PROGRESSIVE NEWSLETTER (Germany) no. 64 (February 2009), p. 57
Truly Ed Macan copes to optimal capacity with a heavy workload as a music scholar; after all, his life in music is not only his profession, but indeed more his calling. In addition to his activities as an author (for instance the extremely worthwhile Rocking the Classics: English Progressive Rock and the Counterculture) is his additional focus, since the later nineties, on his band project Hermetic Science. The present album is already the fourth release, yet besides a new drummer, it is also in its content in some ways a reorientation, indeed almost a recommencement. This begins with the artwork, for which this time Paul Whitehead (artist for several of the classic seventies Genesis albums) carefully senses and in terms of content captures a sequel. Already with the last album, En Route (2001), the pervasive vibraphone and marimba of the first two albums were being superseded by a greater focus on analog keyboard instrumentation. Here the diverse sounds and instruments become still more mingled, and Ed Macan appears besides to have again discovered his passion for the piano. In the same way is an essentially classical tendency revealed, generated by the title’s seriousness and top-heaviness, and by the music’s ecclesiastical, pastoral atmosphere. However, as also with the last album, despite the textual titles the songs lack in part the final kick. Of the musical technique and knowledge is here certainly no criticism enjoined, just as in the same way the timbral breadth, through differentiated keyboard colors, provides for sufficient variety, nevertheless one somehow does not truly seize the content through it. There is more the impression of a demanding aesthetic than one that touches one emotionally. This is perhaps also the result of the mostly mid-tempo range of the themes, for which some more dynamics would have been good to have. At intervals are flashes of real inspiration (for instance the driving bass with Hammond organ, or the expansive marimba runs), of which one simply wishes there were more.
He who would listen to progressive/classical rock with some other sounds besides the typical line of many retro prog bands, should acquaint himself by all means once with Hermetic Science. Diverse download possibilities for the listener are proffered on the homepage of the band. Kristian Selm