“The Painkeeper” is a concept album from Italian prog rock band Eveline’s Dust which I have been anticipating for a while now. I’ve been lucky enough to follow their progress both as a band and with this album. For a band as young as Eveline’s Dust is age-wise, they are deeply rooted in both the Rock Progressivo Italiano scene and in 70s prog in general (particularly Gentle Giant) without sounding retro at all.
“The Painkeeper” is a fresh take on that classic prog sound with plenty of jazz influences. Eveline’s Dust also have a modern prog vibe similar to bands like Haken, Spock’s Beard and echolyn. First and foremost, melody is always the key on this album. Tracks like the title track, “Joseph” and “HCKT” each have prog twists and turns but never at the expense of the song itself. Each of those tracks has more emphasis on melody and structure versus being an excuse to over play like some bands do.
“HCKT” is probably my favorite track on the album. It has all of the subtle moments of the shorter tracks plus moments that remind me of how Haken walks the line between prog rock and prog metal without going over that line. Plus the sax part in the middle harkens back to an earlier track “NREM” and has a Lizard-era Crimson feel to it.
“A Tender Spark of Unknown” is firmly based in jazz yet with the husky vocals of keyboardist Nicola Pedreschi, it feels like a rock song too. Guitarist Lorenzo Gherarducci also shows that he is more about knowing what note to play when rather than just playing as many notes as possible. Bassist Marco Carloni is very noticable on “Clouds” and has a great tone. Whilst drummer Angelo Carmignani allows the music to breath and swing rather than force the issue.
The opening track “Awake” serves as the perfect introduction. It’s short, yes but it condenses what Eveline’s Dust is all about. It’s punchy and proggy. I do wish it was longer because it’s a great little track. Along the same lines “NREM” – with it’s insistent opening chant of “Wake up, wake up, You gotta wake up” – has that aforementioned sax part that I could listen to all day.
The production and mix are bright and lush. Another great thing about this album is the sequencing. The songs flow perfectly together. It does feel like a concept album, not only lyrically but musically as well. I won’t analyze the lyrics as I’d rather the listener have a chance to figure that part out. With “The Painkeeper,” Eveline Dust have taken influences both old and new and created their own sound. They don’t sound exactly like many of the bands out there but they also satisfy those listeners who love well written TRUE progressive rock.
2. The Painkeeper
6. A Tender Spark of Unknown
9. We Won’t Regret