Fireworks

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A musician's band for musicians but equally enjoyable for the many Prog fans out there.

This album has been out for some time now but this Swedish Progressive Metal band are an unusual mix standing out amongst all the Melodic, Power, Neo-Classical and Symphonic Metal bands that populate this marvellous musical country. No less a talent than Andreas Novak, then recently of Mind's Eye, now of House Of Shakira, was rejected after an audition in favour of the hugely successful One More Time's Maria Radsten as members of Stockholm's Mercury Fang sought to form a new progressive band and chose to go in a female-fronted direction.

Kicking off with 'I Call Your Name' the progressive rhythms are immediate and Maria has a very strong soprano voice which she showcases impressively towards the end of the song as she hits stratospheric notes whilst the guitars are going arpeggio crazy! 'Life's Arena' reveals the complex drum patterns by Martin Larsson and the rhythmic riffing and cool lead breaks from guitarists Fredrik Glimbrand and Hakan Granat as the time changes oscillate between hard rocking fast paced to a much slower melodic tempo combined with intricate keyboard flurries from Jorgen Schelander.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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If you're looking for something more immediate then 'Something Better Change' offers a more positive slant riding on a melodic guitar refrain again with intricate keyboard and drum arrangements. It's not clear who's handling the lead guitar duties or whether they alternate but either Glimbrand or Granat indulge in some serious scales on the solo. 'In Or Out' is a mid-paced heavy style Rocker hinting at doom merchants Candlemass but with an intricate solo, whilst 'Day Of Retribution' I swear borrows the chorus melody line refrain from Cat Stevens' 'Matthew & Son'. Featuring a good riff on the intro morphing into a heavy riff refrain throughout, it's full of layered keyboards with a smooth vocal atop the lengthy piece running in at over nine and a half minutes – but some might argue that's a short song for a Prog band. Possible favourite I would guess is 'Sending Down An Angel' which hints at Dio-era Rainbow with its chord progressions, keyboard interplay and Maria's soaring vocals.

A musician's band for musicians but equally enjoyable for the many Prog fans out there.

Carl Buxton

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