Rothery is the guitarist of Marillion,
the well-known neo-prog band from England that started in the late 70’s, and he
is the longest standing member in the band. Rothery was also a part of another project called The Wishing Tree, a prog/folk duo with singer Hannah Stobart. ‘The Ghosts
of Pripyat’ is Rothery’s debut solo album, thanks to a Kickstarter
campaign, and is a continuation of the style of neo-prog he played in Marillion,
albeit a more polished version production-wise.
Ghosts of Pripyat’ is an easygoing
instrumental rock record that is built around a calming atmosphere that
propagates throughout the length of the album. The progressive aspect of the album
is not over-exposed, and the essence of the album is the delicate manner the
starts off the album with an ambient intro, as the guitars quietly join in for
the build-up, where Rothery flaunts his skills with beautiful guitar solos.
There is nothing structurally complex here and it seems like every other
instrument works around as the background for the guitars. “Kendris” start off decently with some Eastern influences
in the guitars, but turns into an uniteresting track that almost sounds like
elevator music. “Old Man of the Sea”
is the longest song on the album, lasting well over 11 minutes, and features
Steven Wilson and Steve Hackett. The initial mellow sections and the guitar
solos are beautiful, but the track seems to be a bit monotonous.
Pass” brings back the ethereal atmosphere in the first half of the
track, and as I was really hoping this would evolve into something enchanting,
the track falls flat with simplistic prog-rock riffing. “Yesterday’s Hero” and “Summer’s End” are similar tracks in structure: starting
off in a serene way, while gaining momentum later on with guitar solos. A hint
of Steven Wilson influence is evident in these tracks. The title track is also
the final track of the album, featuring a gorgeous acoustic passage to begin
with, and probably for the first time on the album, all the instruments (synth,
drums and organs) have been effectively utilized. This is one of the better
tracks on the album.
guitars, making the other instruments not substantial enough to create a
well-knit record. The solos and the overall atmospheres are pleasing, but you
feel like it lacks something. There is a fair amount of monotony in the song-writing,
something you wouldn’t expect out of a prog album.
I would’ve loved to see a
more experimental approach towards writing and a better blending of instruments
in the final product, because Rothery’s parts were fantastically done, but
everything else kept me wanting. While the album has its moments of excellence
in glimpses, it hardly held my attention for long, and this is coming from
someone who listens to long-drawn prog albums.