[Review] Notion Blue – The Son, The Liar And The Victor

Notion Blue is a Prog band formed in 2008 in Connecticut, USA and made up of 3 members. On May 12, 2020, the self-produced album “The Son, The Liar And The Victor” was released, consisting of 10 songs in the form of a concept, dedicated to the brother of the keyboardist of the group, Johnny Barbi who died prematurely. The album opens with “Memories” an introductory piece of 1:31 minutes with a dreamy piano and a vocal verse at the end. “The Gathering / Overture” begins with a choral verse, then gives life to a theme guided by duets between synths and keyboards on a rocky and constantly changing rhythmic session. The keyboards are the main instrument, despite leaving room for guitar incursions, the song is an instrumental very close to the Neo-Prog sounds, with Heavy veins and full of valuable tempo changes. “Always Tomorrow” starts with a sweet piano and a warm and expressive vocal, therefore the instruments that give life to a soft and symphonic song enter. In the second part the intensity increases, alternating more symphonic openings with harder moments, with a good guitar solo at the end. A mix of synth and electric guitar and “The Liar” comes to life, characterized by the alternation of moments with a warm vocal on soft and sweet melodies and more powerful and harsh openings. In the central part, the rhythmic session also becomes more tense, increasing the intensity of the sound, on which the synth draws a solo with oriental flavors that flows into a passage of percussion and voice. In the finale with the return of the main theme, the song closes, pleasant and original is one of the best tracks on the album. “Keeping Apart” is characterized by sweet guitar melodies and a soft rhythmic session, the vocal as always is very expressive for a song that with the passing of the minutes acquires intensity and power. In the second part, in fact, the distorted guitars become protagonists both in heavy riffs and with solo forays, and then in the end they return to a sweet arpeggio on the piano that closes. An acoustic guitar arpeggiated and kicks off “Doubt Is Not A Destination” which mixes the classic characteristics of a song with a more elaborate song, going from stanzas with acoustic guitar to more decisive openings. A good passage that slightly dampens the tones in the midst of more powerful songs. “I See The Light” begins with hammond and electric guitar with positive melodies, the vocal recalls Folk music, while with the passing of the minutes the song evolves with the great protagonists keyboards. The keyboard melodies are cheerful and go well with the guitar inserts, with the return of the last sung stanzas the song closes. “Passing” is a more atmospheric passage made of keyboards and guitar made on a more electronic structure. Different from the other songs, however, it creates a pleasant atmosphere and shows the different symphonic facets that the band can assume. “Homecoming” has a more acoustic first part where the female voice stands out, then halfway into the classic song the band has accustomed us to. More symphonic than hard, it still offers a good starting point for electric guitar in the final on layers of orchestral keyboards. Closes the concept “Gates Of Heaven” composed only of orchestrations on the keyboard and a very warm and expressive vowel, a good song that delicately closes this work. A smooth and pleasant album, with some really interesting ideas, especially in the duets between guitar and keyboards and in the instrumental parts. Closer to the Symphonic Prog, this band is in its record debut with a well-made concept album but that with some improvements and an increase in the instrumental parts would make more. For all lovers of modern Prog sounds, with not too elaborate songs, good ideas and well executed, with a little more expressive freedom, the next work will certainly improve, however a pleasant listening.

Tracklist

1. Memories (1:31)
2. The Gathering/Overture (4:47)
3. Always Tomorrow (4:27)
4. The Liar (5:40)
5. Keeping Apart (5:41)
6. Doubt is Not a Destination (5:36)
7. I See the Light (4:03)
8. Passing (4:20)
9. Homecoming (3:13)
10.Gates of Heaven (3:11)

Lineup

Max Barbi / Vocals, Keyboards
Luke Chase / Vocals, Guitar, Bass
Gabe Chase / Vocals, Drums, Percussion 

Notion Blue |Bandcamp|Facebook Page|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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