Unified Past are a Progressive Rock band that launched back in 1999 in Syracuse, New York. They have released six albums going back from their debut album (From the Splintered Present Surfaces) to 2013 (Spots). This year, they are releasing their 7th album entitled Shifting the Equilibrium on the Melodic Revolution Records label. Now mind you, I’m very new to Unified Past’s music and hearing parts of their music on House of Prog with Tony Romero and I almost forgot about them.
This year, they are bringing Prog and Hard Rock into a landscaping adventure that I hope to hear more of their previous catalog. It is a journey that Prog fans will explore their toes into the water and will see what they have accomplished so far. And for me, the 7th album is a real kicker! The artwork is done by Ed Unitsky, who’s done work for The Samurai of Prog, Silhouette, The Minstrel’s Ghost, and The Tangent to name a few. Ed knows his art very well when it comes to Progressive Rock.
But let’s get to the music. There are six tracks on here that clocks in at 56 minutes and 17 seconds. It is almost as if Rush had invited Yes during their Going for the One sessions for hot and spicy Wasabi veggie burgers and then the collaboration would have been an excellent experience. They brought along Daytime Emmy Award singer Phil Naro (Druckfarben, Corvus Stone) on vocals, who also worked on the Cartoon Network series, 6teen, and he brings a lot of energy to Unified Past’s music.
This is Prog Rock at its finest! And four highlights on here gives Unified Past a big round of applause. Songs like the Erasure Principle which opens the album off, it has a late ‘70s/early ‘80s touch thanks to the synths and ascending guitars that Stephen Speelman does. He ascends it as Naro’s vocals helps him through the elements as the midsection becomes an intense thumping section between Stephen and Victor’s drumming. I can hear the sounds of Yes’ 90125-era as if it was a hard rock album, but packing it with a crunch.
Smile (In the Face of Adversity) feels like an epic score. Featuring a blast of keyboards, metallic guitar lines and riffs, string sections, and the drumming helping out, shows how Unified Past on how the lyrics deal with on not giving up and moving away from your troubled past whilst moving forward to start a new beginning to move forward and never stopping.
The 11-minute, Etched in Stone gives Stephen going through his virtuoso brainstorming ideas in his head both hard and symphonic rock vibrations both in his Guitar and Keyboards. He takes the listener to a shining world, but with a shout to the stars. I hope this track will soon be a live favorite one of these days. And then there is Deviation from a Theme (Of Harmonic Origin).
I really love this track. There are elements of Rush’s Moving Pictures-era as if Unified Past wrote a sequel to Red Barchetta as Stephen, bassist Dave Mickelson, and Victor Tassone create some mind-blowing improvisations that are heavier, raw, and hypnotic. Dave is just nailing his bass chops through different areas on the frets to create the homage to Geddy Lee and its top notch!
This is my third time listening to Shifting the Equilibrium. And while this is my introduction to Unified Past’s music, and even though I’m not crazy about it, this is a not so bad, but pretty good album from start to finish. Melodic Revolution Records really brought a lot on here. So if you love the sounds of Yes and Rush, then I highly recommend checking out Unified Past’s new album. You won’t be disappointed.