Of the great pleasures of progressive music, rock, metal, or otherwise, is the depth and breadth of the musical tapestry. One of the challenges is that it also requires a great deal of presence and patience from the listener. Prog is not music for the person who wants their music in tight little, spoon fed, commercial packages or has a serious case of ADD. Frederic Epe's Unwritten Pages project Part 1: Noah is complex, expansive and will require dedicated and expectant listening. So much for commercial appeal or tapping the youth market. Therefore, Part 1: Noah is for the prog connoisseur, and there are many of us (although I think our numbers are dwindling as we age, but that is pure speculation).
On Unwritten Pages Part 1: Noah Mr. Epe blends his love for concept albums, sci-fi themes, and a broad range of musical interests into an elaborate two-disc prog rock musical. The story is sci-fi interesting, and you can find a capsule version in the sidebar to the right. However, the music is far more interesting. Epe's overall construct is well-developed classic prog, mostly rock with some heavier elements and some clever ethnic nuances.
The elements of arrangements and instruments move over a twisting, sometimes uneven and unexpected, path. On Deimos' Theme, In the Name of Ishmael, and several others this seems like organized 'stream-of-conciousness' composing on Epe's side. But the result is simply the natural prog inventiveness that pushes us to exercise our imagination, along with the composer. The appropriately named song Unexpected Twists and Turns probably encapsulates the broad character of Unwritten Pages Part 1: Noah. This piece is a suspiciously simple song, but turns on the angles of the vocal arrangements for its intrigue. However, much of this work turns on those vocal arrangements only to tell the story through the characters. In this sense, the music is merely a vehicle for the singers/players in the story, and the story itself. Still it congeals into wonderful whole, except when things get a little quirky.
Intermittently there are instances when the music overwhelms the singers as in certain moments within Blowing Red Ashes Part II or The Boy is Awake. Also, I thought I heard miscues where instruments jumped in ahead of a particular vocal part. However, there's often so much going on within each song, this could be simple compositional license or my ears (and mind) simply trying to keep up. Regardless, this hardly diminishes the depth, breadth, and length of this inventive work. Yet, that latter characteristic (length), over 80 minutes over two discs, may challenge even the most resolute listener. I can hear it least one saying, 'Damn. I've got to get off my ass and change the disc.' Yes, you do, and you will be better for it. Unwritten Pages Part 1: Noah is a marvelous work of conceptual and creative progressive rock, serious and etertaining stuff well worth your time.
Unwritten Pages Part 1: Noah is a marvelous work of conceptual and creative progressive rock which will give the novice and most seasoned connoisseur an entertaining, though lengthy, challenge
Noah tells the story of a boy born in the ruins of the futuristic Utopia City, and Maria, the daughter of a ruthless politician who has – literally – split Utopia City in half and driven the poor to a district known as LS01X. As the political climate escalates, a few hundred people from both sides of the city are forced to leave their home world and start a new life on Mars. Here, both Maria and the boy grow up in the middle of a rising conflict between two factions that are unwilling to ignore their grudge-ridden past.