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1. Flamborough Head (Holland), Heroes (7:53)
The best (and the only fully instrumental) track on this compilation, no doubt. These guys show a real pro(G)fessionalism, unlike the majority of others. Stylistically, placed somewhere between the Classic and Neo Symphonic Progressive Rock, Heroes contain a lot of varied themes, mainly based on gently riffing guitar and lush keyboards (including piano). Arrangements are not very complex, but constant changes of melodic lines and tempos paint quite vivid "progressive picture". Instrumentally, that style can be best described as early Marillion meets Genesis circa "And Then There Were Three" / "Duke". Rating: (almost) excellent piece.
2. Mayfair (Austria), Trip (4:23)
Stylistically, it is rather Space/psych than the Progressive Rock, and you can hear quite monotonous keyboard samples a-la Ozric Tentacles over the track. To be honest, I am not a fan of that kind of music, but also, I can't ignore a few original ideas I've heard here, on Trip. Rating: satisfactory.
3. Dionysos (Germany), In My Sight/Take My Mind(5:53)
Dionysos are not particularly talented composers and musicians and the vocals are outright poor. Structurally, this song with very accessible themes recembles AOR much more than the Progressive Rock. Could be designed for commercial radio play. Rating: weak.
4. Third Voice (USA), From Where You Stand (6:03)
Stylistically, From There You Stand is obviously influenced by Queensryche. So, why listen to a band that is trying to sound like Queensryche when we could listen to Queensryche themselves? A definitive minus for the robotic drums and we're not too satisfied with the vocals either. So, the guys of the Third Vioce: welcome to the big company of the bands, who wanna-bee the(ir) idols... bad (alas!). Rating: weak.
5. Blank (Germany), Perfect Illusion (6:09)
Effective guitar riffs, fine piano arrangements and bass lines, good drumming and vocals... One of the most original songs on the compilation. Probably, this German band could have future and should not to be missed among the already famous Progressive Rock bands. Rating: good.
6. Twin Age (Sweden), Blinded (5:59)
I have listened to their debut album "Month of the Year", each song on which is better than this one. Blinded contains already familiar structures in the vein of Genesis/Marillion, but there are very little instrumental arrangements. The presence of dramatic vocals and guitar solo somewhere in the middle isn't enough to describe this composition as a work of Classic Progressive Rock. More or less decent Neo, no more. And that's all. Rating: satisfactory.
7. Moonlit (Germany), Followed by a Memory (5:21)
I think, the members of Moonlit have well listened to Black Sabbath, especially such their albums as "The Eternal Idol" (and its titlesong!) and "Mob Rules". This song was composed and played typically for the band of "usual" Doom-Metal style with quite "sinister" yet clear vocals and fast guitar solo somewhere in the middle into the accompaniment of slow guitar and bass riffs. Another one more or less decent "wannabee" band. Rating: satisfactory.
8. WW (Estonia), Wanna Know (5:02)
Wanna Know consists only of two different parts. The first one features vocals, and the main theme openly reminds me Led Zeppelin's Kashmir, though the latter one was composed and arranged much stronger. The second part is fully instrumental (not counting of monotonous refrain Wanna Know at the end of song). Some original guitar and bass solos show that the guys are trying to find their own way in the genre. Rating: satisfactory.
9. Moondaze (Germany), Life Will Live On (6:28)
During these six and a half minutes I heard seven varied themes. However, all of them do not impress me almost at all: the majority of them are quite boring and not original. Vocalist turned out to be the lover (ie copy) of Maiden's Bruce Dickinson. I can describe that kind of music as an attemption to play in the vein of Iron Maiden/Fates Warning, but without any inspiration yet. Three stars for the variety. Rating: satisfactory.
10. Winterland (Germany), Under the Flood (7:01)
Another one big disappointment. It is a typical melodic Hard-Rock (AOR, I mean) with monotonous refrains of rhythm guitar and boring solo in the middle. I'm a bit not surprised that Winterland still couldn't release their demo since 1996. Rating: weak.
11. Esthetic Pale (Germany), See You There*** (10:15)
As I have read within the review section of the Esthetic Pale's homepage, this band plays a kind of "complex symphonic Rock like Yes and Genesis"(*). Well, I understand that See You There is just the unreleased track (and haven't heard more songs from this band), but I don't think so(*)! This is a wrong qoutation. The musicians are only trying to change the themes, tempos, and moods, but that's all. Especially I was disappointed with Melanie's very low-power, ordinary voice. Possible, Esthetic Pale's studio work is better, but how can I compare them to such Prog-Giants like Yes and Genesis, if I really know, how these Titans play live: they play live by no means not worse than in the studio! Rating: satisfactory.
(Please read the "Bandlists' Intro" and "Senses of Prog" to know our view on Progressive Rock in detail).
Vitaly Menshikov (1), Eugeny Revin (2), Vladimir Finkilstein (3). September 2, 1999.
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