Forgotten Suns - Fiction Edge I (Ascent)


Year of Release: 2000
Label: Rock Symphony
Catalog Number: RSLN 044
Format: CD
Total Time: 70:26:00

One might think, with a name like Forgotten Suns, that this Portuguese prog rock band would maybe be Marillion clones. Well, you'd be wrong, but not by much. For as many Marillion-isms that are in their sound, the keys and guitar mainly, but also the vocals of Linx on occasion, there are also comparisons to Dream Theater, Saga, Jadis, Galahad, and Grey Lady Down. Plus there are some highly symphonic moments, Floydian moments, and maybe even bands I've not named. But perhaps the strongest comparison would be to mid-to-late 80s to mid-90s period Marillion (Clutching At Straws to Brave roughly, more so the latter), if Marillion had been a progressive metal band.

There comes a point during the album, "Routine," where Linx at first sounds like Fish, sometimes spitting out his words, but then, for the more emotional, soaring vocal passages, sounds more like Steve Hogarth. If anyone wondered what the two would sound like together ... here's an idea. It comes off very well. Though, more often than not, Linx sounds like Hogarth. Of course, there are passages of the music itself that are eerily like Brave. The guitar passages that begin in the instrumental "Rising" are one part Petrucci, one part Rothery - but of course more so of Rothery.

Their most beautiful moment is during the all too brief "Nature" where symphonic keys drive forward, accented by crystalline cymbal crashes. Stunning. Then, with rumbling thunder, "Child" begins, a gentle 2-minute piano led instrumental...well, if you discount a baby's crying as vocals. These are all subsections of "Creation Point," which concludes with "The Warning," a song that very well could be an Marillion outtake, it is so like the band.

Now, don't get me wrong. I really like this album, both because of and despite the similarities. It's done well enough that even the cliches seem fresh. The influences that run throughout are used for just the right effect. Fiction Edge I (Ascent) is concept piece about man's evolution starting with the Big Bang (in an instrumental track called "Big Bang" appropriately enough), ending...well, ending I'm not quite sure where. I'd say, perhaps, on the precipice of man's destruction. A great deal of the album is instrumental, which gives the band avenues in which to branch out, which, in turns, allows the members to stretch their wings. Ricardo Falcão can let his guitar sing, Johnny can drive his bass in big, fat twings and twangs (both often dabbling in metal crunch), Miguel Valdares can make lyrical keyboard patterns, while Nuno Sénica can hold everything together with his deft drumming. No faint praise this as each are accomplished musicians, despite their leaning towards another band's (somewhat abandoned) sound.

My favourite track is "Wartime" which is the track that best sums up who they are - Marillion-esque neo-prog with a metal edge. I like the call and response chorus, the whole way the track flows, and yet has a great deal of power and expression. And yet, "The Journey" which follows it, is one to sit back and go along for the ride - not a tour de force, but a varied and interesting...um...journey. There's one point where I did think of someone's specific piece of music - there is a build up about halfway through "The Journey" that never quite crests, but did make me think of Genesis' recent "Alien Afternoon." "The Journey" is the longest track by far at 21-plus minutes, but because it covers so much territory, it doesn't seem that long. At about 13 minutes in, we get the passages that will remind some of Dream Theater. What's interesting is how often you feel yourself building to something but at the last minute, the direction changes. You even get keyboard washes at one point - a rock version of Tangerine Dream - which segues in to some tinkling keyboard work that made me immediately think of Mannheim Steamroller (hmm, I've made that comment elsewhere in a unlikely place).

If you like any of the prog bands mentioned and don't mind the strong similarities then Forgotten Suns is a band you should investigate, as this is a strong debut.

Released by Rock Symphony under licence to Galileo Records


Tracklisting:
Big Bang (6:37) / Creation Point (6:23) / Rising (2:05) / Nature (1:08) / Child (1:28) / The Warning (2:02) / Wartime (7:43) / A Journey (21:20) / Arrival (1:20) / Routine (12:19) / Betrayed Part I (7:51)

Musicians:
Linx - vocals and backing vocals, piano (5)
Ricardo Falc?o - gutars; backing vocals (9)
Miguel Valadares - keyboards and synthesizers
Johnny - bass
Nuno S?nica - drums and percussion

Discography:
Fiction Edge 1 (Ascent) (2000)
Snooze (2004)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin PT

Added: December 1st 2000
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Score:
Artist website: www.forgottensuns.net
Hits: 859
Language: english

  

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