Surface of Eceyon
Dragyyn is a concept album the way Yes used to make them: with knights, dwarves, giants and, of course, dragons. Being a completely instrumental album, the story is told in the liner notes (with each band member playing a character) and goes a little something like this: dragon steals the wind, warriors are enlisted to slay the dragon, warriors trek over ice fields and sail half frozen seas, warriors battle and defeat the dragon, wind is returned to the Surface of Eceyon.
As with most post-rock of this caliber, the songs are long, epic and shift through many movements. These changes range from aimless, formless ambient confusion to storming, angry clouds of noise to very precise, intricate riffs with pi-perfect time signature hills and valleys. This is a pretty amazing feat considering the band recorded the album “live,” with no overdubs.
With the story in mind, the atmospheric sections take on a more anticipatory quality. Sustained chords and pools of keyboard notes hang in the air like brittle glass, leading the listener note by note to the crashing, feedback laden “battle scenes” before heading back to more reflective, ethereal moments. It’s not an overly complicated concept, nor is it a needlessly cluttered delivery. Occasional alternative instrument embellishments — such as strings or woodwinds — would have been nice, but I’m sure these had to be sacrificed because of the chosen recording process.
This really isn’t the type of release that should be taken one track at a time. Sure, all of these songs could be enjoyed alone, but it’s so much better to have the whole picture instead of getting a small taste of what the complete work has to offer.