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Barock Project - Seven Seas CD (album) cover

SEVEN SEAS

Barock Project

 

Neo-Prog

3.94 | 149 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

FatherChristmas
4 stars The new album of the Italian project to combine PFM and Puccini has not failed to impress me - after all, classical music and prog rock are two genres Italy has excelled in. Despite being around for about thirteen years, they have not lost their touch, and have made a record worthy of both Tosca and Per un Amico (by the way, PFM and Puccini are not their only influences; I like my little joke ;]).

Seven Seas funnily enough opens with the song 'Seven Seas', beginning with only a muted guitar, piano and vocals. It's interesting to see how this song effortlessly develops from very little into a dark, thunderous guitar riff, with the rest of the band joining subtly without you really noticing. That's my take on it, others might disagree, but however it is a song that is enjoyable, emotional, displays excellent musicianship, and all in five minutes - very short for both a prog band and for that amount of good material in it. A good and suitable opener for a great album.

'I Call Your Name' is very much the pop song of the album, but do not be daunted, prog fans! It opens with a capella, somewhat suspiciously characteristic of prog ('Looking for Someone''I've Seen All Good People''Dancing with the Moonlit Knight' to name a few) and classical music (making a point here?). This evolves into a lively guitar-led tune, with the drums, bass and keyboards following. It's energetic, fun, and has odd time signatures and a middle section to make it up to the proggers.

Next, the soft 'Ashes', beginning with a lovely piano ostinato, and fairly soft vocals. This carries on for about two minutes until the whole band comes together and plays a very colourful melody, compromising guitar, drums and bass with very classical piano and strings arrangements. However, that's not it, it then breaks down into a very jazzy piano ostinato, joined by the thunderous as ever guitar, soon evolving into a hard rock riff with vocals - but breaks down again into a (sort of) reprise of the first part. It's another highly musically varied track, something that occurs very often in the prog of today.

The first opus of the album, 'Cold Fog' opens with elegant strings and the omnipresent piano, and from there, I won't ruin it for you. I'd also be here writing for a while. It contains further fantastic musicianship, great tunes and a very nice acoustic section with a guitar solo (as I may have mentioned in another review of mine, always a winner with me.).

After the foggy mistiness of 'Cold Fog', 'A Mirror Trick' ensues ' beginning with an acoustic guitar melody that sounds very much like a certain simple piano piece I know of called 'Allegretto Grazioso' by Cornelius Gurlitt. It is a short, quiet song, led by the lovely classical guitar.

'Hamburg', the longest song, starts off with more acoustic guitar, led by what sounds like an oboe. The drums come in, with a brilliant guitar solo, reminiscent somewhat of Pendragon's Nick Barrett's playing (in my opinion). It breaks down for the first vocals, but soon picks itself up again for a very heavy section lasting until about, I'd say, seven minutes through. Then a very nice piano-dominated section that lasts until the end.

This is probably my favourite songs on the album. It makes a perfect combination of classic neo, the guitar and synths to perfection, and the beautiful baroque piano ' and a balance between complexity and just good tunes.

'Brain Damage', the next song, is not a cover of the Pink Floyd song, but a very original emotional, sentimental ballad of a kind only Barock Project can write - well, until about the middle, that is. A lovely classical guitar begins the nine minute opus, which at about four minutes through becomes electric and the rest of the band joins in with a bang. The heavy guitar is soon accompanied by a spacey synth solo which becomes wilder and wilder until you can't believe that it started out a bit like a neo version of a Simon and Garfunkel song.

Then, 'Chemnitz Girl', also beginning a bit like a neo version of a Simon and Garfunkel song, but unlike 'Brain Damage', stays that way. Not that that is a bad thing, though, in fact quite the contrary - it works wonderfully. 'Chemnitz Girl' is followed up by the heavy 'I Should Have Learned To', that provides a cheerful break from the somewhat melancholic earlier tracks.

'Moving On' follows, heavier still, that is reminiscent of the heavy prog of Porcupine Tree (in my opinion, at least), with an imaginative middle section. What is interesting is that there are virtually no classical elements in 'Moving On' - the entire album, even, seems more rock orientated than perhaps their earlier work. That is my opinion, others may disagree.

The final track, 'The Ones', I will not try and ruin with crude words, and say only it is one of my favourite Barock Project songs and an excellent outro.

So, since I have not said a word against any song I have described here, why have I so cruelly rated it four stars? To help, my personal requirements for a five star album:

1. The songs must all be excellent.

2. It must work brilliantly as an album.

Even then... both of them are satisfied. The thing is, brilliant though this album may be, would I put it above, say, Misplaced Childhood by Marillion? The fact is, no. So, for the fact it simply is not as classic to that level... four stars.

FatherChristmas | 4/5 |

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