CD REVIEW: Seconds Before Landing - Seconds Before Landing II
by: Cyrus Rhodes
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST-
Seconds Before Landing
Genre: Progressive Rock, Ambient Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Progressive Hard Rock
Sounds Like: Pink Floyd, Roger Waters, Peter Gabriel, NIN, Moby, Radiohead, Rush, Beck, The Fixx, King Crimson, Porcupine Tree.
Seconds Before Landing is the brainchild of musician John Crispino. Crispino is similar to singular composers out there like Trent Reznor or Beck. In the year 2010, Crispino began writing music for a progressive rock concept album that was finished and released to critical acclaim in 2012. That album was titled “The Great Deception”, and it produced not only a hit song, but also a video that has been viewed by hundreds of thousands worldwide, with excerpts being used by news organizations from around the globe. That track is titled “Welcome, To The Future”, and features King Crimsons’ Trey Gunn. Crispino is back with S.B.L. and is releasing the highly anticipated second album, titled simply, Seconds Before Landing 2
First up Track 1 “Big Train” serves up an enticing saxophone ridden groove meshed against hypnotic rhythm section and mesmerizing vocal melody from Crispino This intro track sets the tone rather well for an unpredictable yet progressive CD like this - I especially like the musical build to this track. Track 2 “Hey Dad” shifts gears a bit with its methodical intro that gradually builds into a passionate yet psychedelic rock statement complete with impassioned vocal presence and a dynamic musical flow that is borderline brilliant. Track 3 “Al Shaitan” serves up yet another superb track with thought provoking lyrical content that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. As these songs slowly unfolded I could hear many musical influences reminiscent of classic Pink Floyd, Roger Waters, Moby, Peter Gabriel, NIN, Radiohead, Rush, Beck, The Fixx, King Crimson, Porcupine Tree. I would classify this music as Progressive Ambient Alternative Rock, with a slight aftertaste of Progressive and Psychedelic musical ambience that is unpredictable and highly entertaining. The songs themselves are addictive, eccentric, fascinating, and very interesting - all reflections of the Crispino. One can't notice intellectual, passionate and powerful subject matter delivered between the spoken word, with a heavy dose of raw truth and bi-polar vocal emotion. The musicianship and sampling touches from Crispino are rock solid across the board. Crispino showcase rock solid production instants throughout. Besides the 4 piece standard you will also notice things like thick low end beats and rhythms, impressive sampling, synthetic sound effects, keyboards, piano, impressive guitar solos, flute, sporadic percussive accents meshed against lush harmonies. Crispino is an accomplished vocalist, composer, producer, arranger within his own right and he is no doubt the musical mastermind behind SBL. Crispino has amazing touch, power, control and intensity throughout. Equally as impressive is the how he makes each song his own making a distinct and strong (singer to listener) vocal connection. Crispino has an appealing timber and crisp, sharp baritone and takes many impressive vocal risks throughout each song. His voice sounds in the vein of Roger Waters (Pink Floyd) and Greg Gulli (The Afghan Whigs) to Moby The songs themselves are reckless, progressive and packed to the hilt with raw intensity and lyrical content straight from the neurotic psyche. Crisino vocal style works with respect to this style of music with its stereotypical jagged edge delivery. The music is a little dangerous and not overcompensating in its stature. What I like most about the music is its even keeled intensity, high end intellectualism and strong consistency. All songs are in the extended play format typical of Progressive Rock. Despite this all pieces run their natural course and never feel too winded, never too long. All engineering aspects check out. CD possesses solid low end punch and crystal clear high end clarity. To striking ‘My Perfect Girl” and “Don’t Want to Feel this Way” to brilliant “Etiene” to rocking ”The Great Deceiver” to dynamic “Just Breathe” to hypnotic “Enoch” this CD has something for just about everyone. CD ends with Track 11 “What Chu Do” the prefect finale statement for a CD like this. This is a high end production any way you look at it. Crispino surrounded himself with some of the finest musicians on the planet, including Gunn, and also John Palumbo from progressive rock group Crack The Sky…Also appearing, are his core group of musicians, J.D Garrison on bass, Steve Schuffert on lead guitar, Maurice Witkowski on acoustic guitar, and Jamie Peck on piano and horns and with Vanessa Campagna & Carrie Marie Jackson on backing vocals. S.B.L. 2 is once again be mastered by 2 time Grammy nominee, and Pink Floyd engineer Andy Jackson.
At the end of the day this CD and all its instrumentation come across as sounding overly synthetic and somewhat one dimensional. This mainly applies to the Rhythm section. I will add some of this is par for the course for ambient based Rock productions. Drums and percussive accents lack thick low end frequency and punch and as a result sound a bit thin, dry and overly electronic. They work but are not to the level of say NIN insofar as depth. At times I wish the drums pushed the envelope harder. Trent Reznor is master at crafting rhythms. Just listen to the NIN song “Zero-Sum:” and you will get my perspective. To go with the last comment, interfacing with an experience beat master would totally take things up a few notches with respect to the rhythm section.
n close “Seconds Before Landing II” is a highly original, somewhat trippy, unpredictable and fascinating musical experience from start to finish. Although it's primarily alt-rock based you never know what's coming round the corner with this artist. The music is fresh and highly entertaining. Its strong suit – its amazing vocal presence and impressive songwriting finesse by this band led by John Crispino. SBL is a lucrative Move Licensing deal waiting to happen, The songs are extremely melodic, passionate, and captivating and somewhat dark and unpredictable. All these songs have a ring of truth to them. Each song possesses a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. SBL are a surging musical project for many reasons armed with a brilliant perspective an amazing voice to inspire your vivid imagination. Need I say more?