CD Reviews

Brighteye Brison - 'The Magician Chronicles - Part 1' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     May 28, 2012    
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Definitely one of those bands to watch.

It’s a regular source of pleasure to me when discovering music by bands I’ve not previously heard of but also a point of frustration when discovering that said band’s been around for some while and I’d missed them. That’s the case with Brighteye Brison, yet another Progressive Rock band from Sweden, for whom this is their fourth album following their eponymous debut in 2003, ‘Stories’ (2006) and ‘Believers & Deceivers’ (B&D) two years later.

I acquired the two most recent albums based on a recommendation, and I’m rather glad I did. Truth be told B&D is a really good listen but probably shows some rather too obvious influences (Genesis, Moon Safari, The Flower Kings, Beardfish, Steely Dan, Spock’s Beard, A.C.T. to name a few) whereas the album under review indicates the band has taken a leap and developed a sound with fewer overt references to other bands.

For the record the band consists of Kristofer Eng (bass, Theremin, accordion, vocals), Per Hallman (keys, vocals), Erik Hammarström (drums), Linus Kåse (keys, sax, vocals) and Johan Öijen (guitars). In typical Prog style the album features just three tracks, the twenty three minute epic ‘The Rise of Brighteye Brison’, the twelve minutes ‘The Magician’s Cave’ and the relatively brief ‘Mind Fire Menace’ clocking in at only eight and a half.

I defy any fan of the genre not be captivated by the opening instrumental section of the first track with its synth refrains, bursts of guitar and a Hammond Organ of which Styx would be proud. When the multi-layered vocals arrive it’s clear that the band has an ear for melody and song arrangements, a trait shared by all those bands mentioned above. As you’d expect the track moves though a number of different phases and returning themes which keeps things interesting. There are some jazzy interludes that bring a pleasing edge to proceedings; I even like the saxophone that appears from time to time.

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The second track has a staccato opening before a proper rhythm is established; this is usurped by a complete change in style and a delightful vocal arrangement that brings A.C.T to mind. Like its predecessor there are a number of themes and style changes but the spoken section does hold up the momentum somewhat. Öijen gets an extended solo and matches the dexterity of his keyboard companions. The sax gets a bit too jazzy for my taste, but it’s a brief excursion. The closing track has a Beardfish feel to its opening section and A.C.T is again a reference point for the vocal arrangement, which is infectious. I’m not sure why but this track doesn’t push my buttons in the same way as the other two, not that it’s bad, but it doesn’t seem to flow as well and at certain stages it does plod a bit. A little editing might have helped.

Definitely one of those bands to watch, they seem to be improving with each release.

Gary Marshall

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