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(72:04, Progressive Promotion Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Pre|Flection 2:08 2. Struggle and Agony 8:09 3. Yearning for Confraternity 7:03 4. Worried Citizens 9:21 5. Fear of Loss 6:16 6. First Disorder 7:21 7. Inferno 6:05 8. Last Horizon 3:22 9. Of Sheeps and Wolves 9:28 10. A Winter's Tale 9:54 11. Re|Flection 2:57 LINEUP: Gerd Albers - guitars, drums, vocals With: Peter Koll - spoken words, backing vocals Marek Arnold - keyboards, woodwinds Olaf Kobbe - vocals Stefan Drees - bass Martin Schnella - vocals, guitars Magdalena Buchel - vocals Matthias Bangert - bass John C. Mitchell - guitars Lars Begerow - vocals Jurgen Borchert - keyboards Matthias Becker - bass Markus Steffen - guitars Jessica Schmalle - vocals Hendrik Hottenbacher - keyboards Damaris Halbach - backing vocals David M. Scholtz - guitars Larry Brodel - vocals Johannes Hahn - backing vocals Volker Wichmann - backing vocals Stephan Pankow - guitars Melanie Mau - vocals Niklas Kahl - percussion
Prolusion. German venture PROJECT: PATCHWORK is the creative vehicle of composer and musician Gerd Albers. Following many years of work he released his debut album as Project: Patchwork in 2015, aided by a score of fellow musicians. Three years later we find this project signed to German label Progressive Promotion Records, who released the second album by this venture in the first half of 2018.
Analysis. It is amazing how people can grow with experience. Project: Patchwork documents this quite nicely indeed, as Gerd Albers have taken a step up the ladder quality wise with his second album on just about all levels. It is still a patchwork, with as many helpers involved as you'd find credited on your average Ayreon production but where the material is rather more widespread in style, tone and feel, but mix and production as well as small instrument details all help combine this into a production that does come across as more uniform than what you might expect. The progressive rock content here is what many would describe as borderline though. In terms of structure there are enough alterations in pace, intensity and change of themes and arrangements to make the progressive moniker stick, but the themes and arrangements themselves merits a taste for music that lives also outside of the progressive realms. Hard rock bordering heavy prog and vice versa are staples of this album, most often combined and alternating with gentler passages with more of a melodic rock orientation. Sophisticated at times aye, but with more melodic rock going on than what most would describe as progressive rock. Delicate sequences with more of a folk music orientation is a recurring feature throughout, as are parts that takes slight detours into metal territories, be it of a progressive variety or otherwise. Up to and including a charming romp through folk metal oriented pastures. That there are a few items at hand that hone in more on the ballad oriented landscapes also merits a mention. This is a patchwork project after all. One with more of a uniform touch to it than you'd expect, and of a better than decent level of quality as well, but still a patchwork project.
Conclusion. This is a venture I regard as one still in development, but it is developing nicely and to the point of now having the qualities needed to possibly entice a larger crowd. If you tend to enjoy music of the kind that resides on the borders between hard rock, progressive rock and folk music, Project: Patchwork's second album is one that merits an inspection. A few levels shy of the quality of the Ayreon's of this world, but a good and diverse album.
Progmessor: May 27th 2018
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