Elevenwire – Blood red Sun (2024)


Although not my favourite genre, I do get into the prog metal world every now and then. For example, I sometimes listen to Dream Theater or Haken, the more proggy work, and I can certainly enjoy some beautiful things in their music. But as soon as it becomes too heavy and too gaudy to me, I immediately drop out. In my never-ending search for new music, I came across a stunning cover and an accompanying description that appealed to me. It would be an album with a mix of prog and old scool hard rock with sophisticated arrangements. Now it does often happen that a sky-rocketing description does not quite match my final findings, but that's just part of being a music lover isn’t it?

We are talking about the album Blood Red Sun by American band Elevenwire. The band has been formed around the brothers Ron and Jonathan Hughes and they certainly make some solid music in which there is indeed some attention to variety and dynamics, it is not all hard as nails and fast as lightning. Both gentlemen are masters of their instrument(s) and the swirling guitar and keyboard solos are all over the album. On drums we see a very prominent musician, namely Eric Gilette. I thought he was a guitar player but apparently he can also play drums on a very high level.

Well then,  is it justified that they caught my attention and indeed make a fascinating fusion of prog and hard rock or do we have yet another band that wants to emulate Dream Theater?

Honest answer? In part.

The album starts with an orchestral classical piece, appropriately titled Overture 00, which is very beautiful but says nothing about what is to follow. It seamlessly transitions into Zero One and here Elevenwire shows its true face and immediately you hear the typical American sound that I talked about in my column, do I have geographical preference? Very well carried out but also very smoothed out. Right off the bat it's clear that Ron is capable of producing screeching guitar solos and the vocals are quite good but the song doesn't really surprise me. From the lyrics it can be concluded that the world depicted in ruins on the very beautiful cover is emerging. In the same vein lies Aggressive Tendencies and here too the playing is very virtuoso and as the title suggests, it is aggressive and heavy. What stands out is the choice of keyboard sounds, which sometimes go a bit towards the more traditional prog.

The somewhat longer title track indeed starts with a riff that leans towards classic rock and the whole song rolls along nicely and I detect a slight revival when a nice moog solo is followed by a nice one on guitar and then develops into an exciting duel between the brothers, musically that is. Still, it doesn't completely convince me and the sturdy Fortress doesn't change that either. Plenty of sing-along choruses with just as many choirs but little finesse and surprising twists. Predictable and since I'm a non-prog metal fan waiting for something that convinces me that this is different or better than what I already know, I'm not convinced yet.

But wait a minute, as soon as Kaleidoscope starts I hear a bit more of the promised combination of prog and classic rock and it very much leans towards the more compact sound of Spock's Beard. I like this better and the aforementioned American production works out better here. Okay, it all sounds a bit smooth but I expected that. It gets even better with the best song for me, coincidentally also the longest, Paradigm in which a light electronic rhythm dictates a pleasant tempo and a quiet interlude introduces a wonderfully dragging guitar solo. That's how I imagined it and here we cannot speak of standard prog metal and the ending is also beautiful.

With Where do we go from here we go back to the atmosphere of the first songs and finally we arrive at the Epilogue of this album. A narrator sketches a disturbed world through the eyes of a survivor of a devastating war, and with that, the story of Blood Red Sun is rounded off by concluding with icy winds.

Is this the innovative album that sucks me back into prog metal? No, it isn't. Is it a good album? Yes it is good, some songs are even very good, but as a whole I expected a bit more. I miss variety and it's so American sounding at times that it bothers me. There are a lot of bands that make the same kind of music and also sound like Elevenwire and that will mean for some that they can blindly buy Blood Red Sun because qualitatively it is a great album. For the more prog oriented listeners like me there is not enough reason to do this, even if you are not averse to a good portion of rock this album leans just too much to the prog metal side. But folks, give it a shot and who knows, this might be just your thing.

For me it is clear that just a great cover and two really good songs are just not enough to get a higher score.


Music 60

Cover 90