Heart, healing, and humanity have always been at the center of United Progressive Fraternity, with their goal of spreading connectedness and understanding across the world permeating everything they’ve done. Never before has their trademark synthesis of vibrantly sophisticated instrumentation and captivatingly meaningful songwriting felt as rewarding and resonant as on Planetary Overload, Part 2 – Hope, the spacious conclusion to the trilogy that began with 2014’s Fall in Love with the World and continued with 2019’s Planetary Overload, Part 1 – Loss.
Like its predecessors, the band explain, Hope “focuses on the problems we are already beginning to encounter on a troubled planet and expected to face with increasing severity in the future”; consequently, it encourages listeners to take “immediate positive action to mitigate those effects to ensure humanity’s survival. After all, Hope is a conscious choice. We are awake to the adversity we face (specifically regarding fair treatment of Earth and its inhabitants), yet we choose optimism over despair.”
Once again produced and led by vocalist/songwriter Mark Truey Trueack (Unitopia) and multiinstrumentalist/songwriter Steve Unruh, Hope further embraces the “Fraternity” in UPF by incorporating the talents of over three dozen of today’s most renowned and skilled progressive rock artists. From prior collaborators (such as Christophe Lebled, Nick Magnus, Charlie Cawood, Steve Hackett, Colin Edwin, Lisa Wetton, and Hasse Fröberg) to exciting newcomers (such as Rachel Flowers, Ryo Okumoto, Jonas Reingold, Tommy Murray, and even Unitopia co-founder Sean Timms), the LP undoubtedly features UPF’s greatest line-up to date.
“We collated a list of superb, likeminded prog rock magicians for this final installment of the Love/Loss/Hope trilogy. We feel progressive rock is at its best when there’s a strong message,” Progrock.com’s Essentials’ Mark Monforti reflects.
On that note, celebrated visual artist Ed Unitsky (Unitopia, The Tangent, Manning, Jon Anderson) returns, too, ensuring that the artwork for Hope is just as colorful and inspirational as the music it represents.
Clocking in at approx. two hours in length, Hope is also the group’s most dynamic, expansive, and profound creation thus far. From the rousing lyricism, hooky choruses, and majestically adventurous timbres of lead single “Love Never Leaves Us” to the Led Zeppelin-esque aggression of “Homosapien” and the divine splendor of penultimate gem “Hymn of Hope,” the record is a tour-de-force of exquisite musicianship, spellbinding melodies, and perhaps most importantly, life-affirming messages.
From start to finish, Hope signifies not only an exhilarating new chapter for UPF, but an essential experience for progressive rock aficionados and the world at large. As the band proudly proclaim, “the entire planet needs to hear this album!”
Planetary Overload, Part 2 – Hope releases on July 15th, 2023!. Pre-orders for the 3-LP vinyl edition and triple CD edition—the latter of which includes a bonus collection by Trueack, Unruh, and Lebled as The Romantechs—start on April 22nd, 2023 (Earth Day) via Progrock.com’s Essentials (https://essentials.progrock.com).
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