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Cromwell - Burning Banners CD (album) cover




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4 stars Excellent addition to any prog music collection

This band from Germany delivers one of the best neo prog i ever heared in long time. With only one album in their pocket entitled Burning banners from 1997, Cromwell is for sure on of the most intristing bands from this genre with nice and smooth keys passages and very strong rythmic section. The voice is the cherry on the cake here specially on tracks like How Long? and Burning banners where you can see how easy this girl take the notes no matter if she sung on low register or high. Very good are the instrumental pieces that make this album to sound very compact and solid in the same time. Forte pieces are all but with a plus on Tunnel, Burning banners and Cromwell the rest are also good. So in the end a big 4 stars for this excelent album. It's a shame that this band and album doesn't get very much attention from the prog conoseurs because worth every second. Recommended, above many bands from neo prog from today.

Report this review (#173945)
Posted Saturday, June 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Obscure German band from Birkenheide in South-Western Germany, formed in March 1993 around keyboardist Wolfgang Taeffner.He was heavily influenced by the likes of IQ, SAGA and GENESIS and, with Anke Taeffner on vocals, Thor Stone on guitars, Josh on bass and acoustic guitar and Eric Trauzettel on drums, Cromwell released their debut ''Burning Banners'' in 1997 on Musea's sub-label Angular Records.

The album is a real treasure of modern Neo Prog with a tendency towards heavier textures and a sound not unlike bands like ABRAXAS and PALLAS or fellow countrymen CRYSTAL MAZE, SYLVAN and DARIUS.Based on a magnificent production effort, Cromwell proposed a rich-sounding, bombastic and powerful Progressive Rock with a constant alternation between heavy-sounding grooves and memorable melodies, eventually offering some awesome pearls of music.Female vocalist Anke Taeffner belongs possibly among the greatest voices of the movement, a voice expressive as a poet, crystalline as water and powerful as hell, only comparabe to that of Carol of Harvest's Beate Krause.The musicianship draws influences both for the New Wave of British Prog and contemporary prog,the grandiosity of the synthesizers' sound reminds of early PALLAS, having an evident symphonic color, while the guitar work is half split between DARIUS' energy and ARRAKEEN's sweet melodies.The shifting moods are numerous and unique, from a calm delicacy to an exposing wrath, a track can find itself torn between a number of changing climates.The result is no less than first class Neo Prog with a balanced sound.

Unfortunately the band suffered from line-up changes and their only official recording after the album was the cover of ''Another Day of Sorrow'' for the 2000 Pink Floyd tribute ''Signs of life''.Yet Cromwell are still active today, preparing for a second album, already written and performed, waiting for its mix and mastering.

Around the time of its release ''Burning Banners'' remained rather unnoticed, even more today, so many years after it saw the light.Still this is almost a perfect example of trully adventurous Neo Prog with a dramatic touch and deserves a wider spread.Highy recommended.

Report this review (#644543)
Posted Friday, March 2, 2012 | Review Permalink

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