Stewart Bell: The Antechamber Of Being (Part 1)

Prog-as-hell solo work from the Citizen Cain man.

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This big concept album comes with a children’s book charmingly illustrated by Bell himself.

A young boy lives in terror of the monster in the cupboard by the stairs, but conquers his fear by learning to control his dreams. We read this before listening to the album – it’s sweet, smart and ideal for the little people in your life. Bell’s music, on the other hand, might lead to copious bed-wetting – and it’ll be even worse for the kids! In the best way, this is a full-on, full-blooded piece of prog. Avant-garde in parts, it draws on vintage music, neo and even prog metal to produce a really stunning, disturbing piece of theatre. The five characters are voiced by Bell, a very Gabriel-esque Simone Rossetti, Phil Allen, Bekah Mhairi Comrie and Arjen Lucassen. Complex and knotty, keyboard-led suites go by names such as Decoherence, A World Without Limits, Projections, The Breach and that catchy album title. It’s serious stuff this. Bell – an experienced ‘oneironaut’ himself – clearly feels very strongly about ‘lucid dreaming’, and his passion has led to one thoroughly convincing piece of art. Fans of modern neo will find much to thrill at here, though they may sleep with the light on for a while.

Grant Moon

A music journalist for over 20 years, Grant writes regularly for titles including Prog, Classic Rock and Total Guitar, and his CV also includes stints as a radio producer/presenter and podcast host. His first book, 'Big Big Train - Between The Lines', is out now through Kingmaker Publishing.