Progressive rock came and went some 20 years ago, but someone forgot to tell No Brass. This six-man outfit from Brecksville, which includes guitarist Steve Ronyak, guitarist Dave Zuppert, guitarist Dirk Garman, bassist Erol Somer, bassist Dave Kovacs, and singer-drummer Mike Kovacs, formed over three years ago as a studio project for Mike Kovacs. The Crowning of the Sun represents the band's first release and was produced by Mike Kovacs, who also wrote and arranged all the songs. Because the band never plays live, it has samples of all nine songs on this album available on its website (www.nobrassmusic.com) -- but one listen to the noodling guitars and pretentious vocals will convince you that this group's obsession with technique doesn't have much going for it.
While the complex time changes and gritty guitars of "Roll on People" suggest No Brass's musical abilities are more sophisticated than those of most acts, Mike Kovacs isn't able to communicate on an emotional level. In "Roll on People," he gripes about "hyperactive rock stars," "tax-evading lawyers," and "domestic violent teachers" -- it's never clear exactly what his issue is, and the song not only has a problem with semantics, but also reveals Kovacs's inability to communicate with any sense of clarity. When he writes ballads about warriors from the Middle Ages ("The Death of a Drone") and kings trapped in their castles ("The Castle Dweller"), Kovacs evokes the most embarrassing moments of '70s acts such as Rush and Jethro Tull, which, in the attempt to incorporate myth and lore into their lyrics, provided the inspiration for spoofs like Spinal Tap.
Occasionally, No Brass takes a jam-oriented approach, breezing through a funk/metal intro to "True Passion" and stretching out "The Castle Dweller" with complicated guitar solos. But it's all so self-indulgent, it'll make you thank God that these guys never leave the studio. -- Niesel