(Elderoth Entertainment)

01. Within
02. Black and Blue
03. This Shadow by My Side
04. My Future
05. Falling Star
06. In a Dream
07. The Ocean
08. Far in the Sea
09. Always Remember

RATING: 7.5/10

ELDEROTH is the brainchild of Collin McGee, and while performing as a full unit, McGee is effectively a one-man-gang on the group's album "Mystic", where he fields all stations save for a guest guitar solo by Philippe Tougas on "Far in the Sea". Citing a passion for Ritchie Blackmore and RAINBOW, you won't get much of that from "Mystic". However, you will get thirty-minutes of power prog with synthetic Gagaku and Shinto temple-music lines designed to give ELDEROTH's curious music a little meditative effect.

The brief instrumental "Within" leads the album with koto chimes twanging overtop a mashing grind leading into "Black and Blue". Collin McGee drapes twinkling synth lines overtop his programmed beats, which blast and pull back as his composition jettisons and trails. Mincing clean and barely audible grunts in the background, McGee once again noodles with his koto threads while pouring on the guitars and bass. The guitar work is rather good, even as McGee perhaps progs things to a fault on the slower sections, which sound more nudged than executed.

McGee's true strength as a songwriter comes from his capacity for pop descants that give his compositions some much-needed verve. The choruses of "This Shadow by My Side" are crisp and entertaining, even as the song prances about on its verses. Decorative as the guitars and keys may be, there's an aloof sense to McGee's structuring on the song. The sharp choruses are as naked as his guitar and piano solos, which are left nearly in suspension with thin bass and drum lines to hold them.

By the time "My Future" rolls along, McGee's affinity for traditional Eastern music becomes merely a secondary thrill. This time, however, there's thicker projection and smarter assembly to give the song a proper groove. At 3:27, McGee wastes little time trying to dabble and dazzle, instead, delivering a peppy tune. The slower "In a Dream" capitalizes upon the fluctuating koto lines as he builds the track's nifty lull to a heavily layered breeze. Later, he turns on the thrusters for "Far in the Sea" and manages to create a sweaty sense of theatricality amidst the composition's thrust and neoclassical overtures.

Unfortunately, the lyrics are hardly mystical; the album title is mere smokescreen for Collin McGee's apparent desire to purge some nasty business (assumedly a bad relationship or two) from his life. With the aquatic and celestial planes serving as his metaphoric platform, he attempts to use them as portals of evasion from the angst he feels. Yet, most of the time the lyrics are awkward and clumsy. Example, "the shades of light are blinding overnight" from "Far in the Sea", along with "in a weird phase, just so suddenly, a new substances, now just came to me, and I can't stop now…you pride yourself, to make a succeed, in the terror, it's a horrid seed" on the same track.

While McGee's lyrical writing is not up to his acute musical craftsmanship, "Mystic" has moments of splendor and impressive songwriting acumen. Collin McGee has obviously been so touched by the Orient one feels a wistful longing to be there. In that sense, "Mystic" does offer its audience a sometimes vicarious, often melodic means of escape.


To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).