see how it develops from here.  Kudos to them for the achievement of Trip the Life Fantastic.