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In my review about the debut album First Mind (2017) by Polish Neo-Prog band Fizbers I wrote: "This promising new Polish prog formation reminds me of Pendragon, also a band with simply structured music, with the focus on melody, harmony and emotion. I am looking forward to the development of Fizbers!" So I was very curious to its successor, entitled Die Without A Living and released in 2018.

Well, on this second effort again the focus is on melody, harmony, and emotion, this time dark, very dark emotion, as the depressive title of the album already suggests. Remarkable is often how close the singer sounds to Nick Barrett from Pendragon. In the track 54 female guest singer Milena Locksmith colours the emotional vocals about a relationship with high pitched vocals, the slightly hysterical undertone emphasizes the anger and despair.

Of course we can expect dark atmospheres with this kind of dark lyrics, and indeed, most of the 7 compositions feature melancholical climates and vocals, often dreamy with tender piano and acoustic guitar (especially They Fade, Shape). But often halfway the mellow and dark music turns into a catchy beat or heavy outbursts and bombastic eruptions. During these moments the electric guitar work is outstanding, very moving, with howling, fiery, crying, moving and blistering soli. And I am blown away by the raw wah-wah guitar in the strong opener I Am The Remedy. The guitar is really an ace on this album, not only electric but also acoustic.

The absolute highlight on this album is the final composition, the titletrack, clocking around 17 minutes. It starts dreamy featuring acoustic guitars, tender piano and melancholical vocals. Then an accellaration, followed by a serie of shifting moods, from mellow to bombastic, wonderfully coloured by guitars, vocals and keyboards. The conclusion of this epic composition is very compelling: after a surprising swinging rhythm with piano, an interlude with warm piano follows, then sensitive electric guitar runs, an accelaration with sparkling piano and fiery guitar work, a short dreamy piano piece, culminating in a bombastic outburst with powerful, melancholical vocals, emphasizing the basic mood of this album, dark, very dark.

An interesting album, this band deserves a wider audience.

My rating: 3,5 star.

This review was previously published in a slighty different version on the Dutch progrock website Background Magazine.

Report this review (#2190210)
Posted Saturday, May 4, 2019 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
3 stars 2018 saw the band back with their second album, and it is a shame their website hasn't been updated as I am having to guess some of what happened in between. Although he appears on the album, I get the impression that Szymon Kubala may not actually be in the band anymore, as Dawid also added guitars this time, and there is a guest guitarist in Wiktor Batek (along with an additional singer in Milena Locksmith) and the band photo only features Dawid and Dominik. Between the two of them they also provided all the material. There is much more guitar on this album, with quite a lot of distorted fuzz in the background, and the whole feeling is much more upbeat than the debut. There is still the large concentration on vocals, but less piano and more bass, and it is far mro dynamic.

The addition of Milena for "54" is a touch of genius, as her Floydian "Gig At The End Of The Universe'-style introduction takes the song in a totally new direction. Piano, warm bass, and strong vocals from Dawid and Milena is for me the highlight of the album, as although they still have the naivety so prevalent on the debut, here they are showing confidence and here is the first time where one can see this band being around for quite a while, as the change in attack and approach after three minutes is both unexpected and pleasing. The band have also got to a point where they decide they are going to close with a 17-minute epic in the title cut, which is again somewhat unexpected given their style of material which doesn't really lend itself to really long numbers. But, with plenty of acoustic guitar, loads of space between the layers and a lot of atmosphere, it somehow works even though there are times when it is at risk of going in the wrong direction as it is so laid back.

As with the debut this is an album which shows promise, but we are still some way off from the finished article and it will be interesting indeed to see what comes next as they are certainly progressing in terms of songwriting and confidence.

Report this review (#2219514)
Posted Saturday, June 8, 2019 | Review Permalink

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