Now I’ve always been a massive supporter for up-and-coming bands and artists who taking the torch of the Progressive genre and making sure it doesn’t burn out. Whether it would be from Bent Knee, Lainey Schooltree, MoeTar, Blood Ceremony, Purson, or Sanguine Hum, I always wanted to make sure that they are not going to give it up, but making sure the flames still burn and keep on burning forever and ever. One of the artists that for me, I’ve always wanted to discover but didn’t have the time, was an artist name Leon Alvarado.
He has released two albums and two EP’s. And has worked with people such as Bill Bruford, Trey Gunn, and Jerry Marotta to name a few. This year he’s released his new album entitled The Future Left Behind released on the Melodic Revolution Records label. I remember it was June of this year where I would always go for my morning or afternoon walks and again I came back home and saw a package in the mail from Glass Onyon.
I opened it and it was Leon’s album. Now as I’ve mentioned before in my introduction, I’ve wanted to discover his music and now here we are in 2016 and I have delved into the musical world of Leon Alvarado. Based on the short story, it is an instrumental concept album that tell the story that our home planet Earth is now an empty and polluted area and the overpopulation itself in which the people are living is to work toward a brighter future.
Leon brought along people such as Billy Sherwood (Yes, CIRCA) on Lead and Rhythm Guitars, Rick Wakeman on Moog and Extra Keyboards, and Johnny Bruhns (CIRCA) on Acoustic Guitar. And to add the story and view of our polluted world is narrator Steve Thamer who is brilliant in what is going on throughout the rest of the short story. And with Pink Floyd engineer Andy Jackson lending a helping hand, you could tell that is a perfect combination.
Listening to the entire album in 42 minutes, is like a Movie in your mind. It has a dystopian atmosphere and I can imagine Leon took inspirations including Rick Wakeman’s 1974 concept album of Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Pink Floyd, Vangelis, Yes, and Gandalf’s To Another Horizon. And not to mention, Ridley Scott’s 1982 classic, Blade Runner and the 1966 TV series Star Trek for inspiration.
It has the New Age, Symphonic, Ambient/Atmospheric voyage and rhythmic adventuristic quality. I love how Sherwood’s guitar takes on a life of its own as he creates these movements in the styles of an echoing reverb to rattle the mountains with an rumble thanks to Leon’s drumming technique. There are moments on here that are ascending, ominous, dramatic, epic, and futuristic with swirling textures that Wakeman brings on the extra keyboards to give it life.
It does feel like a continuation to Verne’s story but set in Outer Space as Rick himself captures the effects of the concept and brings it to parallel universes as you’ve seen or heard before. Johnny Bruhns’ classical concerto on his guitar is a romantic and warmth finger-picking virtuoso as he gives the sun a chance to rise for a new morning and a new dawn. There are times he channels Mason Williams and Tony Iommi with the string-section on the keyboards for the light to hit to wake-up to start up fresh.
Throughout my second and seventh listen, I was completely blown away and Alvarado’s music has taken my knowledge and experience of the journey for our Earth to seek out where it will go next. As Captain Jean-Luc Picard says at the final episode, All Good Things on Star Trek: The Next Generation, “And the Sky’s the limit.”