Mystic (Elderoth Entertainment Inc.) is the second album by Canadian Prog project Elderoth. While there is a live line-up, the album is entirely written, played, and produced by Collin McGee. He aims to mix exotic instruments with the Western progressive style.
From the first notes to the last, this music is very in-your-face. There is usually a scale being played by some instrument somewhere, possibly by several at once. At the start this seems like a minor quirk, but as the album progressed I found myself becoming more and more agitated. There is too much of everything.
‘This Shadow By My Side’ has a very busy intro, which sounds all right, and then a total change to the rest of the music. The change at 2:10 is really well done, but a mere 20 seconds later there is another ill-fitting change. Changes in prog are cool, but make them fit the music, rather than just stopping and starting at random every so many bars.
‘My Future’ has a really strange, almost disco-like feel at the start that is weird but not entirely unpleasant. The vocals aren’t necessarily bad, but they often sound constricted. He needs to sing more towards the end to the sentence so that the final word doesn’t just fall into an abyss of mumbling. This song has a very nice symphonic interlude that is really well balanced and is probably my favourite section on the album.
And then there’s ‘Falling Star’. Musically this is far from the worst song on the album, although it would definitely have been better off without the synths in the intro, but this song does feature some of the worst lyrics I have heard all year. Note to any songwriters: if your chorus sounds like you took your rhyme from ‘Twinkle Twinkle’, you’re doing something wrong. It was the most cringeworthy part of the album and I had to skip the rest of the song at some point.
There are a lot of really good elements and that for me is where the problem lies. There are too many different things going on at once for me to be at all comfortable listening to this, and there are too many changes that don’t work well. Perhaps it is less jarring for those who do not suffer from hypersensitivity disorder. I really hope Collin McGee learns the benefits of silence and calm, because I think he could do so much better than this. He has proven that he can write interesting lines with interesting instruments, now he just needs to not use all of them at once.