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(55:59; Progressive Promotion Records)
German outfit Cromwell were formed in 1993, releasing their debut ‘Burning Banners’ four years later. Back then they were a quintet with a female singer, but by the time they came to release their second album in 2016 they were a quartet with a male singer. Original band founders Eric Trauzettel (drums) and Wolfgang Taffner (keyboards) had now been joined by Holger Weckbach (vocals) and Frank Nowack (guitars, bass) while the album was mixed and mastered by Martin Schnella (Flaming Row, Seven Steps to The Green Door). The result is an album which is basic neo-prog which sounds as if it had come from the Nineties as opposed to a much more modern release. Also, I actually thought the drums had come from a machine as opposed to a human, and the result is something which may have been influenced by bands like IQ, Pallas, Jadis, Enchant or Saga (according to the band themselves), but has little in the way of power or drive of any of them. It has far more in common with guitar-driven melodic rock than neo-prog, although there are plenty of keyboards, and the result is something which rarely captures the imagination. There is nothing inherently bad about any of it, but there is little here which encourages me to listen to it ever again once I have finished writing the review. I would much rather listen to any of their influences as opposed to Cromwell themselves, as this is basic stuff at best. It really does sound as if we have gone back nearly 30 years and I am playing a demo tape all over again, as while the production is as strong as I would always expect from Schnella, none of the rest of it lives up to that.
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