Pre release reviews...
1): Prog Archives...
Whose Dream by Bun Chakeze
Cosisting of Joey Lugassy (vocals), Colin Tench (guitars, synths, backing vocals), Gary Derrick (bass, bass pedals), and Cliff Deighton (drums), Bun Chakeze show a lot of skill and strength with this particular album, Whose Dream.
It's safe to say that this is definitely a progressive band, and a virtuosic one at that. Bun Chakeze have the ability to write biting, fast, aggressive pieces of music (see the track "Bun Chakeze [Instrumental]") and quickly shift into serene and highly melodic phases (see "Whose Dream"). A note is never wasted with guitarist and backing vocalist Colin Tench, who is always on top of his game, filling in spaces with his rich guitar sounds, somewhat reminiscent of David Gilmour in Pink Floyd's heyday. Not mentioning vocalist Joey Lugassy would be in bad taste, as he has a very dreamy, ethereal voice that blends in well with the rest of the band, especially on their softer pieces. His vocals can also become a bit aggressive, which fits in extremely well when this is utilized to mesh with the music. Gary Derrick and Cliff Deighton add a very solid rhythm section on bass guitar and drums, respectively.
Regarding influences, it's somewhat hard to say who Bun Chakeze's are. A significant amount of Pink Floyd perhaps, maybe some Rush, and a helping of 80's pop a la Kansas is probably the best way to describe the sound, though that still doesn't serve them justice. Regarding their at-times intense instrumentation, Yes has probably been an influence more-or-less. I also hear a bit of Peter Hammill, and to a lesser extent Van der Graaf Generator.
But the real fact here is that Bun Chakeze have made an original sound of their own, and a quite eclectic and enjoyable album with 'Whose Dream.' The album gets better with each listen and is a grower rather than being super-accessible on the first few listens.
2): Prog Archives...
Bun Chakeze is a talented quintet and I quite enjoyed their album, Whose Dream. By far the best aspect for me are the various guitar textures throughout- so many great tones and so many well-chosen notes. But great guitar-playing goes nowhere without a good rhythm section and other musicians to fill out the sound. However, this band goes above and beyond adequate background music. These gentlemen sound like they work well together, able to provide solid progressive music while allowing each member to shine in his time. The vocalist sounds like John Elefante of Kansas in the 1980s, which some might consider a failing, but I certainly don’t. As far as genre labels go, I think neo-prog fits the most comfortably, but that is not to say that this album suffers from any lack of variety or copycat syndrome. That opening instrumental, though brief, offers fresh and exciting music. I love the bursts of bass and guitar. “Whose Dream” is a gentler song with ethereally masculine vocals- the initial frostiness of the track makes me think of Camel. The screaming guitar that enters is brilliant. Lovely acoustic guitar greets the listener in “Flight of the Phoenix.” The piece gains some intensity as the rest of the band enters, and once again the lead guitar is amazing- the instrumental excursion here is like Pink Floyd on their best day. “The Deal” is the darkest piece on the album, sounding like a cross between something that belongs on Pink Floyd’s The Wall and early Marillion. The album closes with an instrumental reprise of the title track, and features riveting guitar once again. Well done, guys- I’m impressed.
3): Prog Archives...
“Midnight Skies” 6:22 – the show piece of the album perhaps. The vocals are higher in places like Gilmour has performed in recent years. The lead break takes off and sounds beautiful like ‘Comfortably Numb’. There is a quirky staccato guitar riff that grows on me. The majestic feel is echoed by lyrics about huge concepts, “dreams of peace are shattered all around...” It sounds like Gabriel again. The synth lines are great but the guitars especially blaze away on this with a phase effect and long sustained string bends, ala Gilmour. The lyrics are intriguing: “November 1964 rattlesnake buttes at dawn, cannonballs shattering the peace.... run free as the wind under midnight skies”.
“The Deal” 7:45 – a very Pink Floyd like guitar riff reminiscent of the chugging riff in ‘Run Like Hell’ or ‘The Happiest days of our lives’... you know the one. It even features a helicopter effect mid way through just like on ‘The Wall’. I really like this one and it pays homage to Pink Floyd in the guitar lead style too. I love that lead break sound, a huge blast of notes. The lengthy instrumental break is excellent. The vocals are estranged and echoing like a psychedelic song. The loud thunder crashes are effective and echoing scratches on guitar. One of the highlights for sure and it will definitely remind listeners of various riffs from ‘The Wall’, and that’s not a bad thing. I like the lyrics too and the way they lock in to the various melodies; “Seem to be confused time to fade into, the words that you say, you can’t run away... Now you understand it’s taken from your hand... you’ve had your final deal”. The final instrumental section features spacey synth and innovative guitar flourishes. A wall of sound.
Zachary Nathanson.. Progressive rock reviews...
The unheard band that will take your breath away in Progressive Rock fire by Bun Chakeze,
Whose Dream, the unreleased album shows a lot of warm beauty, on the tracks there is a lot of high energy and more high voltage than you hear in typical arena rock. Bun Chakeze formed out of the ashes of London band Odin in 1985 by Colin Tench Cliff Deighton & Gary Derrick and were Joined by vocalist Joey Lugassy from Los Angeles and this album was the result.
This unreleased material is like nothing I’ve heard before. The music is a combination crossover of Jazz Fusion, Pink Floyd, and Genesis forming together to create a hypnotic beauty. Indeed this is one of the most dimensional compositions to be found online and you need to hear them. Midnight Skies proves to be a central piece on this album.. Gilmour-esque guitar work and Tony Banks synth beauty in the mind of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway thanks to Colin Tench, the track sounds like it could have been recorded for an animated epic film while the title track goes into an eerie dreamland calmness with an acoustic folk prog sound that is in the mind of Annie Haslam’s Renaissance-era.
BunChakeze obviously are influenced by ‘70s progressive music, but on Flight of The Phoenix it has a mixture of crisp finger picking guitar sound and then turned into a hard rock tour de force that is out of this world.
The Deal sounds almost like a sequel to Pink Floyd’s eerie synth rumbling number, Welcome to the Machine, with the guitar and synth sound like the Running Man as the vocals soars majestically in this homage to the 1982 cult classic: Blade Runner.
Walk in Paradise comes to life. It has the ‘80s synth and sinister vocals and guitar work throughout, it’s great to hear and takes the listener on a journey through uncharted territories.
Long Distance Runner has a strong guitar and breathtaking vocal sounds with its complex storytelling beauty that is very much the homage to the game of The Legend of Zelda franchise while the vocalization has a strong element along with the ambient synthesizer setting in the background with more of the Floyd representation. Tench brings a dramatic sound to the guitar and synth as he helps the vocals go into the angelic sky. He is doing it very well and top notch to get you into the unearthed sound of Experimental Music.
A Handful of Rice has a bit of the darkness value in the mind of Van Der Graaf Generator meets Return To Forever. Itfeatures a percussion solo along with a bass solo that is very jazzy in the mind of Stanley Clarke and Jaco Pastorious. It is pretty damn good. If the prog bands had a huge comeback probably at Carnegie Hall, BunChakeze should be headlining it!