The way Welcome Inside The Brain play their music is simply unparalleled in today’s prog. Imagine the twiddly instrumental bits of Haken‘s music, crank up the daftness by a factor of ten and forget about conventional things like verses or choruses. Welcome Inside The Brain live to make intricate, dense and thoroughly complex progressive rock. Pigeonholing this band into a genre proves difficult as words like jazz fusion, zeuhl, Canterbury and certainly eclectic could all describe this band. This is prog with everything including the kitchen sink thrown in. Utterly unpredictable yet thoroughly compelling stuff.
And Celebrate the Depression is the band’s debut album. It presents the listener with a full spectrum of sound, with styles from jazz to psychedelia being tapped into, all darkly twisted into a tasty progressive feast.
When played from start to finish, the first set of tracks seem to flash by, but they certainly make their mark. The lengthy self-titled piece seems to inform the listener with all of its intricacies. And this seems just to multiply in the coming songs.
The medium length tracks all take rather different routes: “Snails on Speed / Buddha in a Bottle” resembling something close to a song; “Welcome Inside the Brain” demonstrating the more typical instrumental pyrotechnics; the slightly longer “Ugly Beauty” and “Revolution” balancing the band’s technical side with their ability to create melody. Oddly, the first two sets don’t even take up half of the album. By the time we reach the scarily technical and experimental closing piece “Tears of the Past,” Celebrate the Depression finally feels like a fully-fledged prog rock album. Nine minutes in length, this is a tour de force of progressive excellence, featuring the whole band on top form in an intense extended instrumental with a fantastic climax.
Welcome Inside The Brain are leagues ahead of their contemporaries, both in technical ability and style. The level of effort that is required to write and perform such music is simply astronomical and for that they must be applauded. More importantly though, this is a band that fully realises what true prog fans want to hear and never skimp on the delivery. Their only weakness is that they can sometimes be too complex for their own good, although this is one of the most forgivable errors a progressive rock band can make. Let’s just hope we will not wait for too long for the next one.