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progVisions

progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members. Our objective is to become a centre of information that contributes to the knowledge, growth and development of progressive rock.

album reviews

album review

United Progressive Fraternity - Planetary Overload Part One: Loss - 2019


    
“... a remarkable progressive rock album ...”
United Progressive Fraternity is a project of Mark Truey Trueack to bring people together under a common love of music and concern for humanitarian issues and the environment. It is a true fraternity in the sense of involving community and fan participation in all aspects of promoting sustainable care and concern for the environment and the human conditions of living under increasingly restricted resources such as food, water and various types of oppression - through music. The driving forces behind UPF are founder Mark Truey Trueack and Steve Unruh. They brought together an amazing list of musical collaborators and guests. To name a few; Jon Davison, Nick Magnus, Hasse Froberg, Steve Hackett and Colin Edwin. Environmental leaders are providing guest narrations. Think of names like Sir David Attenborough and Dame Jane Goodall. As a bonus companion disc you can find a second CD Reimagine with romantic themed songs by the Chris Lebled - Mark Trueack - Steve Unruh trio called the Romantechs. This first double CD (“Planetary Overload Part Two will be released next year) with artwork of Ed Unitsky has been released on the Giant Electric Pea label.
Musicians:
Mark Truey Trueack - vocals;  Steve Unruh - violin, guitars, flute; Christophe Lebled - keyboards, soundscapes; Cornel Wilczek - conductor of the Fraternity Symphonic Orchestra; Dan Mash - bass; Matthew Atherton - vocals, soundscapes, synthesizers; Marek Arnold - sax; Joe Toscano - drums, vocals; Mark Franco - fretted and fretless bas, vocals; Claire Vezina - vocals; Michel St-Pere - guitar; Jon Davison - vocals; Angelo Racz - keyboards; Nick Magnus - keyboards; Michelle Young - vocals; Jesus Gancedo Garcia - drums; Hasse Froberg - vocals; Guillermo Cides - Chapman Stick; Lisa Wetton - vocals; Grace Bawden - vocals; Steve Hackett - guitar; Charlie Cawood - our, baglama saz , bouzouki, hammered dulcimer, zither, pipa, zhongruan, lluqin, 12 string acoustic guitar, electric and bass guitars; RAF Azaria - piano & synth solo’s, slide and electric guitars; Clive Hodson - alto sax, trombone,trumpet; Jerry Marotta - drums; Angus Keay - guitar; Alex Grata - vocals, piano, synthesizers, loops,electric and acoustic guitars; Hans Jorg Schmitz - drums; Colin Edwin - fretless bass, soundscapes; Brendan Darby - trumpet, flugelhorn; Phill Sokha - drums; George Perdikis - guitar; Valentine Halembakov - guitars; Matt Williams - electric and acoustic guitars, backing vocals; Marc Papeghin - French horn; Little Brodie Byrne - spoken word on Forgive me my Son; Ghost Girls - haunting voices on Forgive me my Son; David Hopgood - drums on Mercenaries 

Environmental Leaders & Guest Voices:
Dr. James E. Hansen - narration on Loss (Anthem) and What Happens Now
Mark Maslin - narration on Loss (Anthem) and Mercenaries
Dr. Cary Fowler - introduction on Seeds for Life
Sir David Attenborough - narration on Loss (Anthem) and Stop Time
Dame Jane Goodall - narration on Loss (Anthem) and Dying To Be Reborn
James Lovelock - narration on What If
David Suzuki - narration on Mercenaries 
Alanna Mitchell - narration on One More
Satish Kumasi - narration on Loss (Anthem)

Music arrangements:
Gordon Bennett - guest arranger on Seeds For Life
Ettore Salati - guest arranger, co-composer (with Angelo Racz) and electric & acoustic guitars on Cruel Times
Cindy L. Spear - lyrics Forgive me My Son

“Planetary Overload Part One: Loss“ is divided into three phases. “Phase I: Dawning on Us“ consist out of the tracks “Loss (Anthem)“, “What Happens Now“, “Cruel Times“ and “What Are We Doing to Ourselves“. “Loss (Anthem)“ is an atmospheric piece of music with a New Age quality and is garnished with some of the guest narration voices. Besides that we also hear the voice Jon Davison. That is the perfect choice because his voice resemblance the voice of Jon Anderson and the music has some “Olias of Sunhillow“ atmospheres. In the opening of “What Happens Now“ the flute of Unruh sounds like the flute of Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson. It is an uptempo piece of music with great diversity. “Cruel Times“ is co-composed with Ettore Salati and Angelo Racz. It has a beautiful slow opening with nice vocals of Mark, Steve and guest Lisa Wetton. The second part is more uptempo and has some jazz fusion and Symphonic Rock influences with lovely violin parts. The first highlight with a duration of more than eight minutes. The last track of “Phase I“ is called “What Are We Doing To Ourselves“ and has some African percussion (Kalimantan). It ends with a guest narration of Sir David Attenborough.

“Phase II - Distraction and Destruction“ exists out of the tracks “Stop Time“, “One More“, “Mercenaries“, “What If“ and “Forgive Me  My Son“. Another highlight is “Stop Time“, a powerful and uptempo song with some melodies and music of one of my keyboard heroes Nick Magnus. Besides all the symphonic keyboards the drumming of Hans Jorg Schmitz is remarkable. After all this power the acoustic and classical atmosphere of One More is more than welcome. “Mercenaries“ is also a powerful song and it includes some incredible violin solo’s. “What If“ is a short Interlude with acoustic guitar and delicate trumpet playing. The last song of this “Phase II“ is called “Forgive me, My Son“. The opening has an Eastern atmosphere by the use of instruments like the beautiful Oud (Arabic Lute), bouzouki and dulcimer. The soundscapes and the sound samples let you realize that this is a song about war.

“Phase III - Growing“ which exists out of the tracks “Dying to be Reborn“, “Seeds for Life“ and “Loss to Lost“ opens with one of my personal favorite tracks of the album “Dying to be Reborn“. Beautiful vocal harmonies and lovely keyboard work of Nick Magnus. And then it is time for a real epic. “Seeds For Life“ with a duration of almost 20 minutes surprises with beautiful guests appearances of Steve Hackett on Nylon-string guitar, Michel St-Pere on electric guitars and Nick Magnus on keyboards. The later is also responsible for some soundscapes. Steve Unruh treats us again with beautiful violin parts and the Fraternity Symphonic Orchestra are providing the lovely orchestrations. A long piece of music with the so needed diversity. This is absolutely the highlight of the first CD that ends with the song “Loss To Lost“. Besides Mark Trueack and Steve Unruh, Guillermo Cides and Jesus Gancedo are responsible for the music and melodies. The Sitar-Guitar gives the piece a somewhat Eastern atmosphere. A worthy ending of a remarkable album.

As a bonus companion disc you can find a second CD “Reimagine“ with romantic themed songs by the Chris Lebled - Mark Trueack - Steve Unruh trio called the Romantechs. Each of the two “Planetary Overload“ albums will include a bonus companion disc of the Romantechs trio. The album includes the tracks “Fall In Love With The World“, “This Time“, “Loss To Lost“, “Seeds For Life“, “Rebirth“, “One More“, “Cruel Times“, “Forgiveness“ and “The Great Reward“. This album has a more mellow character. Just listen to the opening track “Fall In Love With The World“ which has a kind of Jon Anderson / Vangelis atmosphere. I had also to think of the Brazilian band Sagrado Coracao Da Terra. And in the slow “This Time“ you can find a smooth jazz trumpet sound. The shorter versions of “Loss To Lost“ and “Seeds For Life“ are indeed romantic and reimagined versions of songs you can also find on the first CD. This bonus companion CD is a perfect companion for the late evening. It has a kind of atmosphere you will find on albums of the New Age genre.

With the first part of the “Planetary Overload“ CD project Mark Trueack and Steve Unruh are reinventing themselves and present with the help of loads of wonderful guest musicians a very strong album. It is a remarkable progressive rock album with great diversity in music and instrument choices. I also enjoyed the romantic companion CD of the Romantechs trio. What can I say more, this album is highly recommended by progVisions.
Douwe Fledderus - July 2019
rating - Giant Electric Pea

 

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