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Feedforward - Barefoot & Naked CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

2.95 | 3 ratings

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3 stars Sometimes quality lives right around the corner

In this case almost literally, given that Feedforward is based in Tilburg, some 30 kilometers from where I live. A progressive metal band, with a female vocalist and a lot of potential. On this album the band choose to include 10 quite varied tracks, making it a real show case debut album. A little bit more consistency in style between the selected tracks may appeal to some listeners, for me this variety was more than enjoyable. Straight from the opener Fade Away it is clear that this is not just another Dutch Within Temptation or After Forever clone. Feedforward vocalist Bianca (Biejanka) has a very powerful voice and she knows how to use it against the force her four gang members sometimes throw at her. That power really shows from that same first track. A piece with an 'ear catching' keyboard intro and a three minute instrumental break that (maybe because of the piano) reminded me of Streets era Savatage, while near the end the guitar and keyboards make clear that Dream Theater has been heard of as well. After this strong opener, the listener is treated to the differing sounds of Run the Race - again with Savatage influences, but also an interesting vocal effect experiment, the power metal tracks Crossing the Line and Innocense right to 143. This track, which a real metal opening riff, a male/female vocal dialogue and powerful keyboard and guitar interplay, could very well be the most progressive of the album, and it gets better on every listen. My personal favourite. After this it's time to cool of, with the piano ballad Our Sky (what a voice - the Feedforward guys are lucky The Gathering didn't come after Biejanka when Anneke left). In between this balled and the closing track Stop To Think, the band shows their view on symphonic progressive metal, in three consecutive tracks. Of this trio, Silent is easily my favourite and overall a close second to earlier 143. It beats the very well done instrumental Moving by a hair, even though as a Rush fan I really enjoy the YYZ-like drum fills near the end in that one.

All in all, I like this debut album a lot. Compared to other bands, the band has made a great start, but as with any first effort there's room for improvement. Crossing The Line might have been more powerful if it was a little shorter (less repetitive), the bass could've been a bit more forward in the mix on Stop to Think, and I could list a few other small things. Nothing big though.

As for the scales we apply on this site, this album is not a masterpiece, nor a necessary addition to a random prog (metal) collection. It's getting close though according to my book, and if I could give half a star extra for the package quality and the artwork (what's the story behind the cover photograph?) it would be theirs. Now it's 3 stars only, but 3.5 would have fit better. A must listen for any prog metal fan - even if only once.

Angelo | 3/5 |


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