Thursday, November 10, 2005

El Cielo is heavenly!

Artist: Dredg
Title: El Cielo
Format: SACD

5.1 Mix By Mark O'Donoughue
Mastered by Joe Gastwirt

Hailing from California, Dredg's style can best be described as "art rock". Heavy, yet very melodic and lush with some serious and thoughtful lyrical content. Their second album, El Cielo (meaning "the sky") is a concept album dealing with quite a complex theme, sleep paralysis! The liner notes are testimonials by individuals who have suffered from this affliction. The music, lyrics and overall mood can best be described as dreamy and nightmarish at the same time.

The music:
Throbbing, thunderous and haunting, the disc is peppered with short instrumental links called "brushstrokes". The other cuts such as Same Ol' Road, Sorry But It's Over and Scissor Lock combine the instrumental prowess of bands like Rush with the more gentle side of Pink Floyd or Genesis. Vocalist Gavin Hayes has a choirboy style of singing that enhances the textured sound. Hard to really pigeon hole them, but this is a good thing in what is otherwise a cookie-cutter world of rock music.
Score: 8/10

The mix:
Fantastic use of all channels! There is a moment on Same Ol' Road where the entire mix dramatically sweeps to the rear channels in a wash of reverb. Spine tingling! At one point a maniacal laugh literally made me jump as it appeared from the rear left channel. Plenty of guitars and keyboards mixed among all speakers. Another great disc to show off your system!
Score: 10/10

The sound:
As with a lot of modern recordings, things get a bit harsh on the top end when things get going, but overall a nice sounding disc with great bass and presence. Could have used a bit more warmth.
Score: 7.5/10

Overall: 8/10

Sadly, the newest Dredg release, Catch Without Arms, did not find it's way to SACD. At least we have this fine disc to enjoy. Highly recommended!


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