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Focus

 

Symphonic Prog

3.51 | 78 ratings

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Gandalff
4 stars FOCUS: X (2012) 8/10

It seems that the old bards got a second wind!

After a rather lackluster albums "8" and "9 / New Skin" that were recorded after their comeback in this century, the Dutch band Focus released at last album that continues in the best traditions of the 70th years and gives a real sense of their return.

Indeed, the unmistakable spirit of the band, Thijs van Leer, playing on his Hammond organ and his flute as well as wonderfully youth. A divine drummer Pierre van der Linden, first appeared on their groundbreaking album "Moving Waves" (1972), here again excels in his own style and unflagging energy, blending Rock style with a golden era of Jazz drumming. Plus new members: guitarist Menno Gootjes, which can boldly equal with his famous predecessor, Jan Akkerman. Well, finally, bassist Bobby Jacobs fits perfectly into the overall lineup.

Expecting some bigger surprises from one of the leading performers of classical Symphonic Prog Rock, is probably foolish. Indeed, the band itself isn't even try it and creates their mostly instrumental compositions according well-proven models (without self- plundering, surely): for example, the excellent opener "Father Bacchus" is built on a heavy riff, directly evokes band's most famous hit "Hocus Pocus". Just yodeling is missing, what a pity! Or - the track "Talk Of the Clown" recalls by its medieval feeling some their older short compositions, perhaps Elspeth Of Nottingham.

You can not teach an old dog new tricks ... so you can also find here a composition "Focus 10", a kind of equivalent of Crimson's "Larks Tongues in Aspic" with a several parts on different albums.

However, I have to lose points of otherwise perfect album under somewhat autotelic song "Hoeratio" where Thijs roughly declaims the Latin poem by Horatius into a quite uninteresting musical background.

Of course, I haven't forget a marvellous (how else?) cover art by legendary Roger Dean...Thus: decent 4 stars overall! Way to go, guys!

Gandalff | 4/5 |

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