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(42:34, Black Widow Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Falling in another Dimension 2:57 2. My Gladness after Sadness 9:39 3. It Will Be the End 5:26 4. Good Is Evil 5:30 5. The Race of My Life 5:19 6. Antarctica 5:51 7. Scream and Die 7:35 LINEUP: Daniel Elvstrom – vocals Marco Olivieri – guitars Andrea Fazio – drums Ivan Giribone – bass Andrea Sgarlato – keyboards
Prolusion. The Italian band FLOWER FLASH was formed in 2005. However, “Duck in the Box” is only their first release. The CD press kit says that the musicians wanted to create a band of a totally original style, but without rejecting influences of some major prog rock bands from the past and the present, such as Genesis, Yes, Uriah Heep, Kansas, IQ, Marillion, Dream Theater, Porcupine Tree, Magellan, Spock's Beard and Riverside, which sounds contradictory, doesn’t it?
Analysis. There are seven tracks here, ranging from three to nine-and-a-half minutes, all of them featuring vocals, predominantly with lyrics in English. Disc opener Falling in another Dimension is the shortest of them. Both vocal-heavy and straightforward, it reminds me much more of an AOR song than a progressive one. Perhaps it was designed as a kind of hit single, since the rest of the album is considerably more varied musically, bringing together conventional Neo Prog and vintage-like Pomp Rock on all of the other tracks (I won’t list them here), on most of them along with elements of either symphonic Hard Rock or Neo Prog-Metal. To my ears, the main bulk of material here evinces noticeable influences of two bands, Styx and Saga, but without the compositional and technical skill of either of those. The music is only barely stylistically and/or structurally inventive, and at times we’re even subjected to the usual rock radio riffs and the banal lyrical contents. The strengths of it are largely the guitar playing which, especially on the solos (both electric and acoustic), has a nice tone and a sure hand. The work of keyboards is more Neo-oriented in nature, emphasized for the most part on bright synthesizer solos. The bass playing is competent, whereas the drumming is pretty simplistic and is a bit awkward in places, despite the fact that none of the tracks contain sudden turns in direction. My favorite compositions are My Gladness after Sadness and Antarctica, both of which are notable for their inventive passages of acoustic guitar (those interwoven with massive arrangements included), and which contain comparatively few singing. It Will Be the End, which uses congas in places, has some remarkable-sounding moments too. The other tracks are richer in vocals-based moves (some of which are performed without the lack of respect for standard rock structure) than in instrumental sections – the ones that really allow the band to shine. In other words, neither of them is an overblown sympho-fest, though at this point I wouldn’t mind if they were. They’re light, easy on the ears, and the melodies are bright, occasionally flashy. Thankfully, the singer (who trained at a professional music school) has a very nice range and is a very decent vocalist, albeit his English isn’t 100% perfect. Some of the songs feature lyrics in both English and Italian, though.
Conclusion. The band is obviously not setting out to change the world of Neo Prog – they simply make their own contribution to the genre. Nonetheless, those who prioritize rock music more based in melody than in details will likely find the album a solid success.
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