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FM Transformation album cover
3.93 | 44 ratings | 4 reviews | 18% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2015

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Brave New Worlds (5:37)
2. Cosmic Blue (4:43)
3. Reboot Re-awaken (5:30)
4. Children Of Eve (4:56)
5. Safe And Sound (6:21)
6. Tour Of Duty (7:34)
7. The Love Bomb (Universal Love) (5:29)
8. Soldiers Of Life (4:14)
9. Heaven On Earth (3:58)

Total time 48:22

Line-up / Musicians

- Cameron Hawkins / synth, bass, lead vocals
- Edward Bernard / violin, viola, mandolin, vocals
- Aaron Solomon / violin, vocals
- Paul DeLong / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Paul Till

CD Conveyor ‎- CVX906664 (2015, Canada)
CD Esoteric Antenna ‎- EANTCD 1050 (2015, UK)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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FM Transformation ratings distribution

(44 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(52%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

FM Transformation reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
4 stars Reboot, Re-Awaken

Progressive Rock has seen an absolutely incredible resurgence in recent years with many classic bands making surprising and excellent comebacks. Canada's FM returns to the scene here with their first new studio album in almost 30 years (and almost 40 years since the band's original formation in 1976). Transformation is a stellar album showing a more mature sound and eclectic style than the band's early albums. What remains is the strong presence of violins here also further augmented by viola and mandolins over the standard drums, bass, keyboards, and vocals. I think I can also hear some flutes and even brass instruments occasionally. Unlike most Rock bands, FM does not however involve any guitars, but sometimes the violin takes on a guitar-like sound. I can hear similarities with acts as diverse as Curved Air, Gentle Giant, Kansas, and Nektar. There is a folky flavour to some of the songs, especially in virtue of the mandolin and fiddle.

Comparing this album to what I've heard from the band before, the sound of Transformation is quite different. The sole original member left is Cameron Hawkins, perhaps symbolized by the lone figure on the cover? While the band's new sound intrigued me right away, the melodies took a few listens to sink in and make their proper impact. After several listens it became clear that Transformation is indeed an excellent album and personally I think that it surpasses the band's early albums. Though, as pointed out, this is obviously a rather different beast, and which you prefer will depend on which style you like more. I would recommend this album even to people who were not very impressed by earlier albums of the band. Fans of Crossover, Eclectic Prog, and Prog Folk might want to give this a chance.

A very nice surprise and an excellent album in its own right!

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars I originally started listening to this band in the late 70's, when I found "Surveillance", and then "Black Noise" at used record stores. I later found "City Of Fear", but then, as I liked this band, but wasn't blown away by them, I missed their later releases.

Listening to the 4 tracks the latest edition of FM posted this year on ProgStreaming, I was intrigued enough to purchase the CD.

This new album, with only Cameron Hawkins from the early albums (Martin Deller had performed with the band as late as 2006), does not veer much from their original sound, but does seem to qualify, to my ears, as a fully qualified prog album. Their use of odd time signatures is quite adept, and often so smooth that the listener may easily overlook that they are not hearing 4/4.

There is still a similarity to Rush in the composition of the songs, but the performance is markedly lighter than their country mates. Also helping the sound to become more original are the strings of Edward Bernard and Aaron Solomon. Their dueling violin/viola create some of the best moments on the album.

The absolute best song here is "Children Of Eve". It is the darkest track of the album, with syncopated verse sections, and a delightfully odd blues-related chorus.

The biggest problem of the album is production. You can discern all of the individual instruments, but the mix has an overly compressed sound, and even on my best stereo, the very lows and highs just have no punch.

All-in-all, this is a good album, and just barely earns a 4 star rating from me. Hopefully they will continue in this vein.

Review by kenethlevine
4 stars After a few live reunions over the 1990s and 2000s, FM began making noises about new material. The sudden passing of Nash the Slash IN 2014 meant that any further reunion would fall short of the "original" billing, and, as "Transformation" took shape, Ben Mink and Martin Deller were missing as well. Hence only Cameron Hawkins remains from the old days, accompanied by acclaimed drummer Paul DeLong and not one but two string players.

Even in their heyday FM skirted the fringes of progressive rock, melding it with pop and conventional rock of the day with middling to superb results. Given that 2015 was 35 years distant from even the small p prog efforts of this band, what hope did we have? Luckily it appears that Cameron Hawkins was buoyed by the band's reception at NEARFest 2006 and the prospect of crafting a meaningful gift for those fans and perhaps for his more deeply felt convictions. With "Transformation", he has achieved both without retreating into the band's former glories.

While references to the long gone days are apparent in his still youthful voice, the optimistic tones, and the ubiquitous strings, this effort is also more reliant on acoustic violin, viola and mandolin than before, and its spirit is more adventurous while respecting the tenets of modern vocal oriented rock in the best way imaginable. I normally don't play this trump card let alone care about it, but I hear the time signatures are all over the map here, which makes the accessibility of the tunes all the more praiseworthy. I can only think of one other relatively recent reunion that succeeds in eclipsing most of the artists' original classics, that being the second album by the even more obscure "Fuchsia". It is noteworthy that both albums are characterized by prominent strings, but otherwise have little in common.

Really, "Transformation" is that good. From the opening notes of "Brave New Worlds", I am absorbed into its idealistic grooves, luminous auras, and radiant melodies. "Cosmic Blue" is not as catchy but with some expressive violin excursions, including a spacey interlude, and dissonant harmonies, "Reboot Reawaken" is slightly more poppy and actually reminds me of a fine 1990s group called "Ocean Blue". The ending part assumes the prog mantle again. "Safe and Sound" is the most chamber like of all the tracks, all the strings playing the lead role, in a manner of ALAN PARSONS at his best. I admit part of me is wary that Mr Hawkins has found Jesus, but "The Love Bomb's slightly cheesy lyrics are devoid of that form of devotion, although I am not a fan of its plodding pace and Yes-like falsettos. The closing piece "Heaven on Earth" marks a more authentic homage to that band, with pleasantries plucked by mandolin, and what sounds like incognito flute but is probably keys from Hawkins.

I'm not as taken with "Children of Eve" and "Soldiers of Life" but they are among the more audacious pieces here and are sure to find some fans among us; I just think FM works best in the more accessible realms and always has. Cameron Hawkins should be very proud of this achievement which has been quietly collecting kudos all over the web. "Transformation" reflects a bold resolution to flourish and freshen with age, while never forgetting one's roots. 3.5 stars rounded up.

Latest members reviews

4 stars I can't give this a 5 star review only because it would put it up with Black Noise which is a classic release in the history of Canadian Prog. What I can say is, FM are truly back. Yes, it has been over 25 years since they have released a studio album. Even then, their 80's releases while enjoya ... (read more)

Report this review (#1420246) | Posted by wademoodyblue | Wednesday, May 27, 2015 | Review Permanlink

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