Indian prog rockers, Rainburn, have taken on an ambitious project for their second ever release “Insignify,” tackling a concept that deals with “issues of existentialism, the significance of human life, narcissism, craving importance, insecurity, and the search for reason.”
Musically, while “classic prog” certainly fits, the album draws in elements from across the contemporary prog scene. Mainman Vats Iyengar’s versatile and engaging voice is ideal for this type of storytelling and there are catchy hooks galore across the album, from the refrain of “Merchant of Dreams” through the gentle harmonies of semi-ballad “Mirrors” to the riff-laden “Suicide Note.” The band can wig-out a bit too, as they prove towards the end of “Someone New” and “Elusive Light,” in the explosive choruses of the otherwise jazzy album closer “School of Atlantis.”
Here is an excellent album from the debutants on the progressive rock scene: a French group DID put out their debut full-length release entitled “Dissociative Identity Disorder” in November last year, a concept record which in the band’s own words tells “the story of a man.” DID, in its core, operates as a quartet featuring Regis Bravi on drums, Didier Thery on bass, Patric Jobard on acoustic and electric guitars, and Christophe Houssin on keyboards. They are joined by a number of guest vocalists who helped them to tell the story. These include Michael Sadler of Saga, Marco Glühmann of Sylvan, Oliver Philipps of Everon, Alan Szukics of Opium Baby, and Maggy Luyten (Ayreon, Nightmare).
Allow me to truly begin by stating that many instrumental sections on “Dissociative Identity Disorder” are dazzling and intriguing and that the instrumental portion of the album is incredibly well-arranged. Talented solos and arrangements from the band members are easily the album’s highlights with tracks like “The Sun” and “Lock Up” presenting themselves as easy standouts.
The performances here are exceptional, both instrumentally and vocally, and sound natural despite the host of guests at band’s disposal. Diehard prog fans will relish the back-to-back synth solos.
With “Dissociative Identity Disorder,” DID has put attention on themselves as a group to look forward to within the progressive rock scene. While not necessarily groundbreaking, it’s exceptionally refined given how big its ambitions are, and it boasts some impressive production values. If nothing else, DID offer a work that balances instrumental and vocal performances more equally than on some of the releases of the similar orientation. It also manages to have just the right amount of camp and compelling drama, making it perhaps the most intriguing prog releases of 2018.