Title - 'The Game of Ouroboros' (Big O Records)
Artist - THEO
Now, and first off, it has to be said that trying to read, or even make some semblance of a word out of how the band has written their name to appear on their CD cover art, is a brain numbing art form of its own prog-matic volition! So, for the record (no pun intended), the band known as THEO (go ahead, take a look for yourself, but now you know their name half the challenge has left the building, of course!) have just released their debut progressive rock project unto the world.
THEO was actually founded by Jim Alfredson, otherwise known as the keyboardist for the great modern organ jazz trio Organissimo. Inspired by classic bands like Yes, ELP, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, and Genesis, THEO brings epic songwriting and sweeping narratives back to the forefront with contemporary sensibilities and production.
The Game of Ouroboros consists of 6 tracks with a total playing time of 58 minutes and will soon be available as a download, as an audio CD and as a special edition with audio CD and a 5.1 mix in 24 bit / 96 kHz on Blu-ray Disc (BD-R format).
With a "Welcome, Theo" spoken word intro, and all that follows from there, the spacey title track 'The Game of Ouroboros' ebbs and flows, planting the acorn of the over-arching theme of the album. That theme of our own exploration into how we react to power is sustained within the confines of the airy 'The Blood That Floats My Throne,' which in turn pushes the mantra on through to the "bubblewrap-popping" musical styling of 'Creatures of Our Comfort.'
The piano-fused, vocally-driven 'These Are the Simple Days' is an unexpected, and delightfully accepted, beautifully calming "interlude", if you will, before our questioning of power and authority and general dissatisfaction with the status quo is brought home with both the prog guitar power rock of 'Idle Worship,' and finally the vocalized 'Exile.'
Look, I know it's too cheesy to say that if you only owned one prog rock album make it this one, given all the other great prog rock albums that have been and gone, but in all honesty, The Game of Ouroboros - which features, alongside Jim Alfredson on keyboards, Gary Davenport on bass, Kevin DePree on drums, and Jake reichbart on Guitar - is a breath of fresh air in the genre. Not reliant on heavy, guitar-driven prog (well, save for that one track!), the album is a constant ebb and flow of all that is right with the prog genre. Having constructed everything on a bed of melodic roots, even hinted at a dash of jazz tones for good measure, THEO have brought forth a magnificent debut album. It really just doesn't get any better than this, please believe me!