Wednesday, November 18, 2009


This could be one of the greatest musical finds in 2009…. I’ve never heard Orphan Project before, but based on what I’m hearing this is simply fabulous progressive hard rock with smooth melodic overtones. Their bio lists Kansas, Yes, Dream Theater, U2 and Peter Gabriel as influences. I’m overwhelmed as I listen to this release. The quality of musicianship, the quality of songwriting and the quality of production flows together into a rich offering of musical excellence.

I understand Orphan Project has been around since 2001 and released their first album in 2003. I had heard of them but in name only so when James from Open Grave passed this release onto me I didn’t know what to expect.

Starting with ‘ReachOrphan Project show they mean business with a tightly constructed song that has many different elements melded together into one. Piano, keyboard, intricate drumming, driving bass, crunchy guitar and melodic vocal make this song an ethereal experience. ‘Angels Desire’ starts with heavy guitar parts and a more grove laden hook approach. ‘Fallen’ opens with some off time drums with a guitar and keyboard interplay that moves the listener into something of another musical realm. The piano touches add class and melody. A soaring vocal locks the melody into your brain that stays with you. Wow….

Some of the other major highlights are ‘To Me’ (scorching rock n roll, guitar solo heaven YEAH!!!), ‘Spooning Out The Sea,’ ‘Head On Your Platter,’ (very Kansas like that just ROCKS). You won’t find epic songs lengths here, but songs in the three to five minute range. What Orphan Project does in that time frame is wonderful. At times they remind me of prog-rockers Frost* in style. Yet Orphan Project doesn’t necessarily indulge in the long musical interplay that a lot of progressive bands do. I’ve heard many people complain of progressive rocks tendency to ‘noodle away’ on the guitar. That doesn’t occur on ‘Spooning Out The Sea.’

Lyrically I so appreciate the approach they’ve taken, an introspective approach on their Christian faith, but make no mistake you know what they’re singing about. Just read the lyrics to title song or perhaps ‘Head On Your Platter.’ These intelligent and creatively written words have and will continue to make an impact on the listener.

Shane Lankford provides the melodic voice that soars over the musical soiree. Tim Kehring offers up tasty drum patterns that are more than a standard 4/4 time. Bill Yost graces this release with some fantastic bass playing. John Neiswinger brings the keyboard sounds and does this nicely without excess. Finally, Shane McBride plays the guitars both rhythm and lead that really add that edge to this whole event.

Tim Kehring shows himself to be a very apt producer. The tonalities are spectacular and the mix is very even without things becoming overly compressed or compacted. The music is able to breathe and travel in an open architecture that fits so well.

James thanks buddy for passing this along. A truly great find that I appreciate so much, it fills a void in the prog area that this prog fan has missed. They’re not the next Rush, however I will spin this disc repeatedly and often.

9 axes

You can listen to one of the songs on 'Spooning Out The Sea' and listen to some interview clips. This is a clip I borrowed from YouTube, Anvil and The Hammer

1 comment:

fishingd said...

Great review!! If you get a chance you should get a copy of there first album Orphan. This album is my pick #1 of 2009!!