Fireworks

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Condition Red - 'Condition Red' / 'II' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/13/54/a5/Condition-Red-Condition-Red-4-1446065049.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     October 28, 2015    
 
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What a difference three years makes.

What a difference three years makes. This is like the second series of 'The Wire' taking the focus on different characters entirely, only not as good. Lars Eric Mattson had it all going on in the 2000 debut, with help from Derek Sherinian and a real link to the fusion that good Prog effortlessly provides. By 2003, the shorter songs on the follow up had produced traces of ho and also hum.

A bit like Bon Jovi, their early work is much more preferable. It's a swirling stew of stirring sounds, Torgny Sjarnfelt sounds like a musical theatre actor, perky classical stuff sets the tone, a guitar solo bursts out, it is raced by a soulful organ, Sherinian, Alex Masi and Mattsson weave in and out, there is so much here that if you don't like something, another thing will be along on a minute. And 'Judgement Day' goes even further, as a sax runs the halls, fusion and filmic all at once, with the off kilter fun of A.C.T and a plaintive solo enjoying the clamour all around.

This is real Progressive music, laughing at boundaries, frowning at expectation; the almost chart sensibilities of 'Fly Me High', the massive instrumental build of 'Lighthouse', the Hammond and guitar duel of the Hammer Horror 'Learning To Live', this is long music with challenges and such a pot of gold at the end.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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By comparison, 'II' is what Ant and Dec are to Morecambe and Wise. The songs are shorter, violinist and vocalist Ella Grussner, so valuable on the debut, is more of a simple feature and the songs just lack that sense of majesty. They just sound like they've been told to pull themselves together; they have responsibilities, enough of this messing about. So 'Cycles' is just a soulless synth workout, the Folky whimsy in 'Time Passes By' is unwelcome, 'Rondo' is only a guitar workout and even Kate Bush is brought to mind in the chorus of 'Your Freedom'. There are patches of excellence; a funky, New Romantic sounding 'Seven Stars' (Japan are references) and several solos in the quick shot of 'In/Out'.

We get what we expect with 'II', whereas the beauty of the debut is that we never know what to expect. Condition critical by the end.

Steve Swift

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