Exposé Online banner

Stencil Forest — The Abyss
((Not on label) 783707-27620-5, 2005, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2007-03-01

The Abyss Cover art

Stencil Forest is another example of “band makes an album that goes nowhere, disbands, then reforms years later to try it again.” The core of the 1983 lineup has returned — Frank Casella (guitars, keys and vocals) and Doug Andresen (vocals) with help from Rick Casella (keys), Jim Casella (drums) and Ron Perron (bass). While many of the ideas on The Abyss aren’t new to fans of symphonic prog (epic-length compositions, heroic melodicism, pretty vocal harmonies, metric shifts, prominent use of keyboards and analog synths) they’re put together well enough to earn a recommendation, particularly to those inclined toward the softer side of 70s prog. Similarities can be drawn to Glass Hammer (“Broken”) and 80s Yes (“Room with a View”) though the strongest link is classic period Renaissance (“Morning Glory,” “The Captive Heart”). Credit goes to Frank Casella for the songwriting and (one assumes) for guiding the songs to fruition in the studio with admirable results, perhaps culminating in the 24 minute title track that exhibits some stellar songwriting and a vocal performance that’s one of the best I’ve recently heard. The arrangements throughout are tight, the performances solid, and the songs are blessed with memorable hooks and terrific melodies. Casella has no doubt been perfecting these songs over the many years, which explains the uniform high level of care, and craftsmanship the material exhibits. The Abyss marks a welcome return to action for Stencil Forest and I’m eager to see what Casella and crew come up with next.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 34, 2005 releases

Related artist(s): Stencil Forest

Latest news

2021-04-01
New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more

2021-03-25
Return of Jerry Lucky's Progressive Rock Files – After much consideration and surprisingly, positive feedback, Jerry Lucky is announcing the launch of the progressive Rock Files podcast, featuring the latest progressive rock music from around the world. » Read more

2021-03-14
Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more

2021-03-11
RIP Roger Trigaux – The sad news has come to our attention that Roger Trigaux, the guiding force of Present and former member of Univers Zero, passed away on the evening of March 10, 2021 after a long ilness. » Read more

2021-02-14
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Rebekka - Phoenix – Phoenix was the first release by the German band Rebekka, whose brand of progressive music featured tablas and tamboura besides the standard guitar, flute, sax, keyboards, bass, and percussion. This...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues