Header
Sean Filkins - War And Peace & Other Short Stories CD (album) cover

WAR AND PEACE & OTHER SHORT STORIES

Sean Filkins

Crossover Prog


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Heavy Prog Team
5 stars Ex-singer of Big Big Train, it cames as no surprise to hear the influence of that band listening to this first solo's cd. A cd that contains a long suite of six songs links together. The arrangements gives you a interesting variety of sounds, sometimes exotic and other times classical. The vocals are is very enjoyable as all the rhythmn section. We are treated with some beautiful guitar and keyboards passages with piano and acoustic guitar to make the transition between the soft and heavier parts. The presence of guest musicians like Guy Chandler, Dave Meros, John Mitchell and Lee Abraham have helped established the great atmosphere and sound of the whole music, but what stands out here, it's the amazing quality of the compositions that take you back to the best Yes 70's classic period, with the modern sound of the Neo prog bands of today.

So it was a very interesting surprise to hear this cd because i am always afraid of trying something of a solo project, but this time it didn't feel like one. It wouldn't be fair to give this one a 4 stars and maybe a little soon to make it a 5 stars, but since it's closer to 5 and that there is no 4 and a half, i give it a 5 stars.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to rdtprog (BETA) | Report this review (#469010)
Posted Saturday, June 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
RJN
5 stars I don't post a lot of reviews but I am going to do so for the new album from Sean Filkins, to me this is certainly one of the best things I have heard in 2011. This album has six tracks on it, the first track is really not a song it is somebody (Sean I assume) preparing what must be tea, , and getting ready to sit down and relax, hence the name Are You Sitting Comfortably. Now we get going , the first song is called The English Eccentric , which by the way you can hear a free stream of at his website, this song clocks in at approx. 8 1/2 minutes and it a great opener and a sign of big things to come. Next up is the first of the long, epic type tracks Prisoner Of Conscience Pt 1 The Soldier, it clocks in at almost 20 minutes and is brilliant, Sean has a veritable cast of thousands helping out here I lost count at about 14 people. This is a great tune, filled with many highs on it , great guitar playing, keyboards and the rhythm section shines . It was during this tune that I began to notice the wonderful lyrics written by Sean , this guy is a poet. Next up is Prisoner Of Conscience Pt 2 The Ordinary Man, this one clocks in at over 11 minutes and is another great song, the words and music go together so well, it is magical. Next up is to me the highlight of this great album and there are so many but this song which breaks down into 5 sections Epitaph For A Mariner is tremendous, this one clocks in at over 20 minutes, another epic track , very progressive, and some fantastic guitar playing from John Mitchell as well as soaring vocals from Sean, just wonderful. The album closes with Learn how to Learn, more magic here both musically and lyrically , this song is the perfect ending to this album, fades away with very eastern sounds, drums and sitar. Many notables on this album, Gary Chandler, John Mitchell, Dave Meros,& Lee Abraham among them and the drummer who I am not familiar with Gerald Mulligan in a monster. I have to say that this is a serious contender for album of the year, this is one of the best albums I have heard in quite a while, so many different styles packed into almost 68 minutes of music, there is so much going on that a review could not possibly do it justice, this has to be heard from start to finish, a masterpiece.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to RJN (BETA) | Report this review (#472915)
Posted Thursday, June 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 'War And Peace & Other Short Stories' - Sean Filkins (7/10)

Best known for his vocal duties with the modern prog rock band Big Big Train, Sean Filkins has decided to go and make music under his given name. While I have not yet listened to the music of that band, I would trust the numerous accolades I've heard given to the band; suffice to say, Big Big Train tickled the fancy of many of prog listener, especially with their latest record 'The Underfall Yard'. Being that I am not yet a fan of his previous flagship project, I approached his debut solo record without any preconceived notion of what the music will be like, besides the fact that it would likely fall under the prog category. As one could even derive from the track lengths of 'War & Peace And Other Stories' alone, Sean Filkins has certainly made a vast undertaking with this album, and sought to go out and compose a masterpiece. While the music here is generally great though, there is the feeling that things may have been stretched out a little too far for its own good here.

Of course, progressive rock is meant to be overindulgent; the music is generally bombastic, and intentionally takes more steps than are necessary to make a point. In Sean Filkins' case, his excellence as an artist is evident here, although I do think that he may have been a little too deadset on composing 'epics' here, when the music may have done alot better in a more conventional format. This is not to bash the man's songwriting abilities however; the music throughout is warm, leaning towards a symphonic sound, but rocking and ultimately tasteful. It just remains ironic that for an album that bases itself around not one, but two epic suites of music, that the two songs that have the most resonance with me are the two shorter songs, 'The English Eccentric' and 'Learn How To Learn'.

Disregarding a fairly typical introductory track for a prog album that consists of some rather domestic soundscaping, 'the first of the mentioned tracks breaks out into a fairly strong keyboard and heavy guitar riff, and then into a more symphonic sound that's indicative of the longer pieces here. The instrumentation here is fairly well done, although typical for the prog style that Filkins plays. The real delight in the sound- as someone would expect of a singer's solo project- are the vocals though; while Filkins' skill on the instruments is not particularly outstanding save for some great guitar solos here and there, its his vocals that really stay with me. His vocals remind me of Peter Gabriel's, or Mark Trueack of Unitopia's for the sake of a modern comparison, and his grasp of melody is great. The chorus of 'The English Eccentric' is beautiful, and a really mellow contrast to the sort of hard rock that the album introduces itself as.

As for the epics here, 'Prisoner Of Consicence' is a great epic that naturally grows after a few listens, but it does feel as if Sean Filkins concentrates a little too much on instrumental passages rather than where his real strengths lie; being with the vocals and melodies. Like the second epic 'Epitaph For A Mariner' though, it feels like these epics are drawn out for the sake of being longer, when they could have made a more profound statement were they cut down. The first segment of 'Mariner' is the biggest offender, verging on symphonic ambient music, which is ear candy by all measures, but wears thin a while before it's over. Filkins' lyrical topics are often narrative and- as indicated by the album's extended title- it does feel like the man is using his music to tell stories, and this helps balance out the album's flaws, and only intensify the moments of strength here.

Sean Filkins is by all means a talented man, and one of the best vocalists in the more orthodox prog rock scene. For the skills and promise I hear evidently in the music that 'War And Peace & Other Short Stories' delivers though, I can hopefully see the man trimming a little fat off of the bones of his work, and creating something a little more to-the-point, and powerful. This is not to say that the man should disregard his obvious penchant for epic writing completely, but as far as his solo work goes, the man's talent is most readily demonstrated when he lets his voice do the talking.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#481479)
Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Following some fairly major brain surgery at Christmas I've found myself with a lot of time on my hands whilst recovering at home. The vast majority of my time has been spent doing what I love the most, that's listening to Prog in all of it's various genres. I have to say the very first time I listened to War and Peace and Other Stories, I was hooked. This is definitely not an album to be put on as background music or if there are people around you who are likely to want to talk whilst it is playing. This is an album that deserves to be heard when you can devote your full attention to it, preferably without interruption on good speakers or at least great headphones. One thing I noticed was the increasingly rewarding listening experience you get, i.e. the more you listen, the more you get from it.

This is particularly true with track 2 Prisoner of Conscience Part 1, Sean's voice is full of so much emotion on this track, there is also some soaring guitar work in this extraordinary track that literally gave me goosebumps!! To single any one player on the album though, is possibly to detract from the others who have contributed. In truth, ALL of the playing on this album is nothing short of excellent. I was aware of Sean's work with Big Big Train, but with this album I feel he has truly shown us all what he is capable of producing, and I can hardly wait to see what may come from him in the future.

If you feel the need to treat yourself, then buy this album it really is incredible.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to cyberfloat (BETA) | Report this review (#483851)
Posted Saturday, July 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars As someone who started listening to Progressive Rock some 40 odd years ago, I found much to enjoy with War and Peace and Other Stories. I had been introduced to Sean Filkins via my interest in Big Big Train so was very interested to see what he had to offer.

I have found that repeated plays certainly reward the listener and the CD has not been out of my player for a few weeks. Influences abound (to my ears, anyway) and much of this album would not disgrace any of my old favourite bands.

I would recommend this album to anyone who enjoys "classic" Prog like Camel, Yes, Genesis and more recent bands like IQ, Porcupine Tree and The Pineapple Thief.

I look forward to Sean's next project and would comfortably rate this as FIVE stars.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to patpom (BETA) | Report this review (#484865)
Posted Monday, July 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars I recently purchased this album on a friend's recommendation and didn't really know what to expect. When I received the album I had to go to work so I put it on in the car and was absolutely blown away. I couldn't believe this was created by (as far as I was concerned) an unknown artist. I was truly amazed and instantly started showing friends and family (who have since purchased their own copies) the masterpiece I had discovered. I have not stopped listening to the album since the day I got it, I just can't put it down, and it literally goes with me everywhere I go.

The production that has gone into every aspect of this album is as good as, if not better then the big boys of prog rock. You can really tell that Sean Filkins heart and soul has gone into producing this work of art. The lyrics are incredibly touching and everyone who listens relates to them in a different way.

I would like to thank Sean Filkins for producing this record as it has found a place in my heart.

I highly recommend this album to all as there is something for everyone and the effort put in is clear to see and truly remarkable.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to BIGBboy_RockFan (BETA) | Report this review (#502410)
Posted Saturday, August 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Of all the new prog albums of 2011, I found this album as the most original in terms of not particularly being inspired by the past giants of Prog Rock. The album is very melodious overall. While being very accessible, all the songs are intelligently structured to give you a sense of adventure. I must note that I find Sean's voice a bit strange and sometimes a bit odd (I mean his pronunciations are oddly too clear for anyone British), but at the same time he has got a smoothness and a wide octave range-- making me pay more attention to his vocal works than usual. The thing about the album is that he is not living in the past while delivering a very progressive rock album. Many talented artists in contrast are producing too many albums with retro sounds and even retro styles (for instance Wobbler's Rite of the Dawn is too much like an album produced in 1971). Progressive rock had always been innovative in the past; its not just about using Mellotrons. Sean was clearly inspired and he had something to say; he did not make this album just to prove that he loves to make progressive music. The second criticism about his work, other than his kind-of-strange vocals style, is that some parts of the music seems too poppy in terms of structure. May be that's what made the album very accessible. This is what made his 20-minute Epitaph seem like a 5 minute song in a good way. I would highly recommend this album for its inspired composition and presentation.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to Sharier (BETA) | Report this review (#506777)
Posted Sunday, August 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars I like Sean Filkins' voice. BIG BIG TRAIN's "The Difference Machine" is one of my favorite CDs of the Naughties. I like this album pretty well. I agree with a few other reviewers that it's a bit bombastic, at times a bit drawn out or overextended, and overall fails to really explore any new territory, however, it does contain some stellar moments and one song that, IMHO, deserves to be launched straight to the pantheon of prog epic masterpieces: "Epitaph for a Mariner."

"The English Eccentric" (8/10) is is interesting for the way it feels heavy with out being really heavy at all. A different vocal timbre from Sean with nice b-vox harmonies. "The cracks in the pavement..." section, with its standard power chords, is a bit overblown (despite some nice bass work). And there is a very pretty, medieval-ish section after the "Her Father said..." line. Pretty good wah- ed guitbox solo to the end, too.

There are outstanding parts to "Prisoner of Conscience, Part I: The Soldier" (8/10) (the flute and sitar intro section; the use of mandolin and acoustic guitars in the second section; the organ in the third section; the heavier, bass-led "I Don't..." section; and, the climax with excellent [John Mitchell?] guitar solo from 15:30 to end), but then there are parts that are, well, bombastic and overblown ("mist of sudden fear" and follow-up sections [12:30-14:38]--including the spanish guitar part).

"Prisoner of Conscience, Part 2: The Ordinary Man" (6/10) has the unfortunate disadvantage of starting with a synth and synth bass foundation that sounds like it's been lifted straight out of JOURNEY's "Don't Stop Believin'," and, unfortunately, it doesn't get much better from there--almost "too proggy"--(like some Tangent, Flower Kings and Glass Hammer.) The piano-backed middle "So fragile...time stands still..." section helps--until the JOURNEY-like lead guitar (John Mitchell? really poorly mixed; IMO, not the right sound fit for this part) enters. A true neo-prog song.

The topical theme suggested by the title "Epitaph for a Mariner" (10/10) conjures up comparisons to BBT's "The Underfall Yard"-- which is unfortunate, because the lyrics and their emotional presentation were where I personally found flaw with "Underfall." However, that is where the comparisons should end. The first three sections--one instrumental sans drums with female 'siren' singing, the second including a brief recorded voice of a sailor, the third an ANT PHILLIPS--like 12-string with synth wash section over which Sean sings his heart--is absolutely gorgeous. The fourth section gets heavier, with an awesome slide guitar floating around in the background, yet retains the intense emotion and fresh-feeling to it--and delightfully peaks with a spine-thrilling slide solo. Together with this being by far Sean's best vocal performance on the album, this song alone warrants the purchase, listen, and Top 10 standing of this album.

"Learn How to Learn" (8/10) uses a really strange effect on Sean's lead vocal--which is especially noticeable in the quieter sections. The song's overall similarities to YES' "I've Seen All Good People" is rather enjoyable--including some rather esoteric, New Age lyrics I much prefer the move into the spacey, sitar w/tabla second/final section to that of "Your Move."

A masterpiece? No. But a solid 4 stars. Admittedly, I came into this listening experience with some doubts, but I come away a believer. Sean & Company are for real!

An excellent addition to any prog lover's music collection.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to BrufordFreak (BETA) | Report this review (#507405)
Posted Monday, August 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars I started out listening to Progressive music back in the seventies, when bands like Genesis, Pink Floyd and The Moody Blues were constantly in rotation on my turntable. Later in the Eighties it was Marillion, then Porcupine Tree and Spocks Beard. Now it's Sean Filkins. I bought Sean Filkins new solo album, War And Peace & Other Short Stories, after hearing the track The English Eccentric, on The Classic Rock Presents Prog sampler. What a great Progressive Rock album. The album is well written, with meaningful lyrics, fantastic music and a first class production. It covers many genres of Prog and Rock, with added twists thrown in of New Age music, synths with sequencers, World music with Sitars, Tablas and even Didgeridoo and Contempory Folk to Heavy Metal. There are influences here and there where one can pick out the odd nod to different bands, but Filkins has managed to merge all these influences and themes together to make an original sound all of his own.

By what I've read on his website and from listening to interviews he has done, you know that each track is a story, probably very personal to him by the way they are written, and the different instruments are cleverly used to help tell these stories. Even though personal, I could relate to the lyrics on the same level so the songs are very accesible. There are many great guests musicians involved with the making of the album who all play their part, with Filkins as writer, arranger and conductor, but I won't list all of them as one can read these on his website or on the cover of the disc.

Two long tracks dominate the CD, which has six tracks in all, the first being a clever little intro that is very English! The English Eccentric then explodes into your room. One of the shorter tracks on the album but one that posesses all the elements for a great prog track and it sets the scene perfectly for what is to come. What follows next are the two long tracks. Prisoner Of Conscience parts 1 and 2 that link together and the five part Epitaph for a Mariner where Filkins has segued five very different sounding pieces together using many influences from New age synths to pounding drums and sequences to the end anthemic finale where the guitars and keyboards duel it out to a stunning climax. The track ends with a lonely Piano lament. Just beautiful.

These two tracks alone make this album a five star certainty with me. This is the most progressive, Progressive Rock album I have heard in years. The album finishes with the sublime Learn How To Learn where Filkins has had the help of Geoff Webb to create a beautiful uplifting song where Filkins brings back elements of previous tracks to again link the album together.

I hope there will be more to come from Filkins, as this is a stunning album, from a new and relatively unknown artist, that is my album of the year thus far and one that other bands I know and love will be hard pushed to beat.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to Prog Panda (BETA) | Report this review (#507409)
Posted Monday, August 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is the one where Sean Filkins sets a line in the sand and states "i am here" other vocal contributions to bands such as big big train although excellent in there genre do not measure in comparison to Sean's new album "War and Peace and Other Short Stories" The album takes you on a journey starting of with a good English cup of tea, as any worthwhile journey should start. The quality of this album; in song writing, performance, the production is first rate. I brought this album on release and haven't really stopped listening to it which speaks for itself!

From Light hearted to heavy, Joyful to moody the 6 songs encompass many genres of prog rock and the transition between them seems to go unoticed and appears to be intentional as the album tells a story or two. As much as i write here the best thing to do is listen to it and see what you think. There are some brilliant reviews above and we cant all be wrong!!

Osmium

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to Osmium76 (BETA) | Report this review (#516816)
Posted Wednesday, September 07, 2011 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Sean Filkins is known to many for his vocals in the British band BIG BIG TRAIN. Well he left that particular band after taking part in "The Difference Machine" an album I really enjoy. Sean gets help here from Lee Abraham, Dave Meros, Gary Chandler, Karl Groom, John Mitchell and others. And like BIG BIG TRAIN the lyrics here are very strong and meaningful. In fact this album has the ability to really move me at times which is a real credit to Sean.

"Are You Sitting Comfortably ?" opens with someone searching for a radio station then pouring themselves a drink. I'm sure they're sitting comfortably now as the music kicks in on "The English Eccentric" perhaps my favourite track on here. Synths and a powerful sound lead early then it settles with vocals a minute in. It turns dreamy after 3 1/2 minutes and again before 5 minutes. It kicks back in again.

"Prisoner Of Conscience, Part 1 The Soldier" opens with rain, thunder, nature sounds and someone walking through the forest it would seem. Flute and atmosphere eventually take over. Percussion and sitar before 3 minutes as the tempo picks up. Strummed guitar after 4 minutes then vocals. It's much better when it becomes more powerful before 7 minutes. It's laid back again after 8 minutes but then turns heavy after 11 minutes.The guitar soars 14 minutes in then it settles back with almost spoken words.Great section here especially when the guitar comes in. Nice. It blends into "Prisoner Of Conscience, Part 2 The Ordinary Man". It settles with reserved vocals then it starts to pick up after 3 minutes. Some nice bass and mellotron-like sounds.Vocals are back.A calm 6 1/2 minutes in with reserved vocals and piano. It kicks in after 7 minutes with guitar and drums standing out.

"Epitaph For A Mariner" opens with organ as female vocals join in. Water sounds only take over after a minute then some atmosphere rolls in. Piano and intricate guitar follows. Some vocal melodies before we get a change after 5 minutes and the tempo picks up. Another change 9 1/2 minutes in as it turns mellow and reserved vocals join in. A fuller sound after 12 minutes. Nice. It stays this way until a calm arrives before 19 1/2 minutes to the end.

"Learn How To Learn" opens with piano as vocals join in. A guitar solo follows then it settles with vocals. It ends instrumentally.

Without question this is a special album and deserving of 4 stars. Like Conor mentions i'd have rather seen some of the fat trimmed but this is a really good album.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#516999)
Posted Wednesday, September 07, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Marillion's latest album after the return of Fish on vocals picks up right where Misplaced Childhood left off...........oh sorry, this is a Sean Filkins album? formerly of Big Big train. Well you could've fooled me!

Whilst this is an anjoyable trip back to the 80's, well played, well sung, somewhat interesting and melodious, it doesn't really provide anything new or to be honest, anything really that interesting. Not really Crossover Prog as there is nothing modern or poppy about it, more so Neo Prog. Aa compared to BBT's masterpiece the Underfall Yard, Sean Filkins' debut falls a bit short. Now perhaps it was never meant to be anything else and that's fine, but IMO it doesn't deserve the high ratings it is receiving.

For fans of aforementioned Fish era Marillion (but not as good as Clutching at Straws) and Genesis. Good if you like your prog with a cup o tea rather than, well, a strong black coffee.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to praj912 (BETA) | Report this review (#524271)
Posted Thursday, September 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Sean filkins " War and peace and other short stories" is not something i would go out of my way to listen to but that for me goes for most prog rock.( A mate put me onto it and im glad they did) But i thought i would take the time to say that this how ever is something special, it flows together so well that you feel you have taken a personal journey throught some of the important parts of Sean filkins life, the sounds and blending of vocals at times leave you quiet as you want to listen deeper for more and as you do its all there and then it takes you of on another completly different direction/adventure/tempo but some how it all works. All i can say is 10 out of 10 and a deserving 5 star and for those who put it as one star you really need to get a better sterio or go back to listening to chesney hawks. I hope there is a second album in the pipe line.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to scotty9920 (BETA) | Report this review (#528862)
Posted Wednesday, September 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars As a proper fan of bands like Porcupine Tree, Pendragon, Arena, Abigail's Ghost etc I heard by accident two songs of Sean Filkins' solo album. At that very moment I knew that it is a NEED for me to have this cd. In my opinion Sean Filkins really did improve since he left Big Big Train and now presents an excellent first solo album. The particular timbre of his voice gives each single song a certain power and emotionality. Compositions, musical arrangements and instrumentation are absolutely remarkable. To me War & Peace and Other Stories is one of the best albums in recent years which is truly recommended.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to HCG (BETA) | Report this review (#561221)
Posted Wednesday, November 02, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars More often than not, I may not like an album on the first listen. Very rarely does a CD immediately grab my attention and hold me musically mesmerized. But that was definitely the case with "War and Peace & Other Short Stories."

I do most of my listening while commuting to and from work. I had ordered the "War and Peace" CD after hearing the cut "Learn How to Learn" on AiiRadio. It was soon waiting for me in the mailbox at the foot of our lane when I came home from work late one Friday night. I popped it in the CD player and by the time I pulled into our driveway I was hooked. I stayed in the car, motor running, until I had listened to the entire CD. I've been listening to it at least daily in the weeks since.

Sean Filkin's talents as a versatile musician and composer may only be exceeded by his abilities as a poet. The stories indicated in the title are masterfully crafted: The eccentric looking back at his life regretting the mistakes he made; the soldier and the "ordinary man" each wrestling with his conscience, each for different reasons. But by far, the most touching is "Epitaph for a Mariner," the story of William Pull, Filkin's Great Grandfather, who was called away from the birth of his daughter to rescue the crew of a ship foundering on the Margate Rocks, a tragedy compounded when Pull's boat capsized with the loss of nearly its entire crew.

But a CD is about the music. Sean Filkins has one of those voices that is instantly recognizable. There is none other quite like it, and that is meant as a complement. The supporting musicians, Lee Abraham, John Sammes, Gerald Mulligan, Dave Meros and the rest are masterful. I could find nothing in "War an Peace & Other Short Stories" that reminded me of anyone else. The composition, the music, the lyrics are all uniquely Sean Filkins and I hope there is much more of the same still coming. This CD shot instantly to the top of my personal music charts and has remained there for weeks. It may be cliched, but there really is something here for everyone, Prog fan or not.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to bruskey93 (BETA) | Report this review (#567057)
Posted Saturday, November 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars After listening to someone elses copy of this cd I couldn't wait to get hold of my own, and to be honest it's barely left my cd player since. I have been absolutely blown away by these tracks and how they can evoke such emotion and be so inspiring. This year has been tough after loosing a close family friend in Afghanistan shortly followed by the death of my grandmother who I have cared for for the past two years, but the lyrics in Seans music matched with the passion with which he sings has really helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you for this great music Sean, and I cant wait to hear more.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to prog_chick (BETA) | Report this review (#575947)
Posted Saturday, November 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars 8/10

Of all the releases this year, this album really stands out. Many know Sean Filkins as the former lead singer of Big Big Train, but now he is ready to make his mark with his debut album War and Peace and Other Stories. This album evokes the prog giants of the past, with a strong sense of neo-prog of the 80s (and I think this genre is more appropriate for this album than crossover prog). The music is complex and enjoyable, though not as original. Filkins runs most of the instruments, while some other special guests give the guys here. For me the real highlights are the first part of the epic Prisoner of Conscience and Epitaph for a Mariner, but all the songs have great potential. 4 stars.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to voliveira (BETA) | Report this review (#581777)
Posted Sunday, December 04, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the first time I have ever put pen to paper to review an album, but felt the need as I couldn't believe some of the low ratings this 5 star album has received. As one of only a handful of albums I have bought this year that I could honestly say is Progressive, this CD mixes elements of old and new and brings in fantastic world music sounds and themes in a way that really develops the story in each track to the listener in a contemporary way. Others do this, but end up sounding like other bands in their effort to please. Filkins has deviated from the norm by doing something a little bit different and managed to make everything almost seamlessly fuse together into what is for me the best Prog album to be produced in years. Great production, great songs, lifting choruses, soaring guitar solos, beautiful melodies, poignant lyrics. This album has it all. What else can I say, except that for a first effort at solo writing and performing, this is excellent and a true example of the prog rock genre. Filkins has assembled a group of first class musicians who do a terrific job interpreting his writing with lyrics and music blended together by changing tempos and a huge range of instruments. Highlights are many but the guitar solo at the end of Prisioner part one stands out. As a final comment I need to say there was something extremely moving about the words written in these songs that seemed to give a route to the writers very heart and soul. I don't know his story but I feel there is a depth to be explored.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to Vulpino (BETA) | Report this review (#593823)
Posted Wednesday, December 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars As vulpino stated, this is the first time i have ever written a review and felt compelled to after seeing some of the low star ratings for this CD. Which in my opinion is a Progressive Rock Gem and one that should be in everybody's Progressive Rock album collection.

Sean Filkins has created a fantastic album that covers many genres with a mixture of vast Symphonic pieces, world and folk music and out and out Heavy Rock, and with the help of some excellent musicians from Prog world (Dave Meros, John Mitchell, Lee Abraham, Darren Newitt), he has managed to put all these ideas together tp create six pieces of music that really make you sit up and listen. From the quirky "Are you sittting comfortably" tp start, which leads into the energetic English Eccentric, Filkins sends us on a spiralling musical journey, producing many musical highs, as in the ever expanding choruses of Prisoner Of Conscience The Soldier, to the instrumental finale of Epitaph.

The lyrics are also very meaningful, very poetic at times and help create the picture the Filkins describes. " A sardonic toast to the victims of the funeral pyre. The costly toll of love and life exchanged for blood and fire". All the lyrics are in the excellent booklet (created by Paul Tippet, artwork for It Bites amonst others) that has been produced with the CD and I found myselfreading them even when the CD had finished. This is one of those albums that deserves repeated listening from start to finish and the I listen the more I hear, as production from Lee Abraham and Filkins is top notch. This is without a doubt my album of 2011. Filkins has made a very bold statement for his first solo effort and I look forward to more from him in the following years to come. Awesome Stuff

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to Prog Pete (BETA) | Report this review (#597186)
Posted Tuesday, December 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Errors and Omissions Team
5 stars I wonder what this tune in the background of Are You Sitting Comfortably? can it be anthem of some kind (or rather something less prominent, but England related, perhaps wartime brass song?), but don't tell me. I could have looked it up anyway, but wanted to find out by myself.

But nope, don't expect me to understand the story yet. It's my 6th listen or so and it will take some more listens, but that's the point - the album is as good as the first one (actually even better, I am starting to appreciate subtle elements in the music, that's always a good sign).

So the funny thing (damn ironic too if you ask me) is that I never actually liked Sean's performance in Big Big Train that much. You can say that I liked the vocals, but I didn't like the music. However I consider "Underfall" as a pinnacle in their discography and "War and Peace" reminds me it a lot (at least some moments, very strong on The English Eccentric, whose often repeated lyrics line "'round his eyes" was a bit annoying to me at first, but then I began to like it more). Then comes tricky part - first, let's say one quarter of Prisoner of Conscience, Part 1: The Soldier, with its second quarter serving as a playground for Sean Filkins voice, clearly focusing on it, which is not a bad thing - as I said, he is proficient singer.

The music and melody ensues, but not just this, also half complex (my favourite kind - graduating type), half melodic music, which can be called third quarter. A lot of rocky parts here, which is fine. The last quarter is therefore ending (I suspect typical Prog epic pattern here), but ends surprisingly (at first I expected repeating of the song's motif).

Prisoner of Conscience, Part 2: The Ordinary Man starts differently, after the cataclysmic event, it emerges as quietly as possible, but then blooms into The Song. It's a fine one as well.

Epitaph For a Mariner is a bit weaker, again there is first quarter of something that I'll, for a lack of better word (OK I admit I have a better word and this is intentional) call ambience. Then it starts to moves slowly (the best metaphor would be probably an avalanche one) and ends even more epically than Part 1.

It probably won't be much of a surprise that Learn How to Learn again - starts quite quietly and ends on a high note, before ultimately ending quietly again (trait common to last two songs here, other three ends drastically).

On a related note, title of this song is also something you can call "story of my life", all my life I've been trying to learn how to learn, but always failed. The song probably have something else in mind, but this familiarity is also important for me.

All in all, one of the best albums of this year. There are flaws, but flawless album doesn't exist after all. I hope it's not subconsciousness hypnosis and I haven't put "rose coloured glasses" from the first song's lyrics on (not counting intro as a "song").

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to Marty McFly (BETA) | Report this review (#607262)
Posted Tuesday, January 10, 2012 | Review Permalink
tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
5 stars Sean Filkins has been drawing rave reviews and considerable praise lately which is odd since he is no newcomer by any stretch, having been involved with Big Big Train (lead vocalist up to The Difference Machine) , neo-prog outfit Lorien as well as spacemen Soma. He has a unique voice that is immediately identifiable, powerful yet good-natured. I actually regretted his BBT replacement with Phil Collins-clone David Longdon, who was recruited for 'the Underfall Yard' sessions. But I guess it took a well-crafted solo album, aided and abetted by a bevy of fellow musicians who respect his talents to really enter the elite. The man knows how to be playfully inventive, beginning with a brief overture that nods and winks at an old IQ title ('Are You Sitting Comfortably?' and then tossing in some weird radio static that features Jerusalem, that fabled English church standard made famous by Vangelis, Jeff Beck and ELP. ' The English Eccentric' is a perfect introduction, coming across like a heavier version of the similarly gifted songwriters Steve Thorne and Guy Manning, seasoned with some grandiose arrangements that veer closer to the Tangent or even the Flower Kings. I find it interesting when some complain of too much fat (prog is like good Alberta beef, you need a little fat to provide flavor) or flaws that serve only to de- sterilize a genre that can easily fall prey to formula. Let us not forget that this is a solo album and as such is way more of a personal musical statement than a group effort.

This is a fine recording that incorporates a wide variety of interesting modules such as the sitar spirals at the onset of the massive 2 part epic Prisoner of Conscience or the Jon Andersonisms of the beginning of Part 2 that is like a demo version of the mythical The Friends of Mr.Cairo (Jon & Vangelis). There are some highly virtuosic performances here, on assorted guitars and bass courtesy of Lee Abraham (Galahad) and Arena's John Mitchell on lead guitar. Anything that has the word 'Epitaph' scares the 'bejesus' out of me, as if anything would dare to come close to the King Crimson masterpiece, arguably my all-time favorite piece of music. Not to worry but close as the whopping nearly 21 minute behemoth 'Epitaph for A Mariner' is a colossal composition of impeccable lineage , a soothing siren wail (Abigail Filkins, I presume) that sets a comfortable numbness, sizzling synth flights that sear the supersymphonic backbone and some truly beatific vocals from the big, big conductor himself. When faced with the challenges of such a huge piece of music, dynamic continuity and intelligent spacing is primordial. This comp has that demeanor in spades. Beautiful timeless music mercifully crested with a gripping slide guitar solo. As mentioned by some PA colleagues, this track alone is worth the price of admission, no refund policy needed. The piano fadeout is heartrendingly evocative.

'Learn How to Learn' is a fitting finale and I am perhaps the first to mention this but there is a definite undercurrent of Yes influence in Sean's singing and lyricism that seeks not to plagiarize but to provide a sense of immortality which the Squireboys have not revisited since 'Drama'. All the praise and galactic asteroids are entirely deserved. And then some''

5 Leo Tolstoys

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to tszirmay (BETA) | Report this review (#617320)
Posted Monday, January 23, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars I can definitely hear some sounds of Big Big Train's "Gathering Speed" here but I reckon that probably owes a lot to the fact that Sean Filkins took the microphone on that album for the masters of prog from Bournemouth. For this one, his first solo album, Sean Filkins (with a little help from his friends) has really nailed it here. I've played the album several times since I bought it on Sean's website and while "Epitaph for a Mariner" is the centrepiece, its an album that I play in its entirety from start to finish. I don't pick and choose individual tracks like I would with some other albums. I know I'll keep returning to this album repeatedly in the years to come. Congrats Sean, hope you follow "War and Peace and Other Short Stories" with something equally as rich and pleasing.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to Driver (BETA) | Report this review (#818156)
Posted Monday, September 10, 2012 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars There are few affectations that get on my nerves faster than English musicians - and prog musicians in particular seem to be chronic for this - who make a big deal about how whimsically English they are. Perhaps I merely suffer from a chronic lack of patriotism, but I prefer to think that it's they who have a chronic lack of personality and seek to fill it in with an easy, prepackaged bundle of quirks which don't actually add up to much.

So, perhaps War and Peace by Sean Filkins was doomed to not impress me when Filkins decided to make a 1 minute intro track consisting solely of him tuning a radio to some patriotic music and making himself a cup of tea. (That's another thing I can't stand: excessive fetishisation of tea. It's a drink. It's a sodding drink and it isn't even that good of one.) The first proper track, the English Eccentric, reveals that Filkins isn't actually that eccentric after all: what's on offer here consists of a rather bombastic style of prog consisting of most of the obvious influences from the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, with occasional harder-edged influences creeping in at the corners with the guitar work. The rest of the album proceeds in a similar vein. As far as solo orgies of multi-instrumentalist tootling go, it's technically adept and shows off Filkins' skills nicely but doesn't quite manage to have anything interesting to say or to connect on an emotional level except to irritate and annoy.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#823290)
Posted Tuesday, September 18, 2012 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
4 stars Prior this his debut solo album Sean had made a name for himself with both Big Big Train and Lorien, and so I approached this with some interest. There are also a large number of guest musicians involved, including Gary Chandler (Jadis), Dave Meros (Spock's Beard), John Mitchell (It Bites, Frost) and Lee Abraham (Galahad) so given that I also like all of these bands I thought that we may just be onto a winner here. It commences with the sound of a kettle boiling and then someone making a cup of tea while listening to a brass band playing "Jerusalem" on the radio. Yes, it's all very English in the extreme but I don't get it. My initial reaction was that Kiss did it much better at the beginning of 'Destroyer' many years earlier so why bother? But, my initial reaction soon faded as we were flung headlong into "The English Eccentric" which moves from electric to acoustic guitar as the mood and style moves here and there. Sean has a really great vocal style, and soon I was lost in the world and had almost forgiven him for the over-indulgent start to the album.

The longest song on the album is "Epitaph For A Mariner", and it starts with a church organ and a young singer singing the first verse of "For Those In Peril On The Sea". As soon as I hear that my feeling on the album took a major twist and I found myself listening intensely to what was going on. I was raised in fishing community in the West of England, where not only do our churches have the standard Harvest Festival but also Harvest of the Sea. That hymn is something I sang many times when I was younger, as it was always a major part of the service when the community asked for the trawlermen to be watched over and brought back safe. Although not many fishermen were lost at sea, it always greatly affected the town when it happened. I found myself back in my youth, feeling very English (these days I am a proud Kiwi), and feeling that I was starting to understand the album and what Sean was attempting to achieve.

Overall I feel he managed it, and the result is a prog album that is indeed very English in lots of ways, looking backwards and also forweards to the future and one that is well worth investigating. www.f2music.co.uk

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to kev rowland (BETA) | Report this review (#840592)
Posted Friday, October 19, 2012 | Review Permalink
Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars Here we have a combination of Neo-Prog bombast and earnest acoustic-led passages. Sean Filkins has a pleasant, grandfatherly voice that doesn't come expected atop the Neo-Prog style (I don't mean that to insinuate elderliness- only a warm eagerness to tell stories). Where he shines is in the shorter tracks, as the highlights here are "The English Eccentric" and "Learn How to Learn."

"Are You Sitting Comfortably?" Somewhat. But I'll take coffee and not tea, thanks.

"The English Eccentric" Wild synthesizer and a thundering rhythm section billows through, settling into an upbeat acoustic rock song. The refrain is catchy enough, and the acoustic guitar solo is lovely touch, and is a stark contrast to the electric one that concludes the piece. This is a fun, stimulating song that is easy to just enjoy, and is my favorite on the album.

"Prisoner of Conscience, Part 1: The Soldier" Opening with the sound of war, the instrumentation begins with a low drone and lonely flute. What follows is an unexpected peppering of Indian instrumentation- the sound of a bazaar in Bombay rather than that of an English battlefield. Next in the queue is lighthearted acoustic guitar and bright singing. Herein lies my main criticism: There are stylistic changes that don't seem to make sense in the context of a single song. The organ solo drives the piece back into symphonic splendor, and the lead guitar that soon follows does not disappoint. The vocal passages at times remind one of Yes, while the instrumentation sits comfortably (ha!) in the neighborhood of Spock's Beard.

"Prisoner of Conscience, Part 2: The Ordinary Man" Coming right off the tail of the previous piece, this second part begins with a light vocal passage with a simple bass progression. This particular song is oozing with early Marillion.

"Epitaph for a Mariner" You'll think you're in church with the beginning this one: Pipe organ straight from a hymnal and an airy feminine voice. Expect quite a bit of synthesizer lead and repetition. I don't think the use of the snare complements the music. This lengthy song just doesn't capture me like a long tune should; I find myself looking at the clock. That isn't to say that the artist's instrumental prowess isn't on full display here (it is), but the composition itself just seems to carry on for the sake of carrying on.

"Learn How to Learn" A pastoral waltz with acoustic guitar, flute, and tranquil vocals, the final uplifting song is bathed in the nectar of The Flower Kings.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to Epignosis (BETA) | Report this review (#1009827)
Posted Friday, August 02, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars After hearing just one track from this album on a progressive rock radio show, Prisoner of Conscience part 2: The Ordinary Man, I immediately knew I had to have this album. And hearing more tracks after that first one, like English Eccentric which has a lot more power to it than the other tracks on the album, Epitaph for a Mariner that is a true epic, or Learn how to Learn which is intriguing with a slightly eastern sounding combination of sitar and tabla drums, only confirmed it. Not only did this have amazing melodies, some fantastic guitar solo's and killer key parts, it also has, in Prisoner of Conscience especially, about the most intriguing, deepest meaningful lyrics I've ever heard. To me this is pure, heartfelt poetry. I am absolutely in love.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to yvonne (BETA) | Report this review (#1056234)
Posted Tuesday, October 08, 2013 | Review Permalink
lazland
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Sean Filkins was the lead singer of Big Big Train until the great David Longdon replaced him for the exceptional The Underfall Yard. This, his debut solo album, was released in 2011, and, I must admit, it passed me by completely at the time. Why, I know not.

That is, until one day spent perusing the top albums of that year on Prog Archives earlier this year whilst recuperating from an operation, I read the reviews, especially that of my old friend Tszirmay, and thought......this sounds just like the sort of stuff I would like.

And do I. What an album. Quintessentially English in its entire outlook and output, War And Peace & Other Short Stories captures a unique talent. Yes, in the Are You Sitting Comfortably intro piece, one could point to Floydian bits. In the two epic tracks entitled Prisoner Of Conscience you could point to a fair bit of Beard in part one, and certainly Anderson heavy Yes in part two. However, these are merely influences, because at the heart of this is Filkins as a multi instrumentalist, a man with a huge vocal range, from as heavy as it comes to achingly poetical. Further, his piano playing, especially, is as heartfelt as any classical exponent.

Passages range from the blistering, to the bombastic, to some of the most gorgeous music I have had the pleasure of listening to in many years. From the first moment I put this on, I knew it would become a lasting favourite. The English Eccentric, the first song proper, is perhaps about the best self description I have seen written by an artist, and tells a story of a man whose time is no longer here, and the the contrast between thundering sound and wistful, mournful, acoustic rather accurately reflects a life lost though conflict.

The epic Prisoner.....is right at the heart of the album, and is in two distinct phases, as mentioned above. The guitar burst at the close of part one is as 'eavy as anything you will ever hear from any so-called heavy metal band, before we then have the most dreamy, and beautifully sung, intro of part two, yet the two segue seamlessly. Quite delicious. During the varying movements, attention is never, ever, lost. The denouement brings all of these varying moods together in a huge wall of sound that deserves to shake the room of any discerning progger.

Even this, though, pales into insignificance when set against the truly exceptional Epitaph For A Mariner, twenty one minutes of the most incredible rock music I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. Opening with the traditional Sailor's Hymn, beautifully sung by Abigail Filkins, to the accompaniment of a mournful organ, the track develops into quite the most wonderful piece. Abigail has a gorgeous voice, and her mournful, soulful, wail is the passage to all that follows.

I said at the commencement of the review proper that this was a quintessential English album. Well, this track, more than any other, embodies that spirit, because what could be more English than a hymn, Ode, and Epitaph to fallen seafarers, the bravest of the brave, who risk their lives daily, and, as with our hero here, often fall in the harsh environment they choose to try to tame? "But the sea's no friend to man". Written in three absolutely clear, and distinct, movements, this track embodies all that is good about a piece of music which, again, never allows the listener to drift and lose focus. The Epitaph passage gives full rein to the bombast that Filkins does equally as well as the heavy and restrained. The huge sound created gives way to a couple of minutes of lovely piano at the end, allowing the listener to reflect and, yes, grieve.

Closer, Learn How To Learn, is a fitting climax, nowhere near as intense as what came before (it would be, in truth, impossible). It has been compared by other reviewers to Drama era Yes or Flower Kings. It is, I think, far closer to the finest that the latter have produced, and brings us down from the intensity that came before in a fashion that still demands our full attention, very much in the fashion of the best of the Swedish greats. The guitar solo midway through really is gorgeous, and we are then taken down....down......down..... To a wall of vocals and gentle acoustics which re-asserts the fundamental unique Englishness of Filkins, as a fitting end to a fundamentally unique piece of work.

So, to a rating. Looking at my 2011 new album purchases reviewed, I see that this was the year I raved about the Edison's Children debut, and the wonderfully beautiful Introitus album, Elements. Well, this one is as good as these two gems. This is an album which is so representative of the best of modern progressive rock. Taking influences, and moulding them into a series of stories and soundscapes which are essentially 21st century. In other words, an album which moves the genre forward.

It is a masterpiece, so gets that rating. I, for one, cannot wait for the follow up.

For those of you, like me, who missed it at the time, this album comes very highly recommended.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to lazland (BETA) | Report this review (#1191207)
Posted Wednesday, June 11, 2014 | Review Permalink

SEAN FILKINS War And Peace & Other Short Stories ratings only


chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of SEAN FILKINS War And Peace & Other Short Stories


You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — the ultimate jazz music virtual community | MetalMusicArchives.com — the ultimate metal music virtual community


Server processing time: 0.47 seconds