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The Windmill - To Be Continued... CD (album) cover

TO BE CONTINUED...

The Windmill

 

Heavy Prog

3.79 | 57 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

ScorchedFirth
3 stars (7/10)

With a name like 'The Windmill' I had assumed these guys were from Holland, but actually it turns out this is a lesser known band hailing from Norway. Now, Norway is not a country known for its massive prog rock scene, but there are a few good bands from there, and I think you can add The Windmill to that list too. After a lot of hard work, it all came to fruition in 2010 when these guys were finally able to release their first album, with the teasing title of "To Be Continued...".

Though they are down as heavy prog, The Windmill are clearly drawing large amounts of inspiration from the symphonic/folk acts of the 70s, like Camel and Jethro Tull. A lot of that has to do with the flute (and to a lesser extent, saxophone) that is present throughout the album, and how it is played. There is also noticeable influence from some of the heavier Neo-Prog bands (like Arena), which you can especially hear in keyboards and guitar (and there are some very IQ-ish rhythms scattered throughout the album too). There's no massive attempt to push boundaries but at the same time, the music is all enjoyable and holds my attention very easily for the duration of the album. Certainly one couldn't claim them to be merely a ripoff retro/nostalgia act and nothing else.

The album kicks off in an immediate manner, grabbing your attention with "Cinnamon", an uptempo light instrumental. It's a bold and exciting start, and straight away establishes how the sound of The Windmill will be incorporating the flute/sax and the neo-proggy keyboard sounds. Next up is "The Colour Of Seasons", which starts with some pop like keyboard, and to be honest this one occasionally gets a little cheesy for my tastes. There are some basic lyrics (in English) about the seasons; the chorus repeats "the colour of seasons like a rainbow" and other similar lines. Still, I'm usually very forgiving of basic lyrics when they were penned by somebody who only speaks the language as a second language. The band do also inject a reasonable amount of heaviness (from the guitar) and diversity (I really like the melodic saxophone solo) into the song, and it is far from bad, still plenty to enjoy.

What comes next is absolutely the highlight of the album, the epic "A Day In A Hero's Life". The hero here is as in 'comic book hero'. The lyrics get kind of odd, but in a fun way. Maybe I'm just a bit of a superhero nerd... There is a lot on display in this song. There are many parts: some ominous, some quirky, some melodic, some dramatic, some even quite sad ("Please, don't hurt my world" etc.). The flute and especially the guitar are excellent throughout, and the best heavy sections of the album are definitely present on this song. As with the whole album, the vocal duties are shared between different band members. They can sound strong or melodic (or various other ways depending on who is singing), but are always competently executed and pleasantly accented. All of the vocalists are able to hold up their end, and allow The Windmill to cover a greater breadth of sound than they would otherwise be capable of. I especially like when they are all singing together, whether it be harmonising or singing across each other, and there is a good section in the middle of this song where precisely that is happening. The Windmill also chose well which themes to repeat through the song, as it moves through its various sections, and there are many memorable moments to "A Day In A Hero's Life".

More instrumental muscles are flexed with "The Eagle", which moves from a gloriously melodic symphonic sound into more guitar (and sometimes saxophone) driven hard rock territory. The Windmill are definitely very adept at keeping long instrumental sections fresh sounding. They pull this trick off again in the extended instrumental section of "Don't Be Afraid". I especially liked the section with the effective heavy guitar stomp, decorated playfully by the flute, and the melodic section that can really soar, with the lead going back and forth between flute and guitar as they play off each other wonderfully. The chorus of this song is also strong, and though the lyrics are again simple I find them quite uplifting. The title track ("To Be Continued...") ends the album with some lovely flute being played over the top of some piano. It also pretty much promises us the next album from The Windmill. Luckily they didn't jinx it, and 3 years later we got the "Continuation".

As a first album, this is a decent effort, and The Windmill should be proud of what they have achieved. For my money though, they would best it with their second. Still, if you enjoy the classic prog rock sound, and you want to hear something slightly different and a bit heavier from Norway, then this is a great little album that I'm very pleased with and would happily recommend.

ScorchedFirth | 3/5 |

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