4.5 out of 5 Stars!
It’s such a shame the band Ad Infinitum didn’t last longer. Back in the ’90s, after first hearing this debut album upon its release (and seeing the Roger Dean cover art), I had prayed this might just be another band to take up the “Yes” banner and wave it into the 2000s, but alas, it was not to be. The group fizzled shortly after the album’s release never to be heard from again.
Be that as it may, for those interested in the Prog-Rock sound of the ’70s (Yes, Genesis, etc.–or their respective future counterparts Starcastle or Marillion) this is an album that might satiate your cravings for more. The instrumentation–both acoustic and electric, an equal combination–is generally impressive (with obvious nods to Wakeman, Howe, Squire throughout) and the lead vocals and rich harmonies are way better than average.
Some hummable and memorable melodies, some impressive and complicated arrangements on many tracks, some decent production overall, along with great ’70s synth sounds, piano and organ, and essential Mellotron (check out the tracks “Waterline,” “Neither Here Nor There,” “A Winter’s Tale,” or the haunting “All Hallow’s Eve” for prime examples of the band’s full cavalcade of lush Prog-Rock offerings)…ah, yes, the band possessed everything required to make this a successful effort in replicating the Prog-Rock movement of the 1970s. The longer tracks are grand and varied in moods, while the shorter tracks are equally rich in texture, ideas, and melody.
In many ways, this band reminded me of another act named Crucible from the same period, although Ad Infinitum was more closely associated with Yes, whereas Crucible was more closely associated with Genesis regarding musical content. Nevertheless, the vocalists of both bands are surprisingly similar (more so than to their “replicated” counterparts), therefore the bands are linked musically in my ears. Additionally, whether fairly or not, I also likened this group to Ilúvatar, since I purchased the debuts from both groups on the same day from the Kinesis Records website, and the albums not only had Roger Dean cover art, but the acts also shared a similar Yes-inspired style. Thankfully, however, the bands did not share a similar fate, since Ilúvatar continued releasing new material after its debut and exists to this day.
Once again, it’s a shame Ad Infinitum didn’t last past this debut, since the musicians had the talent and, ostensibly, the right inspiration and drive to put together an album of high-quality Symphonic Prog. I still listen to this album regularly (often repeating it during the same sitting) and wonder “what might have been” had Ad Infinitum continued.