Keyboardist Darrel Treece-Birch made a name for himself in the Melodic Rock band TEN. Furthermore he is active in the English Rush cover band Counterparts and his Progressive Rock Band Nth Ascension. “No More Time” is his second solo album. The album features UK guest musicians from the above mentioned bands and the Gary Hughes Band. The concept of the album is about birth, maturation and eternal existence. The story begins at some distant point outside of our spacetime and follow the very essence of human spirit through its journey to finally return home to the Nexus of our eternal regeneration. But even if your spirituality is not yet developed, you can just enjoy the music.
Darrel Treece-Birch - keyboards, bass guitar, drums, mandolin, voice
Phil Brown (Counterparts UK) - acoustic guitar, rhythm guitar, lead guitar; Karen Fell (Gary Hughes Band) - vocals; Steve Grocott (Ten) - lead guitar; Dan Mitchell (Formerly of Ten) - lead guitar; John Power (Counterparts UK) - fretless & bass guitar, rhythm guitar, lead guitar, violin; Dann Rosingana (Ten) - lead guitar; Alan Taylor (Nth Ascension) - vocals, acoustic guitar, lead guitar; Gavin Walker (Nth Ascension) bass guitar; Martin Walker (Nth Ascension) rhythm guitar, lead guitar
On this album you can find 15 tracks and three of them are short narrative interludes (“Nexus Pt 1”, “Nexus Pt 2” and “Nexus Pt 3”). Short and attractive keyboard interludes to support the concept of the story. After the first “Nexus” piece the album opens with the instrumental track “Earthbound”. A melodic guitar piece on a bed of keyboards. Halfway the synths are taking over the melodies. A nice symphonic opener. Than follows the more rock oriented piece “Riding The Waves”. Rhythm guitars and drums are supporting the melodic keys and lead guitars. Halfway the track you can enjoy the first soaring guitar solo of this album.
“Hold On” is more my cup of tea and this beautifully sung ballad starts with a delicate piano intro which is further on accompanied by some acoustic guitars and ends with nice melodic electric guitar melodies. This goes seamless into the following piano intro, the start of the beautiful “Requiem Pro Caris”. The atmosphere of the wonderful violin melodies are bringing the name of Marcus Vianna into my mind. You can find wonderful melodies on this album. After the second “Nexus” interlude you can enjoy the second vocal track “Twilight”. Delicate sung vocals and again that beautiful violin. The instrumentation of this piece has a kind of New Age / Ambient quality, but this counts for the whole album. Listen for instance to the lovely piano melodies of the following track “Mother (Olive's Song)”. Halfway there is a beautiful synth solo that is followed by the violin. I think that “Mother (Olive's Song)” is the most beautiful piece of this album.
The contrast is high when this is followed by the track “Freedom Paradigm”. The slow but screaming electric guitar parts are giving this piece a more symphonic rock character. The melodic synth playing of Darrel gives this piece the needed diversity. After the third and last “Nexus” interlude follows the beautiful track “The River Dream” which includes beautiful and atmospheric violin parts, acoustic guitars and melodic lead guitar parts. Again a piece with great melodies and an atmosphere that stays on the mellow side of symphonic rock. The electric guitar parts are very nice. The tension of the music is slowly building up towards a climax before it slows down again. This third part of the album is very strong. The third vocal track is the title track of the album “No More Time”. I love the delicious fretless bass part that can be heard throughout the whole song.
After the shorter track “Legacy” which is dominated by melodic guitar work the album closes with two tracks both of which are almost eight minutes long. The first one “Music Of The Spheres” is sung by female vocalist Karen Fell. She has a beautiful and clear voice. The vocal part is followed by a lovely synth melody. While I was writing this review I was thinking of how I would describe the atmosphere of those lovely synth parts. The closest I can come is I think the name of a great keyboardist who most of his career was not interested anymore in progressive rock and therefore made wonderful ambient albums. I am talking about Kit Watkins who made quite an impression on the first two Happy The Man albums and the Nude tour of Camel. To my surprise he played some instruments on the new Tim Bowness album “Lost In The Ghost Light” which was released last week. The second one and the closing song of this album is called “Return To The Nexus”. Only accompanied by atmospheric keyboard parts a wonderful melodic guitar solo is pushing this track towards a climax and the song inserted itself easily to my favorites of this album.
After the blissful piece “Mother (Olive's Song)” the third part of Darrel Treece-Birch's album “No More Time” is very strong with tracks like “The River Dream”, “No More Time”, “Music Of The Spheres” and “Return To The Nexus”. The atmosphere of the album is on the mellow side of the symphonic rock / Neo Prog spectrum. I think that lovers of New Age and Ambient music will also love this album. I enjoyed listening to this album very much. But if you are more into symphonic and Neo Prog I would recommend one of Darrel's other bands ... Nth Ascension. Stay tuned on progVisions because a review of the new Nth Ascension album “In Fine Initium” will follow soon.