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Flaming Row - Elinoire CD (album) cover

ELINOIRE

Flaming Row

Progressive Metal


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aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
4 stars Any similarity with actual facts or cases is purely coincidental...

Flaming Row is the vision of the talented composer and multi-instrumentalist Martin Schnella and Elinoire is the debut album of this multi-national project (rather than band). Flaming Row actually has a core of 4 members but in this modern rock opera, the number of musicians and vocalists comes up to the unbelievable figure of 30!

The album is thematically spawned around a concept of a young British family drama, but I have to be honest that the lyrical part is the one on which I concentrated the least. At first, I almost discarded it as a "stereotypical" modern progressive metal album, but subsequent listens have changed my mind towards a more positive approach. Throughout the 80 minutes of this concept, the roles are interchangeable and the different vocalists and moods keep the interest at high levels. The participation of Allman and Wehrkamp give this extra push to profile and quality and the SHADOW GALLERY influence is apparent. The music and the overall approach remind heavily of the paths that Arjen Lucassen follows with AYREON; they are actually almost identical: a concept with several roles and a story that unfolds through roles and emotional variations.

The powerful guitar work resembles to most of the "big ones" of modern progressive metal, such as SHADOW GALLERY (Overture), AYREON (Nightingales Chirp) and PAIN OF SALVATION (Time Mirror). There are a lot of mellow songs and ballads but also a number that go back to the roots of heavy/power and mainstream metal (Rage of Despair and Lea's Delivery). Although the influences are pretty obvious, the quality of composition and delivery is so high that shades everything else, and with dynamites such as Unearth the Truth, Schnella delivers his credentials.

All and all, a satisfying package of European progressive metal reaching production, sound and executional excellence. The step beyond for this project would be to reach closer to compositional and mainly innovation excellence in order to produce something truly memorable; the pre-requisites are certainly there. Elinoire is unreservedly recommended to fans of AYREON.

Report this review (#563949)
Posted Monday, November 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Germany's FLAMING ROW was formed by Martin Schnella back in 2008, and the principal idea behind the project was to create and record a conceptual CD featuring a story with several characters, encompassing a multitude of different moods and atmospheres. Most of the material was assembled in 2008 and 2009, with a core of local musicians and a wide array of guest contributors. The end result became the CD "Elinoire", which was released by Progressive Promotion Records in 2011.

Flaming Row has made a good quality debut with "Elinoire". Progressive metal is the stylistic foundation of choice, but flavored with enough stylistic variety to avoid becoming repetitive. Good quality compositions and performances are the common denominator throughout, with a few innovative details brought to the table as well. A well made concept album by and large, and one I suspect should find favor amongst fans of Arjen Lucassen's Ayreon productions first and foremost.

Report this review (#637842)
Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Some bands start out with a five year rehearsal period followed by a tepid EP to attract some attention. Not the project of a young German lad Martin Schnella called Flaming Row. They were immediately designed for a massive scale 15-vocalist rock opera stretching the limits of a 80-minute CD format. The main method of stylistic expression is a cheesy 80s inspired metal/hard rock. With droplets of more rough metal vocal style, soft rock, country and a nod to jazzy brass and woodwinds. I like the sound - fat, guitar-centrered, no double drum overkill common to pompous power metal. Emphasis is more on listenability, although there are brief instances of shredding. Its very well composed for a beginners metal opera, kudos to Schnella, with songs forming a continuous while. For such a long record it could use more stylistic diversity (a problem solved on the follow-up, Mirage), but its still heads and shoulders above 95 percent of metal I've heard.
Report this review (#1171317)
Posted Monday, May 5, 2014 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars I have recently heard independently both from guitarist and singer Martin Schnella and keyboard and sax player Marek Arnold, so am at long last listening to the debut album from Flaming Row. I had come across the follow-up a while ago, but this is the first time I have heard the 2011 debut. Martin's idea for this was to pull together a core band (the line-up is completed by drummer Niklas Kahl and singer Kiri Geile), and then get loads of mates and session musicians in to complete the ensemble. This means that the initial four musicians are extended to approximately 30, with many well-known names among them such as Jimmy Keegan and Billy Sherwood.

Complex and layered, this is a progressive metal tour de force, with plenty of vocals from the entourage, yet the guys know when to let Kiri take centre stage and provide gentle accompaniment. This has been likened to Ayreon, Shadow Gallery and Pain of Salvation, and while that is certainly true I actually believe that this sounds far more melodic and less forced than many of the albums by those bands. There are countless people involved, but it is a band first and foremost and this definitely shines through. Structured, layered and textured, but with rock at its heart, this is clever metal with great vocals that can be enjoyed from the very first time it is played, after which it just keeps growing on the listener. It is an album I have enjoyed playing immensely.

Report this review (#1890370)
Posted Saturday, March 3, 2018 | Review Permalink

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