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At the tail end of 2012 I reviewed Christiaan Bruin's third solo album 'City Of Light' and, apart from the liberal use of Drum 'n' Bass rhythms instead of a real drum kit, found it to be a pretty good and enlightening album of modern prog. Chris is now onto his fifth, 'Days Of Summer Gone'. Heís also drummer of prog band Sky Architect and readying himself for a huge, brand new, year long, solo project entitled The Black Codex which promises new music, lyrics, drawings and more every week for a complete 12 months. Now, that is one busy man! What you also have to remember is that Christiaan does something different with each 'Chris' album and so 'Days Of Summer Gone' is a completely separate beast from 'City Of Light'. He is not only busy but VERY talented as well. What is the same this time around is that, as a multi-instrumentalist, Christiaan once again plays the lion's share of all the instruments (keyboards, bass, drums & percussion) as well as supplying vocals and producing. He doesn't have the finest voice ever, but it's more than decent for what is required of the music and it is quite distinct, which makes it memorable. However, joining him this time are a selection of musicians playing classical instruments: Roben van Kruistum (cello), Intan Werry (violin), Maxime le Winter (oboe), Federico Dalpra (flute), Peter Bruin (trumpet) and Joey van Deusburg (trombone). They are all excellent players and the musical mix on this album lies somewhere between 1970s prog and a classical composition (not in the grandiose symphonic way that a lot of bands use). It is beautiful, ethereal, quite menacing in places but also very sad and is a very welcome distraction from all the metal I've been reviewing. It is also a much more fulfilling album to me than 'City Of Light' because the computerised drums and modern pop mixes have been replaced with a proper drum kit.

Kicking off with 'Out In The Night' (at fourteen plus minutes, the albumís longest song), it was immediately apparent how much I liked this. It's another of those musical projects that really has to be played in one go rather than as six separate tracks and I could easily see it being used as a film soundtrack. It's subtle but haunting and the melodies are instantly hummable. Much of it is instrumental, with vocals only being used when really necessary, and the one hour plus running time flies by with me readily wanting to press the repeat button to discover new intricacies within the music. Of course, 'Days Of Summer Gone', like 'City Of Light', is not going to appeal to your average metalhead. There is nothing wrong with that, of course; I'm just warning you that there is very little, if anything, that resembles metal on this release. However, if you listen to prog rock or classical music, and I listen to both, then this album will be a melancholic joy for you. In many ways, Christiaan Bruin reminds me of Steven Wilson. They have much in common, the only real difference being that Mr Wilson is a much better known name. I urge you to check out the 'Chris' albums and Bruin's other musical endeavours because he really is a very talented and underrated individual. 'Days Of Summer Gone' is proof positive of that fact.
Progress Records
Review by Rick Tilley
7th October 2013
1) Out in the Night
2) Distances
3) Cold Heart
4) Heliphobia
5) A Heart's Endeavour
6) Days of Summer Gone
"It's subtle but haunting and the melodies are instantly hummable."