Band: The Inner Road
Band Website: http://inner-road.com/
Label: Orbital Productions
Label Website: www.orbital-productions.com
Release Date: 2012
Itís always reassuring to me, when a band standís up and takes ownership of their progressive rock style. Even more so when that sound is reminiscent of music created back in the seventies. Rather than run from those influences it takes courage to make a musical stand. Thatís the feeling I got reading the promo release for The Inner Road when it said ďThereís life in the old prog yet!Ē The Inner Road is the duo of Steve Gresswell (drums, bass guitar, keyboards, orchestration) and Phil Braithwaite (rhythm guitar/lead guitars) and hails out of the UK. Both have loads of previous musical experience; Gresswell with a long string of bands and Braithwaite with on-going session work. The music crafted on Visions is truly a labour of love as it was only through Gresswellís familyís encouragement that the 57 year old decided to bring the prog project to fruition.
We are looking at 12-tracks all instrumentals and all symphonic in style. Most of these tracks are a little over six-minutes with only a couple longer or shorter. Within that time these compositions weave through a variety of tempos and styles. Theyíll move effortlessly from up-temp to pastoral creating the mood along the way. There is a distinct seventies feel in the style and yet the performance is so strong you donít feel itís a rehash in any way. The odd time you hear a keyboard run, a guitar line or a specific musical arrangement that will remind you of something butís all incorporated extremely well. None of the material is overly aggressive itís more laid back. Think of Rick Wakemanís English Rock Ensemble with keyboard arpeggios and trills overtop of a solid rock foundation. These musical pieces alternate between being grand and majestic to melodic and flowing. In that sense they remind me a lot of Camel. The overall sound is rich and even lush with layers of string synths. Perhaps the only thing that was a detraction for me was the fact that virtually all of these compositions fade-out rather than end. I like a good ending and it strikes me that even a few good cross-fades, making for longer compositions would have served the overall feel of this symphonic style. Still itís a small quibble.
Iím glad that Gresswell got the encouragement to complete this project and I look forward to future music from The Inner Road. I think theyíre on to something really good. Hence, Iím recommending Visions to fans of symphonic prog that is reminiscent of the seventies. Iím sure theyíll find much to enjoy here.