Anubis - The Second Hand album review

Newspaper owner in existential crisis shocker!

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These Aussie “cinematic symphonic progressive rockers” have taken on an ambitious project for their fifth album and, given current preoccupations with fake news and alternative facts, a tale about a mendacious media magnate named Fox and reflections on his life while apparently comatose is quite timely.

Musically, while “symphonic rock” certainly fits, the album draws in elements from across the contemporary prog scene. Mainman Robert James Moulding’s versatile and engaging voice is ideal for this type of storytelling and there are catchy hooks galore across the album, from the ‘time ticking away’ refrain of the title track opener through the gentle Beatles-esque harmonies of ballad These Changing Seasons I to the downbeat Blackout. The band can wig-out a bit too, as they prove towards the end of Fool’s Gold and The Making Of Me, in the explosive choruses of the otherwise jazzy, Floydian While Rome Burns, and throughout the metal-tinged, grandiloquent Pages Of Stone. Arguably, the impact and immediacy of some songs is lessened by the band stretching them beyond their required length – a perennial issue with concept narratives. No broken boundaries, then, but there’s a thought-provoking, fan-pleasing epic.