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Mangrove - Beyond Reality CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.59 | 55 ratings

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4 stars In 2001 they released their first demo-CD entitled Massive Hollowness. Soon after the recording sessions Chris Jonker (a fellow Tron-maniac) became the new keyboardist, a huge asset. In this line-up Mangrove released the album Touch Wood as an own production in 2004, followed by Facing The Sunset in 2005 and the 2-CD Coming Back To Live in 2006 (it contains strong renditions of songs from their 3 studio-albums). Beyond Reality from 2009 was Mangrove their third and unfortunately final effort. I was lucky to witness the band as a support-act for USA band Echolyn and pleasantly surprised about their strong performance. They presented their new album Beyond Reality, by far their most mature effort.

Listening to Beyond Reality I notice how easily Mangrove switches from a bombastic 24-carat symphonic rock sound to a more polished and even song-oriented approach. This reminds me strongly of other Dutch band Kayak their Seventies sound. For example.

A surprising shifting mood from neo-prog to early Floyd with piano, slide-guitar and Hammond organ and finally a compelling symphonic rock sound with vintage keyboards and sensitive guitar in Time Will Tell.

From progressive pop to howling guitar with breathtaking choir-Mellotron drops and a splendid bombastic grand finale featuring all symphonic rock elements in the titletrack.

And from a polished sound with catchy rhythms to another strong grand finale with a strongly build-up guitar solo and lush choir-Mellotron in the final composition Voyager.

But Mangrove also delivers a fine ballad entitled Love And Beyond: sensitive guitar and piano with warm vocals, followed with a slow rhythm featuring howling guitar and floods of Hammond organ.

My best impression of Mangrove is when they are fully playing in the 24-carat symphonic rock tradition. Like the varied and dynamic, IQ-like Reality Fades with omnipresent fat synthesizer flights along delicate classical orchestrations with moving guitar work, a break with a wonderful Hammond and Moog sound and a dreamy part with soaring church organ, what a fantastic composition! And the first track Daydreamer's Nightmare, an epic of 15 minutes: it's layered with shifting moods, breaks and strong musical ideas, it contains a captivating tension between dreamy parts with classical guitar or piano and melancholical vocals and bombastic parts with heavy keyboards and howling guitar runs. The colouring by vintage keyboards (Hammond, Moog and Mellotron) is great and in the end the music culminates into very bombastic with lush keyboards and sensitive electric guitar, I am in Prog Heaven by Mangrove their trademark sound!

In my opinion this Mangrove sounds very tasteful, melodic and accessible. For those reasons it will appeal to a wide progrock audience, 'thumbs up' for this promising Dutch progrock band that unfortunately has disbanded.

TenYearsAfter | 4/5 |


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