[Review] Deaton Lemay Project – The Fifth Element

Deaton LeMay Project was born as a studio project by the duo Roby Deaton on guitar and keyboards and Craig LeMay on drums and pecussion, strongly inspired by the 70’s Progressive Rock artists. They have released 2 full-lengths, to which several artists have collaborated, thus completing and enriching the lineup. The new album “The Fifth Element” was released on January 03, 2022 and contains 11 tracks including in the second half a suite divided into 6 parts. The album opens with “The Great Awakening” a track that immediately plunges us into the Prog atmospheres of the disc, with a fine mix of synth and guitar. The rhythmic session is solid and full of tempo changes, the vocal is dynamic and expressive and the textures are elaborate, with fraeseggi and keyboard inserts halfway between retro and modern. In the second part they offer a good instrumental section with synth and guitar solo intertwining, to return to the vocal and close. One of the longest track on the album “A Different Place in Time,” which is over 7 minutes, features a sound reminiscent of ELP with pompous keyboards. The duets between synth and organ are of a high level and the passages are refined, combining more classic symphonic traits with the band’s personal sounds. The vocal is warm and passionately interprets the song, with the sound that increases in intensity with the passing of the minutes. In the second part they develop elaborate instrumental plots with short but intense solo passages. “Dragonfly” is instead the shortest, a solo piano passage with intertwining melodies, offering a delicate piece with dreamy sounds. We return to the Prog sounds characteristic of the band with “The Nightmare” with positive melodies with intertwined keyboards and guitar. The rhythm session is solid, and the piece is enriched with tempo changes with excellent organ inserts to which the lead guitar parts alternate. The vocal here too interprets the lyrics with intensity, and the piece is a concentrate of energy and high-level technical passages. The first part of the album ends with “Exordium” a track where the organ is at the center of the scene with early 70s style virtuosity intertwined with the electric guitar. An entirely instrumental track, which leaves free space for the complex textures of keyboards and guitar, between continuous tempo changes and intricate passages. The compositional technique of the artists involved is enhanced in this piece which is enriched with virtuosity. The second part of the album which consists of the 6 parts of “Elements of Life Suite,” begins with “Overture.” A long introductory part begins the piece, which develops on solid and elaborate sounds with the keyboards in great evidence. A blend of Prog in pure 70s style and modern and personal features that make the sound of the song original. “Fire” opens with the organ and a very intense vocal, developing here a sound that alternates harder passages with other softer and more melodic ones. The tempo changes characterize and enhance the track, which with the return of the vocals guides us towards the next section. “Water” features a solid and powerful sound, with pompous keyboard textures with the synth in evidence, distorted guitar riffs and rock-solid drumming. The organ takes the stage, inserting itself in the best way into the context of the piece, which in the first part offers a long instrumental section. The vocal offers another convincing proof, in the central part, and then leaves room in the final for a long instrumental section with the electric guitar and keyboards in evidence. “Air” is the softest part of the suite, characterized by dreamy guitar and violin arpeggios that accompanies us delicately throughout the song. Symphonic and with interweaving between guitar and violin and elaborate keyboards, it shows another facet of the band’s sound. Returning to harder sounds “Earth” has a granite intro that develops with a Neo Prog imprint, fresh and modern with markedly personal traits. The stanzas enhance the singing, while in the instrumental parts the technique of the instruments is enhanced with refined passages and a high-level sound. We are at the end of the suite, which ends with “Music” which contains within it a mixture of all the elements that make up the sound of the disc. Symphonic passages, others harder, elaborate plots and tempo changes, enhancing every aspect. A track that concludes this engaging and very pleasant suite very well in all its 6 parts. This project confirms the good things heard on the debut album, offering a convincing and elaborate album with quality Prog sounds. 70s-style keyboards that intertwine with the guitar, a solid rhythmic session and a dynamic and expressive vocal, best interpret the 11 tracks of the album. A listening recommended to all lovers of the purest sounds of Prog, focused on phrasing between keyboards and guitar with continuous tempo changes, also excellent vocals for this excellent listening.

Tracklist

01. The Great Awakening (5:32)
02. A Different Place in Time (7:24)
03. Dragonfly (3:35)
04. The Nightmare (4:28)
05. Exordium (6:24)
Elements of Life Suite:
06. Overture (4:43)
07. Fire (6:10)
08. Water (6:11)
09. Air (4:19)
10. Earth (6:53)
11. Music (7:25)

Lineup

Roby Deaton / Keyboards, Acoustic Guitars, Vocals (9)
Craig LeMay / Drums & Percussion

With:
Hadi Kiani
/ Vocals
Ehsan Imani / Guitars (1,5,6,8,11)
Josh Mark Raj / Guitars (1-4,7,8,10,11)
John Haddad / Bass (1,3-5,7,8,10)
Charles Berthoud / Bass (2,6,11)
Liza Evans / Violin (9)

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Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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