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(50:00, Metal Mind Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. The End 1:48 2. Beginners 8:05 3. The Warmest Sun In Winter 5:35 4. Words 5:44 5. Unborn/Turn Around 8:06 6. Please Go Home 4:51 7. Heartless Land 10:53 8. The Bright Day 2:29 LINEUP: Mirek Gil Ц guitars Karol Wroblewski Ц vocals Konrad Wantrych Ц keyboards; vocals Przemas Zawadzki Ц bass Vlodi Tafel Ц drums With: Satomi Ц violin
Prolusion. "The Warmest Sun in Winter" is the brand new album by the Polish band BELIEVE.
Analysis. Come 2013, and the Polish band BELIEVE is markedly different when compared to their initial effort. The music itself has become more conventional for starters, and violinist Satomi only makes a few guest appearances on this occasion. Whether she's a member or not at this point I really can't tell, but she's not mentioned as a band member in the booklet that follows this CD. As her violin has been such a central and distinguishing element on Believe's previous releases this heralds a major change in their sound in itself. What we're left isnТt a band that continues on in the same style but without violin though. Instead Believe has opted to alter their sound and expression to a more distinct symphonic art rock sound, and much closer to the gentler parts of neo progressive rock in particular. Gentle symphonic backdrops, quite a few of the Mellotron variety, is a constant feature throughout, and frail wandering piano motifs a mostly ever present feature too. Mirek Gil's guitar has more of a subservient role when he's not soloing, with careful light toned motifs the dominant mode and dampened darker toned riffs less often but effectively used. But frail, crying and longing guitar solo details supplementing the aforementioned symphonic backdrop are a distinct and prevalent part of the proceedings, profoundly emphasizing the neo progressive character of this album. The major and dominant role is given to lead vocalist Wroblewski however. He has a stunning voice: frail and sensitive and perhaps even sensual, yet also strong, powerful and melodic. He covers grounds that call for controlled delivery just as well as the parts that demand a more intense and emotionally laden one with ease, and to the extent of elevating each and every song by his, to my ears, perfectly delivered vocals. A true to joy to experience for just about anyone truly fond of strong lead vocalists. The compositions are rather more conventional on this album, as previously noted, and due to that I suspect that material of an even higher quality might come from this band later on. But this is their most accomplished studio effort to date as far as I'm concerned, with Words as the track I'd select to document that fact. I'd also like to note that some of the subtle details employed my Mirek Gil on the piece Unborn/Turn Around intrigued me, in particular the guitar solo details that to my ears appeared to be ever so slightly flavored with a Frippian touch to them.
Conclusion. The 2013 edition of Believe is one that resides in the heartland of the neo progressive universe, sporting gentle symphonic backdrops, melodic guitar soloing aplenty and otherwise compositions of a fairly mellow and controlled nature throughout. A disc that might have become somewhat plain without the strong and impressive lead vocals of Karol Wroblewski . His presence elevates this album markedly however, to the point of making this disc an easy one to recommend to fans of neo progressive rock in general and those amongst them with a strong affection for high quality lead vocals in particular.
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