Band: Dec Burke
Band Website: http://decburke.com
Label: Ritual Echo Records
Label Website: http://www.ritualechorecords.com
Release Date: 2012
I first became aware of Dec Burke upon hearing him sing on the first Frost* CD an album I really loved, then later I became aware of his membership in Darwin’s Radio. In fact I was somewhat disappointed to hear of his leaving the band to pursue a solo career. One never knows how these things will turn out. Fortunately for prog fans this story has a happy ending as Burke’s solo outings are full of some marvelous music. For this second outing, Paradigms & Storylines the disc features; Dec Burke (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Stefan Fanden (bass), Carl Westholm (keyboards), Mike Wikman (drums) and Cia Backman (backing vocals).
Paradigms & Storylines is made up of seven tracks and in many respects features elements of both Frost* and Darwin’s Radio which I guess is to be expected. His distinctive vocals lay overtop of dense instrumentation. The sound is full, lush layered subsiding only for the verses and then crashing into fullness during the choruses. Metallic and electronic sounds and phased or effected vocal elements appear here and there, but all of it is built around the melodic core of the song. Without treading anywhere near prog-metal there are many moments where the music is absolutely intense, grand and panoramic is scope. The up-tempo “March of the Androids” [5:11] has a powerful driving foundation that is totally addictive and yet each song tends to make room for lots of instrumental prowess to be on display even when the tune softens or subsides. It strikes me that Carl Westholm, famous for his own outfit Carptree has a lot to do with the instrumental-density of these tracks, as his own musical outlets project a similar feel. The epic length title track “Paradigms & Storylines” [14:56] is a totally satisfying piece of modern prog with all the right elements working together. There’s not much to call into question on this disc, it’s melodic so you can sing along, it’s heavy in all the right spots and it’s got some grand epic swells of music.
If you enjoy the music of any of the artists mentioned here; Frost*, Carptree, Darwin’s Radio, then you’ll really enjoy Dec Burke’s solo work. Paradigms & Storylines hits all the right notes in my book. Recommended.