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Eveline's Dust - 'The Painkeeper' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/31/01/b2/evelines-dust-the-painkeeper-31-1487365224.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 17, 2017    
 
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Quite possibly my favourite Prog release of the year so far.

Eveline's Dust are a four-piece Italian Progressive Rock band who, in 'The Painkeeper', have released a quite exceptional crowd-funded album that deserves the full attention of the Prog community worldwide. Formed in 2012, 'The Painkeeper' is their second release. The band claim inspiration from both past and modern Prog, drawing on Italian and English influences, and, above all, the work of Steven Wilson. Occasionally, and most overtly on the title track itself, the Wilson influence is a touch intrusive, but that shouldn't overshadow the fact that for the most part, and within the Prog idiom, '...Painkeeper' is a fresh and exciting album with a sound and vibe of its own.

The album is based on and inspired by the poem 'Il Custode Di Dolori' by Pisa-based poet and friend of the band Federico Vittori. The story revolves around a mysterious preacher who appears in a depressed rural community offering to lift the never-ending fog and free the villagers from their afflictions; in return he only desires their consent. As the sun, and general contentedness returns to valley life, it slowly dawns on the villagers that what they've really surrendered to the "painkeeper" are their dreams and the ability to imagine and aspire to something better. It's a story that echoes the thrust of Huxley's 'Brave New World', the Italian Catholic context perhaps stimulating reflection on the role of religion in shaping mass consciousness, acceptance and our attitude to life.

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Musically, the story plays out to a veritable goldmine of Prog Rock know-how and creativity. 'Awake' is a punchy, scene-setting instrumental that hints at unexpected time-changes, exemplary solo work and high-quality musical interplay. The rest of the album more than lives up to the early promise; from the Jazzy explorations of 'NREM' and 'A Tender Spark Of Unknown', to Carolina Paolicchi's beautiful guest vocal on the evocative 'Vulnerable' and the hard-edged and guitar-driven drama of 'HCKT'. Of particular note is 'Joseph', a master-class in Prog composition which blends subtle modern Folk influences, compelling melodies and clever and quirky riffing across its multiple sections, with all musicians making distinctive contributions.

'The Painkeeper' is supported by highly stylised original artwork by Francesco Guarnaccia, the combined power of art, poetry and music thus making this a high-brow affair of some substance. It's excellent stuff and quite possibly my favourite Prog release of the year so far.

Michael Anthony

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