Fireworks

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Lion Shepherd - 'Hiraeth' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/fc/b0/de/Lion-Shepherd-Hiraeth-43-1462905515.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     May 10, 2016    
 
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A fine collection of songs, well written and certainly well arranged with plenty to hold the attention.

I was almost put off by this band's terrible name and nearly declined this review, but I'm pleased I relented because this turns out to be a rather agreeable debut.

Put together by Kamil Haider (vocals) and multi-instrumentalist Mateusz Owczarek, they have also enlisted the help of other specialist players, notably of various Middle Eastern instruments. In fact, when I listened to the opening of the album (and prior to reading the promotional blurb) my initial impression was that the band may have been from that area of the world; however, as matters progress the European Neo-Prog elements emerge. By way of comparison, I give you Polish compatriots Riverside, Believe, Collage and Germany's RPWL.

'Fly On' starts with what I believe is a refrain played on the oud which is joined by wailed vocals before the acoustic guitar joins the party and we move into more familiar territory. 'Lights Out' is a mid-paced number that is wonderfully arranged with lots of really subtle synth touches and a Hammond Organ that creeps into the picture in brilliant fashion; the acoustic guitar solo is terrific.

'Brave New World' explodes onto the scene and blows away any thoughts the band are going to be stuck in a rut and one-paced, which is sometimes an issue with this type of Modern Prog. The verses are restrained and punctuated by heavier, grittier choruses; again the guitar solo is extremely tasty.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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'Music Box Ballerina' has an ominous feel until the harmonica solo, which is a big no-no from my perspective. 'I'm Open' is a little ponderous and only comes to life towards the end with a wonderful bass motif and yet another fine guitar solo. 'Past In Mirror' features a fine acoustic refrain that fair races along when compared to the track that preceded it. The electric guitar also provides more splendid accentuations.

'Wander' is my album highlight; it starts like a Mostly Autumn or Panic Room acoustic song and builds rather nicely until the guitar weaves its magic once more; the soloing is absolutely delightful. The title of 'Infidel Act of Love' rather sets the scene for its content as it's back to the ethnic sounds with the amalgamation of Middle Eastern and Western sounds while 'Smell Of War' really embraces those Middle Eastern themes which are overtaken by some Metal guitar and occasional screamed vocals. 'Strongest Breed' closes out the album with its innovative guitar refrain on the verses and some fine riffage on the chorus.

This won't feature in any "Best Of" polls but nonetheless this is a fine collection of songs, well written and certainly well arranged with plenty to hold the attention.

Gary Marshall

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