David Synn-A New Dawn
Available from Bandcamp and all other streaming services
First off, I have to admit that I’ve been a friend, collaborator and fan of Charleston’s virtuoso keyboard wizard, David Synn, for over a dozen years. I’e already played a couple of tracks from his new album/EP A New Dawn on Radio Free Charleston, and this review is coming from the perspective of someone who loves this type of music.
Disclaimers out of the way, A New Dawn is an instrumental prog-metal tour de force. David was a fine musician when I first met him, but his continued musical growth as a composer and musician is impressive. The six pieces of music on this album take him to new heights.
David is joined on A New Dawn by Jamie Skeen, who produced the album and provided bass and guitar, and his contributions on all fronts add quite a bit to the project.
The opening track, “The Island of Gorgo,” is a crunchy rocker that straddles the worlds of Metallica and Rick Wakeman, bouncy from pure metal to pure prog, and winding up with an evocative cinematic piece that stirs the imagination.
Next up with have the contemplative “Killing Time,” which alternates between metal instensity and an almost pastoral calmness. The end result is a vivid aural painting that shows off a tremendous amount of depth.
“Jazz Hands,” Is a jazzy piano-based number, with David showng the influence of Dave Brubeck, Vince Guaraldi and Keith Emerson in different places. Tossing in an organ part-way through only adds to the late 1960s vibe that this tune evokes. The false stops are a great diversion, as well.
On the opposite end of the musical spectrum, we have “Inside These Walls,” with a repetitive synth line that wouldn’t be out of place in a slasher movie, and a solid hard-rock beat leading to grungy guitars that duel with wailing synthesizers before every stops for a quick piano interlude before the song starts rocking out again. Like most of the songs on this album, this track has a real cinematic feel to it.
“Conception of Aries” is another conceptual track with a very cinematic feel. Skeen’s guitar and bass support layers of keyboards to create the type of music you can just close your eyes and imagine making trips to other planets to. If ends with a snippet of Synn’s infant child laughing, just to bring you back to Earth.
The album closer, “Dali’s Kaleidescope,” is a sprawling, epic nine-and-a-half minute tune with hints of Pink Floyd and Dream Theater, while transitioning through several changes that show off Synn’s musical prowess (as well as Skeen’s) and take the listening a wild musical journey. Give it a listen…
One of the coolest things about A New Dawn is that it’s instrumental but you never miss the vocals. This is a complete musical statement, imaginatively composed and constructed, and it makes its musical point without words.
A New Dawn would be highly recommended by me even if I didn’t know David personally. It’s a strong musical statement that deserves to be heard by any who likes daring, intelligent music.