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(41:10; Glassville Records)
Bart Schwertmann is probably best known for being current frontman and lead singer of the legendary Dutch progressive rock band Kayak, and when Covid hit he decided to use his time wisely and finally undertake his own concept album where he provides bass, guitar and vocals. The only other person listed as being involved is producer Niels Lingbeek , and I get the impression there were multiple others who came in for sessions only. Given the band he normally fronts, it is no surprise there are prog elements in this, but they are very much of the neo variety as he often straddles that with melodic hard rock and sometimes moves “delicately” into metal. This is a very commercial album, and the stand out is definitely the vocals where Schwertmann shows why he is such an in-demand singer for rock operas, as he has a great range and has no issue staying on the note for lengthy periods of time – some of the screams on “Burning Down” are exceptional. There is not a lot of depth to this, it is an album to be enjoyed for what it is, and there is nothing wrong with that at all. Those looking for a Kayak-style album will be disappointed as this is far removed in many ways, with the only issue being that the quality of the material is not always up to the same high standard, with songs like “There’s A Place” feeling like a quite standard power ballad, with little going for it, but when Bart gets it right this album is an absolute delight. Definitely one for fans of melodic rock to listen to on Bandcamp prior to purchase.
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