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Album Review: "A Wandering Mind" (2021) by Arctic Plant

Arctic Plant is a progressive rock solo project of Phil Rexilius; based in Bayreuth, Germany. With the latest album “A Wandering Mind” Arctic Plant substantiates its mission by releasing this album on December 27, 2021, which is creating concept albums since 2013. Phil describes himself as a composer of musical passion that inspires desire and lucid joy. With its beautiful album cover, A Wandering Mind successfully takes you into its story. Telling a story of a man who wanders in the forest with such epic orchestral arrangements is not easy. We suggest you take this 7-track journey and it will make you dissolve in your seat.

Listen to "A Wandering Mind" on all streaming platforms, and here is our detailed track-by-track review.

The Quest Pt. 1: Desire: The album's first song starts with some soft melodic sound accompanied by a symphonic intro. Of course, we can hear some Floydian guitar and progressive rhymes there too. You get the album's story when you start to listen to the vocal, a wandering mind in the forest searching for wisdom. After a while, we hear some excellent arrangements, back vocals whispering with an epic guitar, and some progressive rhymes. Even though various sounds are layered throughout the song, none of them drowns out the other. The symphonic metal vibe of the song never turns off with the great effort of the vocalist. In the last 40 seconds, we can hear natural sounds with whisperings which makes the track unique. And when you reach the end, you realize you were drawn into the story and nature of the song.

The Forest: The second track, The Forest, opens up again with beats resembling symphonic metal openings. Then the mysterious melody takes us into "The Forest" where we will wander throughout the song. Arctic Plant catches these vibes with their immaculate use of synthesizer. While doing these successfully, they don't forget to put depth in the lyrics. And lyrics improve with the soft piano in the background. After a while, we think we returned to the sweet old symphonic metal style, but no, Philipp surprises us with his marvelous jazzy piano performance. So, the song becomes a better example of progressive rock. Passing the half of the song we come across a perfect guitar solo. Coming to the last minute, we hear an epic vocal performance followed by an epic ending. In the end, Arctic Plant blasts us with the "Mario Bros" theme and convinces us to listen to their next track!

Brothers and Sisters: After the joyous end of "The Forest", the third track, Brothers and Sisters, keep us at the top with its brilliant intro. This part energizes you with its "feels like a jam" bass sound. Lyrics enter like a soft American song with some tips to feel yourself at home. Then, we hear the barrel organ and a deluge of frantic notes in two-phase. This track has so many points to attract your attention. This time we encounter the lyrics in a mixed style of soft rock and epic metal. We hear repetitive guitar beats throughout the end with sound effects resembling "Doctor Who" effects. Carrying us to the end intently with exacting melodies, Arctic Plant performs a satisfactory piece.

The Quest Pt. 2: Contemplation: Similar to his previous albums, A Wandering Mind’s tracks and art resembles the ideal concept album that includes lyrical, musical and atmospherical resemblances that include tie-ins with the other songs and perfectly balanced transitions from one another. The fourth song carries the listeners to the second part of the album, Contemplation, coming after the Desire to understand one’s spirit of wanting. The passing track invites listeners with its great atmospherical moment that serves as a purposeful and beautiful in-between track to keep balance within the album. As one contemplates, they must ‘’relieve’’ as Artic Plant points out. Yet, before the relief, there will be a LONG contemplation to understand.

Twist of Fate: The album’s magnum opus, the 17-minute Giant includes all the firepower that Arctic Plant has been developing with his experiences as an established composer. The transitions between parts, needed compositional differences, balanced tempos, and dynamics, and all the other necessary elements needed It is no surprise that this song was the idea and journey of contemplation, showing that one must be ready to endure all the negativities that the journey of thinking will bring. Twist of Fate starts off with a giant chord and major tone melodies, a prideful and grand opening for a journey that one will discover a lot. The guitar melody puts the emotional load on its back and gives the power that will one need while enduring. The modulation before the Dream Theater-esque part lifts the song up to get the listener ready for the next part. Organ and guitar have been used so well that they don’t blend into each other and each has a different duty to perform. The proof of Arctic Plant’s succession in composition and melody creation can be seen in the way he re-uses his riffs and melodies with variations to create a coherent intro section that lasts more than four minutes and the establishment of drums within this instrumental mania. Arctic Plant uses a classic and well-established way to execute this 17-minute track by parting the song into 4 sections with the A-B-C-AD parts starting with a grand opening, then doing a left-turn and completely silencing the song into a mellow section, then bringing back the instruments with a much complex way and finishing the song with the concepts that were introduced in the intro with varying ways. AP uses different instruments for different moods and sections, which makes it easy for listeners to feel fresh in each section. One thing that could drag the song into a whole different dimension is the use of vocals since Philipp Rexilius’ vocals always feel mellow and stronger use of voice felt needed at times. The triplet use and also the general use of organs feels so Jon Lord and Deep Purple influenced, which is a great influence to bring out after 50 years and re-think of the concepts that they’ve created. The whole extravaganza shows Philipp’s mastery in riff creation, where the hammer-off riffs and the fast ones at the 12th-minute mark are one of the best that he has ever created. Very good production quality for every instrument and the lyrical connections between the songs felt the most established in this song. All the techniques of the guitar have been displayed and a very good, very emotional, very balanced, and very conceptual prog-rock art has been crafted to be the best song on the album. The tribute to Pink Floyd’s Echoes keyboard sound has won all of our’s hearts.

The Quest Pt. 3: Relief: From the start, with the birds tweeting, the sixth track feels like it will gratify its name. The intro sounds a bit depressive though it's not intrusive. This melancholia makes us tired as a result of searching for our homes. With the vocals entering slowly, we feel like we are in a Radiohead song. At the last minute, Arctic Plant strikes again with a surprise as usual. They turn this melancholic piece into an epic march with some military drum beats and trombone performance. We feel like we are marching into our home. This last part gives relief to all our hearts, so like we said this track gratifies its name.

Perception: The journey of desire ends with one’s understanding of their desire, and the closing track Perception is all about this transcendental ending. With this track, Arctic Plant offers its most mellow, hopeful, and orchestral moments with the use of acoustics and his mellow voice. Now that one has re-found its place in their journey, the guitars and pianos go to bring the song to the album's emotional peak with the perfectly crafted minor melodies, while the cadential chord progression and strings create the perfect background for the melodies to bring the listeners to tears. The last seconds feature the modal games that many artists from Phoebe Bridgers with I Know the End to Radiohead with Nude play around with while trying to give out the best sense of relief. The ending resembles all the concepts that were put together in the album and blend it into the perfect ending for one of the best concept prog-rock albums of the 2020s. Now one is home.

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