Band: Phoenix Again
CD Title: Unexplored
Label: Black Widow Distribution (2017)
Rating: Great Stuff 4/5
This is the sixth recording for the six-member Italian band who call themselves Phoenix Again. The condensed history of the band goes like this: they originally formed in 1981 going by the name Phoenix, then went through some personnel changes and added a keyboard player taking on more of a symphonic prog sound at which point they released a cassette album in 1991. The band continued performing live but eventually dissolved in 1998. They reformed in 2007 with many of the same members, this time going by the name Phoenix Again. Unexplored is the bandís fifth release since that reformation and itís a great symphonic prog CD. Eight compositions with a total running time of just under fifty minutes with songs that remind me of early Marillion mixed with IQ and even a bit of YES and Greenslade. The Phoenix Again compositional style is one that bears all the hallmarks of modern symphonic prog: grand compositions, big sound, lots of Mellotron flourishes interspersed with some nice medieval sounding acoustic guitar and flute here and there. Songs tend to be ever changing displaying lots of ascending lines, going from one grand flourish into a series of punchy starts and stops, staccato band shots that lead directly into the compositionsí next segment. Call-and-response musical change-ups are everywhere with wonderful guitar and keyboard interplay that lead to huge swells of music. Vocals appear on two of the eight tunes so that leaves time for plenty of great musical performance with just as many keyboard lead lines as guitar. For my money, Phoenix Again hit all the right notes for me and I really love their style. Highly recommended if you are a fan of the symphonic prog genre.