Fireworks

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Flaming Row - 'Elinoire' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/df/73/9d/1722_flamingrowelinoire_1323460239.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     December 09, 2011    
 
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It does your heart good when something this good pops into your world

I bought this CD on a whim after reading the brief description ascribed by the retailer on their web site suggesting that it’s in the style of Ayreon. That sentiment turns out to be pretty accurate too. The template is the same in that it’s a concept album with a plethora of vocalists (16 in total) being employed to bring to life the various characters and like Arjen Lucassen’s project the songwriting, melodies, hooks and music are all of the very highest order.

The brains behind Flaming Row are Kiri Geile and Martin Schnella who aside from creating the story, writing the music, lyrics, arranging the vocal harmonies also perform. The former provides one of the lead voices and most of the backing vocals whilst the latter is a multi-instrumentalist with guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals as well as banjo and mandolin. Instrumentally the core band is rounded out by Niklas Kahl (drums) and Marek Arnold (keyboards & saxophone) but with guest contributions coming from the likes of Gary Wehrkamp and Brendt Allman (Shadow Gallery), Billy Sherwood (World Trade, Yes, Yoso….); each of whom also appears as one of the vocalists.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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The CD consists of 18 tracks, some of which are quite short but elsewhere they spread their wings and create some mini epics, but aside from a couple of tracks all are superbly created, arranged and delivered. Getting the negatives out the way, ‘Do You Like Country Grandpa?’ is a banjo/mandolin instrumental in the style of the title and therefore does nothing for me, whilst ‘Rage of Despair’ has the sort of growling vocal delivery that I find particularly unedifying. Elsewhere the vocals are utterly splendid and I have to praise the quality of the arrangements and harmonies which are absolutely superb. The use of alternating female and male voices works really well and the song structures are fantastic with plenty of nice switches in tempo and style, the melodies are splendid and the many guitar solos are engaging and really tuneful.

Across the piece there are any number of influences one can spot, such as ‘Initiation Fugato’ with its Spock’s Beard style vocals and a capella section, whilst Dream Theater crops up every now and again, but in small doses so they don’t get drawn into the trap of copying.‘Watershed’ has a Queensrÿche feel to its opening; ‘Review’ has a superb guitar solo, redolent of Dave Gilmour (Pink Floyd). The album closes with the epic ‘A Place to Revive Your Soul’ which is split into 5 sections and features most of the vocalists. It builds beautifully and flows expertly bringing a very fine album to a splendid conclusion.

I often complain that it’s too easy for bands to put out albums these days and as such the quality of numerous releases that one sees each year leaves a lot to be desired, but it does your heart good when something this good pops into your world unexpectedly.

Gary Marshall

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