One of the unique positions writing reviews offers me is being able to discover new people and things. Like most everyone else, I can get caught up in my own day to day and ignore the new all around. I could go months listening to one artist or album or go months playing the same game without ever giving notice that there may be something else to discover. When Ozark Henry’s PR agency reached out to me to review his latest album, Paramount, I admit I had no clue who Ozark even was. I eagerly accepted the chance to have a listen to Ozark’s new album and throw my opinion at it.
The opening track “This Is All I Have” has a fluttery dreamy Harry Connick Jr. feel and showcases Henry’s vocals more than anything. It’s a soothing and serene opener not at all what I expected but still pleasantly surprised. “We Can Be Heroes” is a cover of the David Bowie classic with a close relation to Coldplay and Chris Martin’s vocal styling, probably one of my top tracks on the entire album. The National Orchestra of Belgium recorded this album with Henry and you can hear their mastery in this track. I really loved the orchestration combined with Henry’s voice, it married very well together.
“Grace” brings in that Chris Martin and Bono vocal style again with the dreamy nuances of Pink Floyd thrown in the music. A moody potpourri of mystery and wonder in musical form, “Grace” is a retrospective piece with powerful vocals. “Love Is Free To Interfere” begins with some fat strings and pops into a whimsical, playful and poetic vocal, very enjoyable. “Free Haven” is an exercise in orchestrated new progressive rock.
I would define Paramount as progressive rock, but not the progressive rock of the Pink Floyd days. Henry melds sounds of Floyd with Coldplay and U2 and others with his own mighty vocal range. Add in The National Orchestra of Belgium and you have a fat sounding progressive rock/pop album that was a pleasure to listen to. Henry is also proud that Paramount was recorded entirely in Auro-3D sound
This is only the second album of Ozark Henry’s to be released in the U.S., and what makes Paramount so exceptional is it was produced, mixed and mastered in Auro-3D® 9.1 immersive sound. Henry partnered with Auro Technologies in the production of the album because he wanted listeners to experience the record exactly as it sounded when it was recorded.
Overall I would say this is an album you should have a listen to, especially if you’re into the sound of Chris Martin, Bono and David Gilmour’s vocals. The music isn’t necessarily like the bands of those respective vocalists but The National Orchestra of Belgium provides some great music here. This isn’t a rock and roll your doors off album but it’s a lovely collection of tunes great to unwind with. Check out Ozark Henry’s website at the link below and pick up your copy of Paramount.