Airbag are back with their brand new album The Greatest Show on Earth, following on from their highly acclaimed albums Identity and All Rights Removed. It’s a little bit of a difficult listen, but once you’ve given it a few spins you’ll be able to appreciate that this album is more of a grower.
The introduction track Surveillance (Part 1) does feel a little useless as it’s quite a sparse song and doesn’t add much in the way of atmosphere, so it results in the album taking a little while to get going, especially since the first full track, Redemption also takes a little while to get going with a long and drawn-out introduction! It is, however, a great track. The vocals are awesome and add a lot to the instrumentation, which makes for a fantastic listen, especially taking into account the huge sections paired with more simplistic quiet sections.
Something that becomes apparent as the album progresses is that there isn’t much of an emphasis on the vocals. There are long instrumental sections chock-full with interesting and individual ideas, which are a pleasure to listen to, but it does feel like the band could definitely give more, vocals-wise. They almost feel like an afterthought.
Like the other tracks, closer Surveillance (Part 2-3) does take a little while to get going, but as it clocks in at just over 16 minutes, it’s clear the band want to take their time and don’t want to rush it, and it means that the listener can really absorb the track and take everything in. It possibly would have worked better as two seperate songs, as there are two definite ideas that split the song into two sections, but on the other hand, it is a great epic note for the album to finish on. It also feels like every idea on the album is revisited, which is a really nice touch.
If you like your prog, you’ll love this, but otherwise you might struggle to fully connect with it. You can check out a video teaser for the album below.