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

2017-07-27
Yestival Dates Beef up the Beat – Word reaches us that Dylan Howe (son of guitarist Steve Howe) will be joining Yes on their "Yestival" tour, drumming alongside longtime band member Alan White. » Read more

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

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


Previously in Exposé...

Dean de Benedictis - Salvaging the Past – De Benedictis, as the title points out, not only refers to the legacy, but even reinvents the past on this album. The stunning opener, “The Tech Atonement of Bilagana,” unearths a...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues