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Final Conflict - Stand Up CD (album) cover

STAND UP

Final Conflict

 

Neo-Prog

3.60 | 34 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars "Stand up, move forward"

I first came across Final Conflict with their superb 2009 live DVD "Another moment in time", which included three tracks taken from this album. Metal mind Productions, who released that DVD, have now secured the rights to re-release "Stand up", the band's third album. Here, it is remastered and presented as a limited edition digipak CD, with two newly recorded bonus tracks. The remastering was carried out by the multi-talented Karl Groom of Threshold.

Originally released in 1997, "Stand up" had actually been recorded some time previously, but the release was delayed when the band's record label went bust. Thematically, the concept of the album revolves around the challenges of life in the current era, but the tracks are essentially stand alone works.

Right from the opening "Stand up" it is patently obvious that this is an album of neo-prog of the highest quality. Groom's remastering brings out the full majesty of the keyboards layers and regal guitar chords, while ensuring that each of the component parts is afforded its own space. Musically, the highlights come quickly from the start, including a superb lead guitar solo by Andy Lawton on "Stand up", some fine backing vocals from guest Kristi Bonfield on "Signature in the sand" and a striking synth burst on the same track.

Further excellence abounds throughout the album, from the heartfelt cries of "Wasteland" to the overt synth rock of the largely instrumental "T230". From time to time we are reminded of other bands who travel a similar road, such as Arena, Pendragon, Pallas and IQ. There are also some obvious influences from the greats like Genesis and Pink Floyd. This is though a band with their own identity, intent on ensuring that their own branding is apparent on each of these carefully crafted pieces.

The original album closes at its highest point with the magnificent 15 minute opus "Stop". Here, the band gather in everything which has contributed to the fine tracks which lead up to this point. These tenets are then wound together to create one of prog's finest epics. The piece rounds off the original album perfectly.

The line up has seen a couple of changes since "Stand up" was originally released, and in order to link the older with the newer, two bonus tracks recorded by the current line up are added. The first of these is a re-recording of "Moment in time" a track from the 2003 album "Hindsight", while the second is a brand new song entitled "Losing it all". The resultant running time for the album is now therefore over 79 minutes.

If, like me, this album passed you by when it was originally released, you will be pleased to hear that it sounds every bit as as contemporary now. This is an essential neo-prog album.

Easy Livin | 5/5 |

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