Exposé Online banner

Vermilion — Flattening Mountains and Creating Empires
(Redwood RED-026, 2002, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2003-12-01

Flattening Mountains and Creating Empires Cover art

This album is quite an oddity, coming as it does from a little-known (so far) band on an independent label, for it features a big name producer (Steve Albini) and a big name artist on the cover (Roger Dean). Stylistically, it makes me think of a sort of alternate-universe King Crimson who took a different turn after Starless and Bible Black: what if, instead of whittling down to a solely guitar-based band and working towards heavier sounds, they had kept the instrumental variety of the earlier days and got louder? At their most aggressive, Vermilion (yes, that's how they spell it) have all the dissonant, angular crunch of late-90s Crimson, but those passages are offset by quieter moments featuring piano, violin, and trumpet. This band also lacks the sometimes mechanical technical relentlessness of Crimson, presenting a flowing natural style more based on emotional drive than on technical virtuosity. Not that these guys can't play. Their chops are admirably up to the challenging arrangements on the four instrumental tracks that make up the CD. The production is very crisp and live sounding, even though numerous overdubs must have been required. Vermilion are one of the best of the new generation of bands merging the indie-rock sensibilities of the 90s with the prog-rock complexity of the 70s.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 28, 2002 releases

Related artist(s): Vermilion

Latest news

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Trygve Seim - Sangam – If there was ever a time for a new jazz icon, composer and saxophonist Trygve Seim surely fits that bill. His ensemble's well received performance at the 2007 Portland Jazz Festival was a jaw-dropper,...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues