Ice Vajal :: Music Land :: Metal World
editorial :: feedback :: newsletter ::  
   Bands :: A-Z / P / Presto Ballet /

On disc: Presto Ballet

The Lost Art Of Time Travel - Claudia Ehrhardt - 8 stars
Invisible Places - Claudia Ehrhardt - 9 stars

Invisible Places

Invisible Places
(SAOL - 2011)

Presto Ballet are presenting their 3rd album which is called Invisible Places. Most will think of Metal Church when they hear the name Kurdt Vanderhoof, but the guitarist is also huge fan of 70's prog rock. Beside writing music and playing guitar he's producing and engineering - incl. being FOH engineer for TSO. For the 3rd album he hooked up with ex-Metal Church singer Ronny Munroe, a great singer who can almost do any style.
The opener is called Between The Lines and again it shows Vanderhoof's love for the vintage sound of the 70's and his love for prog rock. Presto Ballet manage to sound modern while presenting songs which are obviously inspired by some 70's / 80's bands like Yes, ELP, Asia and Kansas. Part of the secret of their authentic sound is that they used no digital instruments for the recordings. So it's like a travel back in time.
Singer Ronny Munroe will surprise metal fans who just know his previous work with Metal Church and / or his solo album, but he fits in very well. He shows a new facet. Every song pays tribute to the 70's and sometimes you will be reminded of a specific band, but at the end it's all Presto Ballet you hear.
For me one of the highlights is Of Grand Design, even if I can't really say why. Anyway, it's a en epic 12+ minute long track, it's like a sonic journey taking you to different places which are all connected somehow. A real masterpiece.
Another highlight is One Perfect Moment, a bit heavier and more powerful than the other tracks. But don't expect a real prog metal tune!
Well, everybody who disliked their last album and thought 'that's it for Presto Ballet' after hearing The Lost Art Of Time Travel, should give Invisible Places a chance! Presto Ballet is back!

9 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


The Lost Art Of Time Travel

The Lost Art Of Time Travel
(ProgRock Records - 2008)

Metal Church mastermind Kurdt Vanderhoof started Presto Ballet to have a place to play 70's (prog) rock - a passion of the guitarist. The band was founded in 2004 and the following year they released their debut Peace Among The Ruins. Metal Church got active again and so it took them a little longer to record the follow-up The Lost Art Of Time Travel, but now it's in stores!
Singer Scott Albright is still holding the mic, but they have 3 new members. Now its Bill Raymond on drums, Izzy Rehaume on bass and Ryan McPherson is playing different keys, mellotron and adding backing vocals.
The opener is called The Mind Machine and takes you onto a travel back in time, back to the 70's. You can call it retro prog, but it doesn't matter how you label it, as long as the album is fun, right? The Mind Machine is retro prog rock with catchy vocals. This one revives the 70's! Partly it's the sound, the warm sound old analog recordings have - and the Hammond well as the mellotron just help to create this atmosphere. And the citations of classic pieces are brilliantly woven into the track! The following Thieves is following the chosen path, but add some Oriental sounds at the beginning of the track. Thieves is a bombastic rocker with heavy riffing and slow passages. Due to the vocals it reminds me a bit of old Styx... The more complex instrumental parts are a bit Kansas-like. With acoustic guitar and vocals they kick off You're Alive, then the others join in and it becomes a symphonic semi-acoustic song. Compared to the following One Tragedy At A Time the track You're Alive is quite simple, but cool. One Tragedy At A Time is more complex, has a bombastic edge and partly a Tull-ish flair. But you also find reminiscences to Yes and ELP - and old Saga. Scott Albright's voice is taking off the edge with his warm and melodic vocals. The chorus is catchy, even if it needs a few spins before it starts haunting you! Like a progressive Deep Purple rocker Easy Tomorrow comes over you, but then the song changes and gets more Krautrock meets prog - and again there are some Saga-esque keyboard lines. Real cool tune! The album ends with the balladesque prog tune Haze and with a lot harmony vocals. A very relaxed tune with a catchy melody. A good choice to end this album.
The Lost Art Of Time Travel is a real treat for fans of 70's prog rock, especially with it's organic and so authentic sound! Kudos!

8 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


           ©2008-2014 by Claudia Ehrhardt • E-Mail:

Bands P