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Bellaphon - Firefly CD (album) cover

FIREFLY

Bellaphon

 

Neo-Prog

3.67 | 33 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Bellaphon made their stand on the softer side of the 80s Japanese prog scene, founding their sound on the thread of Camel's sheer melodic sensibility (circa 'Breathless'/'I Can See.') handled with magical exquisiteness (circa 'Moon Madness'). Bellaphon's career developed hand in hand with Ain Soph's (as a matter of fact, they shared the same bassist, and at times, the keyboardsman as well), but unlike them, Bellaphon's approach left the jazz factor pretty much subdued in favour of a more determined symphonic line of work. The highlights of 'Firefly' are tracks 3, 5, 6, and in a lesser degree, the closing title track. 'Mistral' is a very joyful number, indeed, includes some delicate troubadour-like lines on acoustic guitar in perfet coordination with flute-like synthesizer lines. 'Mistral' is the perfect example of how craftily Bellaphon shift from one motif to another and then reprise used ones through a most natural flow. On the other hand, 'Vent du Midi' and 'Evros' combine pomposity and clean exquisiteness, always keeping a delicate ordainment of the various motifs that come to the fore. The title track has a more remarkable pompous leaning, but unfortunately, the long final section proves anti-climatic due to its slow tempo (despite its well-crafted chord twists): it feels somehow as a poorer version of Ain Soph's 'A Story of Mysterious Forest' suite, but it isn't terrible, it's just that it doesn't have a proper end that finalizes the majesty that had been alluded all the way thrgouh. On the other hand, it's a good thing that the bonus track 'Labyrinth' (taken from a previous flexi-disc recording) exhibits the necessary doses of enthusiasm required from a proper closing. This track combines seamlessly the colorful joy of 'Mistral' and the symphonic splendor of 'Vent du Midi' and 'Evros'. I feel that the keyboardist and the drummer sustain the basis for the band's overal sound. The former' style is founded on a mixture of symphonic finesse and melodic jazzy leanings (attention to his piano solos on 'Mistral' and 'Labyrinth'), while the latter displays a rich dynamics that stands somewhere between Andy Ward's tradition and late 70s Alan White (from "Going for the One" to "Drama"). Although "Firefly" is not an outstanding masterpiece, nor breaks new ground, it sure deserves to be praised as what it precisely is: an attractive collection of well crafted pieces, masterfully performed in old fashioned Camelesque symphonic style.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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