|......................................THE BAND AND RECORD OF THE MONTH|
The U.S.A. band Unified Past was founded in 1984 under the moniker Labyrinth by Stephen Speelman (guitars, compositions) and Victor Tassone (drums, percussion). The band changed the name for Unified Past in 1999, and released a series of CDs. In 1999, with a line-up consisting of original members Speelman and Tassone, plus Steve Calovi (vocals) and Vinny Krivacsy (keyboards), the band released the album Tense, which had a Hard & Heavy Rock sound influenced by Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Rainbow, Savatage, Iron Maiden, Faith No More. In 2011, with a line-up reduced to Speelman (vocals, guitars, bass, & keyboards), Tassone (drums), & Krivacsy (who played on few tracks), Unified Past released the album Observations (Melodic Revolution Records), also reviewed at PR&PM in 2013. Unified Pasts sound leaned then to the Progressive Rock style of the late 70s and 80s (with influences of Genesis, Marillion, Yes, Rush, Triumph, Camel, Asia, U.K., Saga, Journey, EL & Palmer, EL & Powell, GTR, Transatlantic, Michael Schenker, Steve Morse, Chris Caffery and sparse influences of Pink Floyd, Dream Theater, and Queensrÿche). The change was also a reflex of Speelmans taking the lead vocals (his voice is light, like Geddy Lee, Neal Morse, Steve Hogarth); and Tassones improvement of his drumming technique (approaching Neil Peart, Phil Collins and Alan White). In June 2013 Unified Past released a new record - Spots - their 6th studio album, and the second under Melodic Revolution Records. The line-up features the core members Speelman (guitars, vocals, keyboards) & Tassone (drums) joined by experienced bassist Dave Mickelson and guest keyboardist Karl Matzka. The artwork was done by visual artist Ed Unitsky, who designed album covers for many Progressive acts (e.g. The Tangent, Guy Manning, The Flower Kings, Tomas Bodin, Starcastle, D'Arcana, Jay Tausig, Moongarden, Mandalaband, Silhouette). Spots is the most ambitious release of Unified Past so far, and takes the listener on an eclectic musical journey across the Progressive Rock landscape. Besides having the usual lines of Hard & Heavy Rock intertwined in musical threads reminiscent of the late 70s to 80s Prog-Rock, Spots, offers new moments and emotions that come in loads of guitar-driven Prog-Metal, and on thick layers of Fusion-styled guitar & keyboards. And all is delivered with the solid and tightly-interlocked rhythmic interplay provided by the duo Mickelson & Tassone. Spots has 11 tracks (6 are instrumental). The opening song Blank (05:54) is a potent Prog-Metal delivered by fast drums, demolition bass and destroying guitars, and reveals the renovated power that irradiates from the Unified Pasts trio. Also straightforward and rocky are the songs: Deep (05:46), which has the energized disposition of the 80s Prog-Rock (recalling Rush, Yes, Saga or Asia), featuring outstanding guitar solo; and Seeing (03:48), which blends Metal riffs that recall Judas Priest with the style of Rush. In between, Hot (04:47) is an exceptional instrumental track that combines Hard-Rock organs and groovy guitar riffs with Prog-Fusion guitars, alternatively recalling Deep Purple, Dixie Dregs and Joe Satriani. Departing from the middle of the record, Unified Past and keyboardist Karl Matzka begin to explore the possibilities of blending their Prog-Rock style with the new trends of Prog-Metal and Prog-Fusion. The results are Tough (08:10) - an awesome instrumental piece that alternates cadenced Prog-Metal moments with soaring Progressive ones, still having great guitar & keyboards interplay and a climax of guitar-explosions; and the amazing song Age (06:27) - introduced by an instrumental segment of Prog-Metal keyboards that give way to malevolent vocals, finally reaching a segment abundant in Prog-Metal-Fusion guitars and synths (mostly inspired on Dream Theater). From this point on, there is a sequence of alluring instrumental pieces, each one having its own set of influences and colors: Sun (03:47) is a fast Rock driven by Speelmans continuous guitar solo, recalling Satriani & Vai; Big (06:41) is a Symphonic Neo-Prog piece that offers timpani, magic keyboards, and wonderful bass (recalling Genesis, Marillion, Pallas, Galahad, and Warlord); Wet (05:11) has soaring guitars and cosmic keyboards running over tremendous bass & drums passages, sounding as if Rush & Saga had met Dream Theater or Liquid Tension; G (01:19) is a drums & bass solo with orgasmic climax. The instrumental set turns the lights on to The Final (08:30) - a Symphonic Neo-Progressive masterpiece with a kind of Pink Floyd meets Genesis & Marillion sound. Unified Past is a brilliant band that is not afraid of evolving by incorporating new trends into their music. Fleeing from the tags Hard & Heavy Rock with Progressive Orientation and Progressive-Rock of late 70s and 80s, Unified Past achieved on Spots the hallmark of Highly Recommendable Progressive & Fusion-Metal Band. For fans of Rush, Yes, Genesis, U.K., Marillion, Galahad, & Transatlantic to fans of Deep Purple, Dixie Dregs, Joe Satriani", Steve Vai, Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment, and the likes.. Brilliant and fantastic, an amazing album and band, highly recommendable...
line-up on Unified Past album are:
Unified Past is the progressive rock vision of guitarist, vocalist, & composer Stephen Speelman and drummer Victor Tassone. After the release of their third CD on January 20th 2000, From The Splintered Present Surfaces , the band went on a nine-year hiatus from the music scene. Stephen revived Unified Past in 2009 with original drummer Victor Tassone, who had left the band during the recording of 1994s CD Power Of Existence. The result was their come back cd Tense, a twelve-song collection of progressive influenced music.
With that release, the band regained momentum and focus on their musical path. They signed on with indie progressive rock label "Melodic Revolution Records" and their follow up, "Observations", was released on June 28th 2011. "Observations" is an 11 song, 65-minute release featuring Stephen Speelman on lead vocals exclusively for the 1st time in the band's history.
With the release of Observations, Unified Past has been expanding their fan base and popularity. On January 12th 2012 they introduced Dave Mickleson on Bass Guitar. They are currently working on their next project while also remixing Tense for re-release on Melodic Revolution Records. The band is also searching for a keyboardist to begin performing live again.
Spots is the sixth release by Unified Past and their second release for Melodic Revolution Records. Guitarist / vocalist Stephen Speelman and drummer Victor Tassone are augmented on this recording by bassist Dave Mickelson. Mickelson is a seasoned professional and together with Tassone they lay a solid hard rocking foundation to support the progressive lines of the guitar and keyboards. The band is joined by several guest keyboardists as well. With the addition of Mickelson, Unified Past was able to record the foundation of the songs together live in the studio.
Featuring artwork by internationally acclaimed artist Ed Unitsky, Spots is the most ambitious release in the Unified Past catalogue. It is a musical concept whose aim is to take the listener on a journey to various musical spots across the progressive rock landscape. Starting with the opening track, Blank, Unified Past delivers a powerful statement and quickly catches the listeners attention. From there, the band takes you on the journey - exploring various styles of progressive rock including progressive metal, fusion, and classic 70s influenced prog, highlighted by the Pink Floyd meets Genesis influenced closer, The Final.
Spots is a deep and structured release and is best absorbed when listened to in its entirety, yet any song can stand on its own, giving the listener the ability to pick their own favorite spots along this aural adventure.
Speelman - Song
Writer & Original Member
All music written by Stephen Speelman and Victor Tassone, except for the folowing "Wet" whith was written by Stephen Speelman, Dave Mickelson and Victor Tassone. "Black" whith was written by Stephen Speelman, Vinny Krivacsy and Victor Tassone. "G" written by Dave Mickelson. All lyrics by Stephen Speelman.
Spots formats will include CD & Digital download and will be available through the bands personal website, CD Baby, Amazon, iTunes eMusic & Spotify as well as other fine retailers. The CD & the download will also be available worldwide via Melodic Revolution Records.
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