Fireworks

Silhouette - 'Across The Rubicon' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/ff/91/b7/Silhouette-22-1372945929.jpg Hot

Added by James Gaden     July 04, 2013    
 
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'Across The Rubicon' is an absolute winner.

The name Ed Unitsky is fast becoming synonymous with wonderful artwork and his commissions will surely increase once others have seen his magnificent and stylish work here. So, with expectations heightened by its packaging, what of the music contained within this third album from the Dutch prog quartet? In a nutshell, it is sumptuous prog rock with a dramatic, symphonic sheen, embellished by a fantastic, warm, production and all wrapped up in superb lead and harmony vocals, courtesy of no fewer than three members of the band.

While 'Across The Rubicon' does not present anything startlingly fresh or different across its 58 minutes duration (and "hooray for that" I can hear many prog rockers exclaiming!) – its heavily keyboard-laden approach bringing to mind any number of the genre's heavy hitters – exudes so much panache, belief and grandiose style that even the most curmudgeonly and demanding fan of the genre could not help but be impressed.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Starting with the relatively brief title track, the clear, emotional vocals and symphonic underpinning is a clear indication of what is to follow. 'Breathe' is the first of three eleven minute juggernauts, and its multi-layered keys, strident guitars and impassioned vocals (keyboardist Erik Laan's sole vocal spotlight) are a winning combination. 'Empty Places' is an oh-so-wonderful ballad and drummer Jos Uffing's vocals simply sublime, and is a "hit 'repeat' button immediately" track! 'When Snow's Falling Down' maintains the atmosphere, guitarist Brian de Graeve vocalising here on another amazing song, and one of several redolent of Asia at their best. The children's choir towards the end is utterly inspired! The fascinating, lengthy 'Anybody' moves through distinct phases, each highlighting different keyboards and is a veritable tour-de-force. 'Grendel Memories' (Marillion anybody?) is another really great song, as smooth as silk, with delicious keyboard textures and flourishes and superb de Graeve vocals. 'Nothing' brings Uffing to the mike for a last time, and his impassioned approach is perfect for this lyrically acerbic song. Final epic ('Don't Stop This Movie') wraps up the album in spectacular fashion, and had me grinning from ear to ear as each section unfolded: and is the epitome of how special prog rock can be at its zenith.

I have no hesitation in recommending this classy album unreservedly. Featuring great compositions and quality performances encompassing huge melodies and instrumental prowess, 'Across The Rubicon' is an absolute winner.

Paul Jerome Smith

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