SOUND COMBUSTION: The Eye of the Storm (2021)
Updated: Oct 9, 2021
“This album requires a little more patience and openness than Magnetic Island”
1 The Eye of the Storm 27:04
2 Sunrise Industry 4:34
3 Twilight Air 12:14
(CD/DDL 43:52) (V.F.)
(Prog EM, England School, E-Rock)
It takes a strong backbone and extreme confidence to choose a 27-minute opening track for a new album. This is the challenge of Sound Combustion who decided to follow the precepts of Magnetic Island to build a new album entitled THE EYE OF THE STORM. Except that there wasn't a track of this length on the first album of the English musician Marakas, but a nice bunch of tracks that probably inspired his second album on an independent label.
So, the title-track starts with a car effect taking a turn on a Formula 1 race track. This mechanical wind turns into a buzzing moving wave. Into a Dark Ambient with a metallic blue acrylic tone where the synth whistles a haunting tune. And when the rage of the movement decreases, we perceive a little more this chant, as well as this rain crackling on a layer of ethereal voices. We have just crossed the 4th minute when electronic noises and strange murmurs of humanoids guide us towards a first transition zone in The Eye of the Storm. The first 5 minutes are behind us as the first movement of the sequencer releases a line that bounces its balls in concert with percussion and other percussive effects that mimic its cadence. A keyboard juxtaposes a melodious line that rolls over the rhythmic harmonies of the sequencer against thunders and lightnings. Gurgling sounds seduce a listener attentive to the change of rhythm that imposes a Geoff Downes-like structure, about thirty seconds into the 8th minute. The structure of The Eye of the Storm changes to a good rock with an orchestral essence. Beautiful solos coo and flow over a driving rhythm guided by good electronic percussions and these ever so seductive percussive effects. The synth takes on its opening tone, elaborating a little more on that haunting tune that has become sibylline. A signal for the sequencer to go back and rethink another attack later. In the meantime, the track crosses a first zone of atmospheric transition from which emerges a line of clankers at the end of the 13th minute. Another line of jumping balls follows the zigzagging curves of these new oscillations, up until taking The Eye of the Storm towards a heavy and deliciously catchy electronic rock. Victim of Sound Combustion's excess of creativity, the track moves again to enter another zone of transformation not even 3 minutes later before coming back in the form of an electronic ballad to finally end in the stars and their corridors of a darkness where one weaves the void. But in the end, time is not the main problem of The Eye of the Storm...There are very big and strong moments in this track that were not sufficiently exploited, leaving me on my appetite.
After such a convoluted structure, Sunrise Industry is welcome with its envelope of electronic rock well picked up by good percussions and orchestral keyboard riffs. The beat is edgy and the melody, even the chorus, is catchy with a 90's synth-rock mode tone. It feels good and it sounds a lot like what was on Magnetic Island. The first synth layer in Twilight Air is followed by a procession of layers whose modulations are hardly significant in this ambient structure, yet more ethereal here than elsewhere in THE EYE OF THE STORM. The proof? These songs and chirps of sparrows with impeccable phonetics! It is with an atmospheric texture that Sound Combustion has chosen to end its second album. The only transition period is around the 5th minute with a cross movement of two rhythm lines that structure an ambient Berlin School. Emotionally rich vocal layers bring us to the edge of the chills while, rising and falling, this rhythm will add a suite of arpeggios that chime with those celestial trumpets that delineate the landscapes of the oneiric gods.
I would say that Sound Combustion's THE EYE OF THE STORM requires a little more patience and openness than Magnetic Island's before pleasing and being comfortable with the progression proposed by Marakas. And everything lies in its long title track...
Sylvain Lupari (October 9th, 2021) ***½**
Available at Sound Combustion Bandcamp