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Freedom To Glide

Crossover Prog

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Freedom To Glide Rain album cover
3.89 | 47 ratings | 1 reviews | 30% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Rain (Part 1) (5:45)
2. Anywhere Else but Here (4:19)
3. Path of Reason (4:34)
4. Riders on a Wave (5:07)
5. Price of Freedom (6:40)
6. LU2 (1:59)
7. Rain (Part 2) (6:05)
8. Angels and Stones (3:10)
9. Wind and Gales (Rain Part 3) (5:23)
10. When the Whistle Blows (8:21)
11. Trying to Grow Young (0:34)
12. Rain (Part 4) (3:01)
13. Home Again (3:36)
14. One Hundred and Twenty (2:08)
15. Not a Broken Man (2:57)

Total Time 63:39

Line-up / Musicians

- Andy Nixon / vocals, lead & acoustic guitars, bass, drum programming
- Pete Riley / piano, organ, synth

- Francesca Genco / backing vocals
- Stephen Bell / trumpet
- Elation Community Voices / chorus vocals
- Geoffrey Watts Riley / spoken word
- Lydia Wilson / spoken word

Releases information

CD Ruby Storm Records ‎- F2G-10/13-K1A (2013, UK)

Digital album

Thanks to tszirmay for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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FREEDOM TO GLIDE Rain ratings distribution

(47 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(30%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Being a military historian and a fan of pacifism, (no it's not a contradiction), I always get a kick from any album that deals with the two cataclysmic catastrophes of our time, the grim and unjust WW1 and its evil cousin, the vile and hideous WW2. Strangely, prog war epics are not that plentiful, outside of Floyd's the Wall being utterly obvious, there was a Big Big Train recording that dealt with the Battle of Britain and the glory of the RAF, so has Vienna Circle and its impressive debut, 'White Clouds' and Xang's grim "The Lasts of Lasts" dealing with the Verdun tragedy and an outright military holocaust, because slaughter is too tame a word for what happened there!

The music of Freedom to Glide (F2G) is a sensorial tapestry of clever songs, firmly embellished and utterly progressive, even though there is an undeniable Pink Floyd vibe, surely due to the fact that the 2 artist-musicians are also part of a PF tribute band. Andy Nixon handles all guitars, bass and vocals while Peter Riley is the keyboard master. But at closer inspection, it's more multi-faceted in scope and style than their mentors, lots of acoustic guitar to temper the Gilmourian episodes, which are daring and frequent. Diversity is something that keeps F2G nicely rounded and thoroughly grounded, using various tones and textures that are quite unlike PF. Yet, Rain has a very modern sheen and spectral glimmer, talking about a bygone age when young 19 year olds went to die , in horrific condition, where gas attacks, bayonet charges and cannonades that buried soldiers alive in their trenches. In a rather highly personal style, F2G opted to focus the storytelling via the very real existence of Cpl Robert Wilson, a gallant British soldier in WW1, who suffered through Gallipoli and the Somme, mustard gas attacks, muddy excrement and body parts-laden trenches, prisoner executions, mass cratered graves and ultimately being saved by an enemy doctor (their website tells the whole gory story). This very real man passed away in 1986.

In order to stamp the progressive seals on this masterwork, there is a 4 part title track suite that separates tracks instead of following each other into the open field. What a glittering opening then, "Rain part1" really sets the mood quite eloquently, brooding, whispery, moody and highly atmospheric. Solemn, forlorn and deeply melancholic, the wind swept synthesized effects add a dimension that is inescapable, a sense of impending catastrophe that words simply cannot honor. There is a valid nod to Gilmour as the guitars wail, yet the voice of Andy Nixon has little in common with either Floydists, though guest Francesca Genco does get into the Clare Torry art of wailing superb choir notes.

The keyboard-fueled oboe patch on "Anywhere Else but Here" is a tremendous addition, both somber and hopeful, the grim contrast of the reality of war where valor and horror shake the hands of the Devil. This track is exquisite in its despondence, a shivering cry in the night, from a young soul that would rather enjoy life than to, willingly, take someone else's. The segue into the starker "Path of Reason" is self-explanatory, the style almost familiar as if Simple Minds have decided to go prog, but the lesson is never really learned , 'just an endless rhyme', a futile meat grinder from which there is no rest and no escape.

"Riders on a Wave" has some clever aspects, the 'wave' being an assault borne by fearful and desperate soldiers thrown into struggle, 'fooled by those in whom we put our faith' and the breezy indifference of hopelessness, Nixon weaving nicely on acoustic guitar, a whiff of some Americana, a discreet nod to the Californian bad boys The Doors.

"Price of Freedom" is the classic marketing spiel used to inspire young men to throw their lives away willingly in some foreign land, for some obscure cause determined by the social tyrants (kings, emperors, 'fuehrers and duces'). Anesthetized by fake concepts of chivalry, valor, courage and bravery, the two opposing military sides line-up their entire budding youth, loaded with unfulfilled Mozarts and Einsteins, ready for the eternal meat grinder. This piece represents a high point in the set-list, a mercurial display of emotional atmospherics (that surreal oboe-patch doing its trick again), lyrics decidedly convincing and the carving guitar stings nastily. Poignant, resolute and unfathomably naive.

On the fragile, piano-driven "LU 2", the serenity becomes overpowering as Nixon sings the anthem of exhausted desperation, as Riley caresses the ivories with tremulous ennui, that slowly leads lovingly into "Rain part 2", brave young men falling like raindrops on a mud- soaked battlefield moonscape, mowed down by spurting death bullets propelled by Lewis or Mauser. Nixon unleashes a brief but explosive barrage as the orchestral bravura ends the piece.

The deadly "Angels & Stones" is another highlight piece, both lyrically and instrumentally, an arsenal of spooky electronics , echo-laden voice and mechanical percussion that meanders purposefully, beyond the blood-drenched front-lines, floating over mists of yellow matter mustard dripping from the dead men's eyes. "Rain 3- Wind and Gales" elevates the hypocrisy to stirring heights, increasing the pain and the horror to nearly sarcastic levels. Brothers in arms, sworn enemies that have only language as differentiators, the rest being nothing more than blind obedience dictated by the elite cowards that choose to lead us, almost always very poorly. Brooding electric piano haunts the trenches, metronome beat, distant thunder and rumbling eeriness, all combine to provide the dark musical shadows and a sad refrain. Barbed-wire bass keeps the pace alive and panting, mud and blood united as one. There is a strong Alan Parsons Project vibe, albeit in a way proggier context, an ear-friendly vocal delivery being the prime witness.

"When the Whistle Blows" is the epic piece directed specifically at Cpl. Robert Wilson's plight , a sprawling diatribe that chooses to infuse historical context (Cumberland to Gallipoli, the Somme, Kitchener), a scathing anti-war rant that crucifies lives in the name of King, Kaiser and country. "Red rivers flow when the whistle blows" swoons the sad balladeer. Rolling bass and a screeching guitar solo gives the mood a harrowing pulse, fully laden with bluesy despair. As the morning mist flutters away, ladders are raised at perfect intervals, crazed officers blow the whistles signalling another lethal charge, a manic obedience that leads to dismemberment and innards spilling outwards. A grueling yet impressive cinematographic arrangement, with loads of special effects and serene dialogue.

"Rain part 4" is the final chapter in the by-now familiar theme, a reoccurring sense of comfort amid the strewn carnage, crying guitar drops, meandering with the blood and the sweat of so many young heroes and martyrs. "So my brothers fell like rain" is repeated endlessly, in choir form, as if the mutilated corpses hurled one last hurrah for eternity. "Home again" is the ultimate torture, the survivors feeling guilty to not have died along with their comrades in arms. The silence, the routine and the inevitable lack of remembrance is perhaps even worse than dying. Bells peal in the background, preparing the stage for a rendition of Taps, the final bugle call to the departed.

Strangely, "Not a Broken Man" appeals to the urge to survive, live on and prosper. A promise of peace and resurrection that sadly will not surface until well after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, WW2 being a direct and literally uninterrupted consequence of the first great conflagration. Sweet acoustic guitar paints a pastoral theme of scars and callouses, human will and wounds that never heal.

Impressive story of that Great Horrible War, a history lesson that still fails to convince the world that strife is NOT the answer, foolishly repeating the same distasteful errors of the past, like some Dennis the Menace brat that refuses to listen to reason. From Luxembourg to the Channel coast, endless streams of military cemeteries remind too few 21st century humans of the millions of lives lost in the brutal siege of Verdun, Passchendaele, Vimy Ridge, Ypres, Cambrai and those two river battles, the Marne and the Somme. Little territorial change occurred yet millions died, senselessly.

Listen and learn...

4.5 Big Berthas

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