Following up a debut album as amazing as the first Perihelion Ship album, “A Rare Thunderstorm in Spring,” is no easy task. The Finnish band really came out of nowhere and blew me away with that album last year. Yeah it was only last year and the band is back with a follow up. I’m not sure if that’s brave or crazy but it certainly makes sense to keep up whatever momentum that album started.
So about a year and 9 months later, the band present “To Paint a Bird of Fire” and there’s no mistaking that this is a band that had their sound clearly defined on that first album. It’s still fully intact on this album, but it sounds more like their OWN sound versus “obvious influences” (i.e. Opeth, Anekdoten, etc). It has all the things I love about them: mellotrons, powerful Squiresque bass lines, powerful drumming and kick ass vocals. The album is book ended with epics “New Sun” and “New Sun?” with the latter being one of my favorite tracks on the album. The song is a crazy ass epic, musically and vocally that finishes things off perfectly.
Let’s back up though. The song also features the first single “Bird of Fire” which is quite short by their standards at only two and a half minutes. It’s direct and it rocks but I do wish there was more to the track. Another shorter track is the acoustic guitar piece “River’s Three” which reminds me of Steve Hackett tone wise but with a more flamenco style more reminiscent of Steve Howe.
My two favorites are the mini epics “The Sad Mountain” and “Wind of No Echoes.” The main mellotron “riff” on “The Sad Mountain” is possibly the best hook the band has written. While “Wind of No Echoes” is mostly instrumental, which gives the band plenty of room to showcase their style and yes their heaviness too. The vocals on the track aren’t until the end which is really cool because it makes for a nice surprise.
So the question many will ask is if “To Paint a Bird of Fire” is as great as “A Rare Thunderstorm in Spring”? I think it’s a different animal really. At the moment, I’d say that it SEEMS like it’s not as perfect BUT I’ve also noticed that I’ve liked the album more and more each time I’ve heard it. The debut album peaked on the first listen and it never changed. There’s a bit more going on on “To Paint a Bird of Fire” which is what prog is all about and hopefully this album will get Perihelion Ship the attention they absolutely deserve!
1. New Sun
2. Bird of Fire
3. The Sad Mountain
4. River’s Three
5. Wind of No Echoes
6. New Sun?