OK, I can't keep my mouth shut any longer!!! Now that it's official and CDs are on their way, here goes....
This album is a remarkable accomplishment on so many levels!!! One of the first things that really makes an impact is the cohesiveness of the album's theme. From the song titles to the artwork (another incredible Ferenc Dobronyi design) to the primal energy--it is abundantly clear that a tremendous amount of care and attention to detail went into the songs and their unifying concept. The entire album really flows like the soundtrack to some kind of adventure epic.
Smack! The intensity hits you right in the face from the very first second! Truly like a "headbanging" dream for the fans of the heavy stuff, the main lower-register descending riff pummels you into submission and spits you out into a tension-creating higher register chordal passage that explodes into a whirlwind of a blistering "exotic" solo that truly only Ivan could deliver.
Cities of Gold
Optimistic and hopeful, yet with just the right amount of added tension, as though you don't know what's lurking around the next corner. Beautiful acoustic rhythym guitar and memorable, gentle melodies.
Ahhhhh...now we're given a chance to reflect and appreciate the beauty of it all. Perhaps viewing the jungle at twilight, thinking of those loved ones back at home, looking nostalgically at a wallet photo by campfire. Gorgeously Shadows-inspired in all the best ways. Effective and not overused strings. Triumphant. The sun sets. Gotta get a good night's sleep for tomorrow, because we may end up witnessing a...
OK, tension begins to increase as the tribal toms kick you into a foreign world of wonder and intrigue, as though you're witnessing something you shouldn't from behind the protection of dense foliage. I know I'm injecting my own non-musical interpretation here, (isn't that one of the greatest things about instrumental music?), but I swear you can hear the exact moment in the song when the actual sacrifice takes place!!!
First light...rolling toms, acoustic rhythm and dripping palm-muting move brush along the trail as strange beasts scamper across the leafy horizon. Where are we going, where are we headed? What's next? Light and humidity glisten against the vibrant colors of the green foliage as the trails winds upwards and deep into the hills. Wonder and glory. Good times, natural beauty. Until we arrive at a hidden area where, through the trees we can see a....
Uh-oh. Something isn't right here. Throbbing bass invites us into a powerful, exotic and dark world of hummingbird-like double picking and accents, while an ever-so-subtle shaker sounds in the background, reminding us that the doctor is still working his magic, which involves...
Ahhhh...content, happy, mellow. Tribal drums, big, acoustic rhythm, claves, a sublimely toneful lead line--Ernesto Leucona's classic, famously interpreted on Martin's Denny's Afro-Desia given a brilliant new lease on life. A definite instant Surf-Exotica classic! Like floating down a beautiful, majestic river.
Tribal toms and double-picking pumping confidence into the belief that the voyage is worth it, that the adventure will end successfully. The trials and tribulations of taking such an adventure. What's that around that bend, is that an ocean view?...
Beautifully acoustic, in the exotic/flamenco/romantic vein we've come to expect and adore from The Madeira. Wonderfully subtle yet effective use of hand drums.
Galloping drive, spacey echo for days--one of those tunes where Patrick's strumming hand seems like it's impossible to go that fast! Big, anthemic, dramatic!
Speaking of drama, this time a different, quiet kind. Dark, foreboding, deep, ominous. Awesome instrumentation--Acoustic rhythm, Bass VI, Shaker/scraper, bell, drippy palm-muting, more tribal toms. Intense feeling of leading up to something...
Heavy, tense, building, growing, ascending to an apex, rising up from the fires. Like you know it all must eventually come to end, and you don't necessarily know if it's a good or a bad thing, just that it has to happen. Triumphant.
Soft, lilting, mellow--resolution. The voyage is over, we've survived. We've loved, we've lost, we had adventures, but now it's back home. It was a good ride, but now it will only exist in our memories. Wonderful use of tremolo and echo. Breathe a sigh of relief and reminisce about the beauty of it all.
Ivan, Dane, Patrick, Todd....thanks for the adventure! A true masterpiece!—