Cancer Conspiracy "Ω"

Four years ago, Vermont’s the Cancer Conspiracy recorded tracks for their follow-up to 2002’s critically acclaimed The Audio Medium. Their eventual dissolution shelved its release, but now those recordings are finally compiled as "Ω” — a fitting title, since it’s the band’s posthumous swan song. Eight songs, each titled by Roman numerals, ebb and flow over the listener with cresting progressions and limpid chords, and drummer Greg Beadle fully grounds the festivities with his Peart-/Bruford-esque polyrhythms. A honking, Foreigner-like sax erupts in "I,” and guitarist Daryl Rabidoux ekes out the thorniest prog riffs in "II” and "III.” "IV” is the mellow complement to the cathartic squonk of "V,” the latter a cross between Don Caballero and King Crimson. The placid piano of "VI” echoes like early Pink Floyd, while "VII” builds up a Rush-like force that’s expertly expanded in closer "VIII.” "Ω” is easily the Conspiracy’s finest moments, and it’s heartbreaking that the band’s not around to see it. Genius of this stature has always nudged bands out of early retirement, so maybe the Cancer Conspiracy might still enjoy days in the invisible sun. (Radar)