"The Ghost of Autumn" Review by John 'BoBo' Bollenberg
They’ve done it again and what’s more : this time the album sounds even better than their previous offering "Reason". The same influences I mentioned the first time can once again be traced here with names such as Baby Grand, Styx, Ambrosia coming to the fore yet also with a dash of Saga and Chandelier added to make the band’s AOR sound even fuller. Once again they can’t shed off their Boston influence either with ‘Inner space’ sounding just like our multi platinum selling friends. And what about ‘The willow song’ which only needs producer Roy Thomas Baker to turn this into yet another blockbuster !
What strikes me is the fact that Scapeland Wish is only a trio yet they are able to turn their music into such a complete experience whilst still making sure that the vocals get the best treatment. A lot of bands should take lessons from these guys because I know plenty of bands with five people in the line-up who can’t come up with such a sound ! Sometimes though their songs do tend to become rather commercial too. Take ‘The highway’ as prime example as to how they get close to becoming a copy of the band America. Then again during ‘Reflection’ singer Joshua Ramirez tries his hand to become the new Steve Hogarth delivering a song which could also be a Marillion classic from around their ‘Beautiful’ era. With ‘Ostrich alternative’ and ‘Nemo’ the band delivers two superb instrumentals which perfectly illustrate the craftsmanship of each of the individual players.
Great songs, great singing, cool guitars, maybe a little tame in the drumming department and maybe not enough keyboards but "The ghost of autumn" certainly has become the kind of ghost that can visit me every night ... preferably when I’m all by myself !
- John 'Bobo' Bollenberg
"The Ghost of Autumn" Review by Pual Rijkens of iO Pages
The first album of the American band ScapeLand Wish, Reason, surprised me because of their fresh look on progressive rock. They produce music with influences of all the big names but with also a lot of own ideas. On The Ghost Of Autumn the band moves further again. In my opinion, the trio which consists of Josh Ramirez (drums, lead- en backgroundvocals), Mike Stiskal (bass, keyboards, acoustic guitar, percussion and backgroundvocals) and Kevin Forsberg (lead, rhythmic- and classical guitars), deserves a breakthrough. The 11 songs on The Ghost Of Autumn are all beautifully constructed and have much variation in sung and instrumental parts. Take Misty’s Cage which has a very strong rhythmic and accompanying but nicely crafted keyboardsounds (like Mellotronchoirs). At the end of the track we’ll hear the strong vocal harmonies that were on Reason. The vocals are also great in The Highway that can be compared with Kansas. Ramirez’ voice reminds me a bit of that of former Kansas singer John Elefante. Halfway this piece there are some great outbursts on synthesizer and Mellotronstrings. Also the Steve Howe-like guitar solo’s are by no means to be sneezed at. Genesis greets itself in the almost acoustic Reflection. Again we hear these lovely strings. Stowing bass- and drumwork introduces the masterful instrumental Ostrich Alternative. Here Forsberg shows his many skills as lead guitarist. I think the many possibilities of the band can best be heard in the title track which has some great symphonic passages and again strong bass playing. In Inner Space the vocal is by Sean Grant, again somebody with a pleasing and bright voice. Nemo starts with floating synthesizer sounds and is a very melodic instrumental. The best is saved for the end: Fading Light is a fantastic varying little epic of almost 10 minutes with beautiful melodies and strong vocals (with, amongst others, pieces of Yes). It will be strange if this album will not end up in my list of favourite CD’s of 2003.