Reviewed: September, 2018
Released: 2018, Vigier Records
Reviewer: Kieron Hayes
The initial impression Summer Storm’s album First is not a good one, with its unimaginative title and cover art that feels like it’s both trying too hard and incredibly generic at the same time. A point of credit where due though: this is a very accurate reflection of the music contained within, unfortunately.
Summer Storm play classic prog rock in a very straightforward manner, with very little in the way of frills or experimentation. There’s certainly nothing wrong with a band following an older blueprint for their music, provided it’s done well. Alas, Summer Storm seem to have harvested only the most boring aspects of prog rock, and left behind anything resembling catchiness. First purposefully seems to avoid this in favour of a very meandering approach, which isn’t outside the norm for the genre, but they lack any of the technical flourishes or song structure experimentation to carry this off.
The bottom line is it’s boring, and passes by without leaving the slightest impact. The drums seem especially guilty of this, most often just the most basic of background beats, and pretty low in the mix too. The guitar work is plain, lacking in anything innovative or exciting. The vocals we’ve heard a thousand times before. The melodies are limp and weak. Very occasionally the lead work can give a brief flash of something fun, but it’s over all too soon.
The album isn’t truly unpleasant to listen to, but that’s a further symptom of the problem: it feels like it’s trying hard to be as inoffensive as possible, and this ultimately just adds to the issue. The music here is like the reserved, quiet person at an event, perfectly content to remain in the background and far too polite to even think of asking for your attention.
There are albums that are boring just because they’re repetitive, and some that are more overtly unpleasant to listen to. First is dull right from the get go, and its attempts to be by-the-numbers only add to this as it goes along to create a solid turd of tedium. If passive, background proggy classic rock is your thing…well, even then there are probably many other bands doing it better than Summer Storm.