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(53:41, Progressive Promotion Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Ticket 8:08 2. Sole Survivor 7:24 3. Shapeshifter 6:15 4. The Cube 4:40 5. Lift Me Up, Down by the Seaside 5:02 6. Always 5:27 7. Lost in Time, Like Tears in Rain 4:40 8. Calculated Risk 3:40 9. The Man Who Played God 8:25 LINEUP: Hanspeter Hess - keyboards, programming Chris Grundemann - keyboards, guitars, bass, programming Dominik Wimmer - drums, guitars, keyboards Markus Roth - keyboards, guitars, bass, programming With: Matthias Klingner - bass Claus Flittiger - guitars
Prolusion. German foursome FORCE OF PROGRESS is a new player on the progressive rock scene, consisting of four composers and multi-instrumentalists with a solid past behind them as individual artists or band members. The band was formed only last year, and tey released their debut album "Calculated Risk" in the spring of 2017.
Analysis. One aspect about this new band I did wonder about after listening to the album, and even more so after reading the credits, is how much of a band effort this album actually is. Unless the credits and liner notes have been set down in an exceedingly clumsy manner, it would appear that most of the compositions basically are the material and performance of the main composer, with one or more of the band members adding some details here and there. If that is the case, this may explain a lot about this production. This is one of those albums that comes across as somewhat aimless and bewildering. We are treated to a fine, beautiful opening track that in my view close in rather well on the symphonic progressive rock landscapes, complete with an impressive keyboards presence. Next up is a threesome of dark, vibrant and very well made progressive metal creations, with the raw nerve and dark moods that I tend to really enjoy in excursions of this particular type. Foot tapping and instantly likeable, even the slight odd duckling called The Cube, whose mood, execution and overall sound does differ a bit from the two tracks before it. But after this, the album experience degrades a bit. From classic 70's hard rock affair with symphonic embellishments to more metal, neo progressive rock and arguably more symphonic progressive rock as well. All of them creations with some fine details here and there, but also with some flaws, at least in my subjective opinion. Some doesn't really seem to be developed into coherent compositions, but rather gives me as a listener a jigsaw puzzle experience. Others are too slow, or lack those finer details that elevates the overall experience. Most of them sounds like material penned by and performed by different people than the ones active on the opening four tracks as well. None of these tracks are weak as such, but none of them manage to bring home a sense of greater fulfillment either. As an album experience, this one is pretty much like starting out with dessert and getting full on that, and then having to continue with the meal itself. And then a different meal that what suits the opening dessert.
Conclusion. The opening four cuts on this album, and then in particular the threesome of progressive metal tracks that makes out the last three of those, is a good reason to get familiar with this album. The additional five compositions are, in my view at least, material that have a more limited reach. A key audience in my book would be people that enjoy progressive rock just as much as progressive metal, and then ones that appreciate the skills and sound of an instrumental band at that.
Progmessor: October 29th, 2017
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