Flamborough Head - Defining The Legacy
Year of Release: 2000
Catalog Number: CYCL 096
Total Time: 56:10:00
Recorded a mere three years later in the same "studio Giekerk," Dutch band Flamborough Head have delivered a very mature album with its second Cyclops release Defining The Legacy. Based upon the bad relationship between singer Siebe Rein Schaaf and his father, the music highlights the keyboards, which might be one of the reasons why this album is, in at the same time, the final album for guitarist André Cents.
The title track really is an album in itself, containing wonderful piano parts and a strong variety in rhythms and atmospheres, focusing a lot on the keyboards. At times the vocals are in a way remeniscent of James LaBrie although lacking the power which is so typical for the latter. Great synths introduce ?House Of Cards? and the way Edo Spanninga approaches his keyboards reminds me of Willem Ennes and his great band Solution, whilst snippets of Greenslade shine through as well. Throughout the album you?ll hear mellotron, Hammond organ and piano ? all coming from the GEM Equinox synth workstation, which works with samples, plus the Roland JV880. So this proves once again that you don?t need to have the real McCoy to hit the right sound! ?House Of Cards? really is a bombastic piece of fine symphonic rock, but could do wonders when backed by a huge classical orchestra, but then again one has to be aware of the budget! ?Garden Of Dreams? opens very jolly, backed by some intensive drumming from Koen "the big man" Roozen before silence sets in and a solitary piano leads us to yet another great melody. In this long track guitarist, André Cents gets his fair share of riffs and solos galore, whilst Edo sneaks in a mean Wakeman kind of a synth solo that makes this a song which holds the middle between Camel and Galahad. In ?Assassin? the pure symphonic contents are extra emphasized by means of lush orchestral sounds, whilst the melody contains some slight Arabic influences. Again some nice interaction between guitar and synths sounding almost like a duel.
The intro for ?Impulse? holds a very short medieval sidestep before the rhythmic feel changes very quickly from uptempo to ballad, all in a matter of seconds. Again some great synths and creative drumming in order to lead the song in the right direction, even throwing in some hard guitar riffs and Siebe-Rein singing as if his life depends on it. Strange as it may seem but this singing kind of reminds me of the Scorpions, a band who always was very strong at composing powerful ballads. Totally unexpected (isn?t this the definition of progressive rock?) a playful melody is introduced which puts together Kayak with Greenslade. Strange as it may seem but ?Bridge To The Promised Land? appears also on the band?s very first demo tape ever. Way back then it was a simple rocker, whereas now the band has worked extensively on a new arrangement adding a lot of orchestral sounds and violin. Sadly the violin is once again a sample and yet the owner of the "Giekerk" studio is an accomplished violinist, so why the hell not go for the real thing? Don?t get me wrong here, Edo does a marvelous job into tuning his keyboards exactly like a real orchestra, but as is the case with every instrument, you can?t beat the real thing! Although it?s not mentioned, the song closes with a huge applause but I bet this one was never recorded before a live audience and the rightly applause comes once again from a sample. The album closes with the instrumental ?Mind Sculpture? yet another Spanninga composition where, of course, all his keyboards shine in all their glory, giving enough room for André Cents to put in his final guitar solo as well. If you like, there?s a slight pinch of vintage BJH to be found here.
Fact is, a lot of the instruments back each other throughout the entire recording, which makes for a fuller sound, more complex if you like, but certainly marks a great improvement for the band. Now let us all burn a candle and pray so that they might soon find a decent replacement both on guitar and on vocals because with a superb album like Defining The Legacy up their sleeve, the ball has just started rolling. A great legacy indeed from one of the leading contemporary melodic, symphonic bands, something to treasure for years to come!
Defining The Legacy (11:15) / House Of Cards (9:16) / Garden Of Dreams (12:35) / Assassin (9:07) / Impulse (11:17) / Bridge To The Promissed Land (6:37) / Mind-Sculpture (7:58)
Siebe Rein Schaaf - vocals, keyboards
Edo Spanninga - keyboards
Koen Roozen - drums
Marcel Derix - bass
Andr? Cents - guitars
Bridge To The Promised Land (1994) (EP)
Unspoken Whisper (1998)
Defining The Legacy (2000)
One For The Crow (2001)
Tales Of Imperfection (2005) )
Live In Budapest (2008)
Looking For John Maddock (2009)
Genre: Neo Prog
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