Conspiracy (Prog)
The Unknown


3.5
great

Review

by e210013 USER (113 Reviews)
April 15th, 2019 | 15 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: If you are a fan of Yes in the 80’s or just a general fan of the modern prog, maybe you can like this album.

“The Unknown” is the second studio album of Conspiracy and was released in 2003. The line up on the album is Chris Squire and Billy Sherwood. The album had also the collaboration of Jordan Berliant, Jimi Haun, Michael Sherwood and Jay Schellen.


Conspiracy was a progressive rock project founded by Chris Squire, then the bassist of Yes (R.I.P. Chris, we’ll never forget you) and Billy Sherwood, formerly and subsequently a member of Yes in the end of the 90’s. The band released two studio albums, “Conspiracy” in 2000 and “The Unknown” in 2003, and a live album “Conspiracy Live” in 2007.

So, Conspiracy is one more project released by Yes’ family members. Steve Howe was the first one with Steve Hackett in the 80’s with GTR project and Chris Squire and Billy Sherwood were the next with this one. However, Squire would still participate in another project, Squackett, this time with Hackett, as happened before with his bandmate, Howe.

Chris Squire and Billy Sherwood had a long lasting musical relationship that began somewhere at the end of the 80’s when Yes were trying to go on without Jon Anderson, who was doing the Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, and Howe project, at the time. Sherwood had released the debut album with his band, the World Trade, which got the attention of the Yes line up, I mean of Squire. Eventually Sherwood became an official member of Yes years later, but left in 2001.

So, three years after their first joint musical adventure Squire and Sherwood, personal friends for long more than 10 years, released the second album. “The Unknown” is the successor of their debut album “Conspiracy”, and from which the title has now become the handle of their partnership. From what I know, “The Unknown” isn’t so different from that album. It has pleasant sounding accessible rock songs on the edge of symphonic rock, thanks to adequate keyboard contributions, mostly in the form of organ and orchestral sounds. Very good vocal harmonies, most lead vocals are sung in unison. Interesting acoustic and electric guitar play from Sherwood. It’s very much like the guitar play of Yes guitarist Steve Howe. In fact Conspiracy sounds very much like Yes especially from their “Open Your Eyes” period.

Conspiracy creates a mix of modern progressive rock and AOR, with the emphasis on the “modern” parts. The keyboards and guitars all have an underlying electronic and metallic edge, no Hammond organs or “retro” guitar sounds are here. Sherwood’s distinctive production style makes the most of current technology, with electronic effects, synthesized vocal treatments, and stereo panning, all used in clever ways. The vocals are also pretty impressive. I’ve always liked Sherwood’s high breathy voice. It’s also great to hear Squire given more lead vocal time here, while also blending nicely with Sherwood on some multi tracked harmonies, as I mentioned above. Actually, this is probably the best vocal showcase that Squire has had on any album since his solo album “Fish Out Of Water” in the mid of the 70’s.

About the tracks, don’t expect explicit instrumental outbreaks, even not from Chris Squire, although in songs like “New World” is driving bass surely takes the lead and the title track “The Unknown” offers a short bass solo. This long composition, the lengthiest track on the album, is unfortunately and somehow, one of the letdowns of the album. Sincerely, I expected much more of a track like this. The album opens with fine tracks like “Conspiracy”, “Confess”, the aforementioned “New World” and “1/2 A Word Away”. “Conspiracy” is one of the strongest tracks on the album, is full of energy and has a true impressive vocal work. “Confess” is a track with a great melody and a very strong chorus. The creative juices between Squire and Sherwood have great consistency. “New World” is an uplifting track with a very powerful bass work and where the vocal arrangements are pretty good. “1/2 A Word Away” represents one of the few sings lead vocals of Squire. Here Squire can show his choirboy past track that starts calmly, but then evolves into a great power rock ballad. But, when listening to the rest of the album I can get a little bored. It seems to me less creative.


Conclusion: If this is a very good album, I really don’t know. Surely, with Squire and Sherwood on board you’ll find some good playing on it but, in my humble opinion, to the album lacks a kind of feeling. I’ve almost all Yes’ albums and a handful of solo albums. “Fish Out Of Water” is simply wonderful. Anderson’s “Olias Of Sunhillow” is simply beautiful. But, to this album just lacks to it some creativity, I think. I sincerely hesitated with the rating to give to this album. My conclusion is that this album probably appeals most to people who appreciate the more accessible music of Yes, like they presented on albums like “90152”, “Big Generator” and “Open Your Eyes”. Overall, “The Unknown” is a good listen, and worth checking out for those who are into some new sounds that don’t totally alienate the structure of the prog music. So, due to some really good parts and as a great fan of the bass work of Squire, I decided give to it a 3.5.


Music was my first love.
John Miles (Rebel)



Recent reviews by this author
Squackett A Life Within A DayThe Moody Blues Long Distance Voyager
Refugee RefugeeStrawbs From the Witchwood
Badger One Live BadgerGTR GTR
user ratings (2)
Chart.
3.5
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
e210013
April 15th 2019


2350 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

And so it's now time to the projects of Mr. Squire. As all Yes' fans know, Squire was the man that always carried the piano in Yes. He founded the band with Anderson and he always stayed inside the band until his death. So, no other band's member incarnated the spirit of Yes as he did.

Anyway, he wasn't limited to Yes only. He participated in some other projects during his huge and amazing career. One of those projects was Conspiracy with Billy Sherwood. As some of us know, Sherwood was a member of Yes having participated on their albums "Open Your Eyes" (1997) and "The Ladder" (1999). So, I chose the second album of that project, "The Unknown", as the subject of this review, because I think that is the best known and perhaps it's the best too.

So, this my review, besides be essentially related to Squire, it's also related to another artist that was member of Yes. It's really amazing the amount of artists that passed by this band.

TheNotrap
April 15th 2019


11120 Comments


Chris Squire is a legend.

Informative review, you did your homework, good job.
I like Drama and 90125, so I might also dig some songs here.



Digging: Hate - Auric Gates of Veles

e210013
April 15th 2019


2350 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice and thanks, Notrap. I also like those albums especially "Drama". If you like the simpler prog, you might like it. Give it a try.

MotokoKusanagi
April 15th 2019


1812 Comments


another good one e, will definitely give this a go once i come off my current techno binge

Jethro42
April 15th 2019


15838 Comments


''1/2 A World Away'' is a pretty good ballad, and is the first song that is easy to enjoy. I haven't heard the next ones after that one, but ''Conspiracy'' could be a Duran Duran song, ''Confess'' really sounds like a Neal Morse poppish song (vocals are very similar up to now), ''New World'' could be a very good Police song. Well so far, song ''Conspiracy'' is the only one that leaves me cold.
Good review, e21 buddy. Btw, did you know that Notrap is also from Portugal?

e210013
April 15th 2019


2350 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ok, Moto. Do that and thanks.

e210013
April 15th 2019


2350 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, the album sounds a bit strange and maybe a bit difficult for you and for me, since we are maybe too much purists in terms of prog, since we both love the classic prog era. You know, our generation...But I think the album can be appealing enough, even to us. At least I think it's well balanced and has its moments.

Thanks Jethro.



"did you know that Notrap is also from Portugal?"

You're kidding with me? Off course not. Are you sure?



Jethro42
April 15th 2019


15838 Comments


Yes, mate, I agree with you 100%. Prog has almost no secrets for both of us. And thanks for showing that album. It seems to contain good modern material here and there. i'll have to listen to the whole thing. I've listened to the title track, the longest track, you know...and I like it very much. I love the instrumental portion of the beginning. For the rest, there's something of Peter Gabriel mostly in the vocal lines. Album Up was released in 2002, just saying.

And yes, Notrap has told me long time ago (before I knew you) he's from Portugal. He probably don't know that you are from that country yourself ;)

e210013
April 16th 2019


2350 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The album represents one of the faces of the modern prog. It's very well balanced and I particularly like the guitar work but above all the interplay of the vocal work of both artists is excellent. Besides, it has Squire, a true intitution.

About Notrap, you're right. I took a look to his shoutbox and I could see conversations in Portuguese with other member DDDeftoneDDD. So, it seems that we are five on this site, at least, including me, Zig and danielcardoso.

Thanks for the information bro. I'm going to contact him.

TheNotrap
April 16th 2019


11120 Comments


It’s great to see another countryman around here ;)
Keep writing e210013

Cheers Jethro, my friend
I hope your doing well


e210013
April 16th 2019


2350 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'll do it, Notrap.

Jethro42
April 16th 2019


15838 Comments


Hello, Notrap mate! it makes a long time since we haven't jammed (sung) some Marillion or Genesis ;)

But you are more into metal, aren't you...i'm not anymore, except for (very) good metal.

TheNotrap
April 16th 2019


11120 Comments


Hahah indeed mate, I miss our Hearth of Lothian karaoke sessions

Yeah I’m more into extreme metal these days, but there’s always room for some prog gems or some good Marillion / Genesis / Floyd nostalgia

TheIntruder
April 19th 2019


411 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice album. Nice discovery. Thanks for bring ought it to me. Excellent review as usual. Have a pos.

e210013
April 19th 2019


2350 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks, bro. I'm very glad that my review took this album and the project itself of the shadow of the unknown oeuvres.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy