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Manning - A Matter Of Life & Death (The Journal Of Abel Mann) CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

4.02 | 71 ratings

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3 stars This is the kind of music that relies in itself on acoustic rhythm section with acoustic guitar as main contributor, accompanying a powerful vocal in the vein of Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull). Of course, the music style is different as this album has practically no exploration of flute but it uses acoustic guitar and piano for fills, melody as well as music interlude. From the beginning of the album, the listeners will be impressed with the uplifting, energetic progressive folk rock music through "The Dream" which flows beautifully. Acoustic guitar serves as main rhythm section coupled with drums, bass to accompany energetic singing style. The groove of the music is also nice and it makes you bang your head (not in a metal way, of course) as the music bring you forward. I especially like the accentuated singing style.

"Nobody's Fool" starts beautifully with a stunning acoustic guitar fills that reminds me (a bit) to Deep Purple's "Soldier of Fortune" accentuated with beautiful string section. The vocal enters the music wonderfully in powerful low register notes. It's really catchy on the opening part as the music flows peacefully - especially with great singing and acoustic guitar fills among music segments. I consider this as an excellent track especially on the stunning acoustic guitar solo at approx minute 2:40 onwards, combined beautifully with catchy string arrangements.

"Omens" brings the music into more uplifting style with stunning electric guitar solo at opening followed with vocal in the vein of Ian Anderson's singing. Again, the nice string section arrangements contribute significantly to the beauty of this track. "The River of Time" brings the music into cooler fashion with relatively slow tempo music accompanying vocal and female backing vocal (choirs). "Silent Man" starts with grandiose string arrangement followed with violin work just before the vocal enters in uplifting mode. The cello / violin solo at approx min 2:30 is stunning - even though it does not last quite long.

"Falling Down? Rising Up!" is motivational in nature (if we are looking at the title of this track). The music is really nice with a killing piano work during intro followed by accentuated vocal section in uplifting mood. The lyrical parts saying that "falling down" should not be allowed anymore. As I expect .. this is a positive word about how to overcome life obstacles and challenges. The composition is excellent especially on the way the string section strengthen the music plus the stunning piano work followed with soprano sax improvisation. The song turns into avant-garde style and this part I like it very much. Manning really explores his musical talent into avant-garde style inserted in the middle of this track.

"Out of My Life" is like an epic because the duration is 8:49 minutes with changing styles and tempo during the course of the track. Manning makes the music flows in nice passages blending the sounds of keyboard, acoustic guitar, sax into nice composition, giving a chance for keyboard to perform nice solo at the later part of the track followed by sax solo. The concluding track "Midnight Sail" serves like a cheer-up of the album as the music is upbeat style in happy setting.

Overall, this is a very good album for those who love progressive folk style even though this album can be enjoyed by vast majority of people who love music, not necessary prog. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 3/5 |


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