1. Why did they make this album? What was the passion or message that forced them to produce what they have? Or, simply what was their motivation for the themes they chose for this album?
“Joe Acaba and Jose Damien founded Celestial Oeuvre in 2004.” “The band is conceptually a Neo-Classical Progressive Rock force in the old tradition but with a totally modern edge.” “The music compositions are developed through a collaboration between Joe Acaba and the late Joe Damien (who passed July 19th of 2007).” “The music consists of intense vocals riding on rich elements of rock, classical, psychedelic, funk and jazz fusion.” “The lyrics, which are all written and sung by Joe Acaba, are nothing short of allegory and poetry!” “The album, "SECOND CHANCE" was released in 2005 as an indie effort (http://www.myspace.com/httpwwwmyspacecomcelestialoeuvre, 2009).”
2. What message are they delivering through their lyrics and music?
1. The Meadows – Hard driving guitar and some cool riffs as the keyboards and synths surround for effect. Great drums to kick this one off. But it’s that signature guitar that really sets the tone. Nice bluesy effects intertwined on what is a very symphonic progressive album. This is the rocker and opens the album strong. Vocals that remind me of Kansas, but seems to be trying to match Jon Anderson of Yes. Allot of Pallas Sentinel power coming through on this one. You can tell from this opener that you are in for something epic. A round of vocal harmonies along with keys and large guitars to close this number, just fantastic!
2. Family Secrets – Prologue – Fantastic running piano like a Lamb Lies Down on Broadway opening, before the vocal round, incredible bass, guitars, and keys roar forward and speed up the momentum. Then everything slows. The screaming guitar solo riffs that slowly cool are memorable. Then that classic organ sound as the prologue comes to and end and we move to the main title song.
3. Family Secrets – Everything working together well to build power. The keys and classic organ effects really provide a wonderful memory back to some of my favorite prog from the 70s. The guitar riffs are really strong on this one. The Tony Banks - like keys are wonderful and are well complimented by the heavy guitars.
4. Family Secrets – Epilogue – A very short 10 second closing departure for this epic song.
5. Unwind This Mortal Coil – Cool synths and keys building drama and effect. Great gong sound effects adding epic sized volume before more classic keys and then the guitar riffs. Vocals bring the lyrics, “Can’t take the path of least resistance if I tried.” “Wake…rise up from the soil.” “Anoint your head with oil.” “Listen to the still voice inside.” “Unwind this mortal coil.” Nice organ and guitar closing.
6. Melody Makers – An early Rush sound to the guitars as this pop song builds momentum. Then the keys and organ sounds begin and this really begins to get interesting. There are some very nice key and organ interludes throughout this album, right before some power chords race in to join the sound. The Banks - like keyboard reminders are simply wonderful.
7. Encore – Keys and drum building rhythm, then those launching guitar riffs. Instrumental interlude which really fires up the speakers or headphones. The keyboard workouts are fantastic. You want an encore after this.
8. Sold Out – Slow piano before vocals kick in along with acoustic guitar setting a cool slow down mood that is perfectly placed. “Step back…regress to a place where the traces of faces are left in a wake that fades into a distant reverie.”
9. A False Utopia – Racing synths and keys and then the vocals rush in. Vocals driven song, but the keys, drums and guitars add great dramatic effect in support.
10. Cool Burn – Lifting keys and vocals bringing to bear the full power of the symphonic effects. The keys are wonderful, supported well with drums and guitar.
11. In Ivory Dreams – A signature guitar riff opens as the vocals herald the beginning, before synths and keyboards fill in the song with dimension. A Yes/Kansas like vocal driven song with solid drums now building along with the signature bass lines. More and more is added to the sound before a solo guitar and synth effect surrounds you. Then the lifting vocals and momentum. Solid symphonic prog.
12. The Meadows – Bass, then heavy guitar and late Yes – like harmony vocals. Very short, but a nice elevating effect to close the album. Cool, jazzy sound of the organ - like keys.
3. Does this music improve, change, or add to the genre? What does the listener receive from listening to the music?
Very original sounding epic with hints of some of symphonic prog’s leaders without any plagiarism. This album adds a new story to the pantheon of symphonic prog. Very good, but not really enough to change the genre significantly.
4. Does it have longevity? Is it something a fan will like to play again and again?
Yes, you need time to really appreciate this to its full extent. Not really a casual listen. Like the Sentinel from Pallas it needs to be appreciated in all its intensity.
Rating: 8/10 – Very deep, emotional and you can hear and feel the incredible amount of work put into it. The kind of care every musician used to give to their art.
The vocals do take some time to get used to but are good. With repeated listens this album will grow on you.
Ron reviewed the band’s Second Chance album back in 2004. The review of that album can be found in the links below.
Reviewed by Prof on March 6th, 2010