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The Fairest Of Moments CD Cover
Image Fossil Records 2002 

(01 April 2002) The second album by the Canadian progressive ensemble Synthology is entitled The Fairest Of Moments. A studio project of brothers John Alarcon (keyboards, composer) and James Alarcon (Guitars), lead vocals are provided by John's wife Marysa Mardini. Churchill Downes plays bass on the album. The Fairest Of Moments and the band's debut album Between Day And Night (review under construction) are both available from their American label Fossil Records. The band have announced a further album entitled A Requiem for Twilight that will be released in early 2003.

John Alarcon's classical training is evident in the opening sequence of the epic length track "The Falling Sky" through the effective blending of piano and synthesizer keyboard parts. James' guitar riffs add texture as the pace of the symphonic piece picks up and Marysa's vocals join the mix. Likened by some to Tracy Hitchings on the group's former album, Marysa's voice is textured differently with a purity similar to Annie Haslam's but in a lower range; her vocals are also somewhat less theatrical. Backing vocals from the men adds substance in the more powerful moments.

The album's instrumentals ("The Bridge" and "Lost In The Cathedral") blend lush symphonic arrangements, including woodwind and string sounds, swirling keyboard passages and guitar. One will be reminded of the classic 70s progressive rock textures of of Yes, ELP, Renaissance and other bands like Rebekka and Esthetic Pale. Listeners will certainly be reminded of Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson in John's keyboard work, especially during the introduction to the progressive masterwork "Through The Doors Of Time."

Marysa's vocals are mixed way up in "Seven Wonders," a ballad-style track with classically progressive overtones especially in the keyboard- and guitar-centred bridge. The upbeat track "Edge Of The World" perfectly balances layers of keyboards and guitars with Marysa's voice. A choral style keyboard in the bridge perfectly compliments a dynamic guitar solo.

The title track is a three part epic that runs more than eighteen minutes with big themes that recur as the piece develops. Sweetly sung vocals are mixed way up in several of the passages, way above the swirling keyboard and guitar arrangements. Instrumental and stylistic similarities to Magenta (Musical Discoveries Best New Album 2001) are evident during several of the passages. The final portion of the track begins with a tremendous guitar solo supported by lush keyboard and percussion arrangements as vocals join the mix and the number brings the album to a tremendous conclusion.

Synthology's latest album will appeal to a broad range of progressive rock audiences. Soundbites and further reviews are available at the band's website and mp3.com webspace. Click on the album cover to pay them a visit now. With the perfect blend of classical allusions, lovely female vocals and enduring instrumental arrangements, The Fairest Of Moments like their debut album is naturally a must listen!

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