Review: The Critical Review

Vertical Leap silver

 

The Critical Review

Sanctuary
VERTICAL LEAP
Gentry Avenue Productions

February,2003

This is a very interesting album-one that is part music and part art. The music ranges from ballady to operatic and classical with elements of rock maybe ala YES or KING CRIMSON. But the lyrical direction is spiritual so it leans towards MOODY BLUES and maybe MIKE OLDFIELD.

The playing is solid…actually impressive in many places. There’s acoustic and electric guitars, both fretted and fretless basses and keyboards with good vocals throughout.

The album interests from the start with “Shadows Fall” and “No Word from You.” “Time Standing Still” exudes classy strumming with a ‘Renaissance’ or Arthurian aura. A solid instrumental. There’s actually 5 instrumentals and 5 cuts w/ vocals.

On “Turned All Around” the guitar work is part blues and part classic rock. The sense is that of a great act– with the song well crafted. Support from drums is strong and the song is a gutsy effort. Lots of sounds and layers make it work. The song “Elusive Spirit” exudes emotion and an interesting philosophical approach.

“Inner Sanctum” may recall bits of GENESIS or LED ZEP meets VANGELIS meets acoustic guitars. A neat tune for sure. The title track is an impressive effort that is interesting listening. Edges of maybe country or zydeco meet blues rock and other influences. Yet the tune moves towards the objective in a tight manner. This is an excellent number.

Then comes “In the Light” a good clever instrumental. “Sounds of Love” is a musical explosion. It sounds a bit like KANSAS in places with a more blues edge. There’s also a mystic rock feel that reminded me of underground ‘CCM’ legend JIMMY HOTZ and his highly acclaimed ‘BEYOND THE CRYSTAL SEA’ LP. This also recalls some of ex-KANSAS artist KERRY LIVGREN by the spiritual lyrics. Anyway GEORGE MAHN the lead musician of/with VERTICAL LEAP gives us a strong project.

The best cut in my mind is “Spring Follows Winter.” Check out the tight guitar and drum jamming. This album is a BIG SURPRISE. The more I listened to it–the more I liked it. It’s a gem and clearly deserves a listen. Those who like layers and dynamic arrangements and an intellectual/spiritual sense to the lyrics will really like this. It is clearly something different, yet in my mind it really succeeds. Highly recommended.