What is a supergroup these days? It is now common place for artists to exist within different groups as fellow musicians or as guest musicians. In this case all the players in The Sea Within have excellent pedigrees; the list of their contributions is very impressive and you would like to believe that this coming together of minds and styles will provide something exciting and different. It sometimes works, at others not.
So, who are The Sea Within? Marco Minnemann, Jonas Reingold, Tom Brislin, Roine Stolt, Daniel Gildenlöw and Casey McPherson, all of whom I am familiar with, excepting Casey who was a member of another supergroup, Neal Morse’s Flying Colors. The Sea Within describe themselves more as “an amalgamation of some serious talents, than a regular supergroup”, the band starting to take shape in the autumn of 2016 before going into Livingston Studios in London last September to begin assembling and recording the material they had written. This recording process took around six months and features special guest appearances from the likes of Jon Anderson, Jordan Rudess and Rob Townsend.
The album is presented across two discs, tracks one to eight being the main album, the second disc classed as a bonus and containing four extra tracks. The overall feel of the album is of a progressive pop/rock vibe, most of the songs being of accessible length with only one that you might call an epic, running to fourteen minutes. Most of the songs are really band compositions, ideas being triggered by them all with each adding parts, melodies and chord sequences.
It’s a carefully constructed album, perfectly executed – and herein lies the flaw. In my opinion you do not get that feeling of the unexpected, and it just appears a little too predictable. That said the playing, as you would expect, is nothing short of top quality. A special note should be made of Tom Brislin, whose keyboard playing is excellent throughout, especially his jazzy contributions on An Eye for an Eye for an Eye.
The album opens with Ashes of Dawn, which was the first track released to promote the album. This is the heaviest track here, with some excellent saxophone work from Rob Townsend. The second track, They Know my Name, begins with a lovely and gentle piano, the song being very pleasant concluding with a nice guitar solo. It is not until track four, the aforementioned An Eye for an Eye for an Eye, that things pick up pace; this is brighter and more up beat, breaking midway through into a jazzy lead from Brislin’s piano, ably supported by some excellent work from Reingold and Minneman, which then gradually drifts back to main melody to finish.
The longest song, Broken Chord, features more great drumming and bass work, along with guitar and keyboards, and there are some excellent vocal melodies at work here too. However, I feel that the flow is not easy here, it coming across like a number of songs and ideas put together to create a whole. That said, after a number of plays it does appear to work.
The main album contains fifty minutes of music, with the bonus coming in at around twenty-six minutes. The additional material is of good quality and sits well with the main album, the tracks The Roaring Silence and Denise standing out.
There is quality playing throughout, as one would expect with musicians of this calibre, and although there is some predictability, the album has benefited from repeated plays, to some extent overcoming those thoughts and revealing an album of skilful quality with melodies and structures that creep into your subconscious in a positive way.
01. Ashes Of Dawn (5:59)
02. They Knowing My Name (5:10)
03. The Void (4:54)
04. An Eye For An Eye For An Eye (7:01)
05. Goodbye (5:31)
06. Sea Without (2:23)
07. Broken Chord (14:11)
08. The Hiding Of Truth (5:35)
Time – 50:44
Disc Two – Bonus Disc
01. The Roaring Silence (8:06)
02. Where Are You Going (5:54)
03. Time (7:19)
04. Denise (5:16)
Time – 26:35
Total Time – 77:19
Marco Minneman – Drums & Percussion, Vocals, Guitar
Jonas Reingold – Bass
Tom Brislin – Keyboards, Vocals
Roine Stolt – Guitar, Vocals, Keyboards
Daniel Gildenlöw – Vocals, Additional Guitar
Casey McPherson – Vocals (on Broken Chord, The Hiding of Truth & Goodbye)
~ With Guests:
Jon Anderson – Vocals (on Broken Chord)
Jordan Rudess – Grand Piano (on The Hiding of Truth)
Rob Townsend – Soprano Saxophone (on Ashes of Dawn)
Record Label: InsideOut Music
Format: Special Edition 2-CD Digipak, 180g Gatefold 2-LP edition (including 2-CD), Digital Download
Country of Origin: Sweden/U.S.A./Germany
Date of Release: 22nd June 2018