[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS
TRACK LIST: 1. Introduction 3:47 2. Restless and Wild 6:11 3. Victual Brothers 6:03 4. Gotland 5:53 5. Escaped 5:14 6. Mortal Symphony 6:40 7. Hexenkessel 8:39 8. Seven Deadly Sins 7:46 9. Orlog 4:10 10. Remember the Fallen 11:29 11. When the Last Bell Dies 8:30 12. Stortebeker 2:27 LINEUP: Frank Badenhop - guitars Mirko Gatje - bass Michael Wolpers - drums with: Bobby Ellsworth - vocals Peter Bekusch - vocals Andy Muller - vocals Stefan Kaiser - vocals Chris Pfeiff - vocals Becky Gaber - vocals David Defeis - vocals Henning Basse - vocals Ronnie Romero - vocals John Gallagher - vocals Chris Boltendahl - vocals Udo Dirkschneider - vocals Andreas Geremia - vocals Karin Badenhop - flute, backing vocals Uschi Hertzberg - backing vocals Tim Schubert - backing vocals Joshua Hoffmann - backing vocals Inna Below - choir Elodie Boutitie - choir Anna Tagliabue - choir Tatyana Wolkow - choir Alexej Golubew - choir Reiner Lemke - choir Sebastian Teubert - choir Sergej Iwanow - choir Michael Urowski - choir Ben Eller - guitars Iago Petroso - guitars Eric Scheufele - guitars Eric Wirsing - guitars Jennifer Batten - guitars Axel Rudi Pell - guitars Giulia Marta Vallar - guitars Giuseppe Ricciolino - guitars Ivan Mihaljevic - guitars Victor Smolski - guitars Dr. Viossy - guitars Tamas Petro - guitars Julia Kosterova - guitars Nita Strauss - guitars Charlie Parra - guitars John Norum - guitars Andy James - guitars Juan M. Varona - guitars Gary Holt - guitars Brian Maillard - guitars Dethy Borchardt - guitars David T. Chastain - guitars Jeff Loomis - guitars Yiannis Padadopoulus - guitars Andreas Kowalzik - guitars Torsten Sauerbrey - guitars Katie Jacoby - violin Ally Storch - violin Sophia Herman - violin Manuela Hermann - violin Angelika Rusche-Gollnitz - violin Tina Guo - cello Carla Noa Ankermann - cello Didier Vaccaro - cello Uwe Kerstan - bass Tina Muller - oboe Ursula Pritz - oboe Dorte Thurich - clarinet Ernst Fischer - clarinet Thomas Hansen - clarinet Jorg Spix - bassoon Stefan Schoffer - horn Gabi Vogel - horn Manfred Rahn - tuba Sergej Lebedew - organ
Prolusion. German project FB1964 is the creative vehicle of composer and musician Frank Badenhop, who have released three full length albums under this moniker so far. "Stortebeker" is the second of those productions, and was self-released in 2017.
Analysis. FB1964 is a venture that relies upon a certain amount of guest musicians to tie all knots and ends together, supplementing the talents of a core foundation of musicians. In the case of this particular album, the cast and guest list is actually even more elaborate than what you'll find on an average Ayreon production, with plenty of familiar names from the metal circuit appearing at least once. The task at hand for all of them is to explore a concept, and on this occasion a historical one at that, revolving around the life of privateer Klaus Stortebeker. The chosen style on this album is good, old fashioned heavy metal, with both feet well set back in the 1980's. Even back then metal could be a versatile style of music of course, which is showcased throughout this production, although we do not get too many creations of the short and snappy kind here. Five minutes and beyond is the main playtime, with the epic length 'Remember the Fallen' clocking in at just over 11 minutes as the most elongated affair. This choice of longer playtime gives room for variation within the different songs, with space for atmospheric laden openings, compositions that include slower paced, almost doom metal oriented excursions as well as more energetic power metal inserts, alongside folk metal tinged left turns, more hectic speed or thrash metal oriented passages and a wee bit of folk metal flavoring added in here and there. More majestic arrangements with symphonic backing is also a part of the totality here. In sum, we get an album that document quite nicely the versatility of traditional heavy metal as a genre. With a massive ensemble involved, this album strikes me as being something of a traditional heavy metal alternative to ventures such as Ayreon, exploring a story using multiple voices and a lot of musicians spicing things up, expanding upon the talents of a core band foundation that contribute throughout. Which I guess serve multiple purposes: On one hand it allows a greater talent pool to contribute and thus expands the boundaries and provides variation, but also possibly expands the interest base of the end product. The main challenge, of course, is to utilize all these different assets while also maintaining a sure and certain general style and sound. For me FB1964 succeeds in sounding cohesive in those departments, and the album experience is one I'd describe as professional on all levels. That being said, this isn't an album that manage to knock me over with sheer brilliance either. A good album, but possibly one with more of a niche appeal.
Conclusion. Dedicated fans of traditional heavy metal in just about all of it's variations will find a lot to enjoy on FB1964's second studio album "Stortebeker". A solid album through and through, made with a rock opera approach featuring numerous guest musicians combining their talents to explore a historical concept in some detail. Perhaps not a production that will have a strong appeal beyond traditional heavy metal fans though, but for those who are easily charmed by 80's style heavy metal this should be a really enjoyable production.
Progmessor: September 29th 2019
[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]