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Mangrove - Beyond Reality CD (album) cover

BEYOND REALITY

Mangrove

 

Symphonic Prog

3.60 | 53 ratings

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mbzr48
5 stars The album opens with two fairly long tracks, 'Daydreamers Nightmare' and 'Time Will Tell', and while I am not generally a great fan of epics numbers I have to say that these pieces are both very well crafted and have sufficient variety to keep the interest going.

From the outset the style of the album shows itself to be smooth, deeply melodic and wonderfully fluid. Throughout there are subtle changes of moods between quieter and more strident passages but always the music is very inspiring and uplifting. The listener will enjoy the mix of soaring guitar work backed by a solid rhythm section with keys used to equally good effect whether in a lead role or simply providing a dramatic backdrop for guitar and vocals.

There are times during both of these opening numbers where the keyboard work does tend to get a bit on the twiddly side, almost akin to early Marillion, but it would be simplistic to think of 'Beyond Reality' in terms of yet another Neo-prog offering for the use of this style of playing comes across as more of a nod to what has gone before rather than being the backbone of the album, and I have to say it sounds really rather fresh and inviting in this environment. The added pop overtones in the second track, with vocals that reminded me of A.C.T. at their best, was also most welcome adding another new edge to the bands rich sound.

Having rolled off two long numbers Mangrove go on to prove that they are equally at home writing slow ballads as we move into the gentler restrained tones of 'Love and Beyond'. This opens with vocals supported by soft piano work, building up gradually with superb IQ like guitar work before bringing things back down to earth once more for a very restrained finish. This really is a top notch track that I could listen to again and again.

Next up is 'Reality Fades' which is a solely instrumental number. Here guitar and keyboards vie for attention underpinned by some fine bass and guitar work in what proves to be a most pleasing and somewhat anthem piece.

The title track, 'Beyond Reality', is a mid length track with a lot going for it. Opening with a soft piano introduction the guitar and bass quickly cut injecting some power before cutting back to vocals and acoustic guitar. Instrumental breaks allow for injection of some very emotive guitar work, which manages to impress without the need to go over the top. As the track progresses additional layers build up producing a fuller, richer sound while the vocals take on a more classic rock style.

'Voyager' is another longer number which brings proceedings to a very satisfactory conclusion and once again everything you could want is here. Atmosphere, drama, passion - the music really is magnificent and leaves you on a real high. The only thing to do at this point is to go back and listen to it all over again!

The packaging is as ever superb in that the booklet provided is professionally produced with excellent art work. One criticism I do have however is that the lyrics are all printed in mirror image. While this is an amusing novelty initially it quickly becomes more than just a little irritating if you want to read the lyrics while listening to the songs, particularly if you don't happen to have a mirror handy!

With this album Mangrove have continued to build on their past work while at the same time they have taken giant strides towards creating a unique sound that is truly their own.

From a musical point of view there honestly is nothing I failed to like about this album, my only concern now is where on earth can the band go from here? I don't know the answer to that question but I sure look forward to finding out!

This really is a band that continues to go from strength to strength and I am hugely impressed with this release - for all progressive rock fans I would urge you to check it out!

Very highly recommended! 5 Stars

mbzr48 | 5/5 |

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