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FLAMBOROUGH HEAD

Neo-Prog • Netherlands


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Flamborough Head biography
Founded in Friesland, Netherlands in 1990 - Situation unknown as of 2017

The province of Friesland in the northern part of The Netherlands has its own language (a bit similar to the Skandinavian languages), anthem, traditional sports and banner. In the Eighties prime mover Edo Spanninga was a member of a Top 40 cover band but this was not really satisfying for him, Edo was more delighted about symphonic rock. In the capital Leeuwarden he met the Wolf brothers and the trio decided to make the music they all loved. Soon drummer Koen Roozen joined Edo and and the musicians started to rehearsal in a hen-house (!) on Koen's camping-farm in Bakkeveen. By the way, this is also the craddle of the known annual Dutch progrock festival Progfarm. After the Wolf brothers had left the band, bass player Marcel Derix, guitarist André Cents and finally, after some auditions, singer Siebe Rein Schaaf (also keyboardist) completed the new FLAMBOROUGH HEAD line-up.

The name is derived from a part of the rocky British coast and comes from Edo, an Anglophile, he wanted a double name like LED ZEPPELIN, URIAH HEEP or JETHRO TULL. Just before the band got tired of writing music and endless rehearsals without getting the opportunity to play live, FLAMBOROUGH HEAD got invitations for several gigs. And the British progrock label Cyclops reacted positive on a demo, in '98 this resulted in their first album entitled "Unspoken Whisper". Within half a year it sold 1500 copies and the debut-CD was recieved warmly by the music press, only the vocals got some negative remarks. A fine boost was the award by The Classic Rock Society (UK) as "best new band". The second album "Defining the Legacy" was released in 2000, a year later followed by a CD with tapes from '94. FLAMBOROUGH HEAD's music is 24-carat symphonic rock, very melodic and has echoes from MARILLION, PENDRAGON and ARENA but the different musical backgrounds and personal taste from the members (from CAMEL and AOR to blues and rock) gives their music music an orginal twist.

In 2002 FLAMBOROUGH HEAD released their acclaimed new CD entitled "One For The Crow" with new members Margriet Boomsma (lead vocals, flute, tin whistle and recorders) and guitarplayer Eddie Mulder, they replaced André Cents and Siebe Rein Schaaf. The music has still hints from the known neo-prog masters but the band sound more original and their compositions has reached a very mature level. The new album "One For The Crow" is wonderful, I'm stunned by the progress this band has made since I witnissed them on Progfarm a few years ago. This album showcases eight mature and alternating compositions with a lush and varied keyboardsound, strong electric guitarwork (rocky riffs and moving solos), beautiful classical guitar, some cheerful tin whistle and powerful vocals.

My conclusion is that FLAMBOROUGH HEAD prooves with their new CD that they have developped their own sound (a blend of classical, rock, folk, symphonic - and neo progrock) and that all those years of playing together has shaped them into good and creative musicians. And with fresh ideas from the new members, FLAMBOROUGH HEAD has turned from an average neo-progband into a serious member of the current Dutch progrock scene. Perhaps the hand of new manager Foppe de Haan (former coach from FC Heerenveen) has contributed to this marvellous development. I hope that their label Cyclops will do a good job with a worldwide distribution.

: : : Erik Neuteboom, The NETHERLANDS : : :
Fan & official Prog Archives collaborator

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FLAMBOROUGH HEAD discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

FLAMBOROUGH HEAD top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.67 | 67 ratings
Unspoken Whisper
1998
3.64 | 81 ratings
Defining the Legacy
2001
2.89 | 30 ratings
Bridge to the Promised Land
2001
3.56 | 53 ratings
One for the Crow
2002
3.57 | 45 ratings
Tales of Imperfection
2005
3.83 | 93 ratings
Looking for John Maddock
2009
3.94 | 149 ratings
Lost in Time
2013
3.59 | 24 ratings
Jumping the Milestone
2022

FLAMBOROUGH HEAD Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.97 | 13 ratings
Live in Budapest
2008
4.00 | 5 ratings
Live at ProgFarm 2006 (& Northern Prog Festival 2015)
2017

FLAMBOROUGH HEAD Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

FLAMBOROUGH HEAD Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 5 ratings
Shreds of Evidence - Obscure Live Tracks and Other Rarities
2017

FLAMBOROUGH HEAD Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

FLAMBOROUGH HEAD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Jumping the Milestone by FLAMBOROUGH HEAD album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.59 | 24 ratings

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Jumping the Milestone
Flamborough Head Neo-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars While neo-prog bands from the Netherlands have been catching up to the English scene that started all the way back in the early 1980s, most of the bands emerged after the dawn of the 21st century but a scant few set up shop in the 1990s. As far as i can tell only Odyssice, Like Wendy and this band FLAMBOROUGH HEAD started that far back with this Dutch band from Leeuwarden forming as far back as 1993 however it would only be 1998 that the band would see its debut "Unspoken Whisper" joining the ranks of its British counterparts.

FLAMOROUGH HEAD had been pretty consistent in releasing seven albums from 1998 - 2013 even having released two in 2001 but then with the release of its previous album "Lost In Time" went silent for almost a decade. The band returns nine years later with JUMPING THE MILESTONE which finds the trio of Margriet Boomsma (vocals, flute), Koen Roozen (drums) and Edo Spanninga (keyboards) returning however guitarist Gert Polkerman has been released with Hans Spitzen and bassist Marcel Derix likewise has been replaced by Eddie Mulder.

Despite a near decade lull in activity the band picks up right where they left off with its classic neo-prog sound. JUMPING THE MILESTONE features six tracks all of a length exceeding seven minutes with two, the opening "The Garden Shed" and the closing title track both exceeding ten. Anyone familiar with this band will know what to expect. The classic neo-prog soaring guitar riffing techniques fairly ubiquitous in that nook of the prog universe along with some ambitious key workouts more reminiscent of Emerson, Lake and Palmer at times more than Arena or IQ. The band exists in a dreamy folky realm of the neo-prog world but isn't afraid to rock out either. "Start Of A Nightmare" showcases some upbeat rock guitar heft with some sizzling soloing as well.

Keyboardist Edo Spanninga is at the top of his game with a virtuoso's ear of layering synthesized atmospheres to the guitar, bass and drum rhythmic foundation along with some moments of bravado that allows some of those classic prog synthesizer melting antics. For the most part this is more on the folk side of the equation with a mellow nonchalant reserved display of down-home family friendly G-rated entertainment. Nothing ever gets too wild, no risks are taken and everything is pretty much neo-prog by the books that ticks off every aspect of the genre and carries it out nicely. The addition of the flute is what puts this squarely in the neo-folk-prog subcategory.

As much as i try this is a band i find underwhelming. Margriet Boomsma lacks the required vocal dynamics and charisma to be an engaging lead vocalist and sounds better suited for an American country rock band honestly. The weakest feature of FLAMOROUGH HEAD is the lackluster performances of drummer Koen Roozen who serves as a metrometer and never offers any style of percussion that differs from the mere basics. I was hoping that after nearly a decade FLAMBOROUGH HEAD would up its game but it seems that this band is content existing in its own world that is oblivious to the modern standards that make a great neo-prog album. By no means a bad album. If you enjoy more intimate sounding music then you will like this more than i do but as far as my enjoyment value is concerned i find this album average at best.

 Jumping the Milestone by FLAMBOROUGH HEAD album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.59 | 24 ratings

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Jumping the Milestone
Flamborough Head Neo-Prog

Review by Drmick1971

4 stars The first studio album from Flamborough Head in many years and a very welcome addition it is as well. It seems to me there has been no distance in time between albums. We have most of the continuing members returning along with their new member on guitar, Hans Spitzen with Eddie Mulder changing position to bass player.

Every song on this album is quite long giving room to breathe for every band member to showcase their talents. Margriet Boomsma's singing is still strong and vibrant as always along with her flute played with passion and sincerity. Edo Spanninga's keyboard playing drives these songs, even when not in the forefront, he plays in the background that swells quietly allowing the other instruments the spotlight.

The album opens strongly with 'The Garden Shed', reminding me how much I've missed new compositions from this band.' Tomorrow is Another Day' is a real highlight. Quiet moments really compliment this song especially with the fluent flute and crisp classical guitar. Of course this is interspersed with rousing elation and full involvement from all members playing to their fullest ability giving us great hard driving prog at it's best.

The title of 'Start of a Nightmare' would indicate a song of gloom and despair however in terms of music it is quite up tempo. The whole album is a high quality production. Every instrument and sound is crystal clear. The album ends with the title track also being the longest at 12 minutes. This includes beautiful piano soon to be weaving amongst all other instruments that build to an emotional climax befitting the entire album.

I'm hoping we don't have to wait so long for the next instalment. It is clear this band still works well together and produces the highest quality one can hope for.

 Jumping the Milestone by FLAMBOROUGH HEAD album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.59 | 24 ratings

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Jumping the Milestone
Flamborough Head Neo-Prog

Review by KansasForEver

4 stars In this last two months of 2022, the eighth discographic release in the studio for the Frisians of FLAMBOROUGH HEAD, always masterfully led by keyboardist Edo SPANNINGA, composer of the entire disc except for the final track and eponymous "Jumping the Milestone" but above all their first album for nine years and the much appreciated but also wrongly misunderstood "Lost in Time".

The composition of the group changed again with the return of Eddie MULDER, the former guitarist in charge this time of the bass guitar, an Eddie MULDER who had packed his bags in 2009 after "Looking for John Maddock". The new six string players Hans SPITZEN is a guitar teacher in everyday life and handles both electric and acoustic. Their music is always anchored in a classy neo-progressive, certainly without deep originality but always pleasant to our ears. Another notable change in the music of FLAMBOROUGH HEAD, a presence of the flutes (classical and recorder) of Margriet BOOMSMA much more important than in the previous opuses which allows a strong aeration of the music and a softening of the few fleshy parts which remained .

"The Garden Shed" introduces the album in a very brilliant way with the solo flute of Margriet BOOMSMA, the acoustic guitar of Hans SPITZEN and the evanescent keyboards of Edo SPANNINGA, a little over ten minutes of excellent neo progressive to Celtic connotation in places, more camelian from mid-piece when the flute and the electric six-string this time lead us to heights of indescribable beauty (10/10). What a start!!! Much better than a simple garden shed...:)

The following four tracks have an almost equivalent duration between 7:41 and 8:56 so let's see what differentiates them. "Tomorrow is Another Day", the shortest of the four begins (again) with Margriet's flute (obvious inspiration from his compatriot the patriarch Thijs VAN LEER), then his calm and dreamy singing on a new Celtic theme before the arrival of the guitar of the new kid Hans SPITZEN, a good pleasant piece which is more song than progressive, below the previous piece well sure but superior to many things listened to in recent months (8/10). We continue with "Start of a Nightmare" more nervous from its beginning before the appearance of ...... the flute of Mrs. BOOMSMA supported by the keyboards of Mr. SPANNINGA (organ rarely used by Edo, some layers of mellotron and a mini moog en fusion), the vocals are more prominent here than on the first two titles while blending perfectly into the overall theme, Hans once again showing himself to his advantage in acoustics as in electrics (9/10) and Edo offering us a hair-raising moog solo in the final part.

Casually here we are halfway through the disc, time has passed at breakneck speed..... "Fear of Failure" which can be translated as the fear of losing, begins like a symphony, flooded by multifaceted keyboards by Edo SPANNINGA with the high-pitched vocals of Margriet, a six-string worthy of a Steve HACKETT at its best, the flute only arrives here at the fifth minute (I thought it had it lost....), in short, a superb piece, high-end neo-progressive according to the consecrated but very real expression in this case (10/10), the organ solo in the final part is a model of the genre . The penultimate title already, "Walls of Words" plus song also especially in its first third, will be the least exciting track of the work, while remaining frequentable (7/10) many keyboards a little jazz at times, a little West Coast to others (POCO?), too patchwork for my taste before the arrival of the flute (at 5:04) which counterbalances this relative disappointment, the worst track on the album which would be the best on others...

Let's end this trip with the eponymous piece "Jumping the Milestone" composition by Hans SPITZEN over twelve minutes long, introduced and continued on the piano by himself between two flights of very kayaking guitar, let's stay among the tulips, the mills and the polders (at 5:50 the six-string there is really great), surprise it's the only track with few ......flute (she must have lost it on the way because she only arrives at 9:26 ), a fine example of symphonic progressive neo at its best (9/10) which ends too abruptly in my opinion (three or four more minutes would not have mismatched the picture!).

An excellent opus that will figure very prominently in my annual review.

 Live at ProgFarm 2006 (& Northern Prog Festival 2015) by FLAMBOROUGH HEAD album cover Live, 2017
4.00 | 5 ratings

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Live at ProgFarm 2006 (& Northern Prog Festival 2015)
Flamborough Head Neo-Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars Last year Dutch progrock pride Flamborough Head released a double live CD featuring two concerts from different periods. The first CD is the registration of ProgFarm 2006, the 10th anniversary of that legendary annual Dutch progrock festival (between 1997-2011). The other CD contains a concert that was recorded at the Northern Prog Festival in 2015, organized by Dutch progrock band Leap Day that features FH members Koen Roozen and Eddie Mulder.

CD 1: Although Flamborough had a double task during their ProgFarm festivals (organizing and playing) the bands sound very good on ProgFarm 2006. After the two short instrumental tracks Russian Roulette and For Starters (both with strong Latimer hints, Nude era), Flamborough Head continues with a serie of long and alternating compositions (between 8 and 12 minutes). Their strong point is to put different accents in each song, with a variety in breaks and flowing changing climates and a very tasteful colouring with flutes, guitars and keyboards. The interplay between sensitive electric guitar and majestic Mellotron violins is very compelling in Maureen and Old Shoes. In Don't Forget Us we can enjoy that wonderful Camel-like sound with moving guitar and catchy synthesizer flights. And in the very varied Silent Stranger the sparkling piano is omnipresent, in pleasant harmony with the strong female vocals, topped by powerful guitar. The final two songs are shorter. A mellow atmosphere with classical piano and then slow synthesizer runs, accompanied by beautiful female vocals in Year After Year. And wonderfull flute and work on the synthesizers in the final Sleepless Night. A full house enjoyed the gig very much, those were the days, all happy with Flamborough during their legendary homegames at ProgFarm, also this time 2006, an excellent gig!

CD 2 featured a gig at the Northern Prog Festival 2015, the band had a few changes: Eddie Mulder moved to bass (for Marcel Derix) and on guitar is now Gert P'lkerman (his last gig, Hans Spitzen replaced him). In comparison with the ProgFarm 2006 gig, Flamborough sounds a bit more dynamic and powerful, due to the fact that they matured in all those years. And the new guitar player has a harder-edged sound. In the ominous and very alternating Lost In Time (fat guitar sound) and the final track Garden Of Dreams (he really rocks) you can trace that harder-edged guitar from Gert. The other long compositions showcase a very pleasant symphonic rock sound from Flamborough Head, with varied keyboard work (I enjoyed the majestic Mellotron violin samples) and a beautful harmony between the flutes (like the tin-whistle), guitars and keyboards and again that tasteful colouring. One of my highlights is I'll Take The Blame featuring a sound that varies from catchy and bombastic to dreamy with tender piano, topped by Latimer inspired guitarwork. And the long composition Andrassy Road (beautiful interplay between flute and Mellotron) is based upon the experiences of the band in the impressive Hungarian capital Budapest (after visiting a museum about the horror in WW2 and then communist dictatorship). Another strong live performance from Flamborough Head.

I highly recommend this double live CD, and I am proud at this Dutch progrock band, now let's look forward to their new studio album, to be expected early 2019.

 Shreds of Evidence - Obscure Live Tracks and Other Rarities by FLAMBOROUGH HEAD album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2017
4.00 | 5 ratings

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Shreds of Evidence - Obscure Live Tracks and Other Rarities
Flamborough Head Neo-Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars 'FIRST REVIEW OF THIS ALBUM'

This week prime mover Edo Spanninga told me that Flamborough Head actually never stopped. Due to family priorities, side-projects (solo, Trion, Leap Day), personal changes and 'getting older' the activity was very low. But recent years Flamborugh Head played in Poland and England and now have decided to work on a new album, to be released next year. So this compilation album is a delicious break, for the many fans of Flamborough Head here on PA (just check the rating, most albums between 3,5 and 4,5 star), they love their music: very melodic and harmonic prog featuring female singer Margriet her beautiful voice, topped with a tasteful colouring of the music with guitars, keyboards and flutes. These fans will be pleased with this interesting compilation CD featuring 11 tracks, recorded between 1998 and 2015 (live, radio and taken from progrock compilations).

The opener is from a Moody Blues tribute album (2005), the track is entitled Bless The Wings (Moody Blues, from 1991). Flamborough Head really has delivered a wonderful rendition, in my opinion even superior to the original with beautiful female singing, pleasant layers of Mellotron violins and a moving electric guitar solo. Of course this CD contains Progfarm tracks (the band hosted many years that legendary Dutch progrock festival): the alternating Year After Year (Progfarm 1997-2006 anniversary from Cyclops) and the oldie Corrugated Road (from 1998), both feature the special and very inspiring atmosphere. In the song Rixt Fan't Oerd (Progwereld 2011) female singer Margriet sings with an accent, it's the story about a woman from the Dutch island Ameland, a very warm folky climate. In Daughters Of Night Flamborough Head deliver their trademark sound, from mellow to bombastic and from soaring flute to a dazzling synthesizer solo, simply wonderful! Limestone Rock (from a Cyclops sampler in 2005) is another Flamborough Head trademark track: first Mellotron violins and moving guitar, then a wonderfully coloured part with soaring strings, tin whistle and sensitive electric guitar and finally compelling work on guitar and keyboards. The final composition is the magnum opus (around 11 minutes) on this compilation, entitled Trapper: lots of changing climates and tasteful play on electric guitar, keyboards and flute, yes, indeed, that's Flamborough Head in its full splendor!

I am sure this compilation will be a treat for the many fans of this worldwide appreciated Dutch band (I even notice Flamborough Head in avatars!).

 Looking for John Maddock by FLAMBOROUGH HEAD album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.83 | 93 ratings

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Looking for John Maddock
Flamborough Head Neo-Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars Between 1997 and 2011 many progheads from a wide range of countries have attended the exciting Dutch Progfarm festival, Flamborough Head used to be the support act for the headliner because it was their home game in Friesland. The band got a lot of appreciation and that can also be traced in the many reviews and ratings about Dutch progrock pride Flamborough Head on Prog Archives.

Well, on their acclaimed album Looking For John Maddock (four years after their previous studio album Tales Of Imperfection) the combination of the flowing guitar work with beautiful flute sound and the lavish Hammond organ and frequent Minimoog-like synthesizer flights often brings Seventies Camel to my mind. And during the synthesizer solo halfway Don't Forget Us, prime mover Edo Spanninga even sounds as 'the second coming' of the late Peter Bardens!

But I don't mind because Flamborough Head plays wonderful, very melodic and harmonic symphonic rock: flowing shifting moods, pleasant accelerations and exciting work on vintage keyboards and guitar (from moving and howling runs to a delicate duel with a tin-whistle in Don't Forget Us).

The absolute highlight on Looking For John Maddock is the epic final composition that showcases Flamborough Head in its full splendour. It also features the most variety and musical ideas on this album: a bombastic climate with an up-tempo rhythm ... a Solaris-like part with flute and classical orchestrations ... beautiful electric guitar work ... lush vintage keyboards (including an eruption with a Moody Blues Mellotron sound) ... and finally a sensitive guitar solo with soaring Hammond organ. What an exciting conclusion of a very good album.

Another four years later Flamborough Head released their swansong entitled Lost In Time .. or isn't this their final effort? Well, read this info I took from their website.

"Between 2014 and 2016 Marcel and Gert decided it was time to move on; on bass we welcomed back our friend Eddie Mulder and on guitar Hans Spitzen joined the band. Hans was no stranger; on earlier occasions he had helped the band out. In the autumn of 2016 this new line up will work on a new album which we hope to release somewhere next year."

More news from their website:

"Twenty years after the first edition of ProgFarm (1997) OSKAR will release Flamborough Head - Live at ProgFarm 2006 (& Northern Prog Festival 2015) as a reminder of our fine festival. As a bonus disc our gig at The Northern Prog Festival 2015 is included. This double live cd will be available November 2017."

 One for the Crow by FLAMBOROUGH HEAD album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.56 | 53 ratings

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One for the Crow
Flamborough Head Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars The rise of a band can have also some negative effects.In the case of Flamborough Head and their growing fame this would mean that Andre Cents and Siebe Rein Schaaf apparently couldn't deal with a heavier schedule and decided to say goodbye.The first solution was actually living next to keyboardist Edo Spanninga, it was his wife Margriet, who could sing and play the flute.Eddie Mulder was the new guitarist, with whom Spanninga would form also Trion.Margriet instantly became the lyricist of the band and the rapid changes brought another album in 2002 on Cyclops, ''One for the crow''.

Changing from a male to a female singer and adding some flute in the process obviously affected Flamborough Head's style, which now shifted even more towards 70's Symphonic Rock.You can forget about the Neo Prog qualities of the previous releases and be ready to face a classic-oriented Prog Rock release, which comes as a cross between CAMEL, RENAISSANCE and GENESIS.The new path of the band included a more pronounced use of analog keyboards (organ, Mellotron), the popping sound of flutes and a reduced synth content.The result is a vintage-flavored Progressive Rock release with long, lush and completely symphonic arrangements, where melodies and atmospheric parts combine.What hasn't changed a bit is the ability of the band to offer dramatic instrumentals and more positive vibes at the same time, with the flute delivering a folky touch, the Mellotron reminding of the nostalgic era of Prog music and the guitar work being pretty great with lots of emotional soloing.Of course synthesizers are still present, but they are mostly delivered as a sandwich between flutes, piano, Mellotron and organ, the 70's are fully reincarnated in yet another aspect of Flamborough Head's music.Margriet Boomsma comes as a good replacement on vocals, having a non-accented and expressive voice for a more refined lyrical delivery.Regarding the compositions these are in a very good level, not very personal or moreover genuine, but featuring nice orchestrations and a rich sound, despite the reduction of the decibels.

A new era begins for Flamborough Head with a very good album.They did a pretty great job on their new style, which was 70's-influenced Symphonic Rock in the vein of CAMEL, GENESIS and RENAISSANCE with polished and well-crafted mini suites.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

 Tales of Imperfection by FLAMBOROUGH HEAD album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.57 | 45 ratings

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Tales of Imperfection
Flamborough Head Neo-Prog

Review by mbzr48

5 stars The album starts with a short instrumental with soothing flute played by Margriet. There is a certain cleanness about it, but Edo Spanninga's keyboards are pretty important too, as is the piano. The song shows warmth, and a bit of power too as we find ourselves in "Maureen". The flute plays the main theme, the guitar plays some strong chords. The music is as we have come to expect, very melodic, quite accessible, but varied. The production is good and clear. The style I guess is a mix of Camel and Glass Hammer with a dose of Genesis (check out the guitar work for instance during the long intro). Thus we have a full symphonic sound with equal roles for guitar and keyboards, and a good sense of melody. But the band can also rock, as evidenced by the guitar plus flute solo and the brimming organ right before one third down the road. The vocals start just halfway, telling the story of the front cover. They are sung quite fast, but sure. In the middle we have some rare backing vocals, but I'm not so sure this is a good idea. In between we have the 'usual' solo elements which make up a lengthy symphonic song. We run right onto "Higher Ground", again an instrumental, but a lengthier one. The song has many (bombastic) elements and a large amount of melodic and instrumental variation, with a few synthetic violins thrown in, and some wonderful thematic flute play, combined with acoustic guitar. This is similar to the best of Hackett's solo material, the fairy stuff, although the guitar is more Latimer like. This does not mean the song is all melody. Indeed, following it we get to a rather funky part with 70's rhythm guitar. With the very Camel like keyboards that follow, we are thoroughly enmeshed in seventies Camel. Excellent.

"Silent Stranger" is the next somewhat epic vocal track, opening with flute and some prominent bass play, which gives the music a somewhat bouncy and frolic feel. The band again takes its time to start up the song, playing the main themes, before moving to the vocal part. Again, there is a lot of melodic material going into a song of this length. It seems Flamborough Head was pretty inspired when they wrote this. But the music is not all friendly, indeed the piano play is quite tense. The vocals are again rather pacey, as is the guitar work, but they do slowly build up. Margriet shows a bit more roughness at the edges, which improves things, I think. Halfway, we arrive at an introspective interlude with piano and strong melodic guitar work. In these moments, the Hackett influence is strongest. Later the vocals come back in, but in a different fashion, a bit more emotional and outspoken this time around. Margriet is sure singer these days.

"Captive Of Fate" opens with acoustic guitar and string synths. The vocal line sounds a bit familiar, but that could be from a previous listen. The song is about helping others in need, usually they have only fate to blame for their situation. The chorus is one that sticks in your head. The acoustic guitar-work is strongly reminiscent of Genesis.

"Mantova" is again an instrumental, the third one thus far. It brings the same melodic richness, but without sounding like something you heard before. This time the flute plays the role of bringing in a sense or urgency and all through the organ is in the back. This is one pacey instrumental with flashy play from all concerned. "Year After Year" is the closing vocal track, a ballad. Margriet again shows how much she has grown since the first album, and she carries the song more or less by herself, although the guitar solo shines too.

Year after year, Flamborough Head has been showing that it can still grow. Their brand of melodic symphonic rock with a female vocalist reminds most of Camel and Genesis, and this time around the band shows very sure of itself, excellent thematic material to bring into play, and with all the different melodic material, they do run the chance of loosing the edge to the music. However, they cope with this by introducing some tense interludes and elements, as well as some heavy guitar accents, and keep the pace high as needs be. For me a strong 5 stars!

 Unspoken Whisper by FLAMBOROUGH HEAD album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.67 | 67 ratings

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Unspoken Whisper
Flamborough Head Neo-Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars It's a pleasant surprise delving into the back-catalogue of an artist that impresses you only to discover earlier gems just as worthy of your time as the later works that initially attracted you! That was the case for me with Dutch band Flamborough Head, who's 2013 release `Lost in Time' was one of the albums of that year for me. By sheer luck I was to come across a few more of their previous albums in a local second hand record shop soon after that one, and the evidence is there that great talent, careful melodic skills and sumptuous instrumental displays were already in place within the band right from the start. Despite being their debut and having a different line-up than the one in place today (including a male singer here), `Unspoken Whispers' is full of many memorable classy themes, light gothic theatrical drama and a punchy rock sound, and it quickly turns out to be a winner.

It's certainly brave of Flamborough Head to open the album with repeated lyrical lines that start with "Hey you..."! Hmmm, I'm pretty sure some fairly obscure unknown prog band tried that once before to little success! `Schoolyard Fantasy' offers chiming electric guitars, delicate piano passages and eerie washes of ghostly icy synths that glide around Siebe Rein Schaaf's heart-felt and mannered vocal in the choruses. It all builds to a blistering sky-high electric guitar solo from Andre Cents over glorious rising synths is one of the finest moments to appear on a Neo-Prog album. `Wolves at War' is a short instrumental with duelling synth and guitar battles offering commanding themes on top of drums constantly changing tempo. There's an uplifting quality throughout `Childscream', with an introspective vocal, emotive Steve Rothery/Marillion styled electric guitar soloing and a harder hitting break in the middle.

There's lots of light and shade throughout the 10 minute title track, and plenty of spellbinding atmosphere in the intro. You get darker moments full of creeping gothic piano, brooding synths and think upfront bass that glides over the theatrical arrangement, but it's contrasted with a spirited shared vocal with Andre and Siebe singing a wonderful melody and spiralling Mini-moog solos. The band really deliver again on another instrumental `Legend of the Old Man', lots of spiky energy applied to heavy riffing, victorious synth runs and snappy drumming, with one or two dreamier moments as well. Pendragon fans will adore `Xymphonia', the low-key classical piano, delicate Mellotron and elegant symphonic synths that blissfully weave a deeply romantic and gently whimsical melody is pure Clive Nolan, and the stirring electric guitar strains that ring across the piece instantly brings to mind Nick Barrett. The band closes in a bristling explosion of instrumental energy with `Heroes', loaded with snarling brooding guitars, driving beats and near orchestral synths with deliriously joyful Minimoog bursts over a range of tempos.

While I prefer the later Margriet Boomsma fronted Flamborough Head albums, there is still so much to recommend here. True, it sometimes has that cold clinical 90's production that is the curse of many prog albums for the period, but `Unspoken Whisper' is full of passionate vocals, crisp playing and tasteful arrangements. This is a classy effort that all lovers of the Neo style should own, especially those listeners who appreciate I.Q, Arena and the early albums by Pendragon and Marillion.

Four stars.

 Lost in Time by FLAMBOROUGH HEAD album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.94 | 149 ratings

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Lost in Time
Flamborough Head Neo-Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars It seems a great injustice and a true `comedy of errors' when a particular undeserving (to my ears anyway) title gets a ton of discussion and attention, and one such as Flamborough Head's latest, that all but set the standard for the Neo genre in 2013, is more or less unrecognized and essentially ignored by all but a few. `Lost In Time', their seventh studio album, is simply one of the most richly symphonic collections of recent years, a perfect marriage of heartfelt female vocals and rich lengthy instrumental arrangements, and it's truly a masterclass example of progressive sophistication that is bristling with excitement and confidence.

You won't find a more memorable and emotionally heartfelt progressive rock track than the opening 12 minute title track, and it's simply one of the most effortless and classy symphonic pieces to appear on any prog album in 2013. A reflective lyric that I take to be about being confronted by past choices and confronting decisions, it's the sort of tale we can all respond to in some way. The words are sung with such pained beauty by Magriet Boomsma, moving between sad longing and dignified pride, and she has even the smokey sophistication and confidence of an Adele-like James Bond theme singer to my ears in a few spots! The striking and solemn front cover art perfectly conveys the emotions of the piece too, and would look so impressive on vinyl. The music around Margriet's voice is just as wondrous, with endless, yet always purposeful extended instrumental passages dominating the piece, and all the musicians receiving several moments to stand out. Gert Polkerman's clean and emotional guitar soloing passages remind me instantly of Pink Floyd, and the stirring piano and orchestrated synths of Edo Spanniga (on something of a roll in 2013, also with his sublime new Trion album `Funfair Fantasy') recalls the grandiosity of some of the classic Renaissance discs. Sheer perfection.

`The Trapper' is an old-time touching story of a young boy working in a coal mine to support his mother. The music perfectly captures the excitement and hopefulness of youth with the same upbeat jauntiness of those nifty early Pendragon albums with dazzling synth-play, then contrasts it with respectful and delicate drama of the confronting danger and situation the subject finds himself in. Instrumental `Dancing Ledge' is a winning showcase for Polkerman's dramatic electric guitar soloing, with brooding Mellotron, Koen Roozen's heavy stomping grooves, bristling Hammond organ and wistful recorder and flute backing him up.

`Damage Done', a somber `relationship broken' lyric full of hurt, contrasts moments of brooding and frantic heaviness with Camel-like majestic flute trills, and the lyrical theme takes a more unsurprisingly angry tone on the aggressive `I'll Take The Blame', Marcel Derix's chunky galloping bass, spiky guitar work and scratchy Mellotron a highlight. The lush closer `Andrassy Road' thankfully takes a more uplifting and pleasing mood after the previous numbers, and with dancing flute, classy Mellotron veils and a preference for sprightly acoustic guitar passages over its variety of tempo changes back and forth, it takes on a near-orchestral prettiness.

Lavish doesn't really begin to adequately describe this luscious symphonic styled progressive jewel. There's not a trace of filler to be found anywhere on the disc, just exquisite compositions with superbly executed instrumental transitions in addition to one of the most sublime and distinctive modern female prog vocalists. It also perfectly compliments the above-mentioned `Funfair Fantasy' Trion album beautifully. One of my absolute highlights of 2013, `Lost In Time' is a truly magical progressive achievement.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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