Band: Saul Blease
CD Title: The Great War
Label: Bad Elephant Music (2018)
Rating: Great Music with a Unique Prog Approach
Four years in the making this is studio album number three for the Bristol-based multi-instrumentalistSaul Blease. Entitled The Great War, these are ten compositions that are thematically related to reflect a variety of feelings and emotions about the First World War that took place from 1914 to 1918. At just twenty-three, Blease’s musical inspiration ranges from Industrial, Electronica and Alternative all of which when thrown together creates quite a heady stew that in the end is distinctly modern Progressive Rock. These are all songs that musically reflect the harshness, the aggression, the horror and the baroness of the battlefield. Somber piano arpeggios create a haunting stillness that might be broken by great shuddering electronic blasts which then may lead into a percussive segment reminiscent of artillery bombardment. At other times such as in the tune “Passchendaele” [5:56] there is a repeating musical signature that imitates a machinegun firing in the distance. All these musical sounds, be they electric, acoustic or electronic are woven into likable musical compositions that create an aural landscape that is emotionally convincing and captivating. There is a lot of musicality on The Great War. The lyrical lines are often half-spoken rather than sung and the album is light on memorable melodies. But perhaps that’s intended given the subject matter. This is not a historical event that begs a sing-along, but rather one that demands a solid and serious reflection of the horrors involved. And to that end the musical adventures that make up The Great War do a marvelous job. At once haunting and then reflective the music here is unique in more ways than one and certainly worth any serious Progressive Rock fans time and investigation. Great stuff.