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AETHELLIS is the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Ellsworth Hall - although he credits other musicians on his album(s). The neo-prog label, usually associated with the likes of IQ, MARILLION or ARENA, is a rather loose one here as AETHELLIS' music is more like a cross between Tony BANKS, Alan PARSONS and Rick WAKEMAN - very keyboard oriented. Hall's singing isn't outstanding but tasteful and heartfelt, somewhat similar to Steve HACKETT at his best.

AETHELLIS' self-titled album features accessible, lushly orchestrated material with punchy, contemporary rhythms, silky-smooth synths, interesting prog structures, some electronic effects and even a little funk (Hall's piano playing has a certain Bruce Hornsby ring to it). The 'digi-drums' - the album's only weakness - are nevertheless well programmed and don't intrude all that much on most of the tracks. Average tracks clock in at approximately 7 or 8 minutes except the last one, an almost 12-minute epic featuring a variety of themes and sound textures as well as some interesting soloing.

Recommended for those who enjoy '80s synth-oriented prog with extra punch.

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