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The Windmill - The Continuation CD (album) cover


The Windmill

Heavy Prog

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5 stars 'The Continuation' is the second CD from THE WINDMILL. The band succeeds in creating a sound of their own even though there're some similarities; fortunately only on the surface level. The first influence is Camel and the very beginning of the album makes that clear. It develops into a hypnotic groove bearing fine resemblances to Jethro Tull, Genesis and Pink Floyd. A few sumptuous neo-prog components float around. The whole album comprises over 53 min, giving time and scope for thematic developments from beautiful piano passages and flute embellishment to pulsing synthesizer work intertwined by subtle yet powerful guitars. Throughout, the good quality of production allows every element to have enough space to be heard. The lush orchestration is full of contrasts and variety. A chief protagonist Jean Robert Viita succeeds to draw attention by swirly keyboards. There's superb guitar performance from Erik Borgen and Stig Andre Clason, who are sparring off each other in-between different parts of the material. Worthy of note is drummer Sam Arne Noland. He underscores each piece with beats, while Arnfinn Isaksen does a vibrant job on the bass. A mention should also go to Morten Clason (saxophone, flute, singing). Top notch musicianship, great instrumental tones and distinctive vocal performances. If you appreciate a fairy standard progressive rock, then you can find much to enjoy by joining The Windmill's musical voyage... Not to forget the artwork, which is really special - Kirsten K. Viita has done an excellent booklet with images that fit the music inside very well.
Report this review (#934586)
Posted Sunday, March 24, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars (8/10)

The follow up to "To Be Continued...", The Windmill's second album, "The Continuation", makes good on its titular promise, what we have here is very much a continuation. In fact I think they even improved a lot from the first album (which I already liked). They have built on the sound they established already, and now feel a lot more focussed. The songwriting has certainly stepped up a notch, the whole album sounds a lot more professional, each band member seems to have improved on their respective instrument(s), and they have fitted a lot more into each song. The end result is truly excellent, and should cause everyone to pay attention to this band for now and for the future.

As if it could be any other way, the first track "...Continuation" fades in right where "To Be Continued..." faded out, establishing the continuation straight away. It starts with the same flute theme as before but then develops it in a heavier direction.

The album then properly gets going with "The Masque", starting with some low key vocals (up to 4 and a half minutes), which are followed by a fantastic long instrumental section to the end. The song continually builds up only to reinvent itself and start again. All the while the whole thing feels like one continuous piece that flows perfectly with many great riffs, building in heaviness to the end, whilst still allowing many individual instrumental showcases. "The Masque" encapsulates a lot of music: melodic symphonic sounds, flute solos, heavy organ, a soft synthesiser solo, and even some acoustic guitar, with a clean melodic electric guitar solo concluding the song. I'd hate for the epic of the album to overshadow this song (which comes in at about 13 minutes itself), because it is every bit as excellent.

Things mellow out on the next song, "Not Alone". It has a good intertwining of flute and guitar at the opening over the floating synth. There is some good confident singing (definitely better compared with last time), especially the chorus with the backing vocals helping create a large sound. Woven through the song is some really mournful flute and guitar soloing that is very easy to enjoy. Like "Don't Be Afraid" on the last album, this song presents some sad lyrical concepts in a nonetheless uplifting manner.

One of the best surprises of the album was "Giant Prize". Apart from a small symphonic break of beautiful melodies in the middle of the song, it would not be out of place on "Aqualung", with its bouncy hard rock guitar and flute riff. Short and sweet, this is a catchy and brilliant little song that is sure to get stuck in your head. It contains some of the most Andersonian (is this a word?) flute flourishes from The Windmill so far, and I can't get enough of it.

Once again though, it is an epic that is the centrepiece of the album, this time reserved for the last track. Coming in at about 25 minutes, "The Gamer" trumps "A Day In A Hero's Life" for length as well as quality. As is almost now a tradition for The Windmill, the lyrics are not especially standard, this song is about a man addicted to games becoming gradually more isolated, antisocial, mean spirited and arrogant, before realising his mistake. This song really feels like a proper epic, opening powerfully with some great guitar, and providing a really satisfying ending. This time around, The Windmill have decided to take their time a bit more with the long song, and I would say the result is an entirely different beast to "A Day In A Hero's Life". "The Gamer" is also the heaviest song (for keyboards and saxophone as well as guitars) The Windmill have thus far produced, and actually gets quite dark, especially with the aggressively sung vocals ("Please, go away", "I'm the master of games, and I don't like bloody flowers!") over the slow distorted guitars. There is even an unexpected but nonetheless highly entertaining 2 minute interlude of classy blues music about 16 minutes in, that I always get a kick out of hearing.

All the songs on this album are very strong, and have their own unique character. Comparing this album with the last one, everything is noticeably stronger: the classic sounding flute, the skilful guitar, the neo-prog influenced synths as well as the good range of other keyboard sounds, the more confident vocals (both lead and backing), the songs, even the lyrics improved!

I'm sure that The Windmill will be a great band to keep an eye on, I'm really pleased with "The Continuation", and look forward to seeing where they might go in the future. This album is sure to keep a broad variety of prog fans (e.g. Jethro Tull, Camel, Arena) very happy. There is no promise of another album like last time, but they can't stop after a great album like this, I'm sure. 2013 has been a great year for prog albums already (less than 3 months in), and hopefully this album wont be passed over due to being overshadowed by more prominent releases.

Report this review (#934951)
Posted Monday, March 25, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Continuation is the second offer of this excellent band, issued in 2013 and is as title said a fairly great continuation of previous album. The bands needed 3 years to come with this release, and belive me worth the wait. The album has only 5 pieces and keeps the high level of the previous album in terms of musical arrangements, with each pieces shining. I like that the band has their own sound with intresting varied instrumental sections they not copying anyone. The music as on previous album is a nice complicated eclectic side of neo prog, well balanced and with catchy memorable parts. Again is present a giant piece with 25 min of greatness and inventive arrangements. Love the vocal parts aswell here as on previous album, is quite different then is to be heared everyday. is a deep with nice tone that fits perfectly in this kind of music. Again not a weak moments here, my fav track being The masque with excellent lyrics and construction of the passages, really nice, the rest are solid to. All in all another worhy addition in today prog scene, The Windmill , at least for me is one of the most intresting bands around for sure. I like'em a lot and are among my fav bands in prog aswell. 4.5 stars easy, a nice mention is , the art work wich is again excellent made by same Kirsten K, Viita the wife of the keyboardist. Recommended band, both album are top notch.
Report this review (#951015)
Posted Sunday, April 28, 2013 | Review Permalink
Errors & Omissions Team
4 stars The Windmill is a 70's spirit Progressive Rock band from Norway. It was formed in 2001 by Jean Robert Viita (vocals and keyboards), Morten Clason (vocals, sax, flutes, guitars and keyboards) and Arnfinn Isaksen (bass). Bent Jensen (guitars), Vidar Kleivane (drums) and Erik Borgen (vocals and guitars) complete the band.

The Windmill released their first album 3 years ago with the funny name To Be Continued? (2010), so it's not that weird that their new and second album is called The Continuation (2013). Recorded in the Prog Shack Studio and produced by the band itself, The Continuation (2013) comes in a pretty digipack edition with stunning art by Kirsten K. Viita.

As I said, The Windmill follows the 70's road and it does it with passion. The Continuation (2013) is a clear example of that. To begin with, the album has 5 tracks, and it is a mirror of the old Prog Rock LPs: 2 short songs, 2 medium-length ones and 1 epic. Nothing strange that the album was also released in Vinyl.

'The Continuation' kicks the CD in as an instrumental piece and you soon know that the album will be good. By the time you come to 'The Masque', the second track, the Norwegian band has got you already. Ok, I confess, I have some problems listening to Morten Clason vocals on this 'The Masque'. Maybe because of his diction, but as the instrumental goes on everything else is forgotten, especially when it comes to the guitar parts, some amazing work.

The third track 'Not Alone' has a quite different beginning, evocative. The band works with 3 vocalists, which has always been my favorite kind of line up. On this track they have Erik Borgen vocals, and it immediately became my favorite. Once again, superb guitar parts joined forces with Morten flutes. 'Giant Prize' closes the first part of the album with a bit of Jethro Tull sound but it isn't that great of a track.

The epic role has a name, 'The Gamer'. The song deals with the new technology and how some people can be attached to some electronic games so much, even to the point of addiction. In the first two parts of the track, 'I ? Open Your Eyes' and 'II ? Don't Want To Leave This Room' we have Erik Borgen vocals. In the third and final part 'III ? One Way Out' we have Jean Robert vocals. Double guitar solos, space synths, heavy parts and some good bass and keyboard parts. Amazing track!

The Continuation (2013) is a great album for any Prog Rock fan! The production on the album sometimes has a few flaws, especially in the drum parts, but the general feeling is great.

The Windmill is a band that you should definitely catch your close attention.

(Originally posted on

Report this review (#958655)
Posted Monday, May 13, 2013 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Crossover Prog Team
5 stars Three years ago Norwegian outfit The Windmill released their debut album with the intriguing title 'To Be Continued' and now they are back with the follow-up, hence the title. I haven't heard the debut, but it looks as if I am going to have to as this has simply blown me away. I wasn't sure if this was an instrumental act at first, as the first song has no lyrics at all, but in truth what we have here is a band that are equally as comfortable providing long instrumental passages that work incredibly well within the structure, or to have a singer fronting the band. In many ways this feels very much like a Seventies album which is down to the techniques and styles being deployed as much as it does the sounds themselves (I fall for a Hammond organ every time, it has such a great warm sound).

The guys have brought together a great mix of influences such as Alan Parsons Project and Camel, and have also managed to successfully use a flute without coming across as a Tull clone. There may only be five songs, but when the closer is some 25 minutes in length then they can be forgiven.

It is incredibly well structured, with instruments brought into the mix as and when it is required, for example in "The Masque" (the second longest song on the album at 12 minutes) there is a passage where there are just a few bars of acoustic guitar before the electric takes the front with a solo that has far more in common with neo-prog and hard rock than kit does with symphonic prog. There is no doubt that these guys are in love with the style of music being produced forty years ago, and who isn't? But this isn't some half-cocked homage, but instead is a complete immersion in the style and there is a feeling of honesty and being genuine to themselves and to the genre that is sadly missing sometimes.

This is a great album, and one that I have enjoyed playing immensely and I am sure that many progheads will feel the same way.

Report this review (#975441)
Posted Tuesday, June 11, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I think I found a new love, a windmill of all things and I am no Cervantes, though I do enjoy the art of writing, as it will always be the most perfect form of articulating one's thoughts and feelings, bar none. It only requires words. But I admire creative musicians who have carved out their own style and these Norwegians lads seem to be on the right path, after having entered the Progworld with their "To Be Continued?" debut in 2011. Well, they did continue and we are now blessed with a clear and concise "Continuation". It's also a massive leap forward and as good as the first album was, this is an outright killer. The quest for intricate arrangements and profound melodies is achieved with a superlative effort, combining Norse folk, classic symphonic prog, strong sax and flute interference emitting a heady Traffic mode, a little structural edge that hints at RPI with all the ornate coloration. The singing is intense and while perhaps not perfect, it gives the music a natural sheen.

But it's really the instrumentalist that shine, the quality of their craft is beyond any reproach. From the sharply honed bass guitar rumble and the obedient drum patterns, keyboardist Robert Jean Viita spreads some fabulous sound carpets such as his Hammond and synth solos on "The Masque", an eloquent epic piece that follows the intro title track adaptation off the debut's finale (I love that premise, Mostly Autumn did the same on their first three discs), makes for eternal continuity. Some of the best prog you will ever hear, just when a Spanish guitar solo comes and steals your passionate heart, caramba! Segue that with a blistering electric lead and this fan is done, cooked! Simple, timeless and beautiful. To then continue on with perhaps one of the finest ballads in recent memory, well? I like sad, melancholic, grandiose songs and "Not Alone "is just a prog Godzilla! Bruising and pile-driving rhythm power the neo-classical theme, led by a prancing flute and sophisticated piano, the voice has only to convey the dignified ache that permeates the lyrics and a delivery that has 'magnifique' stamped all over it. What a chorus, it's to cower in adulation. The flute sets the table and the guitar shrieks into action, careening crazily and in pain. Speaking of flute, the next brief piece "Giant Prize" is as close to a Jethro Tull chugger as can be, a full blooded slice of Anderson/Barre presumably in homage to the legends. It's fun and serves well as a little counterweight to the heavy melancholy before and after.

The finale is a gigantic epic of colossal size "The Gamer" , two dozen minutes of sheer symphonic bliss based on a rather distinctive premise, a video game addiction that quietly seems to affect millions of distracted youngsters (and a few older idiots !) and forcing upon them a lack of physical exercise or any mental bloom beyond fast reflexes. When done in moderation, its entertainment, when an obsession, the screen takes over and becomes God. The music is melodically exalted, fascinatingly strung together, led by the piper on the flute, aided by some scintillating guitar work by both axemen Borgen and Clason and abated by tremendous keyboard contributions. Also the sax likes to parallel the guitar blasts which give the sound an incredible amount of depth. The vocals are equally strong despite the slight accent, a trait which never bothered this reviewer. The plethora of melodies and intersecting riffs are splendid, keeping the listener always on edge, never quite knowing what is coming up next. Imagine a more aggressive Pink Floyd, with harsher guitars, heavy on the flute and sax as well as a modern outlook. In typical obsessive fashion, the bellicose main theme keeps coming back, highlighting the constant 'replay' demands that video games impose on their helpless victims. Just when you think it gets a little repetitive, honky- tonk piano and jazzy sax combine into a ballroom rumba in turn laying down the mat for a huge guitar solo, carnival atmosphere with more undulating sax and rocking piano. The final section gets quite bombastic, Hammond organ swirls amid the high-powered vocalizings. I like the voices used by both vocalists because it's real and not overtly polished, giving it some amazing credibility. 'One way out' he cries?? Nice.

The Windmill is a new player in the Neo/Symphonic stage and if they continue on this path, they will be highly successful at their craft. I along with many other reviewers will be keeping an eye out for these Norse craftsmen. "Not Alone" is on my playlist, amazing tune.

5 Don Quixotes

Report this review (#990935)
Posted Tuesday, July 2, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars I have explored a lot a records from 2013 recently and unfortunately I have'nt been so impressed. Many records have been okey, good and clever but they haven't made me affected. This is a bit different. This is a great prog album and one of the best from this year along with La Maschera di Cera, Il Cerhio del Oro, David Bowie and Steven Wilson. It is in no way perfect and I had wished it to be more original but still I must praise it for what it is - a good rock record.

A colourful cover brings the entering impression and the groups logotype gives thoughts of motorcycles, steel and hard rock. This isn't hard rock, absolutely not metal, but certainly partially hard. The record has five tracks and is strangely even. Where other plates have both magnificent and akwardly bad tracks this one only contains what I would rate 8/10 tracks.

All songs have a soundscape that is not dated to 2013. It is only pure instrumentation, it feels real and not computer made. Even if they sometimes are symphonic they're not too bombastic. It feels like they have found a good balance there. I love the use of flute. The opening track is a bit harder version of soft symphonic giants like Camel music. The vocals in "The Masque" could have been better but in "The Gamer" they work very well. That song is the albums "monster" in terms of length and that is a good track. Give it a pair of listenings and I think you will enjoy it. "Giant prize" is shorter but not less good. I can recommend any of these songs or all of them. This was nice after listening to some less interesting 2013 releases. Fun with great music from ou neighbour in west. I would suggest this record to you if you like melodic rock.

Report this review (#1027051)
Posted Monday, September 2, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars "Heavy Prog"? More like simple prog. I find the music, melodies and vocals of The Continuation simple, rudimentary, repetitive, unnecessarily drawn out, tstraightforward, highly predictable and often quite boring ("When's something interesting going to happen?" or "When's this section going to end/When's it going to change or get complicated? I find myself thinking quite often while listening to this). Even the album's best song, the 24 minute epic "The Gamer" could be 1/3 the length and equally (no, more) effective. I'm sorry, guys, but I would not recommend this except as a challenge to find out for yourself whether or not you find this music exciting and worthy of repeated listening. For me, this is 2.5 stars--even the production quality is questionable--I'm not even sure whether or not it is "good."
Report this review (#1030994)
Posted Sunday, September 8, 2013 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
5 stars The Windmill are a fantastic bunch of musicians hailing from Norway and this is their second album "The Continuation". From the outset the album shines with some of the most accomplished virtuoso musicianship of recent years; Jean Robert Viita (keys, vocals), Erik Borgen (guitars, vocals), Stig Andre Clason (guitars), Morten Clason (sax, flute, guitars, vocals, keys), Arnfinn Isaksen (bass) and Sam Arne Noland (drums). The opening title track (3:16) is stunning with gorgeous layers of flute, and an ambient texture that has an ethereal quality. This pastoral instrumental is a beautiful relaxing melody and hooked me with its powerful harmonies. My eyes were watering such was the beauty of the melody.

This is followed by the epic composition 'The Masque' (12:50) with very pleasant soothing vocals, melodic piano, and an instrumental breakout that has a glorious guitar solo and wonderful flute and keyboards balancing out the measured percussion and bass. The chorus has an infectious melody; "The Masque can help you to escape from yourself, The Masque can take you away." The soundscape has a peculiarly 70s vibe especially with the grinding Hammond and overall essence. Again, I was simply blown away by the musicianship and structure of the music. 'Not Alone' (9:12) is a quiet balladic song with some angelic piano chimes and lilting flute floating on layers of bass and drums. The vocals are crystalline and emotive, drawing me into the melancholy of the lyrics that centre on loneliness and assurance that there is an answer and a way out. The verses lead to a mind blowing lead guitar solo that soars over a descending melody, with Hammond and flute layers. The vocals return to a higher register; Viita's vocals are impressive with their towering presence.

'Giant Prize' (3:17) is a faster track and the flute is more like the Jethro Tull sound. The harmony actually sounds familiar like an old 70s song, reminding me of Tull the funkadelic reggae rhythm, is agreeable. I love that flute phrase and the way the song switches time sigs to some gorgeous harmonies. The flute and lead guitar break is delightful and then the track moves into a key change. It sounds a lot more commercial that the rest of the album like a single, but this is a great little song breaking up the longer epic pieces.

'The Gamer' (24:42) is the last track and I was actually sad that it was drawing to a close. Then I checked the running length of this and was pleased to see it was a mammoth epic clocking 24:42! Time to sit back for some heavenly headphone bliss. The Hammond pounds out for a while then it breaks into minimalist piano, a pretty melody on flute accompanies, and already I am drawn into this masterful instrumentation. The vocals come in with a melody that has a Marillion quality. I love the vocals, so pleasant and clear, every word is intelligible, and it makes such a difference when you can relax into the lyrics "you'll soon get used to it and the wonders will fade, will this be the end of the day, you need to come with me, you need some help to forget.. open your eyes". The harmonies sound a bit like vintage Pink Floyd, and there are some beautiful images in the lyrics such as rivers, sky, and peaceful landscapes. Eventually the song switches into an instrumental break with swathes of buzzing synths and electronics. The lead guitar takes flight over the measured rhythm, with synths swooping down maintaining a strong melody. The phased effect on the guitar resonates nicely and the track builds up with a wall of sound dominated by keyboards. Suddenly a heavy distorted guitar riff chugs into gear, and the song returns eventually to the main melody heard earlier.

At 9:30 the track changes time sigs with Hammond pads, tinkling piano and a chunky guitar riff striking at the heart of the sound. A heavier guitar instrumental blasts through eventually, and the song takes on a darker quality. The lyrics are more forced and the vocals make it clear; "don't you know who I am?.. I don't want to leave this room.. please just leave me.." The guitar domination is offset by a nice woodwind section, and a piano presence that at times sounds dissonant with irregular rhythms that somehow merge into the heavier textures. At 15:40 the song cruises into jazz cabaret mode with wonderful saxophone sounds and a jaunty rhythm. That rollicking sound is enhanced by honky tonk piano and a solid gold performance on lead guitar and sax. At 18 minutes in the sound returns to a metal sound with distorted riffs and a glorious shimmering Hammond. The lyrics are intriguing; "A feeling of reality somehow hits my mind, suddenly I understand I really haven't died, a slight achievement.. I tried to but I really couldn't manage, I wanted to but the games had all the advantage". The music sounds like Procol Harum in a sense especially the keyboards. Drawing to a close, the track has moved into many twists and turns, but finally culminates in a Hammond and guitar feast for the ears. A masterpiece track on this brilliant album; really the icing on the cake when it comes to the full on progressive approach by The Windmill.

This album really took me by surprise, as I was just after a casual listen to some prog on a Sunday afternoon. I did not expect this to be such a stunning piece of musicianship with some of the most mesmerising melodies that have caressed my ears. On subsequent listens it grown even stronger on the ear. The gorgeous flute passages, the calming atmospheres, the harmonies, the incredible lead guitar that howls to the stratosphere, the intense epic, and soothing vocals with infectious melodies; it was overwhelming to my senses. This is a masterful achievement from The Windmill, and comes highly recommended as one of the best releases of 2013!

Report this review (#1058705)
Posted Saturday, October 12, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Appropriately enough, The Windmill have followed up their debut "To Be Continued" with The Continuation. This Norwegian outfit have a knack for playing compelling progressive rock with a combination of a 1980s neo-prog atmosphere and 1970s instrumentation - particularly when it comes to Jean Robert Viita's keyboard performance. There's a clarity of production to it which helps it feel fresh and modern, and whilst some may find that distances the material from the aesthetic of the prog of prior decades that inspire the Windmill, equally it teases out the band's best qualities. A solid release and decent enough to make me wonder what comes after the continuation...
Report this review (#1113099)
Posted Sunday, January 12, 2014 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars THE WINDMILL are a six piece band out of Norway and this is their second release. Considering i'm the first collaborator to give this album less than 4 stars should give you cause to take my opinions with a grain of salt. It's a proggy album with sax and flute along with the usual instruments. I don't know, this recording just doesn't do a lot for me but having said that clearly many Prog fans love this album.

"The Continuation" is led by flute and piano early on before a full sound kicks in around a minute with drums and guitar leading the way before the flute returns. Some nice guitar over top after 2 minutes in this opening instrumental. "The Masque" opens with piano before flute and strummed guitar takes over as the vocals join in. Synths come and go then we get a change before 5 minutes as it speeds up and becomes fuller sounding. I much prefer the tune up to this point with the vocals and mellow sound. Some aggressive organ runs come and go as the guitar solos. A flute solo before 7 minutes and I like the brief vocal melodies a minute later. The song continues to shift and change the rest of the way. "Not Alone" has spacey synths and a dark rhythm as the flute joins in. It's building as drums and more join in. It then settles back after 1 1/2 minutes to the original sound. Vocals arrive before 2 1/2 minutes as we get a ballad-like section here pretty much to the end.

"Giant Prize" is one I don't like even a tiny bit as we get this Reggae beat with vocals. "The Gamer" is the closing epic at almost 25 minutes in length. Some nice soaring guitar, spacey synths and drums lead early on before a calm arrives with piano only after 1 1/2 minutes. Vocals will follow and it stays laid back. Relaxing guitar after 6 minutes and it will go on and on then the vocals return before 9 minutes. It turns more powerful 12 minutes in and the vocals that follow are more passionate as well. A lighter almost humerous instrumental section follows then it turns heavier after 18 minutes before settling back with vocals to the end.

This just doesn't grab me for some reason but I appear to be in the minority with that opinion.

Report this review (#1407614)
Posted Saturday, May 2, 2015 | Review Permalink

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