Forgotten Sons

Fiction Edge 1 (Ascent)

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Portugal has never exactly been known for its thriving progressive rock (or, for that matter, any other denomination of rock) scene, so Forgotten Suns are certainly wading in virgin streams, if not exactly charting entirely new waters, on this debut effort. The latter is impossible, since art rock, by the time this was recorded, had been alive (if not always well) for some 30 years, hatched upon an unsuspecting world in the late '60s and still, somehow, attracting musicians to its cause, spawning an endless conveyor belt of, essentially, clones during that time. Forgotten Suns are no different in that respect, working the same few brushstrokes to come up with the same basic canvas -- which is to say, there is nothing here that dilettantes, let alone progressive rock aficionados, haven't heard before, nothing that really merits one's attention. That rarely matters, however, to said aficionados. Of course, Fiction Edge 1 (Ascent) is a concept album, or perhaps it should more accurately be noted that the album is apparently a concept album, reputedly revealing the story of humankind's entire course of evolution, from the initial burst of creation up to the present tense, all in a mere 11 songs. Along the way, the band happens upon the half-young, half-old omniscient creator (officially qualifying the music for its loopy art rock license) while there are also a couple multi-part songs and lyrics like "The half-monkey half-man stares at the bone," admirably delivered through a suffocating tidal wave of bland synth-and-guitar wash without cracking even the faintest of smiles. If all this sounds merely overambitious in typical prog fashion, it doesn't even begin to convey the truly swollen, overstuffed turgidness of the music or concept, which is sketched in the accompanying booklet just in case song titles like "Big Bang" and "Wartime" don't appropriately pound the program into your heads. The point is that the album could only possibly appeal to the most ardent lovers of the genre, while it insults, no matter how benignly or unintentionally, the rest. Some of that can be forgiven due to the band's geographic fate, but the average listener can still safely stick to their Genesis, or even Rush, LPs.

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