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Dream Aria
Transcend
(self-released)
www.dreamaria.com


Canada's Dream Aria started the ball rolling with their debut album, In The Wake, and now sound ready to bust out globally with a solid band line up and their follow up release, Transcend. The prog rock quartet comprised of lead singer Ann Aria Burstyn, keyboardist Don Stagg, drummer Garry Flint, and bassist Jon Casselman, offer songs with the sonic intrigue of Enigma and the daredevil glides of Lacuna Coil. Produced by the band's drummer Garry Flint, Transcend is an aural oasis of gemstoned channels and crystal-glinted trimmings which infuse an alluring cinematic dimension into the music bearing a relation to the work of Graeme Revell.

The ambient gilding and latticed inlays in the soundscapes project the ever changing moods of nature from blissful tranquility to rage, unbridled excitement and sweet elation. The rushing flow and piercing guitar chords of "Labyrinth," played by Kurt Schefter, snowcap the plush keyboard mounds beautifully, and then fire up haunting sensations along the title track performed by guitarist Steve Agelakos. Dream Aria used a small pool of guest guitarists which consisted of Kurt Schefter, Steve Agelakos, Tim Welch, and Jozef Pilasanovic to make imprints on each song. Though the guitarists rotate while moving through a revolving door across the album, it never disrupts the melodic consistency of the material. The tunes glimmer as if their diamonds came from the same mineral bed.

The electro-pop glitters of "Rebecca" have a glorious sonic lift, and the tapestry of exotic textures and whipping cyclones along "Pandora's Prelude" is art-pop at its finest. The intensity and vibrant tonality of "Tigress" complements Burstyn's clenching vocals and the light springs in the guitar chords along "The Secret" are pillared by sturdy rhythmic swells. The vaunting leaps in the chord spikes of guitarist Jozef Pilasanovic enhance the aura of elation through "Compassion" as the ebullient keyboard patterns float across the melodic folds. Dream Aria show that they understand the potency of prog rock and they use their skills to their fullest extent.

By galvinizing bits of trance, ambient, and experimental confections, Dream Aria's sophomore release Transcend is music that is made to be treasured. Its musical significance is parallel to Enigma and Delerium, only in Dream Aria's case one female vocalist holds the fort together, and Burstyn does it with poetic finesse and a cast-iron durability.

-Susan Frances

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