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Focus - Hamburger Concerto CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.25 | 942 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars All you need is a little symph-prog patience, and Hamburger Concerto is sure to impress. This album is one of the most mature, well-developed, and cohesive products that I've heard in all of progressive rock, on top of being very well produced and containing large amounts of the sort of virtuosity, flair, and complexity that you'd find on any solid Italian symph prog effort (though these guys are, of course, Dutch).

Track 1 has a tone similar to Floyd's Pigs on the Wing, not jumping too fast out of the gates and setting the stage -- quite pleasantly and crisply -- for some ambitious work to come. The next track is a rocking piece that starts off with a tune redolent of part 2 of Tull's A Passion Play and continues closely in the form of Dixie Dregs-- a powerful guitar drives the song, accompanied by piano that is much more rock than symphony. The music is complex, fluid, energetic, and frantic, and nicely contrasts with the opening track. At this point, however, the album has yet to full engross my attention and trust; while overall exciting, the rhythm can be a bit repetitive, a la Second Spasm from Gryphon's RQTG3. The next and third track settles the mood down and, by giving a little breathing room, allows you to fall into the music, which rides a continuous wave and finally breaks from any sense of formulaism. Though keys and guitar are still prominent, the novel style expressed on this track makes it seem like Focus has a Gentle Giant -esque instrumental repertoire. I should add that the whistling, vocalizing, and refreshingly low-key drums are fantastic. Side 1 of the album ends with a track that combines elements from the previous tracks in the service of excellent closure to the first side. Particularly amazing is the trading off between flute and guitar. The title track, of course, is what we've all been waiting for. While not nearly as instrumentally or thematically diverse as, say, Close to the Edge, it has great recurring themes and is epic and powerful along the lines of the closing track of Gryphon's Raindance.

Overall, a superb listen, and highly recommended to lovers of both jazz fusion and traditional symphonic prog. Five stars!

MoreBarlow | 5/5 |


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