PERSEPHONE'S DREAM


"Pyre of Dreams" (Self-produced; 2007)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

I'll be honest: The first time I sat through "Pyre of Dreams," I wasn't impressed. Maybe I didn't give it the attention it deserved, or maybe I just wasn't in the mood for that type of music but, throughout my first run-through of this CD, nothing really grabbed me.

But this is where it gets interesting. Because, on my second and subsequent listens to this CD, I found myself enthralled. "Pyre of Dreams" caught my attention almost immediately and held it throughout the length of the CD. The musicianship and songwriting were captivating and the production, especially for a self-produced CD, was stunning (although not without its problems as well). I wondered where my head must have been during my first listen-through and I realized that the problem wasn't with the music ... it was apparently with me. (Damn that Battlestar Galactica! I know better than try to watch and review at the same time!). 

As Mr. Kelter notes in his reviews of the band's previous releases, "Pyre of Dreams" is not music for headbanging. Instead, it's hard-edged progressive rock that dares to explore atmosphere and emotion. I've seen it labeled elsewhere as "space rock," but I don't see that connection. "Pyre of Dreams" is more Lacuna Coil than Pink Floyd. Still, those looking for something to rage and pump their fists to had best look elsewhere.

Once again it should be noted that the female vocalists (here, Colleen Gray and Heidi Engle) are a highlight, delivering ethereal vocals when required and really belting it out when necessary. As complex as the music is, one most also throw kudos to the musicians who manage not to step on one another as they weave dark tapestries of sound together flawlessly.

I mentioned earlier that the production was not without its problems. While that is true (the sound sometimes sounds flat and almost hollow), it is only a minor complaint and I almost feel guilty for mentioning it, especially when reviewing a self-produced CD.

Overall, I think that fans of Persephone's Dream will find "Pyre of Dreams" to be an excellent addition to their library, as will any fans of progressive rock or metal.

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


"Opposition" (Self-produced; 2001)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

"Opposition," the third disc from Persephone's Dream, is the follow-up to the exquisitely rewarding "Moonspell." The Persephone’s Dream sound is very ambitious without being tiresome and "Opposition" continues their stylistic approach in a more refined way. Some of the eclectic moments on "Moonspell" have been dropped for "Opposition" - you won't find songs like "Electronic Exotic" or "Earth Dreams," but it is safe to say that Persephone’s Dream remain adventurous as always. 

Persephone’s Dream find their own voice and style on "Puppetmaster" and it continues on the next track "Endymion." "Puppetmaster," in particular, has a phenomenal intro and wonderful movement into the melody. The understated groove of "TV Talk Show" and its interesting percussion speak for themselves. Much of the Rush influence in evidence on "Moonspell" is now gone, although a distinct Rush-like sound pops up on "Agents Of Chaos." "10th Moon" mixes fantasy and mystery into a woven tapestry of cosmic wonder.

The drum sound is definitely better and there is a more cohesive balance to all of the instrumentation on "Opposition" as compared to "Moonspell." This is important because, as the music shifts from primary instrument to another or from quiet parts to loud parts, the clarity and balance of the instruments is paramount in conveying all the loss, all the spirit, and all the vivid images that Persephone’s Dream has to offer.

Karin Nicely’s vocals are a bit richer and warmer on "Opposition" than on previous efforts. Nicely's timeless, storytelling technique recalls Natalie Merchant at her most inspired moments. Lyrics dealing with fearlessness, trusting one's own instincts, and inner strength give "Opposition" a solid, uplifting feel. My personal favorite, as far as lyrics go, is the tough "Stormchaser" which gives metaphorical rise to inner humanity's terrifying ability to rely on 'fight or flight' instincts.

Persephone’s Dream, for those of you interested in female-fronted bands, is more like "if-then-else"-era The Gathering as opposed to Lacuna Coil or Nightwish.

Very cool artwork rounds out this solid CD; visit the artist at http://www.audres-attic.com to get a flavor of the added dimension art can bring to music.

Persephone's Dream is Karin Nicely on vocal, Kim Finney on keys and synth, Rowen Poole on guitars, Chris Siegle on bass and flute, John Tallent on percussion, Ed Wianko on drums. Everyone contributed backing vocals.

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


"Moonspell" (Self-produced; 1999)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Persephone's Dream is part of the neo-progressive rock wave that is sweeping the musical landscape. The quieter moments of Rush are clearly in evidence with many other forms of progressive rock mixed in for good measure. Achieving musical representations of emotions through extensive aural moods is the focus on "Moonspell" and the band hits the mark quite often.

In every song the delicate arc of the vocals is very impressive. The inflections of the melody lines in the lyrics draw the listener in with strength taking the listener closer to the heart of the lyrics. The lyrics were obviously written with care; it almost seems like poetry the way the words are crafted together. A variety of weighty topics are dealt with throughout and makes the music seem that more relevant to the band's scope.

High points are the dreamy "Euphoria," the disc opening "Millennium Moon," the fast paced and dynamic "Alternate Reality," the confrontational "Altar Of Desire," while "Full Moon" has a sound that is reminiscent of moody Rush a la "Witch Hunt."

"Earth Dreams" is a bit long at 15 minutes, but it makes for a great study piece. The multiple layers of quiet rhythms are framed by hypnotic percussion and various images of nature as told through music.

Persephone's Dream is a band that pays attention to details. The packaging for "Moonspell" is impeccable; this is a great indicator of the care the band places on its work (don't forget that Persephone's Dream is an independent band that is putting their stuff together without the support of a label, that's what makes this quite remarkable). The songs are challenging and the overall presentation is worthy of serious consideration by music fans everywhere.

Persephone's Dream is primarily a studio band, but live performances can't be too far behind. 

This is not head-banging material; however, it is thoughtful and sophisticated prog-rock.

"Moonspell" was produced by Persephone's Dream.

Persephone's Dream is Karin Nicely on vocals; Rowen Poole on guitars, keyboards, and backing vocals; Chris Siegle on bass, keyboards, and backing vocals; Ed Wiancko on drums, percussion, and backing vocals.  John Tallent contributed additional percussion on "Earth Dreams."

For more information visit http://www.mindspring.com/~persephone1


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 © 2008 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 18 Dec 2016 12:46:21 -0500.