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The Dave Foster Band - 'Nocebo' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/fd/0c/62/the-dave-foster-band-nocebo-26-1568966395.jpg Hot

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Don't let the "Progressive" label dissuade you – this impressive album needs to be experienced by everyone.

I've been a huge enthusiast of Dave Foster's work ever since I witnessed his superb guitar attributes whilst playing for Progressive Folk entity Mr. So & So. Since those days (almost a decade ago) Foster has undertaken a valued position within the ranks of The Steve Rothery Band as well as lending his expertise to Welsh Prog act Panic Room (the latter has sadly concluded due to his immense workload).

'Nocebo' (please look it up as my wordage restricts explanation) is the guitarist's third solo album; his debut 'Gravity' was released in 2010 and his superlative sophomore effort 'Dreamless' became my Number One Album in 2016. Regarding this latest venture, Foster told me, "It's music I wish already existed... as it didn't, we wrote (this) to fulfil that wish."

Foster has encapsulated individuals whose musical attributes are unimpeachable, and as a collective they fuse together majestically to produce a cornucopia of highly intelligent, melodic and thought-provoking Progressive Rock songs. So typical of Foster's self-effacing character, he encourages Dutch songbird Dinet Poortman (vocals), Leon Parr and Stuart Browne (drums), Yatim Halimi (bass) and Anthony Hindley (piano, organ) to stand front and centre, whilst the man himself consummately utilises guitars, keyboards and bass to cement a breathtaking soundscape.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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'Pata Dura' opens proceedings with such fervour, but it's not long until the sumptuous, ethereal vocals of Poortman temper the intensity; her narrativity in delivery commands full attention from the listener. A scintillating guitar break mid-track (apparently influenced by Tin Machine's Reeves Gabrels) emphasises just how outstanding Foster is when the shackles are removed. Further proof of his forceful fret-board dexterity can be witnessed on 'Anything', 'Eventually, Everything Connects' and the gargantuan 'Ghosts'. The latter has Foster on lead vocals; it's a position he still feels slightly uncomfortable about but believe me, his enchanting vocals are perfect for these types of songs and probably the fundamental reason why I totally engaged with his previous release 'Dreamless'.

Apart from the commercial catchiness of 'Counting Down The Days', the remaining tracks radiate a serenity that captivates and caresses. That's not to say 'Forfeit', 'Karma', 'Ephermeral', 'Glitch', 'From Within' and album closer 'All That Remains' are uninspiring, quite the opposite in fact. Cameo appearances from Steve Rothery ('Karma') and StillMarillion vocalist Martin Jakubski ('Anything') only enhance the already exquisite listening experience.

Don't let the "Progressive" label dissuade you – this impressive album needs to be experienced by everyone.

Dave Crompton

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