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Out of Fire 1:31 How Do You Feel 5:36 There Comes the Day 4:51 Suzy 5:10 Our Love 3:36 The Line 1:31 Attraction of Fire 4:57 Moan From Nowhere 4:23 Spanish Kiss 6:18 Until It's Over 4:54 Holy Crossing 6:00 Lying 4:53 Amarte 4:05
(Sorry, there's no other info on a Real promo CD, and "Line-up" is taken from the band's press kit.)
Line-up: Damien - vocals; Francois - drums; Patrick - bass; Stephane - guitars
Prologue. I love and appreciate practically equally all the three 'Whales' Progressive Rock stands on - Art (Symphonic) Rock, Prog Metal, and Jazz-Fusion. But, unfortunately, representatives of the Prog Metal genre aren't frequent visitors here at ProgressoR. Since I'll hopefully receive promo CDs from the French "Brennus" label (the 'metallic' division of Musea yet with its own separate economy) routinely I fill a Prog Metal 'niche' on ProgressoR more or less tightly, with time. Frankly, waiting for the first promo package with two CDs from "Brennus" I didn't expect to hear such high-quality music as Far'n'High, in this case, performs.
The album. Since this band was formed about a decade ago its members had time enough to develop their music, to make it solid and mature already on the debut album. As I've heard too little contemporary bands of the genre for the two and a half years of my work on ProgressoR (so I don't have too many examples to compare Far'n'High with), this review doesn't look, maybe, as precise as the others, so I am sorry in advance. Well, listening to Far'n'High I find their instrumental structures original and very interesting. While the album as a whole demonstrates the united stylistics, the songs, taken separately, show quite a traditional way (the majority of melodic - not kind of Voivod, etc, - Prog-Metal bands go) of constructing (and producing in some ways) the album itself. This, however, almost always doesn't mean at all that the bands with the similar album 'schemes' are also similar stylistically, etc. Back to the heroes of these lines, they first of all have just a brilliant instrumental intro which would proudly crown any album of the genre Far'n'High work in. It is really impressing when such a short piece contains a wide-variety of different themes within itself: electric guitar riffs, acoustic guitar and keyboards passages, touching and aggressive bass lines, gentle percussion and bombastic drumming; tempos and moods change one another kaleidoscopically! The guys were incredibly effective jumping Out of Fire to ask each other (well, and) How Do You Feel (now)? They felt very good throughout the album. Most of the other songs were composed, on the whole, the same way as in case of Out of Fire. All the 'metallic' songs consist of diverse, thrashing or 'simply' heavy guitars riffs, blistering and slow, but always delicate, electric guitar solos, rich and varied arrangements of keyboards, wonderful passages of semi-acoustic guitar and a tight and very precise work of the rhythm-section. Yeah, of course, as I said before, here is some 'essential', quite a widespread kind of a resting room, on the album too. It's hard to imagine some aggressive bombastic heavy track with a title like this: Our Love. This is a nice ballad with some touches of Progressive, but in my view, there should not be place on such a wonderful album for such a banality. Another point that "ate" a star from the album's overall rating together with the previous one, is the fact that Damien (just) sometimes (but obvious) copies the method of the singing of Geoff Tate of Queensryche. In particular, I hear these similarities almost in all harmony vocal parts, whereas when Damien sings alone, without over-dubs of his own, as I guess, voice, I like his vocals very much.
Summary. Well, this is just the band's debut on a Prog-Metal scene, and this debut is excellent. I sincerely want to believe in the bright future of this talented French band because Far'n'High potentially has it. But in my view, all the interesting French Prog-Metal bands need at least a good promotion throughout the world. And the "Brennus" label itself - in company with a few of its best 'performing examples', though - needs a kind of self-advertising in such a strong magazine as US' Progression (the Journal of the Genre, though). It's a usual yet highly effective (and inexpensive) way, by the way.
VM. April 13, 2001
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