Band: Stewart Bell
CD Title: The Antechamber of Being (Part 2)
Label: Independent Release [F2 Music Distribution] (2017)
Rating: Great Stuff 4/5
More than a few of us have been patiently waiting for part two of Stewart Bellís The Antechamber of Being. Iím glad to say it has arrived and it does not disappoint. This is a grand scale production, much like the first that continues the story of the main character introduced in Part one back in 2014. So the story continuesÖMusically it is much as before, like any Prog-Rock Opera you can expect plenty of musical twists and turns, staccato musical change-ups and dramatic shifts in musical directions all in service of telling the story. Bell, the former main composer and keyboard player with the British Prog band Citizen Cain continues to be the driving musical force here. It is after all his story. But like before many of the key players and vocalists return to reprise their characters. Musically thereís a wide range of styles on display; everything from the symphonic to the more guitar heavy. The album features eight tracks with the last being a bonus cut. The whole thing clocks in at about sixty-five minutes and starts with a series of shorter tracks, kind of like introductions before closing with two long tracks, fifteen, sixteen-minutes and then ends with a twelve minute bonus track respectively. So you get this sense of musical evolution where the album ends in bigger and grander fashion. The opening tracks tease us for those larger than life closing songs. It probably should be said, that while there is a clear and concise story going on here, so lyrics are obviously part of the mix, there are more than enough long, uninterrupted musical segments to satisfy. In fact much like the first this is very much a musical tour-de-force with all kinds of call-and-response segments, soaring ascending lines mixed with plenty of tension and release from major and minor chords. Itís a great album and a powerful follow-up to part one. If you liked that first release, youíll love the music of part 2 and if for any reason you missed it first time around I highly recommend you go back and check out both parts of Stewart Bellís The Antechamber of Being. There is a lot to like here for Progressive Rock fans.