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CLASSIC ROCK PRESENTS PROG MAGAZINE
Against Reason - Festival Music
It must be a dilemma being in a band like Credo. Known and respected for producing music that plummets straight into the dusty box marked 'neo prog', do they continue to successfully revel in recreating that 80s sound or do they follow the lead of Pendragon and contemporise their approach? When you take into account its six years since their last studio album, it's probably prudent that on Against Reason they've stuck to what they're known for and excel at. Yes, production aside, at times their musical slant sounds dated and could have been recorded in 1984, but Credo have proved on this album that they can match - and at times surpass - the likes of IQ in terms of creating lush, symphonic music that can almost transcend the decades.
What's especially notable is the attention to detail and the careful crafting that songs like Staring At The Sun and Conspiracy contain, with elegant guitar and keyboards roving with purpose and eloquence throughout. Ghosts Of Yesterday calls to mind early 80s Marillion and is a fitting finale to an inspired album. It would be fascinating to see what they could produce if they took a few more chances.
CLASSIC ROCK MAGAZINE NEW RELEASES ROUND-UP
On the prog side, Credo offer up melody and thoughtfully understated musicianship on Against Reason (Festival Music). Now 20 years old, this British band once more show the value of knowing how to keep songs sharp and structured. They also have a certain joyous, tumbling energy, which makes the album entertaining.
SEA OF TRANQUILITY
Studio album number three "Against Reason" see's British neo prog stalwarts Credo growing in strength. This is just an album of pure and sublime brilliance. The band may have take two and a half years to record and release this new album, but one thing this is for sure, the wait has been more than worth it, two and a half years that have definitely not been wasted.
GET READY TO ROCK
The third album from the UK based neo-prog band who maybe not as prolific as some their contemporaries but each album is always worth the extra wait. Without a doubt this is the band’s musical peak to date, with only song not to my personal taste ‘Cardinal Sin’ as it overstays its welcome just a little. Since the band added Mike Varty on keyboards they have really upped their game and his keyboards make a big impact throughout this album. That’s not to say the rest of the band take a backseat as guitarist Tim Birrell lays down some Gilmour-esque solos (check out ‘Ghosts Of Yesterday’) and the rhythm section of Jim Murdoch (bass) and Martin Meads (drums) are tighter that a gnat’s chuff.
Two songs illustrate how far the band has come for me. First up ‘Staring At The Sun’, a real bouncy up tempo number, similar to John Mitchell fronted It Bites and an early chance to exercise those air keyboards, with a suitably grandiose intro. The subject matter maybe serious about global warming but the tune can’t help but put a smile on your face. This has already been played live and if the band ever released a single (unlikely as most songs clock in at over seven minutes!) this would be the one.
‘Ghosts Of Yesterday’ starts with a ticking clock and builds into one of the most atmospheric numbers the band have produced to date. This is the beauty of bands like Credo in that they add plenty of little bits of music/effects to build a big soundscape for the listener to enjoy over and over again. The guitars, keys (listen out for the Les Dawson approved slightly out of tune piano motif) and Mark Colton’s vocals really make this an epic song that is on par with anything IQ have done. Yes it’s that good folks.
‘Conspiracy’ and ‘Insane’ both show a heavier side to the band, with a bit more guitar power and Mark Colton’s vocals having a more aggressive edge to them. Again the keyboards and little musical effects fill the songs out nicely.
Credo may not be that well known outside of the prog rock circuit but this album could easily break then into a whole new audience. For example, Magnum and Asia fans would love songs like ‘Staring At The Sun’, ‘Conspiracy’ and ‘Ghosts Of Yesterday’. Jump in and enjoy one of the UK’s best kept prog rock secrets…
Jason Ritchie (www.getreadytorock.com)
AMAZON / Distant Planet (UK)
17 April 2011
Credo are back. Welcome back to the office my friends !! Their last studio output (the excellent 'Rhetoric') hit the shelves in 2005, and although in 2009 we were treated to the sublime 'This Is What We Do' live CD/DVD set from the Slaski Theater in Poland, many non-believers may have thought a new studio album would only be found at the end of the rainbow...
Imagine not seeing your best mate for 5 years or so, then meeting up with him again...things would have changed and that's the case with Credo. Many of us dislike change, but not when it's for the better, not when the change involves musical output that has matured like a vintage wine....
Credo have come of age.
The album kicks off with 'Staring At The Sun', where a totally addictive chorus (with a 'made for air guitar' riff - yes these boys can rock !!!) blends commercial viability to progressive integrity. Then 'Cardinal Sin' offers some resplendent acoustic keyboard lines from Mike Varty before the lush melodies of 'Intimate Strangers' seduce you like only your lover could...This song is about sex and it vibes its subject matter perfectly !!! Tim Birrell's gorgeously melodic guitar work reaches trouser tenting heights on this piece. PRS and Mesa Boogie have never gelled so well... I can't see any birds on Tim's guitar fretboard but his licks soar around you gorgeously like birds of paradise would, indeed his guitar work is integral to the success of the whole album. Next up is the title track, a mysterious instrumental with an Eastern heir, Tim's guitar lines cut through you like an assasin's knife with melody that is painfully beautiful...however, I'm slightly puzzled as to why this is the title track, and it leaves me slightly unsettled, wanting more, the track somehow promises more than it ultimately delivers.
'Insanity' follows, with some lovely, catchy synth lines from Mike (vaguely reminiscent of the catchy lines of 'Skin Trade' from 'Rhetoric') that take us to prog nirvana again as the song tackles the emotive subject of religious and political extremism...'Reason To Live' is a shorter song with more luscious melodies before 'Conspiracy' takes the reigns. Here, Mike's catchy synth lines vamp superbly with Tim's fluid rhythm work and Mark's vocals to provide a stunning and catchy song structure. Mark Colton's seminal vocals are also crucial to the album , often known as 'son of Fish' (not certain if this is a moniker he appreciates...) , he proves here that he has his own distinctive vocal tone that has little to do with Fish and this suggests that the comparison is probably more aimed at his jesterial stage presence during live performances. Mark is also the band's wordsmith and raconteur, each song here conveys a story or a message about life.
The album ends with 'Ghosts Of Yesterday'. The longest track on the album, it provides a more acoustically driven and more laid-back but yet anthemic conclusion. Not as immediate for me as the earlier tracks but more enjoyable with each subsequent listening.
If you like prog rock and if you like melody you will love this album, I guess it may indeed be "Against Reason'' not to buy it....
5 STARS : IS IT REASONABLE?
Every so often a new album comes along which reassures us that it is still possible for a band to come up with material which is of the quality we enjoyed all those years ago when prog was in its heyday. These days, with the word prog no longer being a dirty word, many bands are finding it convenient to add prog to their CV's, pulling the name in directions for which it was never intended. It seems though Credo are intent on creating music for which the epithet progressive rock was truly meant.
By any standard, "Against reason" is a mighty album. Released some 6 years after the acclaimed "Rhetoric", and only the band's third full album since their formation almost 20 years ago, "Against reason" boasts an unchanged line up. The highly talented (and indeed sought after) keyboards player Mike Varity (also of Landmarq, Shadowland and Janison Edge) takes charge of production, with the band collectively sharing the writing credits throughout.
With just eight tracks, and a running time of around 70 minutes, it is immediately apparent that the tracks here have been carefully nurtured to their full fruition. The band play to their strengths throughout; Mark Colton's vocals are perfectly suited to what we can conveniently label neo-prog; Mike Varity either lays down the lush swathes of sound on which the tracks are founded or flies off on one of his wonderful solos and Tim Birrell is surely one of the finest lead guitarists currently recording. Not just in terms of dexterity, but in the perfect lead guitar sound he has developed. The band is rounded off by the powerhouse of Jim Murdoch on bass and drummer Martin Meads.
The album opens with the 10 minute "Staring At The Sun" (this song can be heard on the band's website), an environmentally friendly number which hits the ground running with an attention grabbing synth burst introducing the album's most anthemic track. "Cardinal sin" ventures into sensitive and emotive areas, exploring the trauma suffered by victims when bringing the guilty to justice. Birrell's lead guitar solo captures the emotions of the song beautifully, while Colton's vocals expose the full drama of the lyrics.
"Intimate strangers" is a softer portrayal of the breakdown of a relationship. The track features the voices of band in full harmony, before concluding with a fine instrumental section. The title track is the only completely instrumental track on the album. A relatively brief piece, it offers a relaxed interlude between the heavier numbers which surround it.
"Insane" takes on the weighty topic of what people will do, especially in terms of violence, in the name of religion. Understandably, this is probably also the heaviest track musically too, Colton beseeching "Insane, are we insane?". "Reason to Live" is the shortest track on the album, and thus acts as a second respite among its weighty peers. The song is a reflective harmony piece with atmospheric floating synths.
"Conspiracy (MCF)" deals with the dearth of truth and conspiracy theories in modern society in a "Jesus he knows me" (Genesis) sort of way. Indeed there is a bit of a Genesis feel to the track in the Banks like synth breaks too. The album closes with what for me is the best of the bunch. "Ghosts of yesterday" reminds me in passing of the earlier days of Arena, and in particular "Solomon". Lyrically the song looks at the human impact of political decisions, in particular those relating to traditional industries. Like "Solomon", this 13+ minute epic is performed at a regal pace (dictated by the ticking clock which opens the song). Beginning as a quasi-acoustic number, the track builds through strong melodies and repeated refrains in classic neo-prog style. Birrell's lead guitar never sounded better, but the whole band are in their element here. As the piece reaches its crescendo in a melting pot of soaring guitars, sways of synths and repeating refrains, we are lifted ever higher by the majesty of the music.
In all, a truly excellent set, which sees Credo maturing into one of the finest of the bands we refer to as neo-prog. Hopefully "Against reason" will find the global success it warrants.
"Is it reasonable?" proclaims the graffiti on the back of the accompanying booklet. Yes, it is entirely reasonable. If you like prog rock and if you like melody you will love this album, I guess it may indeed be "Against Reason'' not to buy it....
Credo is a British neo-prog band that has been active since 1992, which means that
they can celebrate their 20th anniversary within a year. In a period of two decades
time, acts can release a lot of albums, but that’s not exactly the case with these
progrockers. Only three items have seen the light of day so far: their debut album
“Field Of Vision” in 1994, their second album “Rhetoric” in 2005 (indeed: a gap of
11 years) and a double live CD/DVD, called “This Is What We Do”, in 2009. One thing
is for sure: the band members of Credo take all the time they need to write and record
new stuff. “Against Reason” is their third studio album and to cut a long story short:
it’s an impressive piece of neo-prog, that brings the listener back to the progsound
of the 80s. Once again produced by keyboarder Mike Varty and consisting of 8 (mostly
elaborate) tracks, this is an album that I can recommend to all the fans of classic
Marillion and Pendragon, to name but a pair. The album gets off to a good start with
“Staring At The Sun” and that same high standard is kept throughout the album, that
features further highlights as “Insane” (about what we do to each other in the name
of religion) and “Conspiracy (MCF)”. It took the guys many years to stand where they
are now, but in the year 2011 we can consider Credo as a mature neo-prog band that
has found its place among all the big names of the genre.
JOHN O'BOYLE : 9 out of 10
GEOFF FEAKES : 8.5 out of 10
22 MAY 2011
CREDO – ‘Against Reason’ (Festival Music)
Three albums and a live DVD in seventeen years may sound like a work rate to rival that of Boston, but it’s what happens when real life and other priorities get in the way. Unlike Boston, Credo has managed to “up the ante” with each successive release, and it has to be said right at the outset that ‘Against Reason’ is really quite a stunner, and exceeds even my (admittedly high) expectations.
Eight tracks sprawling over some 65 minutes give some idea of what is in store, but the four tracks book-ending the album (‘Staring At The Sun’ and ‘Cardinal Sin’ at the start, and ‘Conspiracy (MCF)’ and ‘Ghosts Of Yesterday’ at the end) are all epics, each clocking up more than ten minutes: and each one an absolute masterpiece. ‘Staring At The Sun’ has global warming as its mantra and gets the album off to a breezy start, and reveals just what a cohesive unit Credo has become; moreover vocalist Mark Colton has never sounded better. He does not have a great range – but delivers the frequently acerbic lyrics with authority, poignancy and verve.
‘Cardinal Sin’ is a song focused upon the sleazy underbelly of human relationships (“hunger fuels the greed; loathing turns to lust”). Progressive rock is rarely packaged more effectively than it is here: musically subtle - twisting and turning and inducing strong emotions as it spits out menacing sounds that enhance the callous lyrics. There is so much happening here, and the maturity of musical understanding amongst the combo is breathtaking!
‘Conspiracy (MCF)’ finds the strength of Credo’s lyrical mastery reaching a zenith on a track that questions whether information in the public domain is “conspiracy, truth or lies” as well as engaging upon the focus of some mystery case files. The wizardry of keyboardist Mike Varty is significant here while Tim Birrell (guitars), Martin Meads (drums) and Jim Murdoch (bass) prove once again what an effective unit they are as they weave dramatic layers of sound of varying intensity.
Concluding number ‘Ghosts Of Yesterday’ will surely resonate uncomfortably: a despairing song about the plight of a society that is coming close to imploding (“Communities brought to their knees by governments deaf to their pleas; industrial diseases from false economies sold down the river on a half-baked scheme”), a ticking clock - real and metaphorical - introducing and closing this phenomenal song.
Although I have chosen to emphasize these four juggernauts, ‘Intimate Strangers’, ‘Insane’ and ‘Reason To Live’ are all hugely powerful statements both lyrically and musically only the brief instrumental title track somehow failing to maintain the flow. It’s a not unpleasant but moody number that has the temerity to fade without quite making a clear statement of intent.
So, this is Credo’s equivalent of ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ and could so easily have been entitled ‘Dark Side Of The Earth’ given the brooding lyrical focus upon some of the less savoury aspects of society, human life and existence. The insignificant title track apart, this is a tremendous triumph for Credo and one that sets the bar at pole vault level for album number four. Tremendous, thought-provoking songs, gorgeous melodies, wonderful musicianship: ‘Against Reason’ is my album of 2011 so far…
Paul Jerome Smith
GOOGLE TRANSLATION BELOW (JUST ‘COS IT’S GREAT AND WE JUST LOVE BEING “MATURE LEAVES”!)
Some people are mature leaves. I'm certainly one of them, and it seems these days especially men to overcome. Only around their thirties that she realized the "rat race" now really have to take on, they look around their fortieth probably already looking anxiously back at fifty and some even from the rubble of their lives. Credo's their band.
I do not care the race is done
With "Against Reason" bring them into their over 20-year history of their third album, plagued by setbacks that life has. And what an album. "Against Reason" is dripping with emotion, eloquence, melody, power and above all consolation. Credo brings neoprog of the purest kind, the kind where the former SI Music could only dream of, the kind where major competitors for fear Pallas and Arena. For what a quality. "Against Reason" is without doubt one of best neoprog panels of this decade.
Years of experience in the late fifties refined their craft and mastery rays among others Cardinal Sin, where keyboardist Mike Varty many ghostly noises late to profit from the catchy melody. It is also interesting how the bass of Jim Murdoch himself there as a snake struggling. Interestingly, the middle number as the rate decreases and Tim Birrell one of his many guitar solos to sound idealistic. Brilliant as the number of the last three minutes of the neo-one dream after another seems to come out.
Time tells us no answers
Mark Colton's voice seems to be made for neoprog. In Intimate Strangers, he often looks at Fish and Marillion influences are never far away. Also on Insane, which concerns an indictment against the violence that religion often brings, he bites his lyrics almost the listener, like a motto concerns. Yet he makes the biggest impression on me, beautifully sung Reason To Live, where he sings his own echo.
Easily concealed the truth so with rhetoric and lies
The only disadvantage I could call to "Against Reason" is that it is all very full. Although the instrumental Against Reason and the aforementioned quiet Reason To Live some rest, is particularly Conspiracy (MCF), a true tour-de-force of themes, melodies, solos and typical neoprog-tunes where Varty's patent Clive Nolan seems to have picked up. In addition, it is much, much text, and Colton sings about every social, political and religious issue to consider is that. Yet he never really sounds preachy, although in his lyrics have a deep concern about society senses.
They Privatised my nation's soul
As it does a decent respect neoplaat "Against Reason" obviously with a lighter-ballad with a vengeance, the long-Ghosts Of Yesterday, when Colton complains about the loss of hope in this society of exclusion and discrimination unexpected, especially in their fifties. You can taste the texts that the members of the Credo is not always easy in the UK, where - unlike the media can often Wilen believe - certainly not for many people a breeze. It is a worthy end to a brazen neoprog plate.
Against all odds Credo supports himself with "Against Reason" to the top of symphonic rock. Their motto, each generation comfort. Live now, despite everything, you have no choice after all. Nothing here can get any better.
Published on: 11 Jul 2011
Having been around since the early 90’s, Brittish band Credo has been (very) slowly building their career upon few (only 3 studio albums and 1 live DVD) yet very solid releases. In fact, it took them 6 long years between the quite good Rethoric and the new Against Reason. Nevertheless, it seems that the band prefers to adopt a sparse but secure release process, as their albums show a great deal of care and craftsmanship and their reputation has always grown up at each release.
Playing in the so-called Neo-Prog style, and having a musicality that can be easily comparable to that of some of the best (and more known) bands in the genre such as (early) Marillion, IQ and Arena, it is quite easy to consider them an archetype of the genre, moving around the general and very strong foundations of that genre. But the truth is that Credo, especially with this new Against Reason, has decided to add some signatures of their own and slightly elevating themselves above that (sometimes considered stagnated) style.
Despite the fact that basic foundations of the Neo-Prog aesthetics are to be found all around in this album, the truth is that there are some very peculiar signatures and a set of approaches that make this band a driver and not a passenger of the style. The layering of the tracks is done in a way that somehow fills the sound in a different way, making it very compact and muscled. This is something that immediately stands off as a trademark of the band: the tightness of the interplay and the true walls-of-sound that are constantly debitated and that completely surround the listener. Then there is a strange level of aggressivity in the guitars and keys, while keeping the melodic sense, which is not usually to be found in the style. The keyboards even dare to add some dissonances and atonal notes within its soloing units, something that may sound a countersense in the Neo-Prog .
The music is always very vivid and tremendously dynamic, and even when things slow down a bit, that sense of filling-in and strange aggressivity is to be noted, always making the listener keep his concentration upon the music. And this status does not change even when the darker and less optimistic lyrics are sung, as they are accompanied by that vivid musicality. The singing is extremely good in this album, and as the music, it sometimes draws me back to Arena circa Immortal?, though occasionally also reminds me of Twelfth Night. The early Marillion reminiscences are kept to a minimum, contrary to previous releases.
Trying to resume things, Against Reason is a great album within its genre, and it does bring its fair number of particularities which contribute to the elevation of its style. In a few years time we can probably confirm that, in many ways, Against Reason may be a new landmark in the Neo-Prog community. If you are a fan of the genre, then this is a mandatory album.
Against Reason is Credo's third album, following 1994s Field of Visions and 2005s Rhetoric. So they're not the most prolific of Prog bands. But in Prog it's not quantity, it's quality that counts, and whilst their debut was a rather run of the mill effort, Rhetoric showed that the band had the potential to Prog with the best of them.
And on this album, the band (Mark Colton - vocals, Tim Birrell - guitar, Mike Varty - keys, Jim Murdoch - bass and Martin Meads - drums) show that they are well on their way to delivering on that promise. from prog-a-long stompers like opener Staring At The Sun, a track that gives an early chance for the keys, guitars, bass and drums to flourish, through to the classic Arenaish epic Ghosts of Yesterday, the album doesn't disappoint. The other long songs are up there too, while the two short songs do their job and then bugger off quite well.
This album gives you prog value for money. Eight songs, 70 minutes. That's four songs over ten minutes and another pair of eight minuters! The long songs give plenty of space for the guitars and keyboards to flourish, and the dark and emotional lyrics from Mark are the icing on the cake. Standouts for me are the heavier Insane and Ghosts of Yesterday.
If you can't wait for the next Arena album, then this may keep you going for a bit longer.
ZERO DAY ROCK
Musically, Credo is a true Neo Prog band: Symphonic Prog Rock with more guitars, less pomp and lots of emotional, pleasant melodies. They are heavily influenced by the first Marillion / Fish era. "Against Reason" sees this band reaching another level completely in terms of songwriting and performances, bolder, more complex and exciting, while still retaining their fine melodic sense. With a right production and strong musicianship, everything works on "Against Reason". On the tasteful arrangements you hear chimming electric guitars, elegant keyboards lines, brilliant bass runs and a versatile drummer. Singer Mark Colton has a very good voice and a fine dramatic interpretation that, while still showing Fish's influence, is now very much his own.
The album opens with the 10 minute "Staring At The Sun", an environmentally friendly number which hits the ground running with an attention grabbing synth burst introducing the album's most anthemic track. "Cardinal Sin" ventures into sensitive and emotive areas, with Birrell's lead guitar capturing the emotions of the song beautifully, while Colton's vocals expose the full drama of the lyrics. "Intimate Strangers" features the voices of band in full harmony, before concluding with a fine instrumental section. The title track is the only completely instrumental tune on the album. A relatively brief piece, it offers a relaxed interlude between the stronger numbers which surround it. "Insane" takes on the weighty topic of what people will do -especially in terms of violence- in the name of religion. Understandably, this is probably also the heaviest track musically too.
"Reason to Live" is the shortest track on the album, and thus acts as a second respite among its weighty peers. The song is a reflective harmony piece with atmospheric floating synths. "Conspiracy (MCF)" deals with the dearth of truth and conspiracy theories in modern society. There is a bit of a Genesis feel to the track in the Banks-like synth breaks too. The album closes with what for me is the best of the bunch. "Ghosts of Yesterday" reminds me in passing of the earlier days of Arena. Lyrically the song looks at the human impact of political decisions, in particular those relating to traditional industries. This 13+ minute epic is performed at a regal pace (dictated by the ticking clock which opens the song). Beginning as a quasi-acoustic number, the track builds through strong melodies and repeated refrains in classic, Melodic Neo Prog style. Birrell's lead guitar never sounded better, but the whole band are in their element here. As the piece reaches its crescendo in a melting pot of soaring guitars, sways of synths and repeating refrains, we are lifted ever higher by the majesty of the music.
With "Against Reason", Credo has graduated from a very promising group to one of the best Neo Prog bands of the new millennium. Credo's sound is explicitly Neo Prog; the music revolves around big choruses, melodic and upbeat song structures, and the synths get more than a couple of moments to lead the band onward.
Additionally, if you're tired of airy-fairy fantasy prog lyrics, and feel like you need some more down to earth emotion, then you really should give this album a shot.
Hopefully "Against Reason" will find the global success it warrants. After all, it is not every day that you stumble upon a CD that has not a single weak track, which sounds fresh, powerful and convincing from beginning to end.