Aethellis

Melodic Revolution Records recording artist

Reviews of Aethellis: Northumbria (2011)


Aethellis is a band that's kind of everywhere in their approach to symphonic rock, but there's always the constant of great songwriting. "Northumbria" is an album full of great melody and atmosphere with production that pleases the ear.  Not just pleasing, but memorable.

- read the full review by Progulator at The Prog Archives



On "Northumbria" Aethellis has captured the very essence of the original prog/rock pioneers who soldiered on to help shape the changing face of progressive rock as it edged into the 80s', as well as the many neo-progressive artists who emerged from their shadow like Arena, IQ, Marillion, Pendragon, Jadis, Grey Lady Down, Galahad, and Pallas.

The album is highly recommended to fans to symphonic rock, neo-progressive, and fusion. And anyone with a healthy respect for keyboard driven prog/rock.

- read the full review by Joseph Shingler at ProgNaut.com



Northumbria
is feeling , finesse, hard work, dedication and effort. It's an album with
a soul that transcends time , is an intelligent, optimistic work ...

- Descubre la Caja de Pandora, July 2012 issue, courtesy of Jose Luis Martinez



...there are moments like "Dire Need" which wouldn't sound out of place on an Asia album right down to the Wetton-like vocals. Ellsworth's undoubted talent is clear from tracks like "The Peace Path" with its bouncy and sunny jazz/funk-meets-Yes vibe, and "Sounds Good," which could sit next to any of Brand X's more commerical-minded offerings. - Gary Mackenzie for
Prog Magazine, issue #47 (July 2, 2014)


Want to say to all of Aethellis your album is a 10/10 top on the pile piece of work! - Honey For Your Ears (UK Internet Radio)


While the name and cover art give the impression that this will be another pastoral affair, the album is actually much more eclectic, in the way prog should be! If I had to describe the album overall, it’s what Rick Wakeman should have been doing in the 1980s, but wasn’t. There’s old school Rick Wakeman-like, proggy keyboards, but that’s mixing with a 1980s Genesis sound (“The Penal Colony” steers rather close to “Turn It On Again”) and also more modern elements (“The Awakening” reminds me of Ken Ramm’s Euphoria).

- read the full review by Henry Potts at Blogdegezou -  a blog about Yes and prog rock in general



Compared to Aethellis' previous effort 8 years ago, Northumbria lets us hear a band that has matured. Even though there are still references to be made to late seventies or early eighties Genesis, now it's only as a guide for the interested listener, because there are no obvious links to any Genesis piece or even album anymore.
 
Also in comparaison to their first album (that I enjoyed and found very promising at the time), just about everything is superior on this second CD, and I feel that the biggest improvement is in the lead vocals.

- courtesy of Marc Roy for ProGGnosis.com



Imagine a vocalist a lot like Chris Rainbow alongside keyboardists like Rod Argent, Keith Emerson, Nick Magnus & Tony Banks and you have AETHELLIS!

Ellsworth is a classically trained American keyboardist who also plays electric guitar, and he has an amazing voice! Commanding synthesizers, organ and piano with equally proportioned finesse; Ellsworth is not a bad guitarist either.

His smooth, higher register vocal tones are definitely like Chris Rainbow, but add just a strain of John Wetton as well, and you’ve pretty much got it. Just like Chris Rainbow, Ells excels when it comes to multi-tracking his own voice, creating fabulous vocal harmonies for his melodic, memorable songs. His keyboard work is also top class, touching on the styles of names such as: Rod Argent, Keith Emerson, Geoff Downes and Tony Banks at times.

The full line-up for the ‘Northumbria’ album is: Ellsworth Halls (keyboards / lead & backing vocals / guitar / digi-drums), Mark Van Natta (guitars / lead vocals), Erik Marks (bass), Chris Marks (guitar), Mike Harrington (drums) and Joseph Dwyer (saxophone).

‘Northumbria’ leans more on the Nick Magnus mainstream side of Progressive Music concentrating on the quality of the song-writing, melody and variation of styles alongside strong playing skills, making for over fifty minutes of extremely enjoyable, melodic prog.

- read the full review from CD Services.



The new release from Aethellis, this one seems to stretch out a bit further than the previous set did. It's still all progressive rock, but there are a lot of variants on that general musical theme here. This is a great disc. Those that liked the first one should like this one, perhaps more so. It would also make an excellent introduction to a  killer modern progressive rock act. 

 - read the full track-by-track review at Music Street Journal



Tagged
a Neo Prog, in my opinion Aethellis style is eighties proggy AOR, with diverse influences ranging from Camel, ELP, Genesis and Tony Banks solo albums, but also a strong Pomp feel in the vein of Shooting Star, Saga, Asia and The Alan Parsons Project.
Ellsworth Hall is an amazing multi-instrumentalist and a good vocalist. As singer, he can be compared to the likes of Greg Lake, Steve Hackett and why not, John Wetton.

 -  read the full review at Zero Day Rock



"NorthUmbria" is a truly enjoyable album of 80's inspired prog including really well crafted songs.
The melody is the rule here, really easy listening and catchy but still adventurous enough to keep you interested from start to finish. Mr. Hall has also put a lot of effort into the production, as despite this is an independent CD the is sound remarkably good.

- Metalminos.com


There is no-apologies prog sporting ELP, Genesis, and Camel influences with odd meters and extended instrumental sections; some Asia, Saga, or later Kayak style pomp; and some softer/streamlined pieces suggesting 1980s Genesis or The Alan Parsons Project. The final track is an exhilarating fusion-y romp.

- Kinesis CD



Reviews of Aethellis: Aethellis (2003, remastered 2008)


You like progressive music with influences from cult bands such as Genesis, Yes and others? Then Aethellis is for you! Aethellis is a mix of all the best things available in the prog world.

- Radio Metal


This sounds like the album Tony Banks should have made after A Curious Feeling. In fact a lot of this would fit well on Genesis’ 1980s albums as proggier pieces.

- Kinesis CD


This is one of those albums that I was tempted to dismiss on first listening as being too 'pop' or too 'superficial' to be taken seriously. After 2 or 3 listenings the layers started to emerge and the true beauty of the music started to become obvious!

- ZNR records


The result of this debut was one magnificent work of symphonic rock that transmits an optimism beyond the common.....Very recommended and essential in your progressive library.

- Descubre La Caja Pandora


"8.6 / 10" - Antonis Maglaras, Power Play Records


Progressive Rock from the USA with 6 long tracks included on their independent CD. Without a doubt, it has a strong 80s Symphonic AOR touch, kinda like ASIA and KAYAK, just listen to the wonderful “Saint Augustus”. I think some songs might even be called early 80s keyboard orientated Pomprock! Nevertheless, people will call AETHELLIS a Progressive Rockband and their independent CD does sound remarkably good. The songs are very strong, catchy and still adventurous enough to keep you interested from start to finish. Like I said, it does remind me a lot of ASIA, 3, LIGHTSPEED, ROBERT BERRY , GTR... Even vocally it sounds quite good (kinda like JEFF CANNATA of ARC ANGEL).

- courtesy of Strutter Magazine


I think most of our customers agree with that most “one man bands” tend to be a bit boring. Well, Aethellis is a one man band, but not at all boring. Logos Affinity keyboardist Ellsworth Hall plays keyboards, guitar and sings. The drums are of course programmed, but in a very tasteful way, and could just as well been the real thing. The music lies somewhere between Alan Parsons Project and Camel. Well crafted songs and Mr. Hall has also put a lot of effort into the production and arrangements.

- courtesy of The Missing Piece


The album is the rare stone overturned that reveals a bounty of new revelations. - Read the full review by Josh Turner at The Music Street Journal


Aethellis surprised me with the music in this recording. Ellsworth Hall is the brain behind Aethellis and his trademark sound are the keyboards that start from the first second of the recording to create interesting melodies. And this melodies are sometimes more easy listening, sometimes more twisted but they always have an interesting progressive sound which I liked a lot. Ellsworth´s vocals are soft and melodic giving some of the compositions a hit format with memorable choruses. Most of the compositions here are long and I think that Aethellis develops carefully the music in such extension where he has place for developing all the ideas that the music here has. There is a seventies feeling here but with a much more modern sound that makes the music sound updated. This is pure melody full of interesting ideas.

- courtesy of Federico Marongiu for Music Extreme


Even if there is an Aethellis touring band, on the CD all the music and singing comes from one man : Ellsworth R. Hall. He plays all instruments but his main focus is on the keyboards.

Listening to Aethellis brings me back about twenty years. Even though at times, some twists and turns make it obvious that this album is from the new millenium, there is always, in my opinion, a strong early 80's feel about this music.

In the letter sent to me with this promotional CD, Ellsworth Hall describes his music as Neo. I don't really agree because I do not hear much Marillion - IQ - Arena... in there, these bands being usually associated with the Neo sub genre of Progressive Rock.

The main influence I detect is Tony Banks, mainly his more progressive pieces from his solo albums. Hall's playing reminds me much more of Banks than of Wakeman or Emerson for example. Most of the songs on Aethellis would fit well on a Banks album, consisting mainly of a song based part followed by an instrumental section featuring a lot of keyboard soloing. A few exceptions, the beginning of Saint Augustus has a stong UK feel and Djibouti is an instrumental that somewhat reminds me of In that Quiet Earth from Genesis' Wind & Wuthering.

As a singer Ellsworth Hall sounds a bit like Steve Hackett (another Genesis reference). His voice is not very powerful but it is nice and he does not push it over it's limit.

I have truly enjoyed listening to this album and will put it again in my player. Hopefully Aethellis will find it's audience even though 80's inspired prog is not really the flavor of the day. There are sound samples on their website and the band plans on doing some touring in the east coast U.S. in early 2004. Check them out.

- courtesy of Marc Roy for ProGGnosis.com


Ellsworth Hall is an amazing multi-instrumentalist and vocalist. As a vocalist, he can be compared to the likes of Greg Lake and John Wetton.His music firmly lies somewhere between classic progressive rock and art rock camps. Although most of the compositions have a pop vibe to it, Ellsworth utilizes the longer song format to stay clear of being labeled mainstream. The Aethellis style is very melodic based and the keyboard is the main instrument in all songs. The only drawback is the drums or rather “digi-drums” but Ellsworth is the first one-man band to admit to using them. SO kudos to him and maybe he’ll hook-up with a real drummer for the next release.

This is "Aethellis' " debut CD and with six tracks in various lengths, the CD clocks in around 48 minutes. Which to me is a perfect length for a debut. My favorite songs are: "Tie and Handkerchief" and "Final Affinity" Another highly recommendable release for 2003.

Editor's note: Seek out the 2008 remaster of this title. It's amazing how much better the music sounds.

- courtesy of Ron Fuchs for ProgNaut.com


Ellsworth Hall is the man responsible for the progressive rock band Aethellis, which got its name from the Old English antecedent of his first name “Aethellis-worth”. I have to appreciate anyone who can pick up and excel at a variety of different instruments. And that’s just what he does throughout the six songs on this album. While this is pretty much your standard progressive rock effort it’s not something you just shrug off. The piano tune on “Hubris” totally makes this album.

- courtesy of J-Sin for Smother.Net


Let me say that this album touched me in so many ways. Aethellis manages to mix a decent blend on concept and melody with a synth / groove / layering of keys that had me wondering who I was listening to. There is very early Genesis, mid life Asia and a more recent John Young all included with his own brand of reality that has resulted in a truly very good album.

1. Tie and Handkerchief

Great opening, atmospheric leading to what? Nice piano the a nice groove and synth with Geoff Downes overlays and a great contribution to the prog rock world. More of it I say. It isn’t rushed with vocals or changes of instrumental sounds in the first few minutes. It’s allowed to flow. A real drummer could have helped but the effort of ‘digi drums’ (and percussion?!?!?) is as good as I’ve heard. Nice layering of sounds in the vocal breaks... did real well without a real guitarist. Great finish which leads to...

2. Saint Augustus

This track moved me. More church organ – HA!! Was this studio or produced it somewhere else?? Unfortunately the vocals were a bit too even here but the chorus really got going which helped lift the track (my perspective only). Love the bridges - and the lead breaks. I don’t know what his religious loyalists are but a track that could be ‘top and tailed’ as a single. The ending of this track should be given to music students as a way to close off a track – great use of echo on the vocals.

3. Hubris

Introduction sounds like it follows on from Saint Augustus and tends to flows from Track 2 and then changes direction as the tracks takes and number of changes. Great synth and atmospheric work to build tension. Almost Eastern feel. Then it morphs into an almost ‘rif’ feel from MAGUS (different artists / different time but similar feel) in the middle which blends into a Geoff Downes (New Dance Orchestra) series of chords which moved me more than you what to know. Top stuff and the best I’ve heard in a long time (tone up those Wakeman licks at the end – HA!!)

4. Portal

Great change of pace and acoustic piano at the start. Which leads to the track proper. Carol? Lost friendship? Very pastoral. I’d almost heard this track before. The layering of vocals is great and then it spirals into Part 2 of this track which follows the general melody but keeps exploring little nocks and crannies along the way.

5. Djibouti

A real change from the other tracks. Nice groove after the first part and not rushed at all. Almost Wakemanish. Is there such a word!?!?!?!? Great touch on the synths (Wakeman and Geoff Downes in the one track – good stuff!!!). Beautiful melding of electronic and acoustic overlays which is as good as ‘Tumbleweed’ [from Affini Logue]. One of the better instrumental tracks of  2004.

6. Final Affinity

Great start into a weirder section that gets a bit experimental but not ‘over the top’. Disguising the vocal doesn’t help (unfortunately) but the instrumental section after is a buzz – loved the guitar sound-a-like and the overlaying of sounds and bass work. The middle section seems to flow effortly from guitar to keys...  But it’s a long track and then the organ starts (same from Saint Augustus???) which leads into an almost early ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’ feel and into a great improv section. Then there is the light synths flowing over the top of a great groove and even better mid section.

By this time I want to listen again and again and again.

- courtesy of Russell Hammond, Australia


Like a good opiate buzz this competently written, well played and nicely produced CD will induce a "happy alpha" state...

...this stuff ain't bad (in fact for a one man band it's actually pretty neat!)...

- Progression Magazine - issue 45, Winter/Spring 2004


AETHELLIS' music is more like a cross between Tony BANKS, Alan PARSONS and Rick WAKEMAN - very keyboard oriented.

Lise (Hibou),  The Prog Archives.


The bio mentions neo-progressive as genre, but I don’t agree at all. It’s much more in the vein of The Alan Parsons Project and the music definitely has an eighties sound.

- Read the full review by Danny Focke of Prog-Nose.


Ellsworth Hall is a North American multi-instrumentalist. The music that´s made by him floats around Classical Rock and Art Rock, but both styles are intrinsically linked, taking advantage of the format's capacity for longer and complex compositions with extended instrumental explorations, where keyboards and electronic textures became indispensable in any rock band. Aethellis developed a musical style where all the range in the compositions are around melancholy sounds of the keyboards, and all vocals are at times, very clean and very soft, other times, highly spiritual, elevating both kind of rock styles to a high level. You really hear a work where the influences follow the same line by musicians and bands as "Alan Parsons", "Rick Wakeman", "Procol Harum" and "Tony Banks", but adding their own musical blends and including special instrumental techniques, and a melodic substance that was heard many times in the years of the 1980s.

"Aethellis" is the first work with six tracks around 48 minutes of nice songs. A special and particular attention to and my favourite songs are: "Tie and Handkerchief", "Hubris", "Djibouti" and "Final Affinity" (is the best in the best). The musician on this project is: Ellsworth Hall - Keyboards, Vocals, Electric Guitar, "Digi-drums". Indispensable work, highly recommendable...

-courtesy Carlos Alberto Vaz Ferreira for Progressive Rock & Progressive Metal


If we guided ourselves by the beginning of the disc we would say that we are before the presence of another progressive album, in this opportunity melodic, but progressive to the aim.

"Tie and Handkerchief" is a typical fusion of keyboards, synthesizers and electronic drums.

The second subject, "Saint Augustus", repeats the formula, loaded with keyboards of all types and traditional sounds very connected to Marillion. (Very good subject also, with melodies that stick to you from the first listening).

Nevertheless, from here, the album gives a turn of 180° to excellent ballads of piano like "Hubris", "Portal" and "Djibouti", accompanied by the melosa voice, in the best style of Ian [sic] Anderson of Yes; the voice being the best thing.

The end arrives next with "Final Affinity", which returns to progressive dyes of the beginning, this time with the inclusion of a variety of synthesizers and instruments as guitar and percussion under an appropriate environmental base for the occasion.

The first work of this American composer is approved, whom at the moment prefers not to be classified in a particular style, but to follow  in multifaceted footpaths.

- courtesy of Alexis L. Berman for Planeta Rock, Argentina (translated from the Spanish by Google)


...I love your sounds, the way you play your musics, all the instruments...the way you play your songs is really fantastic.

- courtesy Antonio Augusto Cesar Junior, FM radio, Belém Pará Brazil


Before making a step on the path of solo activity, Ellsworth Hall was a member of Logos Affinity. The 47-minute Aethellis contains five songs and one instrumental composition, all of which Hall composed and performed alone. With the exception of the 12-minute closing song on the album: Final Affinity, all of the other tracks are from 6 to 8 minutes in duration. The music on the first four songs here represents an instantly accessible keyboard-based Neo Progressive. With the exception of "Saint Augustus" (2), which is a banal Pop-Art song much in the vein of those by ELP in the 1990s, all of them feature the bright solos and passages of synthesizer and piano. Both of the last tracks on the album: "Djibouti" and "Final Affinity," the first of which is an instrumental piece, are about a lushly orchestrated, quite diverse, and tasteful Classic Symphonic Art-Rock. These two are the best tracks here, even though "Final Affinity" features a few themes and solos resembling those on Rick Wakeman's Myths & Legends.

- courtesy of Vitaly Menshikov for ProgressoR, Uzbekistan


... the songs are well played, the album is well produced and there is a degree of variety with some interesting ideas that [that] differentiate it from above other artists.

- the full review by Mark Hughes at The Dutch Progressive Rock Pages.


I find the production excellent and the mix a pleasure. I particularly like "St. Augustus," but then any song that can incorporate the word "exacerbate" has got my vote.

- courtesy of Robert Brun, Aire Apparent Studio


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excepting the above reviews, courtesy of the respective reviewers