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Final Conflict - Return Of The Artisan CD (album) cover


Final Conflict



4.01 | 101 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Crossover Prog Team
4 stars Back in another lifetime I was sent a cassette of the third album by a young neo-prog band, but unfortunately it was faulty and didn't play properly. I wrote to the band (email didn't exist back then) and I was promptly sent a CD instead, the very first of the thousands of CDs I have received to review since then. Soon afterwards I saw them play at The Standard (I think with Landmarq, but maybe it was Mentaur?) where they then gave me my first free t-shirt. So, Final Conflict have a special place in my personal neo-prog history and when I started writing reviews again after some time away, Andy Lawton was one of the ones I contacted to inform them of the fact. Andy then kindly sent me their latest album, which is what I am playing now. From those heady days of the early Nineties only Andy and Brian Donkin remain, but it is not only the membership that has changed as while I enjoyed the early albums ('Quest' is well worth tracking down) the guys have undertaken a major step change since then.

While the twin guitars and vocals are still important, what we have now is a band that is polished and in total control, ensuring that they provide an edge to the music so that while the keyboards of Steve Lipiec are incredibly important it is the guitars that shine against the backdrop. The rhythm section also add to the overall sound as while Barry Elwood often maintains a lead melody line while the rest go off on tangents, Henry Rogers' drumming provides an additional depth. While he is happy to maintain the beat and keep everyone on the straight and narrow, there are also times when he provides powerful fills and touches that takes the menace to a new level. He is a very 'heavy' drummer, none of this arty-farty stuff; he hits the kit hard and ensures that everyone knows that this is a rock band first and foremost.

There have been quite a few bands from the late Eighties/early Nineties who have been delivering the goods over the last eighteen months, and Final Conflict are definitely up there with the leaders of the pack. Hard-edged neo-prog with hints of Camel, Marillion, Winter and IQ, this is an album to savour.

kev rowland | 4/5 |


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