It's been three years since we've had new material from District 97. But that's not to complain. They've been busy. Not the least of their activities has been European and North American tours with John Wetton (King Crimson/Asia/UK). In 2014, they performed live together playing some Wetton-era King Crimson tunes.
And I think that the time spent with Wetton and those Crimson songs has rubbed off on District 97. In Vaults seems their most complex album to date, and may remind old prog rock fans of that King Crimson expansive avant garde and eclectic music. Frankly, I didn't like that period. As much as I like progressive rock and metal, past and present, that stuff was simply to weird for me. Some of the same could be said for this District 97 album. Once more, and even more, the music is a mash up of styles from classic prog to avant garde and art rock to jazz fusion, all with Leslie Hunt's torch singer-like voice trying to stay ahead of the inherent complexity.
Honestly, despite the varied, diverse, and sometimes obtuse parts, much of this album simply runs together. For all their musical genius and creativity, the songs seem more of the same, that same aforementioned mash up, just one song after the other. And good luck finding and following a melody. It's a casualty of shifting tempos and even more shifting and odd time signatures. You might catch it better within Takeover, which almost songs like a rock song and possibly my pick for favorite song. Maybe also in the latter third of Learn From Danny. It's nearly absent in All's Well That Ends Well.
I don't know. I guess I don't like having to work this, listen so many times, to decipher and enjoy my progressive music. It's probably the same reason I can't stand Meshuggah. At least, District 97 isn't extreme metal with death vocals. Nevertheless, with the proper amount of spins and the time to listen, the eccentric and patient prog fan will enjoy exploring complex and mystifying In Vautls from District 97.
With the proper amount of spins and the time to listen, the eccentric and patient prog fan will enjoy exploring complex and mystifying In Vautls from District 97.
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