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5Bridges - The Thomas Tracks CD (album) cover

THE THOMAS TRACKS

5Bridges

 

Symphonic Prog

3.87 | 102 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
5 stars Unexpected surprise from the Netherlands

Unlike the previous two years, 2009 has been a bit slow, almost none of the albums released has impressed me and the ones I waited with more obsession have absolutely disappointed, but yesterday I received "The Thomas Tracks" by the Netherlands' band 5BRIDGES, and the hope in Progressive Rock has returned instantly, because I found the album delightful from the first to the last note.

As the guys from Haarlem say, each one of he five members is a bridge between the 70's and the XXI Century, playing pristine Symphonic as only the pioneers could, but without copying anybody. It's true that Piet Roelofsen's voice is extremely similar to Peter Gabriel's in range, intonation and style, but I don't feel anything forced, by the contrary, everything is absolutely natural.

The band's sound has clear GENESIS influence, but strangely Luke dAraceno's on keyboards doesn't sound to inspired in Tony Banks, as a fact I find a lot of similarities with Rob Reed from MAGENTA, similarities which are enhanced by the excellent guitarist Enzo Gallo, who has a lot in common with Chris Fry from the above mentioned band. So unless they are some sort of evil genius who copy bands from the 70's and also their coetaneous from 30 years later, we are talking about an original sound with respect for Symphonic Prog in the style of the classics.

"The Thomas Tracks" is based in the novel 'De Handelingen Van Thomas" by "Rob Van Der Linden" (Yes the drummer of the band), and as any respectable conceptual album done by a talented band, flows with perfect coherence from start to end, placing the efforts in the whole project rather than individual tracks, something that is evident when discovering that despite the different moods and radical changes, the basic atmosphere is respected all along the album.

"The Thomas Tracks" begins with "Didymus" and it's beautiful but dramatic introduction based in vocals and keyboards, this section is at the same time nostalgic and powerful, because while the vocals keep the soft atmosphere, the organ goes "in crescendo" with a constant repetition of chords that keep the suspense.

The choirs are absolutely tasteful, and when the band starts to join, you know something radical is going to happen...............and it happens, when guitar and keys join the music increases in intensity and strength, but the explosion is not abrupt, by the contrary, it's coherent and by stages, as if they tried never to loose control over the music, just wonderful.

Even when most of the tracks are linked one to other, for purpose of review I will try to describe them as individual songs instead of an integral entity as "The Thomas Tracks" is, so "Babylon Curse Reversed" starts with a beautiful keyboard melody that gives pass to a strong guitar, when the vocals take the lead, a stubborn organ keeps hammering in the background as a constant and the excellent drumming of Van Der Linden keeps the song in perfect time.

"On Calpe's Rock" starts with a beautiful piano soon followed by the drums and bass, a Moog solo breaks the soft rhythmic entrance with brilliance and the distorted guitar returns us to the Rock universe, all vibrant, but suddenly the vocals break this wonderful chaos and even when they enter into ballad territory, the radical changes and breathtaking synths don't let us forget we are before a Prog band.

"The Spell of Eternity" have a strong connection with "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway", the same desperate and claustrophobic atmosphere is present, and of course the massive Mellotron are the delight of the 70's fan. The fun part is in the vocals, because as Gabriel, Roelofsen does an outstanding job playing with different voices and adds narrative passages.

"Tricks & Treason" is much more romantic and soft, now they seem closer to GLASS HAMMER, with a fantastic interplay between Luke dAraceno and Enzo Gallo in the keys and guitar, but the vocals always bring us back to GENESIS because of the range so similar to Peter's, this time the organ is fast and frenetic, everything is just perfect.

"Lovernius Song" is a total change, while the other tracks had a bright even when mysterious atmosphere, "Lovernius Song" starts obscure and a bit haunting, mostly based in organ and acoustic guitar keeps the listener at the edge of the seat.

"Batavian Revolt" as he previous song starts acoustic, but soon they move fro this adding all what they have, Enzo Gallo makes the guitar cry and the organ maintains the suspense but Roelofsen keeps the sanity with his voice that seems to control everything. The changes are multiple but the atmosphere remains intact from beginning to end, somehow this song reminds me of "Trespass".

The only thing I will say about "Amazons & Heaven" is that we are before a spectacular song from start to where the keyboards are out of this world, a fantastic 11 minutes epic with everything a classic Prog fan needs to listen.

The album ends with the soft "Signs on the Wall", a softer but dramatic song that gives a correct closure to the album, again the organ is amazing and absolutely unique, something that is a constant along "The Thomas Tracks", they remind of GENESIS but don't play like GENESIS, the sound like a 70's band but with a unique distinctive sound that takes the best of the glorious decade but add the modern sound of this new century.

I never rate a debut album with more than 4 stars because I always expect more from the new bands, and even when I'm sure that 5BRIGDGES will give us more surprises, I will make an exception and give 5 solid stars to "The Thomas Tracks", because not doing this would be unfair and lack of consistence, I believe the album is in the masterpiece level and I'm giving them nothing they haven't earned.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 5/5 |

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