Exposé Online banner

Advent — Cantus Firmus
((Not on label) no#, 2006, CD)

by Sean McFee, Published 2007-03-01

Cantus Firmus Cover art

I have not heard a new release this year that evoked so many conflicting emotions. The first Advent release in a decade, Cantus Firmus is also their first output I have heard. A quartet of guitar / bass / Stick / recorder, dual keyboardists, and a drummer, with two vocalists but some multi-tracking if I gather correctly, the Advent sound is high in virtuosity and tight group interplay. Two of bandmember Alan Benjamin’s musical heroes, Gentle Giant and Kenso, could almost be said to be fused together in this recording; it’s all the contrapuntal richness of GG with a more symph-prog bent. The 18-minute “Ramblin’ Sailor” may be the best composition of the year by anyone. So, in fact, this should be one of my favorite releases of the decade. And yet, and yet... it’s always going to be a judgement call where something is paying tribute and where something crosses the line into clone territory. Vocal fugues and echoing musical passages on multiple instruments: tribute. Intentionally sounding like Minnear (including the accent): crossing the line. That suspicion of contrivance is what pulls it down from classic status. Still, it’s not a sound many groups could pull off, and these guys nail it. The drums do seem a bit flat and in the background at times; whether conscious choice or not, it puts a limit on the intensity. If you love Gentle Giant as this writer does, you owe it to yourself to hear this. The wry smiles will be mixed with moments of joy.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 34, 2006 releases

Related artist(s): Advent

Latest news

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Jack o' the Clock and Zero Times Everything, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Paragong - Live '73 – From GAS (Gong Appreciation Society), the same folks that brought us Camembert Eclectique, we now have a disc featuring live recordings by this legendary 1973 Gong spinoff featuring Hillage, Blake,...  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues