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Mangrove - Facing The Sunset CD (album) cover



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4 stars Great album. Their first album Touch Wood was a good one, with some great tracks. This new one is much better. Great keyboards, great guitarwork. Straigt drumming and bass-work. The album consists of four long tracks and tells us about someone searching for and struggling to find the reason of his excistence. It's not a great story, bus the good thing is it gives us a consistent album that rocks, dramatic synths, but also quiet and melancholic (Genesis) moments. Listen tot the mid-section of Must be Another Way with nice spanish guitar. The vocals are much better than on their first album, with drummer Joost Hagemeijer singing over a third of the lyrics. Nice harmonics! Must be Another Way and Hidden Dreams are competing for best song. Last but not least: great artwork! This will definitely be in my personal top-10 list of 2005! Keep rocking, Mangrove.
Report this review (#60172)
Posted Monday, December 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
3 stars The debut CD Touchwood by the Dutch symphonic rock formation Mangrove was a nice effort but in general the opnion was that their live sound was way more powerful and captivating. Listening to their new album entitled Facing The Sunset it's obvious that Mangrove has worked to improve their compositions and studio sound. I also could witness this while listening to them as support-act for USA sensation Echolyn.

The new album contains four compositions (between 10 and 21 minutes) evoking the good old days from mid-Genesis, early Hackett solo and early IQ. Especially the wonderful Mellotron samples (produced by a special sophisticated computer programm) and the beautiful, very sensitive electric guitar work are strong points in Mangrove their pleasant symphonic rock sound. I notice that Mangrove has put many fine musical ideas into their songs like a great build-up with huge tension between electric guitar and fiery eruptions in the titletrack, a compelling violin-Mellotron solo with acoustic rhythm-guitar in I Fear The Day, a tight beat with biting electric guitar and a bombastic grand finale in There Must Be Another Way and howling guitar runs with choir-Mellotron in the long final song Hidden Dreams. At some moments the music sounds a bit fragmentic and the musicians are obviously no virtuosi. Nonethless, Mangrove has done a good job on Facing The Sunset, I am sure this CD will please fans of 24-carat symphonic rock!

Report this review (#74132)
Posted Wednesday, April 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is my first album of this Dutch band and I think I will buy some more. This is for sure a pretty convincing effort. It's the kind of album I like to see. Just four songs of respectable length and each song of high quality. There is some difference between them though. The first two songs are a bit alike, somewhat slow, good instrumentals and not too great vocals. The third song is an instrumental sounding very nice. The last is the longest and maybe also the best. Long instrumental solos and interesting melodies.

So in all a very good album that deserves the 4 stars completely.

Report this review (#139254)
Posted Thursday, September 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Mangrove maintains the illustrious Dutch standards of prog excellence but the musicians offer a somewhat diverse menu from the recent slew of great symphonic and outstanding neo groups, closer to fellow countrymen Triangle than Odyssice, Ice, Trion, Flamborough Head, Novox, Lady Lake or Nice Beaver etc... With a classic gt/k/b/drs lineup with respectable vocals reminiscent of Helmut Köllen era Triumvirat, the lads prefer extended pieces (4 tracks, 3 over 10 minutes and 1 is a 20 minute whopper) where they can take their time stretching out the arrangements without sounding contrived or ostentatious. In fact, nothing really sounds at all commercial here, even though some PA experts have rightly commented about obvious Genesis/Banks/Hackett or Marillion/IQ comparisons. But the influences are more style than substance as there is no "Gabnicholls" or "Fishoggarth" either here to seize the audience. It's all in the music with shimmering keyboard expressions, both as a symphonic backdrop (love that Mellotron) and with some inspirational synthesizer solos from Chris Jonker, partnered with the solid and oh so fluid lead guitarist Roland van der Horst. The flamboyant bass and the intricate drums are really quite exceptional as is most often the case with our lowland progsters. The title cut casts off the seductive voyage with some seamless moods, with bass abuzz, whirling organs and whistling synths, all forewarning of a sizzling guitar solo that hees and haws, screwing up slightly the tension, furrowing in a bluesy mist until the axe glimmers in the setting sun. Nothing becomes too technical but most definitely is enjoyable. "I Fear the Day" salutes a piano and a simple vocal, quickly evolving into a dreamy tirade, with plenty of string atmospherics and a lazy six-string lead that exudes simplicity and the acoustic guitar navigates well within the choir-mellotron waves, a bejeweled slide solo adds a little gusto to the symphonic luxuriance. A long instrumental exhibition is next and frankly the best thing on this record, with searching shifts, driving rhythms and unabashed exuberance, mostly from the melancholic piano stylings and the guitar/synth unison riff that hammers the complex theme home with a sense of impending doom and chaos. Nice. An acoustic guitar bridge glides over the sonic canals, offering a medieval aura of peaceful contemplation, finished off by a slow burn Gilmourian jaunt that takes off majestically, evolving into a grandiose flight, high and away beyond the stars. This is a keeper, worthy of the Dutch Masters! "Hidden Dreams" is the ultimate colossal 21 minute epic that consecrates this recording as a more than worthy addition, with Jonker unleashing a multitude of blistering ivory blasts, constantly goading van der Horst to torture his fret board just a little more, alternating dreamy passages (more of those placid vocals) with more vibrant musical tornados. The last 2 tracks are really quite tasty and will appeal to all symphomaniacs (with or without latex protection). While far from a masterpiece, this is more than honorable stuff, well deserving of a keg of Amstel, a ball of Gouda and 4 bicycles.
Report this review (#163664)
Posted Monday, March 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Mangrove is a Dutch (neo) progressive rock group that was quite active during the 2004-2011 period. I've heard that in 2020 they've reformed with a new drummer. One night in 2005 I went to a gig with my brother and saw Mangrove and Knight Area (just before releasing their second album) on a single night. Quite an evening I remember. 'Facing the Sunset' is by far Mangrove's best release. On this concept album with four ten-minute plus tracks the band explores all facets of symphonic prog, reminding me of the instrumental prowess of Finch, Genesis and IQ. Lead guitarist and vocalist Roland van der Horst isn't blessed with one of the best voices of the genre, but on the less demanding tracks he's an inspired performer. The darker and slower 'I Fear the Day' is perhaps the best song. His guitar playing reminds me of Andy Latimer and Martin Holmes. The fully instrumental and heavier 'There Must Be Another Way' will please most listeners; here the band really seems 'on fire', which becomes imminent from the very first piano parts. The fine thing about this album is that all parts are explored without hastily firing one thing after another. Furthermore, all compositions come with a sense of dramatic purpose, whereas I sometimes feel that some modern bands just sum up their ideas. Chris Jonker has a nice pallet of synths and organs and his keyboard parts aren't too derivative - yet a good example for the genre. I guess this the type of second league album that got lost in the progressive boom at the start of the century. It deserves to be rediscovered and re-evaluated now.
Report this review (#178232)
Posted Saturday, July 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Well, it's their second and also 2nd I've tried. And I have to say that I'm not disappointed, but also not satisfied. But I almost never am, I mean fully. Only few achieved this goal.

But don't be sad, "Facing the Sunset" is a good album. Atmospheric a lot, depending on longer compositions, they offer well structured musical experience. One of these, where I just can close my eyes and dream, just imagine all these images that it brings to my mind, while I'm sure that this will provide enough resources to continue dreaming. Intriguing enough, not much experimental, but still brand new to some extent. As I said, nothing weird and certainly not possessing two of bad attributes of music ("not from this world like" & "ugly sounding"). They don't sing much, over 40 minutes here are done in solos, keyboard and guitar ones. Melody is not so clear as in their (2009) new album, songs depends more on their length. So for this, I'll give

4(-), not bad, indeed well done, could be better, but what's better after all. Better melody ? Better layered song ? Nope, this is enough for very good album.

Report this review (#246273)
Posted Sunday, October 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars I couldn't find an inch of interesting stuff in their debut album "Touch Wood" and I approached this follow-up with extreme care.

When you look at the track list, the elements are there: four tracks clocking at almost one hour. But when I looked at the line-up my enthusiasm was severely tempered. Roland van der Horst is still in charge of the vocal department which is all but great news.

Still, I have to be honest and tell that some instrumental parts are well crafted but too reminiscent of "Genesis" to be fully interesting. One can't feel the passion that animated the early "Marillion" or even "IQ" either. To cut a long story short the title track is only a third tier neo tune: good guitar though and pleasant mellotron (but nothing from the other world).

Vocals during "I Fear The Day" are quite dreadful and the band is trying to emulate some of the great Scandinavian scene with the use of the Mellotron and with some very cold lines. The contrast with the warm guitar is very pleasant though.

The best that this band could do is playing some instrumental piece: and that's exactly what happens with "There Must be Another Way" (indeed)!!! This is a travel between neo and prog metal for the start, an almost Hackett / Howe for a short acoustic guitar break (quite pleasant) later on, an average middle part quite chaotic which opens on a fantastic and bombastic guitar finale.

Two real great minutes of music: it gets to your heart (at least to mine) and fills your ears with joy. Excellent (but the whole song lasts for over twelve minutes).

The epic holds some fine moments as well; but very much derivative from the great ones I have mentioned already.

This album is better than their debut (easy task should I say), but I am much less enthusiast than my fellow colleagues. Two stars.

Report this review (#257045)
Posted Sunday, December 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars This is Dutch band MANGROVE's second album released in 2005. It's a concept album that the drummer created. So we get four long tracks ranging from about 10 to 21 minutes. The vocals are average but I do like the sound of the band. The second half of the album is stronger than the first half in my opinion. While they are listed under Symphonic there are a lot of Neo- Prog elements to their music.

"Facing The Sunset" has this epic intro but it sounds so much better when the song settles in with a beat around a minute. A calm with organ after 2 1/2 minutes as reserved vocals join in. It picks up before 6 minutes with guitar. Another calm before 8 1/2 minutes this time with piano. Reserved vocals join in. Sampled mellotron before 11 1/2 minutes. "I Fear The Day" opens with laid back piano as reserved vocals join in. Mellotron 2 1/2 minutes in. Relaxed guitar a minute later.The strummed guitar before 4 1/2 minutes with mellotron is good. More guitar before 6 minutes then the vocals return.

"There Must Be Another Way" is the best track and it is an instrumental. Piano to start before drums and a fuller sound take over. This is good as the guitar becomes prominant. It settles 4 1/2 minutes in as acoustic guitar comes in then the synths roll in before 7 minutes. It then starts to build. An uptempo section after 10 minutes with guitar out front is a highlight as well. "Hidden Dreams" is the closing 21 minute epic. I like the intro of guitar and drums. Synths follow then vocals. It settles after 5 minutes with vocals and piano. Mellotron before 6 minutes. It picks back up. A dark calm 9 1/2 minutes in as mellotron rolls in.Vocals a minute later.This is GENESIS-like. It picks back up 14 1/2 minutes in. Vocals are back before 17 minutes.Relaxed guitar and sampled mellotron end it.

Overall a pretty good album. If the first two tracks were as good as the last two i'd give this 4 stars for sure. Still an enjoyable listen.

Report this review (#299427)
Posted Thursday, September 16, 2010 | Review Permalink

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