Fireworks

Flag - 'Perihelion' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/4b/91/e4/1093_FlagPerihelion_1299867974.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 11, 2011    
 
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The creation of one of the most melodic and tuneful singers I have had the pleasure to encounter.

I receive a number of unsolicited promotional CDs each year, and there are usually a number that go on to really impress. However, none has ever made a greater and more positive impact upon me than this album by Flag - the creation of one of the most melodic and tuneful singers I have had the pleasure to encounter in any sub-genre of rock or metal music: Arthur Offen.

Arthur who? I hear many of you ask…and has been asked by music loving colleagues and friends who have visited my house in the last couple of months and been played some of this outstanding release. And there's the rub, really, for Arthur had his five minutes of (near) fame back in the 1980s with the American band Air Raid, whose self-titled album did nothing in their homeland but was something of an underground sensation in Europe. It is a curious but enjoyable mixture of prog and AOR and is well-worth tracking down.

But I digress…because what we have here is the third part of a tryptych from the restless imagination of a man who has never let the musical spirit ebb away, when so much else in his life has. First part, 'Across The Stars' was completed in 1994. It was another nine years before part two 'Book Of Conquest' was finished, and a further seven before the present album came to fruition. Now once again reunited with the old manager of Air Raid, Robin Conant, there is a new drive to ensure that Arthur's music reaches a broader audience, and I am more than happy to help the process via this review.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Anybody who loves big (and I mean HUGE!) choruses in melodic rock, combined with the most pomptastic keyboards-driven instrumentation imaginable will find a natural solace in the music of Flag. It is most certainly a magnum opus, having the grandeur and vision of the very best stage musicals, but confined within the parameters of a small plastic disc (well, that's how the version I have is contained!) And then there's the voice of Arthur Offen that carries the music aloft. His is a crystal clear voice (comparisons with that of Elton John have been made, and I can detect the reasons for this), mellifluous and warm – full of expression and conviction as he sings the collection of twelve songs on 'Perihelion' whose lyricism is a million miles away (or more) and yet as down home as you want them to be!

There is nothing even remotely approaching what is referred to as 'filler' here – just one killer song after another tumbling out of the speakers. This is not the time to elaborate further, but I plan to explore the Flag trilogy with Arthur for a future feature either in Fireworks Magazine or on the Rocktopia website (or both). For now, kindly go and investigate the phenomena of which I write so warmly, by visiting www.arthuroffen.com - and if you disagree with my effervescent enthusiasm, I will be – frankly - amazed!

Paul Jerome Smith

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