The Burden of Paradise is the fourth album from Maltese/Czech prog act Different Light. Taking a trick or two from Rush’s synth-heavy 80′s era, Different Light’s sound is certainly rooted in progressive canon, but it’s often focused on melody. My first impression regarding The Burden of Paradise is that things have improved on virtually every front for Different Light, compared with their previous works. With the new album it is obvious that the band found a distinct voice for themselves, but this fourth album has made it clear that this band is capable of much more than I first thought.
Keeping in mind the comparison to 80′s era Rush and Marillion, Different Light are fairly typical of US neo-prog, relying on keyboards more often than not. “The Schemer Wakes” devotes its first few minutes to a quirky symphonic overture accompanied with spoken word, although this strange charm is trade off for a more conventional take on songwriting throughout most of the album. “Letters For Alice” is another song that stands out, which comes along with nice piano passages and beautiful singing by Trevor Tabone. Although quite mellow, Different Light conjure some powerful emotional energy here.
The majority of the album focuses in on the melodic songwriting, relying on a more polished sense of production and performance. For a band that makes melody such a hot spot in their style, Different Light’s melodies are very memorable. They are pleasant to hear, but they also seek or challenge the listener.
Although the album is divided into 21 tracks there is no gap between them, and they smoothly flow between each other. “Out of the Goldilocks” is an instrumental, and it’s one of the album’s best cuts. Guitar solos on this one (and it could be said for the album in general) are performed with easiness that adorns some of the best David Gimour’s perfomances.
While Different Light do not yet leap out beyond their like-sounding contemporaries, there has been a noted improvement in the time between the albums. Having said that, this band has found their own voice and for that I recommend them wholeheartedly.
Buy The Burden of Paradise here.