PRESTO BALLET — The Lost Art of Time Travel (review)

PRESTO BALLET — The Lost Art of Time Travel album cover Album · 2008 · Metal Related Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Nightfly
Presto Ballets sound is likely to come as a bit of a surprise to anyone who knows guitarist Kurdt Vaderhoof from his other band Metal Church. Here there's an absence of the thrash metal of that band, instead Presto Ballet have a sound firmly based on seventies American progressive rock bearing a resemblance to the likes of Styx and Kansas with a bit of Deep Purple thrown in for good measure.

The Lost Art of Time Travel is their second album and very good it is too. 7 songs make up the album, 4 of them 9 minutes or longer giving ample opportunity for instrumental workouts. Presto Ballet produce a powerful yet melodic sound, the seventies authenticity helped by the production and much use being made of keyboards like Hammond organ and Melotron. The band are all great players and in Scott Albright they have found an excellent rock vocalist capable of handling the strong melodies with ease.

The album is consistently strong making it difficult to pick favourite tracks but special mention should be made of One Tragedy at a Time, a 14 minute masterpiece with swirling melotrons and Hammond organ, powerful guitar riffs and a dynamic rhythm section. It's nearly 3 minutes before the vocals come giving you an idea of the space left for instrumental interplay. Although as already stated, they produce a powerful sound, there's still room for some light and shade with plenty of changes.

This is pretty much the formula for the album which is fine with me but You're Alive adds an acoustic guitar driven interlude very much reminding me of Styx both musically and vocally and excellent it is too. Haze, which closes the album also offers some diversification being one of the other more restrained and laid back moments until an instrumental section picks things up a bit reminding me of Genesis with some Hackett style lead guitar.

This album turned out to be one of the unexpected gems of 2008 and recommended to anyone who likes their prog metal with priorities on strong melodies.
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