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Flaming Row

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Flaming Row The Pure Shine album cover
4.23 | 19 ratings | 3 reviews | 37% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2019

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. A Tower in the Clouds (4:50)
2. The Last Living Member (11:55) :
- i. A Mystical Structure
- ii. Roland of Gilead
- iii. Maerlyn's Rainbow
3. Jake's Destiny (14:06) :
- i. The Painted Pictures
- ii. Relentless Pursuit
- iii. 1919 Midworld
4. The Sorcerer (17:37) :
- i. Evil Forces of the Dark Side
- ii. Distracting Illusions
- iii. Arra
5. The Final Attempt (9:31)
6. The Gunslinger's Creed (15:20) :
- i. Roland's Revenge
- ii. The Sorcerer - Reign of Darkness
- iii. The Secret Place of No Return
- iv. Our Savior

Total Time 73:19

Line-up / Musicians

- Melanie Mau / lead & harmony vocals
- Martin Schnella / guitars (6- & 12-string acoustic, 6-, 7- & 8-string electric, classical, baritone), bass, lead & harmony vocals, composer, mixing
- Marek Arnold / piano, organ, Mellotron, synth, strings, soprano, alto & tenor saxophones, string arrangements (1)
- Niklas Kahl / drums

- Ossy Pfeiffer / lead vocals (5)
- Mathias Ruck / lead vocals (2-6)
- Glynn Morgan / lead vocals (2-6)
- Alexander Weyland / lead vocals (2-4,6)
- Johan Hallgren / lead vocals (2-4,6)
- Siobhán Kennedy / lead vocals (4), spoken word (1,6)
- Gary Wehrkamp / vocals (1,5)
- Leo Margarit / vocals (1,5,6)
- David Anderson / spoken words (4,5)
- Anish Jewel Mau / spoken words (4,5)
- Jens Kommnick / whistles (1-4,6), uilleann pipes (3,4,6), cello (1,3,5), violin (1), mandolin (3,6)
- Eric Brenton / violin & viola (1-4,6)
- Nathan Brenton (Neal Morse) / cello & string arrangements (1-4,6)
- Lars Lehmann / fretted (2-4) & fretless (3,4) basses
- Dave Meros / bass (5,6), bass synth (5)
- Jimmy Keegan / drums (1,3,4,6), cajon (3), vocals (1)
- José Pepe Jimenez / Latin percussion (3)
- Fabian Gödecke / marching toms (6)

Releases information

Rock Opera by M. Mau & M. Schnella based on the novel "The Dark Tower" by Stephen King

Artwork: Isa Hausa

2CD Progressive Promotion Records ‎- PPRCD076 (2019, Germany) Bonus disc including full instrumental version

Digital album

Thanks to black_diamond for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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FLAMING ROW The Pure Shine ratings distribution

(19 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(37%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(26%)
Good, but non-essential (21%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

FLAMING ROW The Pure Shine reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by kev rowland
4 stars Flaming Row have long been one of my favourite bands, and in their midst they have some of my favourite musicians in Marek Arnold (keyboards, sax) and Martin Schnella (guitar, bass, vocals) and Melanie Mau (vocals), with the line-up completed by Niklas Kahl (drums). Together they have an incredibly commercial and accessible approach to progressive rock which is always a delight. There is something light-hearted, almost playful, about their music which never contains the navel-gazing which can accompany some bands. Amazing vocals, and the use of saxophone combined with strong arrangements and songs full of hooks combine to make each release a delight.

This is their third album, having taken some six years to record, and contains multiple guests as this is a concept and has been released as a double disc set with one CD containing the album and the second the music without the vocals. One reason for the use of guests, and the length of time it took to produce, is this is a concept album, and while I would normally welcome that, this time I have issues. Last year I took the opportunity of living and working away from home to do something I had been meaning to do for some years, which is read the complete 'The Dark Tower' series. When I say series, it is a series in the same as 'Lord of The Rings' is a series, in that the books need to be read one after other and are in fact one story broken into parts. In total there are eight books and one short story, more than 1.3 million words ? to context this, 'Lord of The Rings' (even including 'The Hobbit') is just 576,000 words, so much less than half the length. Knowing this, one can see why so many Stephen King fans (including myself) think that while Idris Elba was a fine choice for Roland Deschain, and the film is good on many levels, it has been merely influenced by the books and misses many of the main element and twists others.

Unfortunately, the same is true of this album, and I really wish they had taken another lyrical approach as for me this just does not work. To shoehorn the story into an album they have taken the same approach as the film and have concentrated on just three main characters, whereas in the book there are at least five with others coming in and out as the story progresses. I believe they were influenced far more by the film than the books, and the result is something which is even further removed from the original. The first time I played this it just jarred, and the same has been true on continued plays, but musically this is their finest album to date, and the different vocals and harmonies are just wonderful. Part of me wishes they had recorded this in their native German and then I could have simply enjoyed what is a superb piece of music, without finding the words causing me problems as I love the original story so much.

I do believe those who enjoy the books will cringe when they hear this, but if people have not read the books and only seen the film then they may well get far more from it than I. When the film was released one of my daughters asked if she could borrow the book and was rather surprised when I told her there were so many, and even more surprised when she saw just how big they were and declined. The whole album is full of flourishes and flicks of skill, it moves and breathes, and is triumph on so many levels. The vocals are what really set this off, so while the instrumental CD is interesting and enjoyable, it does not contain the raw power and emotion from the main disc. Me, I just cannot get past the words, which for me reduces an album from one which undoubtedly should be marked as being absolutely indispensable to one which is excellent on many levels, but may well be one which book lovers may have to pass by.

Review by FragileKings
5 stars The music on this album is so incredible that they released it with a second disc of just the music! Yes, I didn't quite expect to enjoy the second disc so much. After all, the songs and vocal parts are fabulous and tell the story of this conceptual piece, which is based on Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" series. That whole first album is a treat with astounding instrumental passages between the rock opera vocals with a host of singers taking up the different parts. It's a brilliant piece of work! But very soon I found that the music was just so exciting, so involved, so beautiful that it really could stand up on its own.

Flaming Row released their third album in December of 2019. After chalking up their previous album "Mirage: A Portrayal of Figures" as one of my favourite prog metal albums and favourite concept narrative albums of all time, I was both excited and hesitant to get the new album. The former is like Ayreon meets Dream Theater meets Haken. Since I hadn't heard the first album "Elinoire" I didn't know if "Mirage" was just a special thing or if this complex, varied and thrilling music was just how the band worked.

My first observation was that the metal element was relegated way in back of the acoustic side. In fact, it's quite the opposite of "Mirage" where the album was mostly electric with acoustic interludes. Here the acoustic instrumentation takes over and the heavier electric sequences are present and effective, but not at the front of the stage as much this time. However, that was not anything to disappoint me. All the acoustic guitar, piano, strings, woodwinds, and percussion easily won my ears over in an instant. There is simply so much beauty in the music here! So once again, I'm listening to just the instrumental versions of the tracks after having heard the whole first disc with the vocals once more through.

There's something very interesting about some the music on this new album. Right from the first listen, I recognized at least a couple of the powerful and memorable melodies. I'd heard them on "Mirage: A Portrayal of Figures". But the two stories were completely different. "Mirage" is about an alien species that tries to eliminate humans from the earth before it's destroyed by human beings, and how the survivours struggle to find a way to keep the human race from being snuffed out. "The Pure Shine" is from the Stephen King novel series mentioned above. Was there some connection?

I contacted guitarist Martin Schnella and asked about the repeated melodies. He replied saying that they had actually written much of the music for a trilogy back in 2011-13. But as his acoustic project with Melanie Mau overtook Flaming Row in popularity and also some key members left the band, the trilogy fell through. However, Martin loved much of the music he had written and decided to pass it along to the third album. It seems a bit puzzling to hear the same melodies for two different stories, but I really like hearing these again in a new sound pallet. Catch the powerful melody at 13:12 in "The Sorcerer" and compare it to "Pictures" from "Mirage: A Portrayal of Figures"at 2:39. There's also the flute melody in "Jake's Destiny" - incidentally, my pick for most awesome track on the album - that sounds really close to one in the opening track of "Mirage".

So, whether you enjoy the whole of album one with the lyrical parts and wonderfully good vocal executions or you can get into just letting the instruments speak, this album is a special work. I can enjoy either disc equally.

And if you can, I highly recommend checking out "Mirage: A Portrayal of Figures" because it's such a tremendous piece of work.

Latest members reviews

4 stars FLAMING ROW is a German fruity melodic prog metal band, drifting a bit into pop, folk and conceptual opera musical spaces as AYREON likes to do. So modern progressive rock a little metallic, and here a touch of neo, symphonic in addition to the melodic prog which reassures. This is his 3rd album ... (read more)

Report this review (#2431746) | Posted by alainPP | Friday, July 24, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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