PROGRESSIA.NET (posted September 13, 2008)
Hermetic Science, These Fragments I Have Shored Against My Ruins (2008)
Never trust the cover of a disc! In view of that of the American group Hermetic Science, painted moreover by the famous Paul Whitehead (Genesis, Van der Graaf Generator), one will have on the whole a tendency to set out from the present, and yet . . . Hermetic Science is led away by Ed Macan, aficionado of progressive rock, author of two books, one upon English progressive rock and the counterculture and an enormous biography of Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
He puts into practice his knowledge drawn from this original trio, copying the format of ELP (keyboards, bass, drums), but disclosing however an atypical particularity stemming from the pervasive utilization of different mallet percussion instruments (vibraphone, marimba, etc.). After three albums, Hermetic Science gave themselves a pause of several years. The group resurfaces now with These Fragments I Have Shored Against My Ruins, a compendium of classic progressive rock, also much influenced by jazz and twentieth century classical music. Ed Macan, the group’s composer, carves out for himself the dominant part, giving the prominent role to the piano or [mallet] percussion, aided in his work by Jason Hoopes on bass and Angelique Curry on drums and other percussive elements. The whole of the disc reveals itself at once to be drawing delight from the very progressive aspect of the keyboards, but also relatively studied through the fact of its mélange of genres and influences that function very well [together]. It is clear that Hermetic Science does not misstep much; its music remains conventional but presents several facets such as rhythmic variety and dynamics, or very interesting harmonic superimpositions by the keyboards. The general atmosphere of the disc turns round a [pervasive] melancholy, sometimes somber, which, however, never becomes too enervating. Finally, if the music does not appear as truly modern in itself, the production does not suggest it either, even despite a certain effort. And this is not however a bad thing, for, even if this is surely not deliberate, this confers an authenticity to the music of Hermetic Science, as of something that has dated sympathetically.
In closing, These Fragments I Have Shored Against My Ruins is an intelligent album but one which however lacks cruelly of modernity. One will note nonetheless the very successful “De Profundis” and “Triptych.” Aleks Lézy
Original review (in French): http://www.progressia.net/index.php4?rub=chroniques&idchronik=1619&PHPSESSID=95fea390a