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Albion - You'll Be Mine CD (album) cover




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Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Six years after The Indefinite State Of Matter (2012) polish prog rocker Albion is back. This time with a totally different line up. Founder member Krzysztof Malec (keyboards) is gone and so is the superb singer Katarzyna Sobkowicz-Malec. Thus making guitarist Jurek Antczak the only member to play on all Albions records so far. But instead of a whole new personnel, Antczak decided to recall several ex members to reform the group: so original singer Anna Batko is back to the fold (she sang on their first two releases). Another original member, bassist Paweł Konieczny also joined in and once official drummer Rafał Paszcz (who played on 2005´s Wabiac and 2007´s Broken Hopes) completes the "new" Albion. Guitarist Antczak handles all the keyboards duties here.

So, what about the album? The gathering of old members may suggest to some as a kind of nostalgia trip, but Youll be Mine is nothing like that. The sound is different for sure, made it even clearer without Krzystof Malecs majestic symphonic keys, but that does not mean a lack of quality, much on the contrary. What we have is a guitar-led progressive record of the highest calibre, as the new songs are simply brilliant, with not even a single weak track in the whole CD. Anna Batko is in great form and her vocals have a mysterious and haunting quality that is perfect for the recent material. But the dominant figure here is Jurek Antczak: his guitar playing is absolutely brilliant throughout the entire CDs. He goes from delicate acoustic finger picking to beautiful Gilmour-like electric solos to crunchy, blistering riffs, all without losing any of the melodic flair, creativity and tasteful deliver he has always done with this band. If, for sometime, he looked like one of modern prog music´s most underrated guitarist, here he has room to fully show off his talent and versatility like he never did before. But he does that without ever overplaying.

With a good production and a strong rhythm section, this is one of the best prog records of the year so far. Songs like the emotional Does Everybody Count, the melodic Lady Death and the 9 minute epic closer Hell are fine examples of the new style, where inspiration, freshness and powerful performances were found on every tune. It may take a little time to fully get the new music - it was my case anyway - but once you get it you are hooked. As usual with Albion the album is not long, it has only 40 minutes of running time, but those are of the highest quality.

A real nice surprise and one of the best prog records of 2018. Highly recommended, specially if you like guitar led prog music.

Report this review (#2054229)
Posted Thursday, November 8, 2018 | Review Permalink
4 stars I've listened to a few of Albion's previous releases and for me their latest You'll Be Mine seems like their strongest. This is a delightful album from this Polish neo prog band. There are seven tracks totalling just under forty-four minutes and the whole album is most enjoyable. What impressed me most was the strength of the melodies. I found myself listening several times to the whole album on repeat. All tracks follow the same structure. The melody is introduced by their fine female vocalist and the second half of each song then develops the melodic theme further giving opportunities for some fine guitar solos.
Report this review (#2055067)
Posted Monday, November 12, 2018 | Review Permalink

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