by Metal Reviews
Wait......didn't I just review the latest CD, BRIDGE, by this band a few weeks ago? It was their latest release until this one, FLESH, which is due out mid October sometime. Both Bridge and Flesh were in fact recorded at the same time with plans to release both of them together, or as a double CD package. The record company was so impressed by the quality of each one that they decided to release them separately, a few months apart, giving each one its much deserved attention.
This one, Flesh, continues in the same vein as the Bridge album except that the overall sound and feel of this album is much more softer and orchestrated with lush vocal harmonies and beautiful, moving melodies which are accented on a couple of songs by some very vibrant female vocals. The more I hear of this band, the more impressed I am with them. Oliver Philipps has a truly amazing voice for this style of music. It's clarity and emotion along with very story-like lyrics, paint visual tapestries in your mind. His voice has the uniqueness of Greg Lake from Emerson, Lake and Palmer, but also the charismatic style of Peter Gabriel (Genesis-era) and Fish (ex-Marillion). This band really has a flair for writing extremely well structured songs, with great memorable choruses. The arrangements are simply amazing, blending rich textured keyboard orchestration and piano with some very emotional, and powerful lead guitar, with a solid and very tight rhythm section. Right from the first notes, whether it be a very moving ballad or a more mid-tempo heavier song, each track very quickly establishes a mood, drawing the listener into the song and capturing your interest right until the end. The production is so clear and crisp on their albums that they sound like they're performing right next to you.
Almost all the tracks on this release are more laid back with a more of a power ballad style, with the exception of the opening track, And Still It Bleeds and the title track, Flesh. While maintaining the rich orchestrated sound, And Still It Bleeds rocks a little harder with some chunky guitar rhythms and a more pounding drum style. The catchy choruses are still there as well as some great powerful lead guitar. The title song Flesh is a 13 minute epic and alternates between a very moving and rich melodic sound for the first half before launching into some very abstract, almost grungy heavy passages with some very distorted and aggressive vocals. Oliver Philipps provides some stunning Michael Schenker or Joe Satriani like leads on this track with some amazing sustain and vibrato.
Already Dead and The River both feature vocal duets with male and female voices. Already Dead, although it uses electronic drums (hate 'em!!), quickly develops into a hauntingly beautiful and very unique power ballad. The River is a more piano-based ballad with some heavier parts at the end. The female voices really add warmth to both songs and is very effective in the storytelling aspect of this bands lyrics.
I still think Bridge is a better album. Flesh, although continuing the same degree of excellence, finds the band exploring their more softer side. I haven't heard any band lately that can combine elements of classic bands such as Genesis, Yes, Pink Floyd and Marillion with a very melodic vocal style, as this band does, to produce an amazingly catchy and infectious brand of progressive hard rock. This band has adopted the philosophy that simple, very well written melodies will capture the listener much more than a lot of senseless self-indulgent soloing. The voices, piano and guitar on this release produce some of the most heart-felt and touching music that I've heard in quite a while (we all need to unwind sometime!!!). If you're a progressive rock fan or just love wonderful melodies packaged into extremely well written and arranged songs, check this band out, they are one of the best there is right now in this genre.
80 / 100