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Final Conflict - 2009 - "Another Moment in Time"

(96 min DVD, Metal Mind Records)

TRACK LIST:                   

1.  Solitude
2.  Stand Up
3.  The Following
4.  Miss D' Meanour
5.  Stop
6.  Rebellion
7.  Can't Buy Experience
8.  All Alone
9.  The Janus
10. Waiting for a Chance
11. Extra material 


Andy Lawton – guitars; vocals
Brian Donkin – guitars; vocals
Steve Lipiec – keyboards 
Henry Rogers – drums 
Barry Elwood – bass 

Prolusion. UK act FINAL CONFLICT was founded in 1985 by Andy Lawton and Brian Donkin and issued its debut album, “Redress the Balance”, in 1991, following a few cassette only productions. However, various personal and business happenings hampered their creative output. While their second album was released in 1992, it would take 5 years before their third production was available – this due to Dutch label SI Music going bankrupt shortly after signing them. Other events slowed down subsequent releases by the band, particularly when drummer Chris Moyden died in 2005 due to cancer. Bassist Chris Chalk left the band sometime after this as well. However, with the recruitment of the young, up-and-coming rhythm section of Henry Rogers and Barry Elwood they carried on, and the release of "Another Moment in Time" marks the first chapter of a new beginning for this fine band.

Analysis. It's hard to ignore such a colorful background story as this band’s – and, even when only scratching the surface, there seem to be enough peculiar events in their past to warrant a book at some point in time. Not dramatic as such though - successive encounters with bad luck is probably a better overall description. Founding members Lawton and Donkin fill in some further details in the interviews on this DVD, which should be interesting, as well as explaining questions that may arise – like why this band isn't known better than it is. After watching this DVD, there's no doubt in my mind that this band deserves to reach a larger audience. Musically, they come across as a neo-progressive version of Wishbone Ash in many respects. The compositions are guitar-driven, venturing in hard rock territory at times, yet always maintaining the atmospheric elements that are such a central characteristic of vintage Neo. With two lead guitarists on board, though, we're offered a nice variety of guitar soloing, as well as some neat examples of harmony soloing. The latter trait, combined with two vocalists that share duties to offer variety in that department as well as providing dual harmony vocals, makes me think of good, old Wishbone Ash when listening to this act. Apart from these similarities, of course, the stylistic expressions of the two bands are vastly different. Lipiec adds textures with his keys, and, while not too dominating, on these excursions his output gets to have the centre stage on occasion, since the keyboards are vital to the overall sound of this act. The recently formed rhythm partnership of Rogers and Elwood is energetic and inspired, adding a freshness and vitality to the performance and the sound that is inspiring to behold. When that is said, Final Conflict is an experienced live act rather than an entertaining one. There aren't many antics to spot while these guys play; the musical performance commands their full attention and isn't sacrificed for theatrics of any kind. It's also apparent that this line-up has many concerts under its belt by now. They know what to do and how to do it - there isn't any lack of self-confidence to be seen throughout the concert, which, at least for me, is intriguing in itself. Overall this is a good live performance and, as those familiar with previous DVDs made by Metal Mind Productions can testify, they have an experienced crew handling all aspects needed to create a live DVD such as this one in the best manner possible. Audio footage is of excellent quality, the video footage is captured by several cameras offering gliding panorama shots of the stage, as well as close-ups of the individual band members and quite a few varieties in between those - all edited and assembled in a quality package. The main drawback of this particular venture is that it is a bit on the short side.

Conclusion. "Another Moment in Time" is the first DVD by Final Conflict, and as such it should be of interest to all fans of that act who would like to see and own such a product. Followers of neo-progressive rock are another key audience for this venture, and those intrigued by watching an experienced live act should also find this intriguing. The DVD is somewhat short, but apart from that there are few negatives to be found here - as long as the stylistic expression of this band is to your liking.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: September 12, 2009
The Rating Room

Related Links:

Metal Mind Records
Final Conflict


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