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Final Conflict - Another Moment In Time - Live In Poland (DVD) CD (album) cover


Final Conflict



4.55 | 9 ratings

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5 stars Final Conflict's Moment in Time -Live in Poland DVD features Henry Rogers, a drum phenomenon that has propelled bands such as Touchstone and Deeexpus and a personal favorite of mine, a real basher in the old style Bonham-Taylor-Moon mold. So this is my introduction to Final Conflict. I never got around to getting Stand Up " , their 1997 masterpiece, always hesitating for some obscure reason but when I saw Henry's name on this puppy, well??I knew it was going to be good, in fact real first-class. These lads are prog veterans, resolutely in the business of progressing their qualified art forward and with complete disregard for any oversimplified criticism by both the prog fanatics and the silly pop-rock world. Good show, I say! I see closer parallels with Credo than say IQ, Galahad, Pallas, Pendragon or Marillion. It's all very English, very immediate and extremely entertaining.

The concert starts off with the usual symphonic flourish, always need an overture in prog , so as to pay homage to the classical period greats , Final Conflict's maturity is evident on the opening "Solitude" where squalls of Steve Lipiec's keyboards create quite a stir, combining with a duet vocal, both Andy Lawton and Brian Donkin shine within the pools of synthesized melancholia. When Rogers starts rolling his thunder, the mood develops into a more standard neo-progressive onslaught, fiery dual guitars (the same two) crossing 6 stringed swords, sustaining a classic chorus that holds a bright candle to all the past prog glories and fulfilling a tremendous first salvo. When the guitars rage, it's done in a gut wrenching demonstration of prowess, nothing experimental or avant-garde but delightfully entertaining. A remarkable entrance piece, a classic on many levels, and, yes the bass work from Barry Elwood is phenomenal. .

"Stand Up" has a threatening commencement, rifling drum rolls, sweltering guitar lasers, active bass and 'them there' huge beats. Catchy, memorable and haunting, the thrill is in the complex simplicity of both music and the voices, urging one to 'stand up" and sway to the dream. One can witness the obvious enthusiasm from all the players, singer Brian Donkin diving deep into the emotion, looking like a proggier Michael Sadler of Saga fame or axe man Adam Lawton carving sophisticated slabs of tight-rope soloing. Monster track and one for the neo-prog ages.

The somber-funk of "The Following" lays down a firm bass and drum motif, on which liquid piano shuffles along and the vocals entwine nicely with the basic melody. After a characteristic breezy main passage, the musicians toss in some interesting ideas, superb backing vocal work, jazzy piano, big fat juicy axe solos (ya know, slow, fast, slippery and wet). Nice to see Rogers holding down the fort so eloquently, solid stuff! This may be Neo- prog but the instrumentalists are all superb musicians with divine chops.

"Miss D'Meanor" bounces along with vigor, panache and the first strains of painful passion, supplied by some bright playing = simple synth solo, dual guitar sensations a la Wishbone Ash and a time-keeper style of bass/drum rhythm . Effortless is good only when it's well constructed. The duet vocal is equally appreciated.

"Stop" is the epic show-stopper (pun) that governs this disc, an out of this world slice of classic prog (like early Genesis and early Marillion), as it slowly expands into a whopping crescendo of sound, well-anchored on the low-end, Lawton really getting into his vocal performance, convincing the audience of his aching sincerity. The lyrics reference the shameful epidemic of child abuse (verbal or physical) and a generation of wounded youth, who can only grow up imitating the torturers. They are not singing about peace, love and trippy rock 'n roll! This is a serious matter and the frustrating rage soon explodes all over the speakers, "I could break your barrier" as the bass bops all over the place in utter frenzy. Rogers simply shimmers here, pushing, pulling, grinding and plowing masterfully. As for Donkin, he really tears into a bevy of tasty solos that shiver down the spine (nothing too technical but very bluesy) while shrieking the secondary vocal. Yes! A prog model track.

This marvel segues into "Rebellion", the rage puts fuel to the fire, a raucous, madcap rant that slams hard and bruised (the bass again), churning smoke from the sizzling organ and the punky vocals add anger to the whole. There is a pervading sense of chaos, monolithic and peerless, crowned by a panoramic fretboard solo.

"Can't Buy Experience" boots it into bliss overdrive with Henry smiling brashly as he bashes away, then Donkin starts sweating profusely as spouts off some insane lyrics about the life experience! Lipiec slips off some ivory synthiness, thus adding to the maelstrom. "All Alone" is a FC oldie that blooms in a live setting, showcasing strong melodies, immense playing and the panting intervals that characterize this seductive style finding a Fish-y Donkin as he duels nicely with Lawton on the guitar and the mike! What talent on display, arguably highly charged emotional content with some fluid instrumental work, all drummed together by that Rogers fella! "The Janus" is a two-faced slice of deranged vocals (sounding something like Fish or his Polish cohort Adam Lassa of Abraxas), a bi-polar arrangement of twisting keys, screwy guitar screeches , all pushed along by a rabid beat. The dual guitar onslaught is never tiresome, as both Lawton and Donkin push the envelope. "Waiting for a Chance" sums it all up quite brightly, a bruising finale to a tremendous concert and its eternal availability via DVD. All is nicely executed blessed with a fantastic sound, bright visuals without corny effects and the heat of the moment is vividly captured.

Final Conflict is quite a revelation, a rather unusual twist on the allegedly formulaic sentence that neo-prog seems to be saddled with; I see a huge amount of genialness, honesty, enjoyment and pride in their craft. I look forward to their new album 'Return of the Artisan' with Rogers sitting firmly on the drum stool. All the musicians are to be commended for their genuine passion and their ability to extol these virtues in a live and very personal setting! Wow! I am stunned and you will be also! Top DVD !

5 Last battles

tszirmay | 5/5 |


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