Kepler Ten - 'Delta-V'

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Kepler Ten - 'Delta-V'

One of the best debut albums I've heard in a while.

This has to be one of the best debut albums I've heard in a while. Formed as a Rush tribute band (R2), they so enjoyed working together they decided to create their own music with this being the very tasty result. They fired off a demo to John Mitchell (Arena, IQ, Lonely Robot) when he announced his new label and not surprisingly he snapped them up; he also mixed the final product.

With the Rush connection one might imagine a rather too close similarity in sound, but with all credit to the band they've not fallen into that trap... too much. Sure there are the undeniable Rush tropes, but overall I get an amalgam of the likes of Enchant and Fates Warning alongside Scandi Melodic Rock providing a very nice crossover between Prog and AOR. It helps that James Durand sings in a lower register so the Rush comparisons are limited to the music.

The song-writing is incredibly strong, each of the seven tracks is terrific and their playing is top-notch. Steve Hales' (ex-Lionsheart and Steve Grimmett) drum sound is immense and Richie Cahill's guitar solos across the entire album are wonderful. Durand has a good, distinctive voice allied to both bass and keyboard skills.

The album's longest tracks bookend proceedings. 'Ultraviolet' opens with a Pink Floyd-ian soundscape before a delightful piano motif takes over which is gradually supplemented by synth, drums and then vocals. It then explodes into phase three with a huge riff and some fine guitar chops. The arrangement is terrific and whilst it's the heaviest track on offer, it lays down a marker for what is to come.

'Time And Tide' has an eighties synth opening that moves into almost Muse-like territory on the verses before a chorus that reminded me of Harem Scarem. 'The Stone' is a more straightforward affair with a great vocal arrangement and harmonies.

'Swallowtail' sees the pace taken right down; it's an acoustic number until the end when the orchestrated keyboards are redolent of Within Temptation. 'The Shallows' is the most Rush-like thing here, musically it's "very" Rush, while 'In The Sere And Yellow' is a cross between Enchant and Scandi AOR.

'Red Skies Rise' is a Prog epic but with judicious editing would easily fit on any self-respecting Melodic Rock album. These guys should appeal to a wide range of our readers.

Gary Marshall

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