UNITOPIA

(AUSTRALIA)

SEVEN CHAMBERS

(2023)
LABEL:

AUTOPRODUCTION

GENRE:

PROGRESSIVE ROCK

TAGS:
Melancholic, Symphonic
"Unitopia makes a successful comeback with "Seven Chambers", a lush, melodic progressive rock... with a few surprises in store."
CORTO1809 (15.11.2023)  
5/5
(0) opinions (1) comment(s) (1) Biography + (4)
There are duos that should never be separated. Lennon and McCartney, Simon and Garfunkel, Hodgson and Davies, Waters and Gilmour, the history of music is full of examples of this particular alchemy that springs from the complementarity of artists who, when separated from their alter egos, seem brutally more ordinary. Mark Trueack and Sean Timms seem to have realized this after a few years apart, uniting their creativity for an Unitopia album that was long overdue.

For this new album, they have wiped the slate clean, surrounding themselves with four new musicians: Alphonso Johnson (Weather Report, Santana) and Chester Thompson (Genesis, Phil Collins, Frank Zappa) for the rhythm section, John Greenwood, a doctor turned guitarist, and Steve Unruh (The Samurai of Prog, Resistor), an old acquaintance who has played with both United Progressive Fraternity and Southern Empire, the latter two contributing their own compositions to this new album.

Before going into detail, let's just say that "Seven Chambers" has everything to satisfy the most demanding progressive rock fan: superb melodies galore, a wide variety of styles and atmospheres, impeccable interpretation, lush arrangements, impeccable sound recording, poignant vocals that regularly send shivers down the spine, numerous orchestral passages alternating with equally numerous guitar, piano, violin or flute solos, and a multitude of details that make for fascinating listening... It would be futile to try and describe the various titles, as the diversity of the music is such that it would take several pages to get close to reality. It's simpler to paint a portrait of what will surprise any Unitopia fan.

"Seven Chambers" is darker than its melancholy predecessors, but offers a few sunnier passages. Here, anguish, fear and sadness dominate. It's true that the album's themes concern such uplifting pathologies as cancer, heart and brain attacks, bipolarity and brain tumors, with the "lighter" moment dealing with diabetes.

The saxophones, so expressive on "The Garden" and "Artificial", have disappeared, not fully replaced in their role by Steve Unruh's violin, despite the latter's undeniable presence. More decisive, Unitopia ventures at times to abandon the highly melodic aspect of its compositions to take more surprising paths: tribal percussion combined with jazzy piano and a Genesis-like narration at the end of 'Bittersweet', high-voltage guitar and drums, discordant chords and randomly thrown notes on 'Mania', shattering the cozy comfort in which the listener had settled. And if the first long suite, 'Helen', will delight all those who enjoyed "The Garden", the second, 'The Uncertain', could destabilize them with its sustained rhythm and jolting style of aggressive guitars, very different from what the band had accustomed us to.

But isn't that what we expect of a good progressive rock band: to dare to question themselves, to "progress" in their musical quest, at the risk of losing a few admirers along the way? Unitopia has made a masterly comeback with a dense, melodically rich album that also has its share of surprises and novelties. Unitopia belongs to the closed circle of great progressive bands alongside Genesis, Yes, Neal Morse in all its emanations and The Flower Kings, no less!
- Official website

TRACK LISTING:
01. Broken Heart (08:31)
02. Something Invisible (07:20)
03. Bittersweet (06:39)
04. Mania (12:30)
05. The Stroke of Midnight (09:39)
06. Helen (19:14)
07. The Uncertain (18:34)

LINEUP:
Alphonso Johnson: Basse
Chester Thompson: Batterie
John Greenwood: Guitares / Choeurs / Mandoline
Mark Trueack: Chant
Sean Timms: Claviers / Choeurs
Steve Unruh: Violon / Flûte / Choeurs / Mandoline / Guitare Rythmique
   
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PROGRACER
15/11/2023
  0
Une des grosses claques de cette fin d'année décidément riche en sorties marquantes. "Fans de Civilization" de Southern Empire ou de "Fall In Love With the World" d'UPF comme moi, jetez vous sur ce bijou de créativité et d'émotion. Assurément un des albums de l'année.
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READERS
4.4/5 (9 view(s))
STAFF:
4.6/5 (5 view(s))
MY RATING
 
LAST NEWS
UNITOPIA: Seven Chambers
 
OTHER REVIEWS
MARIUSZ DUDA: Afr Ai D (2023)
PROGRESSIVE ROCK - Terribly repetitive, "Afr Aid D" is above all to be discovered for the quality of its production and the work done on the electronics.
VANDENBERG: Sin (2023)
HARD ROCK - Vandenberg offers us with "sin" a veritable collection of unstoppable, addictive tracks cut from the best of '80s bluesy Hard Rock.
 
 
OTHER(S) REVIEWS ABOUT UNITOPIA
UNITOPIA_Artificial
Artificial (2010)
5/5
4.3/5
INSIDEOUT MUSIC / PROGRESSIVE ROCK
UNITOPIA_The-Garden
The Garden (2008)
5/5
4.6/5
INSIDEOUT MUSIC / PROGRESSIVE ROCK
 
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