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(69:34, ‘Sailor Free’)
TRACK LIST: 1. Spiritual Overture 6:11 2. A New World 5:46 3. The Run 4:15 4. Betray 1:59 5. The Curse 7:11 6. Daeron 4:36 7. Spiritual Revolution 5:28 8. War 3:40 9. The Entropia 3:56 10. Faithless 6:31 11. Beyond the Borders 5:00 12. Break the Cycle 3:04 13. My Brain 7:53 14. A Great Hope 3:52 LINEUP: David Petrosino – vocals; keyboards Stefano Barelli – guitars Alphonso Nini – bass Stefano Tony – drums
Prolusion. Formed in the distant 1991, the Italian band SAILOR FREE was active during the next few years, but disappeared after releasing two albums back then, “Sailor Free” and “The Fifth Door”. It took 17 years for them to return to the scene. The fourteen-track “Spiritual Revolution”, their third outing, saw the light of day several months ago. This is my first encounter with their work.
Analysis. Inspired by Tolkien's famous novel “Silmarillion”, this 70-minute creation begins with Spiritual Overture, a piece that, unlike most of the others, takes a couple of minutes to find itself, because its first ‘movement’ contains nothing besides slow synthesizer drones and a narration. I mean, already from the intro it became clear to me that I’m dealing with another simple-minded concept album, featuring songs with fantasy-based lyrics and a neo art-rock-meets-neo prog-metallish quality to them. Well, not exactly the said characteristic, since under the surface there is less depth than your typical neo prog/metal band, and the term of Alternative comes to mind pretty often, too. Eight of the tracks, namely Spiritual Overture, Beyond the Borders, A New World, My Brain, The Curse, The Entropia, Faithless and the title one, combine the said three styles, the first four in a rather simplistic manner, merely alternating sections with corresponding arrangements, with the last three of them featuring many returns to a previously paved path (as also do many of the other pieces, though). Take Beyond the Borders, for instance. After introducing a main theme/verse, it reveals a chorus, which is followed by an instrumental interlude, and then the vocal sections are repeated again, two times. What we get in the end is only three different thematic storylines, which is certainly little for a 5-minute composition. The fifth of the tracks, The Curse, at least reveals a spacey landscape at one point, although overall it is totally predictable as well. Band comparisons are also easy to drawn upon, since Sailor Free appears to be a Radiohead hybrid or a more-alternative assertive Tool with hints of both Marillion and Porcupine Tree in places. The latter three of the pieces are less conventional in nature, however, and are more varied in general. Only at first Faithless might seem to be much of the same nature as, say, A New World or My Brain. In fact, its second move strongly differs from the first, and after the third one another new melodic line (in the form of a riff) is introduced on electric axe, adding a countermelody, besides which there is fewer singing here than on either of the other vocal tracks. The Entropia is an all-instrumental piece, featuring some fine sympho-doom metal arrangements with marching drums and swirling organ passages. For its intro and outro alike, the title track only uses drums and handclaps, which instantly evoke those in ‘We Will Rock You’ from Queen’s “News of the World” album, sounding almost not unlike Skyclad within its next-to-last, violin-driven, move. Overall however, this is the most uncommon as well as varied track here. Now, after I named the positive qualities of the album’s better pieces, I must mention that they aren’t too cohesive in construction: when listening to each of them, from time to time I had a feeling that a new track is beginning. In other words, the band meets into difficulties when working with different structures – everywhere they use them. The disc contains a couple of conventional, if not trivial, hard rock/metal tunes, War and Betray; perhaps metal heads will enjoy them. Also included are the requisite ballads, The Run and Daeron, both tiresome in all senses. As the album’s curtains fall, the band ‘offers’ a complete break from their chosen style, appearing to be yet another victim of the CD factor: the pieces Break the Cycle and A Great Hope are each plain space music and two-dimensional Space Rock respectively.
Conclusion. While there is indeed a chain of thematic ideas that together have a sense of purpose, the album sounds too predictable (to say the very least) to attract a profound prog music lover. Enough said, I hope.
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