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Graveyard Mountain Home
By: Chroma Key
Year: 2004


I really enjoy the early work of Dream Theater. I found their first two big-release albums to be extremely technical, atmospheric, and lyrical. I especially identified with the keyboard stylings of their pianist, Kevin Moore. After time, he left the band, and I really felt that the music suffered for his loss. But he has been busy since leaving DT. He did extensive work on two epic Fates Warning albums, “A Pleasant Shade of Grey” and “Disconnected”, put together and wrote music for the band OSI (with FW’s Jim Matheos and DT’s Mike Portnoy), and also worked on some solo work, under the name Chroma Key.

Now, when I saw the album “Graveyard Mountain Home” in the Virgin Megastore, I was understandably excited. I loved OSI, and I loved Moore’s work on those other projects. And the fact that the album was written to be an alternative soundtrack to a decidedly creepy coming-of-age film made back in the fifties, “Age 13”, just added to my excitement and the mystique of the whole project.

So I put in the second disc, the DVD of the movie with the CD audio as the soundtrack, and was really weirded out. It was very odd, rather disconcerting, and the sparse music added to the strangeness of the film. Afterwards, however, listening to the CD on its own proved to be a disappointment. The music is too sparse in many instances to be really accessible or enjoyable by itself. It was effective as a soundtrack, yes; very much so, in fact. But as a stand-alond disc, it left me feeling . . . unfulfilled.

Tracks to catch: “YYY”: A very cool opening track with a thumpy bass line and odd keyboards. “Before You Started”: A creepy, atmospheric track that uses amazing programming and samples from Miles Davis’ “Sketches of Spain” to invoke weird imagery.

Objective Rating: 4 out of 10
As I said, I was less than thrilled with this album. The two tracks I mentioned easily rate a high nine out of ten, but the rest of the album is a humdrum two or three. It is an interesting concept; but something was lost in the translation from idea to finished product.

Biased Rating: 3 out of 10
I hate to say it, but because I’m familiar with what Kevin Moore can do, this album was a big disappointment to me. I am sad to say it – but it has to be said. This is by far the weakest material I’ve ever heard from Moore. I mean, Space-Dye Vest!!!! Come on!


Comments
on Apr 04, 2006
I, too, was disappointed with Kevin's Chroma Key work. It sounds like if you took the good songs off all the Chroma Key stuff, you would have one solid, spacey, groovy album. But there is just too much filler.

Seems like Jim Matheos is able to get the best out of him.
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