Thursday, May 24, 2007

Review: Titan - A Raining Sun of Light and Love for You and You and You

Label: Tee Pee Records

Released: February 6, 2007

The problem with Emerson, Lake and Palmer is that they don't put enough rock in progressive rock. Don't get me wrong, I like a lot of ELP, but they do tend to lean a bit too far to the classical side. Over 30 years after ELP's peak, Titan comes along to correct those errors.

A Raining Sun of Light and Love for You and You and You takes ELP in their prime and adds a very healthy dose of heaviness, producing something along the line of progressive stoner rock (ELP meets Boris, perhaps). It seems that some people have been put off by the first minute or so of acoustic intro, but it (along with other quieter moments throughout) really serves to bring the album's sonic gravity into full relief when the amps kick in. Over the course of the album, the traditional prog keyboards mix it up with fuzzy yet precise guitar parts that alternate between cooperation and opposition. Even when the guitar is more riff than thunder it still feels like they're turned up to 11. The incredibly tight and dynamic rhythm section keeps the frequent pace changes seemless. The songs are so cohesive that even with all of them clocking in around 10 minutes or so, they never grow dull. Across the first three tracks, there is little distinction even across songs as the album works as a single piece in many ways. The fourth and final track is distinctly different from the others, drawing more from Trevor Rabin-era Yes and early 80s Rush than from the more esoteric sounds of early 70s prog. Still, it works well, letting the listener down easy after the mind-altering ride of the first three quarters of the album.

It's pretty amazing that Titan spent years honing their skills and exposing their music through self-released CD-Rs. Now that they've unleashed themselves upon the world, they sound like they are at their musical peak rather than their formative period. This is a band that blurs musical definitions without losing focus or direction. They are certainly ready for the world, but the question really is, "Is the world ready for Titan?" Probably not, but it should be.

Rating: 9/10

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Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

What a wonderful review, Bob! Much better than mine. You got it completely. I'm not sure the world is ready for these guys, but so far, they have top honors for metal album in my world.

7:13 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

You are so right about ELP. I have respected them, but had trouble really getting into them. They could play for sure, but were not always that interesting or good at maintaining my interest for that long. This sounds interesting, but combining progressive music with a stoner feel sounds like it might be difficult to pull off.

10:12 AM  
Blogger bob_vinyl said...

Ray - Titan is definitely on my short list this year as well.

Mark - It does seem like a stretch, but I think Titan pulls it off. They are a little over the top, but I think the album's heaviness keeps that in check a bit. I would definitely recommend giving it a listen.

1:08 PM  
Blogger Layla (aka Barbara) said...

Wow, you have me intrigued, I'll have to check this out!

As for ELP...Loved them. Of course I think I was stoned ever time I heard them back in the day, but I still like them today!

Greg Lake's voice sort of carries me away....

11:09 PM  
Blogger bob_vinyl said...

Layla - I didn't mean to imply that I don't like ELP, because I do. But they do have that tendency to veer away from rock too far and it hurts them a little. Tarkus is my favorite from them.

11:24 PM  

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