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Chyld : Conception
(Renaissance - 1988)
Category : overlooked
4,33 stars

Ah, what a huge huge shame this is, that such a wonderful and original sounding album never pushed this band to the forefront. With their distinctive approach to Progressive Rock it should've been a hit among Prog Rock and Hard Rock fans alike. But it was not to be, making this the only album these Americans ever released.

Everything about 'Conception' is near perfect. The compositions (they're Progressive, but comparable to neither the melodic approach of bands like Yes, nor the complex sounding arty stuff of King Crimson), the sound (an interesting mix of Hard Rock (sometimes even Metal) and of soft parts with nearly no distortion on the guitars at all), the melodies, the vocals,... I'm sure there's more, but I'm no professional critic, so I'll just stop there.

What sets Chyld apart the most is the balance they managed to strike between the soft parts and rocking parts of songs. They can go from soft to heavy and back again in a fluent, natural sounding manner. The way the compositions are structured, in the interest of adding more contrast, is clearly well thought over.

But maybe an even more important aspect of Chyld's sound is the melancholic undertone that's present throughout. In certain parts this is thanks to the tone of the guitars, but it's especially due to John Joseph's high pitched voice (sometimes with a second, lower voice intelligently mixed underneath). It's like a mixture of Geddy Lee's (Rush) and Robert Plant's (Led Zeppelin). Come to speak of Led Zeppelin. The music too feels a bit like 'Physical Graffitti' or 'Houses of the Holy'. But they're certainly no Zep clones or soundalikes of any other band, and therefore a rare and precious find.

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