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THE REASONING Dark Angel (2008)

The Reasoning

The virtual demise of that theatre circuit makes it difficult so see where the next generation of classic rocks bands will come from. In days of yore, a support slot on that circuit would raise bands profile and give them the exposure necessary to progress to the premier league.

Rock venues today are, in the main, clubs or arenas with little in between. But there's a number of up and coming bands treading the boards that are quietly producing and self releasing albums of real class. And The Reasoning are increasingly looking likely to be one of the first bands to break through in the absence of a natural stepping stone.

Cardiff based, The Reasoning were formed in 2005 by ex Magenta bassist Matthew Cohen, recruiting ex Karnataka vocalist Rachel Cohen (nee Jones) on vocals, Gareth Jones on keyboards, Dylan Thompson and Lee Wright on guitars, and Vinden Wylde on drums.

The band's excellent debut album Awakening was released in 2006, signposting a bright future. Mixed by Dave Meegan (U2, Marillion), melodic rock has rarely sounded finer, fairly uniquely featuring a three prong vocal contribution from Rachel, Gareth and Dylan. Of the eight tracks, five get a maximum ipod rating and that excludes Within Cold Glass - a track featuring a guest appearance from Marillion's Steve Rothery. Now that's impressive.

And so, on to Dark Angel - the difficult second album. First impressions - even before the "needle hits the groove" - are of expectations raised by the cover artwork. In the days of vinyl, the depiction of Rachael as an angel struggling between the light and the dark against a background of burning skies, ravens, and foreboding castle walls would have been regarded as album art par excellence.

Since Awakening, Owain Roberts has replaced Lee Wright on guitar and it isn't long before he makes his penchant for metal felt. 28 seconds, to be exact - the title track opening the album with a superb riff (cleverly supplemented by strings, and reminiscent of the classic break in Wings Live & Let Die) that will have you reaching for your favourite air guitar.

But the strength of the Reasoning is not just the musicianship and singing - it's the strength of the songwriting that lifts The Reasoning above the best of the rest.

Dark Angel (this time mixed by John Mitchell (It Bites)) picks up where Awakening left off and delivers another superb set that demonstrates the band's unique ability to blend melodic prog, with just the right blend of rock and accessibility. In rock's ecological chain, The Reasoning look increasing likely to spearhead the next generation of classic rock and become a rock force majeure.


Review by Pete Whalley

Best of 2009

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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