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(72:43, Progress Records)
Prolusion. ADVENTURE was formed in 1990 in the Norwegian city of Trondheim by experienced multi-instrumentalist Odd-Roar Bakken and guitarist Terje Flessen. After ten years spent perfecting their sound, as well as looking for a suitable lead vocalist, they released their self-titled debut album back in 2000, which was met with critical acclaim. "Beacon of Light", initially also self-released, is the band's sophomore effort. Adventure has now been picked up by Progress Records, with May 2009 as the album’s official release month.
TRACK LIST: 1. Something to Believe In-1 1:09 2. Something to Believe In-2 12:48 3. Something to Believe In-3 4:29 4. The Swan 8:50 5. A Crack in the Ice-1 3:51 6. A Crack in the Ice-2 6:58 7. Emilie's Piece 1:26 8. Fragile Frame 7:10 9. Joybringer 2:15 10. Beacon of Light-1 1:18 11. Beacon of Light-2 16:36 12. Beacon of Light-3 3:33 13. Beacon of Light-4 2:20 LINEUP: Terje Flessen – guitars, bass Odd-Roar Bakken – keyboards; guitar With: Vebj?rn Moen – vocals (1-3 & 7) Henning Mj?en – vocals (2, 5 & 7) Magnus Forsberg – drums (1, 2 & 7) Kristian Resell – drums (3, 5 & 7) Mari Haug Lund – flute (1 & 7) Eva Cecilie Bjerkhoel - backing vocals (1 & 7) Cathrine Larsen - backing vocals (7) Bente Fossnes - backing vocals (7)
Analysis. Progressive rock is a description that covers a vast array of different musical directions - from ones replicating what was innovative music 40 years ago, to those who are actively breaking new musical ground today. There is a plethora of different expressions to be found, from gentle pastoral explorations to free-form improvisational performances, with most of the stylistic elements one can think of to be found within those parameters. In this case we have a band that has decided to look back in time for inspiration, and opted for a musical expression that doesn't have many elements of innovation in it, if at all. Although divided into thirteen different tracks, this disc is actually made up of seven compositions only, two of which are short mood pieces added for variation. The remaining 5 tracks all belong to the retro category of musical endeavors, with more than a few nods in the direction of Uriah Heep. As far as namedropping goes, the earlier productions by Kansas seem to have been influential as well; and a few select mellow passages venture into territories that have a strong Camel tinge to them. But, first and foremost, this is a release that takes its cues from Uriah Heep. However, Adventure doesn't come across as a clone act. True enough, there's a fair use of heavy organ throughout this production, but swirling synth escapades of a more symphonic progressive nature are utilized quite often as well. Heavy, drawn-out guitar riffs and slow riff patterns set up the foundation for a majority of the themes, even with some chugging patterns typical of a certain act already mentioned. In this case, though, the guitar sound is heavier, and the acoustic guitar only sparingly used - predominantly in the mellower passages. As regards vocals, both lead vocalists have powerful, melodic delivery, though without trying to mimic any vocalist in particular. The end result is one of heavy songs with rich textures and a certain majestic atmosphere – large and, to some extent, grandiose musical tapestries containing a heavier and somewhat modernized version of the sound Uriah Heep explored in their heyday. One feature of this act’s output that doesn't bear much likeness to their main influence is the length of their compositions. Adventure is a band fond of epic-length tracks; except for the mood pieces, all tracks are longer than 5 minutes in length, of which three cross the 10-minute mark, and the lengthiest of these just a few seconds short of 24 minutes in total. The longest of these ventures are divided into several parts, with the introduction acting as a common denominator. The structure of the compositions, however, seems to be pretty similar – personally, I would have preferred the three true epic explorations on this venture not to have been divided.
Conclusion. Although this isn't an album that takes on any true innovative excursions, the individual creations, as well as the overall album, are a charming acquaintance. The compositions evolve nicely, changes and variations to themes are utilized to good effect, and the songs are compelling, even if a bit predictable. Fans of the heavier side of ‘70s art rock should find this to be an interesting disc to check out, in particular those fond of Uriah Heep as they were in their heyday.