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Falkirk (France) - 2003 - "Magnus Imperium"
(55 min, Brennus - a division of Musea)

Track List:
1. Into the Flames 5:25 (Bonvalot / =, Fradet)
2. Calling 4:42 (Bodin / Bonvalot)
3. Conspiracy 5:07 (Bodin / Fradet)
4. Beware My Wrath 3:44 (Fradet / =)
5. One Fate 3:23 (Robalo / =)
6. Twilight Bride 6:11 (Bonvalot / =)
7. Empire For Legacy 8:35 (= / =)
8. Riot 4:57 (Bodin / Fradet)
9. Trial of Madness 7:24 (Fradet, Bodin / =, =)
10. It will Be Me 6:14 (Robalo / =)


Arnaud Bodin - guitars 
Alexandre Bonvalot - guitars
Stephane Fradet - vocals
Laurent Robalo - drums
Igor Zamolodtchikov - basses
Eric Verwaerde - keyboards

Produced by Falkirk.
Engineered & mastered by D Thery & Falkirk at "Terrific" St.

Preamble. "Magnus Imperium" is the second full-fledged album by the French band Falkirk. Their debut album, "The Day Will Come", was released in 2000. A Brennus Music ProGduction...

The Album. Not traditional, quite soft and melodious, but a hard-edged, diverse, and complex Prog-Metal with elements of Symphonic Art-Rock is what Falkirk is about overall. There are no instrumentals on this album, and here are the songs that are the representatives of the album's predominant stylistics: Into the Flames, Calling, Conspiracy, Beware My Wrath, Empire For Legacy, Riot, and Trial of Madness (1 to 4 & 7 to 9: seven tracks in all). For the most part, all of them consist of speedy and quite raw arrangements that, though, are accompanied either by solos of synthesizers, as on the first three songs on the album, or by passages of a string ensemble, as on all of the further tracks. Indeed, orchestral arrangements are present on most of the tracks on "Magnus Imperium", though they're by no means as flashy as those in the music of most of the traditional Prog-Metal bands. The contents of the remaining three songs: One Fate, Twilight Bride, and It will Be Me (5, 6, & 9) represent a fusion of Prog-Metal and Symphonic Art-Rock, and the alternation of heavy and soft musical textures is typical for all of them. These three are rich in different tempos, and also in features that, overall, are quite specific for this album. These are the passages of piano and solos of acoustic and semi-acoustic guitar, though Riot (8) features all of them as well. As for the parts of 'synthetic' instruments, some of which, by the way, sound incredibly realistic, the flute-like solos are featured on Twilight Bride and It will Be Me (6 & 10), and the clavier-like solos on Conspiracy (3). All of the musicians played on the album, are real virtuosos. Stephane Fradet sings without an accent, and his strong, a bit rough voice fits this music just excellently. Finally, I should mention that the songs on the second half of the CD are more diverse and intricate than those on the first half of it. Nevertheless, such distinctive progressive features as frequent changes of a musical direction and complex stop-to-play movements, done exclusively with the use of the odd meters, are typical for all of the songs on the album, without exceptions.

Summary. I am quite well familiar with the current international Prog-Metal movement (many of my reviews of the contemporary Prog-Metal related CDs are located > here). So I can assert that overall, the French Prog-Metal is currently much stronger than that in any of the other European countries, including the UK, Germany, Italy, and even Scandinavian states. As for Falkirk's "Magnus Imperium", this album comes highly recommended to those into early Fates Warning (1986 & 1988), early Pain of Salvation (1997 & 1998), classic Voivod (1988 to 1993), etc.

VM: March 3, 2003

Related Links:

Brennus Music
Musea Records


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