CD Reviews

Sleepwalker Sun - 'Stranger In The Mirror' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 25, 2011    
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A fine album, if a little challenging in places.

A band that has only recently crossed my path thanks to a recommendation, this is in fact the sophomore release from this female fronted Brazilian band following on from their eponymous debut released as long ago as 2006. The person who tipped me off about Sleepwalker Sun was aware of my broad musical taste and my fondness for Progressive Rock and indicated that this band would tick a number of boxes for me, and indeed it does. The style covers several genres within the Prog field such as Metal, Symphonic and Classic.

The title track which opens affairs is a twenty minute extravaganza that touches most if not all of the Prog styles on its own. Starting slowly with a simple vocal over a delightful acoustic refrain it suddenly bursts into Dream Theater territory for a period but finds its way back to another gentle passage before a section that puts me in mind of Stream of Passion circa their first album. There are some superb guitar riffs from Ricardo Marins, and a synth solo to die for from Luiz Alvim and the vocal arrangements of Giana Araújo are wonderful. She eschews the Operatic and Gothic styles and has a more classic approach such as Rachel Jones (The Reasoning) or Christina Booth (Magenta) albeit in a generally heavier context, she's certainly at her best on the more melodic moments. Rounding out the band we have Francisco Falcon (bass), Rodrigo Martinho, Jorge Mathias (bass/vocals) and Marcos Eichler (lyrics). 'Revealing Web' sees the band pushing the boundaries and for me the song would have been better served with a more straightforward arrangement. As it is it sounds a bit like, in their naivety, they've thrown the kitchen sink at it and as a result it comes across as being somewhat disjointed. The instrumental section has a youthful Dream Theater vibe.

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'Play Of Light' is the calm after the storm as it relies on an electric piano and Araújo's voice and is a lovely song as a consequence. 'The Waste Land' opens with Mathias supplying the lead vocal and he's joined later by Araújo for what becomes a duet that mixes light and darker moments rather well. 'An Obvious Guest' brings back the Stream of Passion comparison as it possesses gentle beauty and some bombastic moments but in this case the band don't overstretch and it's a great track as a result. 'A Lonely Land (Without a Trace)' is another, albeit shorter epic that features some wonderfully evocative singing with the synth and Mellotron work paints pictures in your head and at times I can't help but think of The Reasoning.

The album closes with 'Into the Twilight' which takes the power up several notches, features nice layered vocals and some more impressive riffing and keyboard runs.

A fine album, if a little challenging in places.

Gary Marshall

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