DEC BURKE – Paradigms & Storylines (2011)

DEC BURKE - Paradigms & Storylines (2011)

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Ireland born Dec Burke is a UK based guitarist/vocalist has written, recorded and performed with British prog-rock supergroups Frost* and Darwin’s Radio. He has also toured with Spock’s Beard and Dream Theater.
After leaving Darwin’s Radio in late 2009, Dec embarked on his solo career, and “Paradigms & Storylines” is his second, ambitious brand new album.

Enrolled into the Neo-Melodic side of the Prog Rock genre, Burke’s music primary concern are the accessible melodies, even they are embedded with several layers of classic prog.
The explosive opening trio of “Days Like These”, “March Of The Androids” and “A Price for Life” are sharp rockers, with a modern instrumentation and a harmonious melodic rock sound.
“Days Like These” blends layers of guitars in a frenetic rhythm with some intriguing tech passages. The chorus is extremely melodic and the guitar solo has epic proportions.
“March Of The Androids” is excellent. From the start with its intricate guitar lines, the song has the typical Euro Melodic Rock vibe, both in sound and structure, but with a twist thanks to the vocal arrangement.
Then we’re surprised by “A Price For Life”. This track has some Mr. Mister (yes, the AOR band) resemblances mixed with Last Autumn’s Dream. Unexpected sound / style for a prog related album, but trust me, the result is awesome. There’s great keyboards and ethereal vocals over an undulating bass line, all filled with a really interesting guitar work transcending the stereotype. Great class, great song.
The River opens calmer, with strings, acoustic guitar and tribal drums. Then the electric guitar explodes driving us to a melodic and enchanting chorus.

“Yesterdays Fool” is a superb ballad, again thanks to Burke’s poignant vocals and the accompanying chorus. Starts slowly with a classical guitar accompanying, but at the middle the full band joins crafting a terrific melody crowned by an unbelievable solo. This track deserves to be listened by all Melodic Rock fans as it’s one of the best of the year.
But “Paradigms & Storylines” is also a prog album, and Burke has reserved the last part of the disc to get deep into the genre.
“December Sun” has a Beatles-like harmony and awakens to a sing-along, but after the four minute mark there’s a classy progressive twist that fans of Frost* and Pink Floyd will really appeal.
And the we have the no holds barred, bombastic and epic title track “Paradigms & Storylines”. Divided in three parts, this is a true prog journey full of key changes, harmonies, keyboard / guitar solos and imaginative instrumentation.

“Paradigms & Storylines” is a terrific release by a complete musician. It’s catchy and commercial, but also complex and interesting.
Dec Burke’s talent for an infectious melody aligned with dexterous flashes of musicianship are here for all to hear and enjoy.
The album has a “Swedish” sound, perhaps due the great Scandinavian session players intervening: bassist Stefan Holm (also responsible for mix and production), the precise Mike Wikman (ex Alien) on drums and percussion and keyboardist Carl Westholm.
Attention Melodic Rockers: this album is for you, and also will appeal prog fans and high quality music aficionados in general.
“Paradigms & Storylines” is one of the albums of the year to me.
Highly Recommended.

01 – Days Like These
02 – March Of The Androids
03 – A Price For Life
04 – The River
05 – Yesterday’s Fool
06 – December Sun
07 – Paradigms & Storylines

Dec Burke – Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
Stefan Fanden – Bass Guitar
Carl Westholm – Keyboards
Mike Wikman – Drums, Percussion
Cia Backman – Backing Vocals


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