• 08-20-2005, 07:21 AM
    Best Prog Album of the 21st Century
    I've been pretty lucky with my recent prog purchases, some of which kick ass, including the recent post on Trespass, the band Aether, and the latest Kaipa - Mindrevolutions, which is pretty good.

    But I've been spinning the latest Thomas Bodin CD called I Am for about four weeks, and this is the real thing. This has to be the most audacious prog album of prog's new age of ascendence. This album excites me the way that I was thrilled with the innovation of Patrick Moraz's post-Yes solo album "I".

    Bodin is the keyboard player from the Flower Kings, and he packs this album with the FK bass player (Jonas Reingold) and new drummer (Marcus Liliequist), plus killer guitar work by someone named Jocke JJ Marsh, and uses three vocalists, one male and two female.

    The album has three long tracks, each around the 20 minute mark, with each track containing a number of "songs" that are all linked together.

    Given that much music, and the bombastic over-the-top musical personality of Bodin, it doesn't all work, but that's a minor point compared to what does work. Even The Lamb Lies Down contains a ton of filler on disk two. Well, there's no electronic doodling on this CD, it's modern keyboard-driven, guitar shredding, multiple-suite progressive rock at it's modern finest. At times it attacks like stormtroopers, and at times it caresses like a soft flowing caribbean river. Melody always surrounds the dissonant parts, so the music moves from loud to soft, noisy to sweet, and back again.

    If you like the Flower Kings, or Kaipa, or OSI, or Dream Theater, or Jordan Rudess, or Pain of Salvation, or Queensryche, or Spocks Beard, or even ELP and Yes and want a taste of modern progressive rock at its best, this is a great album.

    It' s not necessarily an easy listen because it's loaded with musical ideas, and the vocal style of Anders Jansson may not be for everyone on first listen. But give it a chance. This album is bombastic. It is over the top. It is bold and brave and in your face audacious at times.

    I applaud Bodin for having the balls to go for it straight out on this one compared to his two earlier solo CDs.

    This one is a classic, and if there hasn't been any buzz about it in prog circles, then shame on them. This album sets a pretty high standard, and puts the keyboard back in the forefront of modern progressive rock music.