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Manticore - Next Step: Flight 19 CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.87 | 22 ratings

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Second Endeavour
4 stars After twenty four years of absence, Swedish band MANTICORE reborn to unveil a sophomore CD 'Next Step: Flight 19'. This time around, co-founders - Ulf Holmberg (guitar department, keyboards, b/v), Goran Holmberg (vocals, bass courtesy), Putte Saavedra (drums & percussion) - team up with the new singer Jon Sundberg (who also plays acoustic guitar). Together, they've managed here to craft an album of relevant quality. Make no doubt, all requisite components are used: the epic constructions and melodic abundance, plenty of diversity and metric shifts, emotional chant accompanied by neat harmonies; tremendous guitars, analog synthesizers and flexible keys, plus efficient rhythmic backbone. These Swedes represent six compositions (including the heritage of giants). The musical journey starts off with a superb instrumental 'Beginnings', which has beautiful changes to keep the listener engaged. Initially, it recalls the echo of 70's Genesis, before morphing into typical Camel-like figures. Next up, the mini-epic titled 'The Answer' is perhaps best described as a combination of AOR trademarks intermingled with symphonic prog attributes. The following piece 'Flight 19' is my absolute favorite on this disk. And it does really grab me! The vocals are endearing to give the music very distinctive warmth, reminding of John Wetton. In some respects, this harkens back to the early King Crimson. On the other side, superlative guitar work conjures up the memories of Steve Hackett while the tapestry of keyboards may evoke Tony Banks. The rhythm section sounds tight and tasty... The rest of material is strikingly different to the prior substances. Firstly, 'Release, Release'. Being a YES composition from 'Tormato' (1978), it highlights the energy and power, embodies the complexity, unusual tricks and beguiling structures. Once again, the vibe changes in penultimate 'Cold Is The Night', which is an ode to John Wetton (composition from his solo album 'Caught In The Crossfire', 1980). Wonderful stuff! The album comes to its close with a tribute to Greg Lake whose original version of 'I Believe In Father Christmas' had been released as the single in November 1975. A lovely ending for the whole affair.. Is there any drawback? Of course, I regret the fact that CD has less than 39 min. duration. And my own personal wish would be for the band to make a bit better package. Even so, 'Next Step: Flight 19' is worth checking out just now.
Second Endeavour | 4/5 |


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