CD Reviews

Holon - 'The Time Is Always Now'

Added by Central Electronic Brain     July 03, 2017    
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A coherent, engaging and very well put together album from an artist who is clearly a creative force to be reckoned with.

Holon is the solo project of Ronny Pedersen (guitars, vocals, bass, sitar and programming), with more than ample support from Rhys Marsh (vocals, pedal, steel and bass guitar and assorted keyboards) and some occasional guest musicians. Pedersen is responsible for the song-writing here and Marsh the production, mixing and mastering.

'The Time Is Always Now' is a Progressive Rock concept album as deep and meaningful as anything you'll find this side of 'The Wall'; exploring, as it does, themes of man's place in the universe, the nature of the self and "the oneness of all". Narrative preambles in the lyric booklet help explain the concept as you go, ensuring that the album provides both a lyrical and musical journey for anyone who wants to climb aboard.

Opener 'The Belly Of Being' is a slow burner which exemplifies Pedersen's approach to song-writing, with multiple sections building to a strong (and sometimes loud) conclusion. That's certainly true of the excellent 'The Times They Are A-Taming', which, having referenced Bob Dylan in the title, majors on striking Von Hertzen Brothers style harmonies and big seventies guitar riffs.

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There's more apparent VHB vocal influence in 'Time To Go', which has an expansive, experimental feel and exhibits Pink Floyd moodiness and some ultra-cool Hammond work amid shifts in pace and heaviness. Similar in vibe is the title track which clocks in at over eleven minutes, integrating touches of Electronica and additional vocal drama to many of the hallmark sounds of previous tracks.

A strong feature of the album is the use Pedersen makes of female or blended male/female voices. This is particularly effective on 'Dancer In The Sky' and 'Two Grains Of Sand' which incorporate some of the album's strongest melodies (Silje Leirvik and Kari Harneshaug take a bow). At times, the material could, perhaps, benefit from a firmer "editorial" ear. There is something to be said for keeping the overall listening experience in mind, even if that means losing a minute or two here and there, and after the powerful and rousing crescendo of the title track, closer 'A Drop Of Me' feels a bit like an add-on. Similarly, there are places, 'Falling' being a case in point, where influences are perhaps too evident and linger a little too long.

However, generally, this is a coherent, engaging and very well put together album from an artist who is clearly a creative force to be reckoned with.

Michael Anthony

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