Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Notice Grace

Hello once again fellow progheads and welcome back to the warm and spacious Concert Closet!  As 2017 continues her spiral into the ever after, I thought it a great time to leave the cold tundra behind and spend a mild seven days down south.  Escaping the snow flurries, frost, and biting wind,  I made my way to Georgia for the chance to listen in with Notice Grace.

Notice Grace walks a bit of a different path through the prog garden; self-described as "...progressive rock that blends the heavy with the melodic..."  The holiday season is upon us which usually leads to music and sounds that are joyous and thankful, happy and upbeat...but when did I ever take The Closet Concert Arena down the obvious path?  Let's walk this tangent trail and see what happens when heavy blends with melodic...

Opening the review is a tune that throws dark colors at the canvas with a gentle glove covered fist, "City on a String."  The piano opening peels back the curtain on a rainstorm; the song tumbles down around you with a mild mannered thump as guitars bleed through the drums luring you toward a small light in the center of your vision.  There are top notes of Kansas and Transatlantic floating through this piece.  Picture a concert thrown askew while the band plays everything except  their
hits--much to the crowd's approval.  Normalcy is tossed aside just long enough for Notice Grace to alter your perception of preferred music...

To keep the melodic carousel revolving I run down a song with a bit more kick, "Protect This Sacred State."  A quick percussion-led intro takes the listener down a rabbit hole that echoes with a
metal-tinged cacophony of sound, much like Psicolorama and Violent Attitude If Noticed.  Notice Grace even gives off a Gungfly vibe here; perhaps a bit of the Moody Blues from their Seventh Sojourn album?  The metal overtones are actually subdued a bit as the piece comes together more like that hard-edged rock song your parents hated simply for the guitar riffs.

Liner Notes...Notice Grace hails from Snellville, Georgia and consists of Zachery Kinsaul and Gib Heuett on guitars and vocals, Dennis Svela on bass guitar, keyboards, and vocals, Mark Pruitt on keyboards, and Howard Williams on drums.  The band has one EP on their resume, "Movements" which came out in 2014.  This was followed up with two single releases; "Abandonment" and "City on a String"  both hitting the airwaves in 2015.

Notice Grace occupies acreage in an area of the prog garden set aside for bands with roots more in line with The Aaron Clift Experiment and Seven Second Circle.  As advertised; moments of pure rock are tempered with the softer melodic side...much like 10cc jamming with Jethro Tull.

The final offering for review this week is the title cut from the "Movements" album.  More "theatrical" than previous songs from the disc, this one lays a foundation with percussion and bass that allows the guitars to slice through at just the right moments.  There is a haunting vocal wending its way throughout  that takes the listener on a journey through an albeit short-lived dark cloud, much like driving with your headlights off--just for a moment--down the interstate.  There is a controlled adrenaline rush; you govern your own destiny with the flick of a switch.  Learn more about Notice Grace at their website Notice Grace. You can purchase their music at this site or on iTunes, CD Baby, and Amazon.  Follow the band on Facebook at NoticeGrace FB and keep up with the latest on Twitter
@noticegraceband .

My selection for your listening pleasure this week is the June 2015 release "Abandonment."  This song immediately picks up as if you were six songs into a live set; no need for warming up.  Notice Grace builds layers of music without coming off as ornate or ostentatious.  I find myself waiting for what I call the "Blue Oyster Cult" moment; when the smoke from the dry ice machine gives way to that ear-piercing guitar blowout.  Although it never materializes, Notice Grace doesn't necessarily disappoint; they simply find other ways to grab your attention.

As you watch the video you realize Notice Grace is grounded enough to not take themselves too seriously; this is the prog garden after all.  Music--even that which lies on the darker side of the spectrum--doesn't need to furrow your brow constantly.  It is actually a bit refreshing to find a band that can paint with dark colors and still crack a smile...

Once again fellow progheads I find myself at the end of a week wondering where the time went and realizing there are only so many grains of sand left in the 2017 hourglass.  Notice Grace takes their rock 'n' roll pedigree and hits it with hues from the progressive rock pallet...another corner of the prog garden cultivated.  Listening to Notice Grace unfold all around me I realize their music is more suited to an artisanal beer than a single malt; nothing wrong with that...

So the search for all things prog enters the home stretch for 2017..and of course there is always uncultivated acreage in the prog garden waiting for the tiller to unearth another gem and expose it to the light.  So the journey continues...until next time...

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