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Advent

Cantus Firmus
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Advent combines the mad- rigal vocals and contrapuntal instrumental forms of Gentle Giant, the interlocking acoustic mélanges and electric guitar stylizations of early Genesis, and the symphonic leanings of Yes, with touches of ELP, Asia, Procol Harum, and other classic progressive rock bands—and they do a damn good job of it. Even the lyrics read like they were penned in that period, though without, say, the literary sophistication of a Peter Gabriel or Richard Palmer-James.

Advent’s compositions are largely centered on the dual vocals and keyboards of brothers Henry and Mark Ptak, but many of the musical highlights come courtesy of Alan Benjamin, who plays guitar, bass, Stick, mandolin, and recorder. Benjamin’s sophisticated, tasteful, and well-executed guitar work is reminiscent of Steve Hackett’s—from the sustained lead lines to the crunchy chord stabs to the pretty acoustic textures—without being entirely derivative. If you disliked progressive rock the first time around—particularly the more pastoral varieties—don’t bother. But if you are a neo-prog fan, or just curious about the genre, Benjamin and friends dish it up with atypical intelligence and aplomb. (Advent.)
—Barry Cleveland

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