CHROMA KEY

"Graveyard Mountain Home" (InsideOut; 2004)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

I'm fortunate that I've been listening to Kevin Moore for a long time. I was introduced to Moore's work during the early days of Dream Theater and his contributions to Fates Warning. I am even familiar with one of his latest projects, O.S.I., which I really like a lot. Now that I think of it, I might have actually 'heard' Moore on a Fates Warning album first, but I don't have time to figure that all out to be 100% certain. Regardless, Kevin Moore has been a part of my metal listening experience for well over a decade.

I never did get around to hearing Moore's first two solo releases in the form of Chroma Key. But I had read that Chroma Key wasn't progressive or even metal, but rather was a wonderful exercise in 70's prog-rock with a heavy emphasis on atmosphere and whacked out vibes. Now, in this vein, I must say that I was completely flabbergasted by Moore's "Space Dye Vest" on Dream Theater's "Awake." I actually soured on the guy and thought that Dream Theater was better off without him in the band. And, wouldn't you know it, Moore left soon thereafter.

So I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to hear Kevin Moore's work via this review of Chroma Key's "Graveyard Mountain Home." Chroma Key, as I alluded to before, is basically Kevin Moore as a solo act with occasional assistance from other musicians. I've even learned that each of the three Chroma Key albums up to this point have been recorded in new locales that are new to Moore when he arrives. Nothing like an artist throwing himself into a new geographic environment for inspiration and proximity to new sounds and styles to be slowly absorbed into the artist's repertoire.

The first spin of "Graveyard Mountain Home" did absolutely nothing for me except for a few token melodies and moods that happened to strike pretty quickly in my mind. The second spin was a sea change in how the music managed to stick in my mind. The album is intended as a ‘soundtrack' of sorts for a social guidance film created in 1955 (called "Age 13"). It becomes relatively apparent after a few spins that Moore is marching to the beat of a different drummer – and in this case the ‘drummer' lived in the past and made movies for a living.

"Graveyard Mountain Home" draws from a number of influences – it literally sounds like Moore was pushing in completely different directions for each song while making this album. Moore took a year to record the CD – I'm sure this is partly a result of Moore handling almost all of the music that appears on the disc. But another reason is probably very well Moore's own desire to draw from his deep musical background to fit his perceived soundtrack to the movie. The music on "Graveyard Mountain Home" never seems to follow any logical pattern, but pulls from nearly every resource in the musical palette for a varied and diverse sonic landscape that somehow seems fully coherent once the listener has allowed themselves to be absorbed by the whirling whimsies of Moore's imagination and the occasional insert of the film's original dialogue and soundtrack.

And the neat thing about this disc is that you can watch along as the film and Moore's alternate score is included on every copy (the single disc version contains a Quicktime version of the film and the special edition of the CD contains a DVD version of the film).

"Graveyard Mountain Home" is a stellar release.

"Graveyard Mountain Home" was produced and mixed by Kevin Moore.

Chroma Key: Kevin Moore on vocals, guitar, keyboards, and programming; Utku Unal on drums, Theron Patterson on programming on selected tracks and bass guitar, Bige Akdeniz on additional vocals, Erdem Helvaciogiu on additional guitar, and Bob Nekrasov on vocals.

For more information visit http://www.chromakey.com/

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2005 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 14 Sep 2017 02:01:05 -0400.