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Flamborough Head - Lost in Time CD (album) cover

LOST IN TIME

Flamborough Head

Neo-Prog


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Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I'd previously found Flamborough Head's material rather inconsistent - I'd enjoyed Defining the Legacy but felt that subsequent albums were a little lukewarm - but Lost In Time goes a long way towards correcting that. The band have thoroughly updated and reconfigured their sound, and Margriet Boomsma's vocals have never sounded better; in addition, there's a new dramatic flair to their songwriting that demonstrates that they're no longer satisfied just to deliver the same old material. It's still solidly within the neo-prog field, but it's in a more individual style with more tendency towards risk-taking, which makes me inclined to pay a little more attention to the Head than I have recently.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#1069401)
Posted Thursday, October 31, 2013 | Review Permalink
tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
5 stars Flamborough Head are a veteran Northern Dutch neo-prog outfit that has had a solid yet still unremarkable career, even after 6 fine releases since 1998. They have finally arrived to the promised land with a delightful collection of masterful songs on 'Lost in Time' , six extended neo/symphonic prog workouts given plenty of room for artful soloing, great tempo intervals and solid instrumental arrangements. The core of the band has remained the same since day one with keyboardist Edo Spanninga leading the orchestral frenzy, helped along by the stalwart rhythm section of fluid bassist Marcel Derix and drum basher Koen Roozen. The sweeping vocals from Margriet Boomsma really altered the direction with 2002's One for the Crow and have now reached a fertile level of accomplishment. She contributes deft flute playing as well. The incredibly talented guitarist Eddie Mulder has graced a series of FH albums but he is now concentrating on Trion (a Flamborough Head side project) as well as Leap Day, a fine compatriot band looking to expand their own career. New stringer Gert Polkerman is no slouch tough, providing stellar axe shrieking when necessary. But the biggest change is the material in question, a sharper, more focused level of expression, loaded with dense keyboard carpeting, plush guitar solos, and simply grandiose themes that ache and moan. In fact, Flamborough Head have attained a level of assurance and confidence that is unmistakably evident within the grooves of their energized symphonic pieces. Much like fellow Netherlanders Odyssice , their craft is a fine balance between hummable and spectacular.

The sensational epic title track kicks off the festivities with a fertile disposition , a musical universe with huge swaths of mellotron, ornate piano work, powerful bass and drum anchoring, as well as a churning magical flute . Sheer, unadulterated bliss with Margriet's wistful voice weaving a wondrous story, equalled by a sumptuous chorus ('Right there for a moment'), some superb Spanish guitar strumming and a glorious sense of purpose. Polkerman unleashes his first of many poignant solos to come, a six-string shriek of the finest order. The mood is upbeat, positive and confident, the organ whooshes, the synth swirls and the piano utters pure melancholy. Finish off with a bright lead guitar solo and presto, instant gratification.

The nearly dozen minutes of 'The Trapper' just keeps the positive vibe going, a rollicking exercise led by a biting guitar cavalcade, everyone in gleeful tow; you can just imagine the players smiling as they unite in harmonious osmosis. Margriet takes charge of the microphone stand and conveys a disquieting tale of a young miner's fate, profoundly choked by the deepest earth, a bleak world of dust and grime, dirt and despair. Despite all this gravity, there is a sense of eternal hope emanating from the playing which again credits the spiritual outlook this band now professes. The instrumental sections easily rival classic Focus, which is not surprising as there is a strong reverence in Holland for progressive rock to this day (The Dutch love being different!). In fact, there are many winks and nods to famous Focus tunes throughout the album, an added thrill for us prog treasure hunters.

The instrumental 'Dancing Ledge' is not a disco infused tune, as it starts off with thick mellotron blasts and a 'hard' guitar, giving booming bassist Marcel Derix the front stage to carry this bruising piece forward, adding a delicious solo to boot as the howling organ joins the frenzied fray. Polkerman again releases all his talent on the exuberant guitar, caressing its mighty strings with profound passion, Spanninga uses piano with clever detail, tallying an elegant highlight to the lively leads. Three tunes in and it's just magical stuff!

'Damage Done' is the proverbial 'love gone wrong' song, a reminder that feelings will always rule our technological lives, regardless of any new upgrades offered. The lyrical content is bleak, troubled and angst-ridden, while the instrumental playing alternates between sweet and sour, love and despair, night and day. Margriet recounts the difficulty of coping with changing relationships, a world where charm is replaced by dread. The damage is done, so what is next? Losing your self-esteem being the ultimate failure. Not bad inspiration for a neo-prog band, eh? The brash guitars are harsh and evocative, the beat relentless and the flute is there to provide hope for a better world.

The shortest track here is the 6 minute+ 'I'll Take the Blame', a rapid fire recounting of the human expressions that rule the thematic content of this disc but here , the band proposes a slight sense of dissonance and experimentation, with tonal textures that differ from their usual style. The human condition seemingly dictates constantly, shepherding its victims into unknown horizons and that attitude is well captured here.

The coup de grace is the immensely intriguing finale 'Andrassy Road' , a wonderful composition about a famous (and infamous) Budapest boulevard , a broad tree-lined avenue that would have made Baron Haussmann proud, connecting Pest's inner centrum to the glorious Heroes Square in a very straight line . The idea presumably arose from a FH 2008 concert in Hungary's capital which resulted in a 'Live in Budapest' album. This avenue has history painted onto its gorgeous palatial facades, sumptuous pink marble opera house and the gruesome 'Terror House' where both fascists and communist secret policemen tortured often the same disobedient resisters. This is now a museum to human cruelty, a must visit if one ever travels to this remarkable city. The band has infused within the gorgeous music, the essence of what makes Hungary tick, a tragic mix of hopeless uniqueness and rebellious positivity. The poignant lyrics clearly prove that the band's inspiration was undoubtedly of historic proportions. The quasi-orchestral music is therefore beyond splendiferous! Hope springs eternal.

A magical album, the culmination of an ever progressing talent and artistic vision. Not a weak second here. Bravo, Flamborough Head have definitely arrived! 2013 continues to be an unparalleled 'cuvee'.

5 Missing Rolexes.

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Send comments to tszirmay (BETA) | Report this review (#1090571)
Posted Sunday, December 15, 2013 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Another album that took me a long, long time to write a review. I guess most people here has faced such situation: you like the album, know itīs good, but still it fails to excite you as much as the bandīs previous works. Which is to me very unfair. When I put this CD on it still amazes me how Flamborough Head keeps producing strong, consistent albums through the years in a time most prog bands seem to be in a identity crisis and/or lack of inspiration.

Thereīs a new guitarrist on board this time by the name of Gert Polkerman, it seems that former axeman Eddie Moulder decided to concentrated his talents on his other projects Trion (alongside with FHīs Edo Spaninga) and Leap Day (where, in both, he works with members of Flamborough Head). However, the guitar style hasnīt changed much. Polkerman has a similar way of playing, although I think he is a little subdue here compared to the more exuberant sound of Moulder. maybe itīs because he still feeling his way into the the groupīs sound.

As usual the songwriting is very solid and varied, with the bandīs tunes heading toward a even more symphonic and dense territory than on the previous CDs. There are long instrumental breaks between the vocals with keyboards, guitar and flute solos being as tasteful as they can be. The rhythm section of Marcel Derix and Koen Roozen is tight and versatile. Derix is specially good on showing off great bass lines. Spaningaīs vintage sounding keys are one of the groupīs trademark sound and he again demonstrates how to combine the old and the new into a very powerful and personal signature, full of great melodies.

The track list is very consistent throughout the CD: as usual the songwriting is one of their best features, with only very good to excellent songs, depending on your personal tastes. To me, only the last two tracks are not as brilliant as the others, and still I enjoy them very much.

Overall I found Lost In Time in league with most of their albums. It may not be my favorite, but I have to admire the fact that itīs different again: theyīre taking risks and facing the challenge of not copying their winning formula. I may miss their more neo prog approach of early, but thereīs little doubt they are evolving into a more sophisticated and symphonic sound with each release. And thatīs something remarkable, especially nowadays.

Rating: 4 strong stars.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#1254481)
Posted Wednesday, August 20, 2014 | Review Permalink
Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
5 stars It seems a great injustice and a true `comedy of errors' when a particular undeserving (to my ears anyway) title gets a ton of discussion and attention, and one such as Flamborough Head's latest, that all but set the standard for the Neo genre in 2013, is more or less unrecognized and essentially ignored by all but a few. `Lost In Time', their seventh studio album, is simply one of the most richly symphonic collections of recent years, a perfect marriage of heartfelt female vocals and rich lengthy instrumental arrangements, and it's truly a masterclass example of progressive sophistication that is bristling with excitement and confidence.

You won't find a more memorable and emotionally heartfelt progressive rock track than the opening 12 minute title track, and it's simply one of the most effortless and classy symphonic pieces to appear on any prog album in 2013. A reflective lyric that I take to be about being confronted by past choices and confronting decisions, it's the sort of tale we can all respond to in some way. The words are sung with such pained beauty by Magriet Boomsma, moving between sad longing and dignified pride, and she has even the smokey sophistication and confidence of an Adele-like James Bond theme singer to my ears in a few spots! The striking and solemn front cover art perfectly conveys the emotions of the piece too, and would look so impressive on vinyl. The music around Margriet's voice is just as wondrous, with endless, yet always purposeful extended instrumental passages dominating the piece, and all the musicians receiving several moments to stand out. Gert Polkerman's clean and emotional guitar soloing passages remind me instantly of Pink Floyd, and the stirring piano and orchestrated synths of Edo Spanniga (on something of a roll in 2013, also with his sublime new Trion album `Funfair Fantasy') recalls the grandiosity of some of the classic Renaissance discs. Sheer perfection.

`The Trapper' is an old-time touching story of a young boy working in a coal mine to support his mother. The music perfectly captures the excitement and hopefulness of youth with the same upbeat jauntiness of those nifty early Pendragon albums with dazzling synth-play, then contrasts it with respectful and delicate drama of the confronting danger and situation the subject finds himself in. Instrumental `Dancing Ledge' is a winning showcase for Polkerman's dramatic electric guitar soloing, with brooding Mellotron, Koen Roozen's heavy stomping grooves, bristling Hammond organ and wistful recorder and flute backing him up.

`Damage Done', a somber `relationship broken' lyric full of hurt, contrasts moments of brooding and frantic heaviness with Camel-like majestic flute trills, and the lyrical theme takes a more unsurprisingly angry tone on the aggressive `I'll Take The Blame', Marcel Derix's chunky galloping bass, spiky guitar work and scratchy Mellotron a highlight. The lush closer `Andrassy Road' thankfully takes a more uplifting and pleasing mood after the previous numbers, and with dancing flute, classy Mellotron veils and a preference for sprightly acoustic guitar passages over its variety of tempo changes back and forth, it takes on a near-orchestral prettiness.

Lavish doesn't really begin to adequately describe this luscious symphonic styled progressive jewel. There's not a trace of filler to be found anywhere on the disc, just exquisite compositions with superbly executed instrumental transitions in addition to one of the most sublime and distinctive modern female prog vocalists. It also perfectly compliments the above-mentioned `Funfair Fantasy' Trion album beautifully. One of my absolute highlights of 2013, `Lost In Time' is a truly magical progressive achievement.

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Send comments to Aussie-Byrd-Brother (BETA) | Report this review (#1266751)
Posted Wednesday, September 03, 2014 | Review Permalink

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