Band Website: www.greylevel.com
Label: ProgRock Records
Label Website: www.progrockrecords.com
Release Date: 2011
Over three years in the making West Coast Canadian band Greylevel return with their second studio release entitledHypostatic Union. Since we last heard from the band they’ve grown from a trio to a quintet, now made up of Derek Barber (vocals, keyboards, rhythm guitars), Richard Shukin (rhythm & lead guitars), Davis Friesen (bass), Tyler Friesen (drums) and Esther Barber (vocals). The music, clearly set within the symphonic prog genre style has matured and become more confident just as their writing has become more defined.
The music on Hypostatic Union retains the band’s trademarked moodiness and drama and ads to that a sense of rock aggression that fits really well in the band’s core sound. There are still plenty of acoustic guitar moments to provide a great balance to their sound, but now when they want to let the rock dominate it can. All but two of the eight tracks on Hypostatic Union are on the longish side allowing for lots of musical change-ups. The tunes easily transition from full-on symphonic to either rockier moments or folk-ish inspired segments. A great example of this is “Pale Blue Dot” [7:44]. In addition to the layers of keyboards, there are layers of vocal harmonies that give Greylevel a very unique sound in the world of prog. In true symphonic prog fashion the band isn’t afraid to take it’s time in a song to move from one segment to the next allowing a tune to build in intensity or subside. In the end each of these compositions shows many musical sides, moving through different motifs but retaining the songs core melody.
I said this last time, but it still hold true, their music at times reminds me Canadian keyboardist Ken Baird, although the music of Greylevel is perhaps a little more adventurous, even complex. Gone are the Porcupine Tree references replaced by the band’s own comfortable style. This is a rather stunning sophomore release. The idea that a band doesn’t have enough musical ideas to make a successful second CD doesn’t work here. Hypostatic Union as a second release is substantially superior to Greylevel’s first outing and as such gets my highest recommendation.