Track By Track: Supernal Endgame - Touch The Sky, Vol 1 Supernal Endgame are a melodic prog trio hailing from Texas. Guitarist Dan Pomeroy, drummer / vocalist Rob Price, and multi-instrumentalist John Eargle compose symphonic prog gems with a faith-based lyrical slant. Touch The Sky, Vol 1 features guest players Randy George and Roine Stolt for good measure. Progsheet hit up John Eargle for the track by track on this one...
By John A. Wilcox
Track 1: Everlasting Fanfare (Pt. 1)
JE: This piece bookends the CD in two parts. Here in Pt. 1, we wanted to introduce the lyrical motif of the disc with an invitation for the listener to "join in" with us in the "Everlasting Fanfare". After a short piano interlude over an orchestral bed and sound effects, the vocals enter. My voice starts and is answered by primary lead vocalist, Rob Price. At this point the fanfare begins with strings in 7/4 time accentuated by punchy power chords and soaring guitar melodies. We have always felt that this piece perfectly introduces our CD and our live shows. Note: the piano interlude was played by former member Tony Narvarte (recordings began before his exit from the band). For meticulous details on who played what where, check out this blog: http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.ListAll&friendId=410416445
Track 2: Still Believe
JE: This tune seems to be most people's (including mine) favorite from the disc. It's a ten and a half minute mini-epic and an indicator of the direction we are going for the next couple projects. It has the best elements of our band in one song; 1) A rocking yet symphonic intro; 2) A short proggy overture; 3) A song based verse/chorus section; 4) A middle eight theme; 5) An instrumental section featuring many different time signature changes and instrument lead tradeoffs; 6) A bombastic theme followed by a mellow interlude; 7) A return to the intro theme followed by more verse/chorus sections; 8) A hard rocking wrap up using several previously stated themes. If you can imagine the prog elements of Kansas, Neal Morse, Rush, UK, and The Flower Kings blended with the artsy-pop elements of Jellyfish, A.C.T., and XTC, you might just imagine Still Believe.
Track 3: Psalm 51
JE: This song is a grooving acousto-Celtic world beat influenced song. With Randy George's (Neal Morse band) bass line and Rob's Manu Katche sounding drum groove laying the foundation, this song features the violin, tin whistle, Dan's acoustic guitar comping, and Rob's voice. This short sweet tune melds our pop, prog, and Celtic folk elements in what we feel is a convincing way. At the end, Brad Bibb's violin and Dan's acoustic guitar are simultaneously ripping it up demonstrating how an acoustic tune can be both beautiful and aggressive.
Track 4: Disclosure
JE: This instrumental serves as an intro to the following song, Fall To My Knees. It is a keyboard driven song that begins with a loop and is soon joined by a full band groove similar to one of the longer 80s Genesis tunes when they would revisit their prog roots with a modern twist. Randy George (he played on about half the album) gets some room to show off his bass chops and Dan gets to throw a few chops of his own in before the piece rocks into....
Track 5: Fall To My Knees
JE: This song is deceptively simple sounding, but is anything but. While it seems that many prog bands seem to try to make a simple or even pedestrian part sound more complex than it is, as a writer, I often get much more satisfaction out of making something complex sound simpler than it is. Our reputation for strong melodies and hooks is earned by songs like this one. The energetic AOR pomp/power-pop influences of our sound are obvious on this song with its fist-pumping moments and sing-along melodies.
Track 6: Expressions
JE: This is another energetic hook-laden rocker. With the Hammond sounds, the bell chimes and guitar hooks it also has a classic retro feel. A quirky AOR type Utopia sound is found in some sections and a pop-prog feel is behind it all. I sing the verses and Rob sings over the spacey chorus. The primary strength of this song is in how the highly melodic vocal melodies mask the many modulations of the song structure. The verses, bridges, and choruses are all in different keys, but the melody makes each modulation seem natural and effortless. I can remember the night I wrote the main parts of this tune and it all just came together within minutes. The lead guitar section played by Dan is one of my favorite moments of the whole album.
Track 7: Loving Embrace
JE: The pace slows down and mellows out a bit on this song. I was really pleased with the arrangement and final result of the recording. The violin of the intro emotes powerfully over a haunting acoustic passage and the classical guitar riff gives it an almost European folk vibe. There is a bit of a Pink Floyd drone with a loop that brings Peter Gabriel to mind. The song smolders and builds throughout until I get my chance to wail on a lead near the end in a way that brings Comfortably Numb to mind. I live for these moments!
Track 8: Grail
JE: The lyric on this one is by Rob. We get to stretch out a bit here as it clocks in at almost ten minutes. The amazing Roine Stolt of The Flower Kings and Transatlantic guests on this song playing the leads and many of the rhythm guitar tracks as well. This has some slower heavy sections where Roine's guitar just screams bloody murder, then it mellows out and wails over beautiful and lush soundscapes in other places. An extended lead section features Dan's acoustic arpeggio, an ethereal keyboard pad, and exotic percussion with loops backing up a violin solo followed by Roine's tasty guitar work and incredible tone.
Track 9: In Your Hands
JE: This energetic rocker starts out with a progressive 7/4 guitar riff with a synth melody line answering. It quickly moves into a power-pop chorus theme and then into a bridge where the guitar plays a short melodic lead. This is all before the vocal enters. The song is a bit more wordy than the others and can be a challenge to sing well. Again, I cover the verses and Rob takes on the chorus. This song perhaps best represents the melding of prog rock with power-pop for which we have been tagged. Dan plays the bridge leads and several lines while I play the harmony lead after the middle eight. (Note: I did not use a harmonizer - that is two different recorded lines). I also played the tap lead arpeggios near the end of the song. Again, this song is much more complex than it sounds. Rob's wife, Katie, played the violin parts in the last chorus. The extra chords and lyrics in the final chorus are (for me) the final "cherry" on the compositional "cake" of this song. This one is challenging, but quite fun to play live.
Track 10: Gossamer Strings
JE: This is Dan's composition and features his crafty acoustic work. We wanted it to remain a solo piece in spirit, but felt that some other instrumental embellishments might bring out the pastoral beauty it contained. No click track was used here. The fantastic violin part is played by Rob's wife (and a former member of the band), Katie.
Track 11: You Reached Down
JE: There are many parts to this tune. It begins with a reoccurring theme where a real violin plays over a keyboard string quartet sound. Dan plays the classical guitar on this one. If I have one regret on this album, it is the keyboard sound I used in the verses of this song. But that doesn't keep it from being one of my personal favorites. I think that the instrumental section has parts that all work very well together and I'm also quite proud of the chorus and the alternate verse. The section between 4:20 and 4:48 is a part that I am so very proud of where power chords, violins, keyboards, wailing lead guitar, the rhythm section, and Rob's powerful voice all coalesce into a powerful climax of the lyric's primary message. This part wasn't easy to mix, but the final product allowed all instruments to come through clearly in a way that emotionally impacted me. This song has so much potential that I believe we got so very close to. Perhaps a future remix with different drums and a different key patch in the verses will emerge some day.
Track 12: At Play In the Fields
JE: The final result of this one was a nice surprise for me. It has a nice simple melody, but it wasn't originally one of my favorite songs of the lot. But the recording and arrangement we ended up with had such an "in your face" punch of energy that excited me when it was done. I struggled for a while with what to do with the arrangement and stumbled upon the guitar hook near the end of recording. The Wakeman-esque synth line soon followed, and suddenly I felt that we had a great prog influenced pop tune. I got to wail on the lead as well. This one is a lot of fun.
Track 13: Perfect Grace
JE: We have several Celtic folk tunes that didn't make the album, but this one did. (We did donate another Celtic rock tune on The Haiti Projekt -http://www.thehaitiprojekt.com/). Like most tunes within that genre, Perfect Grace is a fairly simple song. The mandolin here was played by former band mate and violinist, Brad Bibbs. It does have the organ arpeggios that betray the prog influence and the time signature goes from 6/8 in the verses to 4/4 in the choruses. The Beatlesque background vocals in the chorus gave this song that extra little something that sets it apart and demands your attention. The spacy orchestral part at the end modulates a couple times and leads into the finale at the end....
Track 14: Everlasting Fanfare (Pt. 2)
JE: This piece closes the CD as we give it an "all stops open" treatment. Those are real tympani drums in there. The theme of Pt.1 is revisited, but more aggressive this time out. The lead guitar work is Dan in the main body of the song. I take over the leads at around 2:51 and on into the fading ambient section. It was a challenge, to say the least, to mix all of the orchestral and rocking parts together in a way where everything was audible and not fighting for the same frequencies. But I feel that we succeeded in properly closing this baby out. We even included a little ambient coda at the end to help decompress from all the bombast. After a few listens you'll recognize the return of previous themes reinterpreted.
Table Of Contents
Supernal Endgame are a melodic prog trio hailing from Texas. Guitarist Dan Pomeroy, drummer / vocalist Rob Price, and multi-instrumentalist John Eargle compose symphonic prog gems with a faith-based lyrical slant. Touch The Sky, Vol 1 features guest players Randy George and Roine Stolt for good measure. Progsheet hit up John Eargle for the track by track on this one...