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On the Threshold of Eternity
Ajalon hails from the somewhat new genre of Progressive Rock known as "Cprog" - an abbreviation for "Christian Progressive Rock." Ajalon is a power trio of copious talent and spiritual substance. Their 1996 debut, Light at the End of the Tunnel rose the dust of a stagnant music scene and got the masses bustling about their material and consequently waiting patiently for their nine-year return. Keeping a balance between being sanctimonious and obscure, Ajalon does what many Christian acts can't pull off - presenting spiritual content that compliments the music and aural message without hitting the listener over the head. On the Threshold of Eternity solidifies their already concrete dowry.
The CD begins with the grandiose and epic instrumental "Anthem of the Seventh Day," that sets the stage for the vastness of this trio's abilities. With the main duties going to multi-instrumentalist Randy George (Neal Morse and solo releases), the sound steers clear of sounding pre-programmed, homogenized and void of any human interaction. With several passages that move and sway to a "real" Irish whistle (expertly pulled off by vocalist Wil Henderson) while being held together with almost feral percussion by Dan Lile, this is one of my favorites. Ajalon were smart in offering teaser songs before their release as I have been listening (in heavy rotation) to "Sword of Goliath" for several months. A great motivator, this song moves with a killer bass line that doesn't quit. On the pop side of prog, "Sword of Goliath" gives the listener many dynamics to keep it interesting. A great, polyphonic guitar solo is also showcased in this tune and the signature mini-moog sound completes the track. Glass Harp member, Phil Keaggy shows up for spectacular guitar and vocal work on "Holy Spirit Fire." Pristine and intricate mandolin & sitar prickle out a fantastic intro. Reminiscent of early Bruce Hornsby in similar voicings only, this is the "radio hit" of the CD if there ever was one. Keaggy is also featured in an inspired solo backed by the strong rhythm section of Taylor Mesple on piano and Brain Adderbury on drums in the outro. One of the icons of the progressive music scene, Rick Wakeman (Yes) makes an appearance on "What Kind of Love". Inspired by the Columbine tragedy, the tune asks the question of how can faith remain alive in the face of adversity, much like the biblical meaning of the band's namesake "Grace in the Midst of the Fire." Beautifully produced to capture the grandeur of song's power. George and Wakeman showcase their solo capabilities in offset guitar, organ and mini-moog solos. The title track, "On the Threshold of Eternity" is the epic piece we prog fans all wish for, featuring yet another luminary of the modern prog rock scene - Neal Morse of Spock's Beard fame on added vocals. One of the most stunning "symphonic prog" pieces I have heard in years. Henderson's vocal ventures into a very emotional and adventurous area. With the vocal play of Henderson as the main antagonist and that of Morse's Holy Father. Morse's portrayal is hair-raising with honesty. The full band comes together to deliver a Technicolor soundscape that appears before the listener eyes and ears with ease. Uplifting and stirring, this mini opera will please everyone - an outstanding track! I will keep mum on the hidden track at the end of the CD - but let's just say it will certainly put you in a good "mood."
With all setbacks come the unexpected fruit of "happy surprises." With the troubles Ajalon had getting this work delivered to the public, I am sure their difficulties yielded unplanned perfections. Look for Ajalon to wedge their way to the top of the prog world while taking the moniker of "Cprog" to new heights and awareness. More info/order: www.ajalon.net. Also checkout: www.theradiantflow.com while you are at it.
Jon Rice 7/27/2005
Christian progressive rockers, Ajalon, have returned from a too-long hiatus with a powerful new release, On the Threshold of Eternity. On the Threshold of Eternity features nine tracks of prog-rock goodness with a tasty melodic pop center. Multi-instrumentalist Randy George (of the Neal Morse band), vocalist Wil Henderson, and drummer Dan Lile are a progressive power trio who know how to write a captivating song with enough instrumental touches to satisfy folks who like more to their music than top 40 radio has to offer. The addition of some very talented guests (Phil Keaggy on guitar & vocals, Neal Morse on vocals & Rick Wakeman of Yes on keyboards) provides an added dimension to an already solid release.
Standout cuts include the Celtic-flavored instrumental opener “Anthem of the Seventh Day,” the classic praise of “Psalm 61” (a song that provokes an immediate spirit of worship in my heart!), and the climactic epic title masterpiece (featuring a great duet with Neal Morse). Henderson’s vocals are smooth as silk and remind me of the Phil Keaggy (this is evident in their duet). Production is clean and powerful, and the classy keyboard and guitar instrumental bits are abundant on Threshold. Capping off the CD is a superb cover of “You and Me” from the Moody Blue’s classic Seventh Sojourn CD.
Fans of progressive rock will love this one. In fact, fans of just about ANY type of melodic Christian or mainstream rock will enjoy this. My wife even likes this!
Check out Ajalon @ http://www.ajalon.net
Hear some samples @ http://www.ajalon.net/music.htm
DJ Barry 7/28/2005
DJ Barry hosts Soul Frequency
a web radio station & a weekly FM radio show showcasing progressive
rock, instrumental rock, power-pop, psychedelic rock, rock classics and
more—great rock for the ages!