Advent | Cantus Firmus

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Rock: Progressive Rock Classical: Contemporary Moods: Mood: Intellectual
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Cantus Firmus

by Advent

Symphonic progressive rock with an emphasis on intricate compositions and arrangements (including lots of thematic development, counterpoint, and lush orchestrations).
Genre: Rock: Progressive Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. GK Contramundum
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2:00 $0.99
2. Awaiting the Call …
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5:13 $0.99
3. Parenting Parents
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6:44 $0.99
4. Utter Once Her Name
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5:33 $0.99
5. Remembering When
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4:00 $0.99
6. Ramblin' Sailor
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18:17 $0.99
7. Your Healing Hand
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8:21 $0.99
8. Firmus Finale
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4:51 $0.99
9. Rear View Mirror [bonus track]
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3:35 $0.99
10. Alison Waits (A Ghost Story) [bonus track]
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10:40 $0.99
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.


Album Notes
About the album:

Advent's long-awaited second release finds the band once again pushing the limit of its members' collective talent. Boasting eight new dynamic and inventive original compositions--including what is arguably the group's crowning achievement to date, "Ramblin' Sailor"--the album features wonderfully elaborate arrangements, beautiful guitar work (including a substantial amount of classical and acoustic guitars), and tight vocal interplay. Also includes two previously unreleased 24-track recordings of songs from the band's debut CD as bonus tracks.

Excerpts from reviews/commentary on the album:

- "... this is what prog rock is all about: wonderful compositions, great musicianship, a mixed bag of sounds and atmospheres--and not just noodling about just for the hell of it!"
- "The 18-minute 'Ramblin' Sailor' is a real masterpiece by any standards."
- "This CD is--to me at least--a desert-island disc."
- "***** (five stars)"


- "This is an important landmark that hopefully will be remembered for a long time as one of the great masterpieces of symphonic prog."
- "Fantastic work!"


- "It's been quite a long while (decades, actually) since I last heard a collection of music of such amazing high quality, making me eager to immediately listen to it again! You're in a division of your own."


- "As I listen to this music, I'm reminded of looking at a fine piece of sculpture, where every chiseled detail stands out in stark relief against the whole. Advent make no concessions to neo, metal or any current commercial idiom, yet the music is quite melodic and approachable in the traditional sense. The familiar is there, largely because the instrumentation consists of the familiar synths, guitars and drums, along with terrific touches of acoustic guitar and mandolin. But everything is filtered through swirling, morphing progressions that move from light to dark and back again; shifting curtains of sound color that can instantly transform from brass flourishes into a wall of crescendoing guitars."
- "Such harmony! The arrangement details, choice of notes and transitions are are carefully considered and fully inspired at the same time ... a combination that is difficult to achieve. During the journey I experience the gothic and the majectic, sadness and soaring, undercurrents of hope."


- "The band's strive for perfection--or as close to that state as is humanly possible--has really paid off. It would only be fitting if all of you were to receive the praise and recognition that you so deserve for this work of art. A big, big thumbs up!"




For the musicians and composers who comprise Advent, tradition is important. Whether drawing upon the accumulated experience of one's predecessors or simply separating the timeless from the transient, traditions are, in fact, indispensable. In order to draw upon them, however, one must first respect them.

The eclectic tastes which fire the imaginations of Advent have led its members to seek inspiration in sources which range from music of the English and Italian Renaissance to church motets, from sea chanteys to film scores and such progressive bands as Gentle Giant and Procol Harum. The band attempts to combine a contemporary sound with an extensive variety of influences solidly rooted in western musical sources, whether they be folk, classical-romantic, or popular. The group's material features lyrics ranging from the reflective to the mysterious, complemented by a descriptive "cinematic" musical style which, while not always danceable, recalls the drama and fire of music which has always called the listener to listen.

In short, Advent views its musical heritage as a legacy left to us by our forebears in love, for our appreciation and education--an essential ingredient for progress. It should thus be gratefully received and built upon in that same spirit.


to write a review

Jose Javier Delmas

An unusual jewel!
A very remarkable album in the best of Gentle Giant's tradition, Cantus Firmus strikes at first to the listener with the quality of the recording and its amazing musicianship. This is classic prog at its most adventurous; these superb vocal armonies and even the odd reminiscence of early Genesis here and there, all made with the highest level of professionality. It really deserves broader recognition.

Paco Fox

For Gentle Giant fans
Cantus Firmus is a CD obviously made by Gentle Giant fans. If you are one of those, specially of the more melodic and medieval aspects they were working on around the time of the 'Free Hand' LP, you will surelly enjoy this one.

For people who more or less like Gentle Giant, but are usually put off by some excessive experimentalism (namely, 'Interview' or 'The Power and the Glory'), this record is an even better purchase.

The main difference between Advent and their masters is that they have a more melodic approach to songwritting. Not that you will find many obvious or catchy musical phrases. They are far more subtle. And usually less agressive: The record has some very soft songs, with an almost atmospheric approach to songwritting.

On the other hand, the more rocking side is represented in the whole 'Rambling Sailor'. Most of the reviews for this record state this is 'the prog epic Gentle Giant never made'. And it's hard to argue that.

On the other hand, the main problem this record may have is that, even though they have some characteristics of their own, it sounds just a bit too much like the group that inspired them, even down to the voice of the singer. I have no problem with that, but for some this can be a shortcoming.


Signs of greatness but a bit too drawn out in places
I bought this upon hearing the very first song only ( as it stunned me and I was sold, seeing it was the first American prog band to really sound so much like Gentle Giant's superb multi voicings ). I must say up front, their are many pros to my review and some cons so let's start with pros. This band has what it takes to be a great classic prog band. I felt the drummer was the weak link but then again, I am a 40 yr exp drummer and drum instructor and hold high standards to drummers everywhere.
I also feel the band has all the tools to write more great music, if they just learn to reserve and use some judgement on length and when climaxes are right, and not keep going. I found so many times the song had a great pinnacle coming and then within seconds of that point, the song fell off and they were meandering again as if not to ever end the song. I also felt some self indulgence was taken too far on this CD. I got sleepy at many points and was asking 'when is this song going to actually take a punch and STAY with it?' I think all in all, Advent need to focus on those BIG places in the songs and let THOSE moments sail and allow the listener some flight time, not just keep teasing at a climatical conclusion only to find a dozen more acoustic twists and sad vocals. One more problem I had was the overused theme of the ocean since Gentle Giant used it so much already and it's obvious these guys worship Gentle Giant. I actually will look forward to the next CD by Advent but I am not sure what it will bring. I hope they do what they are capable of. And THAT is a compliment, in case no one thinks my review was at all nice.

Andrew Davies

The missing classic album
I have lived through the forty years of progressive music, and remember many musical landmarks along the way. Most of these classic albums will be very familiar to rock afficionados, but a few of the truly great albums have been sadly neglected. This is undoubtedly the case with 'Cantus Firmus' which is masterful, memorable, and multi-faceted. Too many people DON'T have their copy yet but, believe me, it belongs in your collection alongside better-known albums. If the mark of greatness is the test of time, and that the music remains fresh and vital, then Advent pass the test. Each time I listen to I find something more - a different take on what I heard before. You need to get this album to get this rare quality, to grasp the variation below the surface that gives the music its depth. Just as a great novel has so much more going on between the lines, this music has so much more reaching out with repeated listens. That is what makes it a truly great album. Don't pass it up. Give it a listen and find out what is there. Essential listening.