ALBUM REVIEW BY ARTUR CHACHLOWSKI, MLWZ RADIO 18/07/2023
The Book of Revelations' debut album "The Plumes of Enceladus" aroused great interest among prog-rock fans long before its official release. This happened thanks to the digital EP "The Prologue" released in 2022, which caused quite a stir among lovers of progressive rock from the 70s. Many surprised listeners thought that The Book of Revelations was some undiscovered band from the golden era of the 70s, because the songs filling the EP had a warm, analog charm, and their atmosphere was maintained in the spirit of the early work of Genesis, Yes and King Crimson.
I remember that when I presented this EP a year ago in the broadcast Little Lexicon of Great Bands, the response of the listeners was unequivocal: 'isn't it some old, 'lost' Genesis songs?' ... Indeed, the music of The Book of Revelations sounds like it was taken out of Gabriel's period of Genesis. What's more, the sounds that we hear on the just released full-length album debut entitled "The Plumes of Enceladus", clearly deepen this evident fascination with the early period of this formation's activity. Also in literary terms – absurd, truly Gabrielian humour is visible in the title of one of the compositions – "Love Letter From A Newspaper To A Coffee Cup". Besides, the very name of the project - The Book of Revelations - is more than an unambiguous reference to the Book of Genesis. And there are a lot of musical Genesis parables here. That's what this record is...
I know that after such an introduction, The Book of Revelations group will probably come among our readers as many supporters as opponents. However you look at this situation, I think that everyone, before passing judgment, should carefully study its contents and form their own opinion. And to listen to "The Plumes of Enceladus" is really something.
The Book of Revelations is the musical 'child' of British multi-instrumentalist and composer Gerard Freeman. On "The Plumes of Enceladus" he combines formally complex and multithreaded rock music, embedded in epic climates, with airy lyricism and musical poetry. Surprising meter and complicated rhythms accompany orchestral and acoustic arrangements and perfectly match the lyrical layer that lies beneath the texts that appeal to the imagination. And they, in turn, dance with incredible grace between mythological references and modernity in line with contemporary times and challenges faced by today's world.
The 53-minute whole consists of three extensive compositions, two of which, both about twenty minutes long, are characterised by multithreading and are divided into numerous formal parts. At the beginning goes the real musical epic "Malice A Forethought". A song full of complexities, but arranged in a fairly accessible 22-minute whole. No, it is certainly not a suite like the magnum opus "Supper's Ready" published 50 years ago, but listening to it, it is impossible not to admire the elegant-sounding keyboards and guitar details wrapped in the style of symphonic progressive rock, with convincing, slightly stylised on the young Gabriel, melodic vocals.
The nearly nineteen-minute track "The Chthonic Deities Of Vengeance" consists of four parts. Like the opening suite of the album, it contains a lot of neat instrumental details, and the dignified atmosphere of the whole takes the viewer back five decades to the golden age for the glamorous effective progressive rock, where the focus has always been complexity, multithreading and very complex musical threads. That's what this record is. He can charm and cause a tear of sincere emotion to appear in the corner of the eye.
The only exception in this musical set is a short, delicate, less than three-minute theme "Love Letter from a Newspaper to a Coffee Cup" based on the sound of acoustic guitars. It seems to be such – I do not know if this is a good comparison – "Harlequin" against the background of "The Musical Box" from the memorable album "Nursery Cryme". The fact that of course it sounds very genesis-like, I do not need to remind here. Besides, the spirit of early Genesis is in the air all the time. In many ways, the album I'm discussing today is reminiscent of the production of another British epigone of Genesis – the long-silent band Citizen Cain. This is a musical point of reference, which, I think, may be useful in case someone really wants to try to define what musical areas in the case of the album "The Plumes of Enceladus" we are moving.
And no matter how you try to judge this music, it seems that The Book of Revelations for some reason feels a huge debt of gratitude to Genesis. I admit that it does not bother me at all. What's more, thanks to these wonderful influences, which Gerard Freeman does not hide at all, The Book of Revelations presents a true musical work of such complexity, humour, intensity and rich sound structure that I am proud to report that all fans of Genesis music, after listening to the album "The Plumes of Enceladus" will be more than satisfied.
Finally, a small note: the album has a significant note in its subtitle: "Chapter One". A sequel should therefore be expected. I won't say I'm not happy. The first installment of the story of Gerard Freeman's Book of Revelations intrigued me and I am looking forward to the next portion of his incredibly interesting-sounding musical stories. I'm already very curious how the successor of "Enceladus' Plumes" will look musically...
I feel that in the near future you probably will not see this album from any of the Polish distributors, so I inform you as soon as possible that it was released by Conquest Music and you can order it, for example, at this direct link. Worth it! You won't regret it.