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Final Conflict biography
FINAL CONFLICT plays neo prog with influences from MARILLION. Musically their sound may remind of EGDON HEATH, lots of accent and color, with solo guitar outbursts, shifting rhythms and excellent guitar-keyboard correlations. The emphasis is on vocal oriented compositions. The musicianship is solid and supportive of the song and vocalist.

"Quest" is a concept album and this story draws parallels between crossword puzzles and life...The musical style on this album is quite simple but lush, well done yet accessable. Their style reminds me a bit of ILUVATAR, particularly their vocalist, but also in the melodic arrangements.

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  • Stop Stand Up, 1997

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Tacklebox / Cargo 1997
Audio CD$2.99
$0.88 (used)
Ashes to AshesAshes to Ashes
s.o.s. 2006
Audio CD$9.67
$9.66 (used)
No Peace on Earth, No Rest in HellNo Peace on Earth, No Rest in Hell
s.o.s. 2006
Audio CD$9.73
$1.98 (used)
Return of the ArtisanReturn of the Artisan
Audio CD$19.99 (used)
Stand Up (Remastered)Stand Up (Remastered)
Limited Edition · Remastered
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Final Conflict 7Final Conflict 7" Red Vinyl
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Ashes to Ashes by Final Conflict (2006-02-21)Ashes to Ashes by Final Conflict (2006-02-21)
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Another Moment In Time by Final Conflict (2009-05-05)Another Moment In Time by Final Conflict (2009-05-05)
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No Peace on Earth by Final Conflict (2007-02-13)No Peace on Earth by Final Conflict (2007-02-13)
Audio CD$103.38
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FINAL CONFLICT discography

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

FINAL CONFLICT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.40 | 18 ratings
Redress The Balance
2.98 | 26 ratings
3.63 | 45 ratings
Stand Up
3.33 | 24 ratings
3.11 | 22 ratings
4.07 | 93 ratings
Return of the Artisan

FINAL CONFLICT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 7 ratings
Another Moment in Time - Live In Poland

FINAL CONFLICT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.54 | 8 ratings
Another Moment In Time - Live In Poland (DVD)

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

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


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Hindsight by FINAL CONFLICT album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.33 | 24 ratings

Final Conflict Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Final Conflict did not avoid another long gap between the third and fourth album.Apparently tired of chasing labels and searching for a new contract, they invested on their own Gaolhouse Studio and decided to establish their own recording label for promoting their albums.''Hindsight'' would be the first in line of FC albums to follow on Gaolhouse label, it was released at the fall of 2003.

Inbetween the new incidents Final Conflict also decided to take a long trip to the past and revisit their very early days, when their material had still a rockin' touch, but was simultaneously based on the principles of MARILLION and the likes.As a result ''Hindsight'' features a more elaborate and melodic sound, always based on supertight songwriting and rich guitar and keyboard backgrounds, the material reminds me a lot of the lyrical songs of Fish-era MARILLION, albeit with a slightly harder touch.They tend to even plagiarize some of the masters' tunes from the 83'-85' period with the flashy and dreamy keyboard interludes, the light guitar moves and the strong lyricism, but the rise of the electric guitars and the overall dynamics are definitely trademarks of Final Conflict.''Hindsight'' appears to be one of the most balanced albums of Final Conflict, keyboards play a dominant role now and the furious electric solos are sitting next to them in a bunch of well-composed and -executed, long tracks with some minor symphonic touches and the always playful style of British Neo Prog.There are even some laid-back, almost spacious keyboard themes included and, despite the limited room for extended instrumental work, the album flows quite nicely in a convincing and grandiose musical enviroment.

One of the Final Conflict albums you should track down.Marking a new era for the band, ''Hindsight'' has this unmistakable MARILLION-esque magical touch and comes as a warmly recommended album for all those into song-based still intricate Prog Rock.

 Stand Up by FINAL CONFLICT album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.63 | 45 ratings

Stand Up
Final Conflict Neo-Prog

Review by mbzr48

4 stars This is a solid album full of great prog rock. The production is fantastic, with every note spinning off the disc in crystal clarity, especially right out of the gate on the title track, "Stand Up". The steel pounding, drums, keys, and glistening guitars that open the song are just excellent. The cool crisp guitar work and keys continue to amaze as the song builds and there is no doubt this was meant to be not only an album opener, but the title for a whole project. "Stand up?, who are you, telling me what to do." Yeah, stand up for your rights. A great album opener.

"Signature in the Sand's" melody will bring back memories of Pink Floyd's "What Do You Want From Me", especially when Kristi joins in vocal support. The keyboard and guitar solo work is impressive making this another early favorite. The vocals are not as unique and powerful as what I heard on Another Moment in Time. An interesting Saga ? sounding journey from this era of progressive rock.

The orchestrated keyboards and synthesizers effects at the beginning of "Whiteline Highway" makes it one of the best songs on the album.

"T230" is a great keyboard and guitar extravaganza before the vocals join in. The lyrics are excellent and full of emotions and the passion of love. Andy and Kristi do an excellent job of bringing out the feeling of these lyrics well. With much of the music up front, this is my favorite song on the album.

This band really knows how to open a song beautifully with great instrumentals and "Days Gone By" is just another example of that ability. The keyboards are fantastic throughout this song.

"Stop" is an epic about the decline of modern society in the UK, complete with vocalized news headlines. The lyrics are powerful and the epic proportion of the music supports the emotional cries of the vocals well. The guitar, keyboards and drums are some of the best on the album.

This album is a great snapshot of the band at this place and time in their career. The instrumentals and epics will definitely fill your music catalog full of new impressions and sounds. The bonus tracks are worth the price of admission alone, even if you have the original version. "Moment in Time" will bring back memories of U2, with its cool lead guitar opening, but the piano and bass later are terrific. "Losing it All's" wonderful acoustic guitar and keys are a wonderful way to close the album. The electric chords and sax are extravagant additions to this previously unreleased track. This one brings back memories of late 70s/early 80s era Genesis. Very good. For me a solid 4 stars!

 Stand Up by FINAL CONFLICT album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.63 | 45 ratings

Stand Up
Final Conflict Neo-Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 stars really

Third album named Stand up issued in 1997 after almost 5 years since the second one Quest, find Final Conflict a more mature with more intresting material as on previous two albums, who were not quite bad at all in neo prog circles. The line up established permanetly on Quest now is more confident in their skills and tight in arrangements. Stand up is probably among their best album is not the best album they ever made, at least to me. This is catchy consistent neo prog with nice guitars and keyboards, elaborated passages but aswell some more directly parts aswell , make from this release a winner in my book. All pieces stands as good, n particulary bad moments here at all, some forte ones might be Whiteline Highway, or the closer Stop. Still Final Conflict remaining largely unknown in neo prog zone, even they released over the years some respectable albums, in vein of Pallas, Galahad, Egdon Heath and others. 3 solid stars rounded to 3.5 in many places. Stand up is a head above Quest who was not bad, but this time they done it almost perfectly. Very underrated neo prog band and album. Desearves attention, their is some fine music here.

 Quest by FINAL CONFLICT album cover Studio Album, 1992
2.98 | 26 ratings

Final Conflict Neo-Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Final Conflict is one of the lesser known neo-prog acts from UK scene from late'80s early '90s with all that they released some ok albums over the years. One of them is Quest issued in 1992, the second release. The music offered are quite standard neo prog, with influences from let's say Marillion but also IQ and quite similar with dutch Egdon Heath or americans Iluvatar who were contemporary with them. Nice guitars interplays with keyboards on the melodic side, nothing is original or mindblowing but decent and well performed also very accesible, at least to my ears. Also the vocal passages are ok most of the time with good lines typical for such music. Some good towards great pieces here like Old lady, Mirror Of Lies or ending Betrial doesn't save the band to be anonymus among prog listners. Well, to me 3 stars for sure. Nice art work

 Stand Up by FINAL CONFLICT album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.63 | 45 ratings

Stand Up
Final Conflict Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars What followed the ''Quest'' album was an exhausting tour for Final Conflict, including dates both in the UK and Europe.During this period they managed also to be signed by Angular Records.The Gaolhouse Studios would again receive the talents of the band for the upcoming ''Stand up'' album.Dealing with social issues, this output was eventually released in 1997.

The 5-year period between the previous and the present album and the mass of live performances seem to have affected positively the 92'-established line-up with Final Conflict appearing here more tight and consistent with directed songwriting, inspired melodies and endless energy.Lying somewhere between PALLAS and JADIS, they deliver a dynamic and powerful Neo Prog with straight rockin' grooves, deep and atmospheric synthesizers and a great ability to switch between sharp passages and more elaborate textures.The new tracks are quite long, having a style which is based on groovy lines, lyrical expansions, decent guitar work and soaring synthesizers with the pompous but rather weak moments of the previous release being quite limited in the sake of a more atmospheric songwriting.Of course there are a few AOR flavors still present, reminding TRISTAN PARK or 2HOT4U, but the overall result is impressive with balanced instrumentation, memorable material and a crystalline production all the way.The 15-min. epic closer ''Stop'' is among the nice tracks produced by a Neo Prog band during the 90's: Emphatic music with great MARILLION-esque guitar work, muddy symphonic keyboards in the background, plenty of lyrical and tempo twists and a fantastic PINK FLOYD-ian outro with a spacey atmosphere, created by the floating organ and the melancholic guitar solos.

A great third effort by Final Conflict with the band apparently being back on track on producing well-composed and highly energetic music.Recommemded.

 Return of the Artisan by FINAL CONFLICT album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.07 | 93 ratings

Return of the Artisan
Final Conflict Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

4 stars Back in another lifetime I was sent a cassette of the third album by a young neo-prog band, but unfortunately it was faulty and didn't play properly. I wrote to the band (email didn't exist back then) and I was promptly sent a CD instead, the very first of the thousands of CDs I have received to review since then. Soon afterwards I saw them play at The Standard (I think with Landmarq, but maybe it was Mentaur?) where they then gave me my first free t-shirt. So, Final Conflict have a special place in my personal neo-prog history and when I started writing reviews again after some time away, Andy Lawton was one of the ones I contacted to inform them of the fact. Andy then kindly sent me their latest album, which is what I am playing now. From those heady days of the early Nineties only Andy and Brian Donkin remain, but it is not only the membership that has changed as while I enjoyed the early albums ('Quest' is well worth tracking down) the guys have undertaken a major step change since then.

While the twin guitars and vocals are still important, what we have now is a band that is polished and in total control, ensuring that they provide an edge to the music so that while the keyboards of Steve Lipiec are incredibly important it is the guitars that shine against the backdrop. The rhythm section also add to the overall sound as while Barry Elwood often maintains a lead melody line while the rest go off on tangents, Henry Rogers' drumming provides an additional depth. While he is happy to maintain the beat and keep everyone on the straight and narrow, there are also times when he provides powerful fills and touches that takes the menace to a new level. He is a very 'heavy' drummer, none of this arty-farty stuff; he hits the kit hard and ensures that everyone knows that this is a rock band first and foremost.

There have been quite a few bands from the late Eighties/early Nineties who have been delivering the goods over the last eighteen months, and Final Conflict are definitely up there with the leaders of the pack. Hard-edged neo-prog with hints of Camel, Marillion, Winter and IQ, this is an album to savour.

 Return of the Artisan by FINAL CONFLICT album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.07 | 93 ratings

Return of the Artisan
Final Conflict Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Final Conflict were formed in 1985, and since then have strived to make much of an impact if any within the neo-prog field. Their albums haven't received much in the way of attention aside from a few rather mixed reviews here and there, and consequently I haven't found myself compelled to track them down at all until I started hearing the buzz on ProgArchives about this latest one of theirs, Return of the Artisan.

On this album, the band come from out of nowhere to spring to the forefront of their chosen style. It's theatrical neo-prog of a sort fans will have heard plenty of before, but the delivery is exceptional; Andy Lawton and Brian Donkin combine to deliver dramatic vocals and even more expressive guitar performances, with influences ranging from classic Pink Floyd to the latest trends in the heavier side of neo-prog (including some almost metal-like riffing on the schizophrenic The Mechanic). Keyboardist Steve Lipiec, meanwhile, proves adept at pulling off the same trick as Galahad's Dean Baker when it comes to incorporating modern electronic sounds into the prog keyboardist's repertoire as well as pulling out some passages reminiscent of Mark Kelly circa Script for a Jester's Tear.

In fact, when it comes to composition the band show a real mastery of a wide range of prog modes, from material reminiscent of the golden age of the 1970s to much more modern fare, and in particular they show a genius for mingling the styles in interesting ways in order to find fascinating combinations which really push the genre forward. They also show a fair degree of depth when it comes to their lyrical themes; I can sort of see the album as a thematic concept affair ruminating on the state of artistry in the world today and contrasting the approach of the Mechanic - who likes to grind out things according to a neat pattern for the sake of mass market appeal - and the Artisan, who would prefer to win the passionate devotion of a few instead of the mild approval of the many.

It's an apt summation of the place where music itself finds itself these days, with the Internet era suddenly making craftsmanship, a personal connection with the audience, and establishing yourself in a particular well-loved musical niche or subculture as opposed to simply pitching your stuff to the mass market has become more viable than ever thanks to the Internet providing vibrant sources of support and promotion for niche genres - like prog, for instance.

Rather appropriate, then, that such a concept should be used for a band which seems to be finally coming into its own. To my ears, Final Conflict may be pulling a "Galahad" with this album - Galahad being another neo-prog group who formed in the 1980s and were much influenced by the Marquee crowd, but failed to put out any albums which received more than lukewarm reviews on average until after decades of solid work they finally hit their groove. It remains to be seen whether this album wins Final Conflict a wider audience within the prog world, but it truly deserves to; likewise, if their next album is even half as good as this, Final Conflict will have carved out a place for themselves in the front rank of current neo-prog acts.

 Return of the Artisan by FINAL CONFLICT album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.07 | 93 ratings

Return of the Artisan
Final Conflict Neo-Prog

Review by spacefolk

4 stars This UK band was established in 1985, the original group is Andy Lawton (vocals/guitar) and Brian Donkin (guitar/vocals). The last release of Final Conflict is the Cd/DVD "Another Moment in Time - Live in Poland" published in 2009. Moreover, with this release the band presented their two new recruits, Barry Elwood on bass and Henry Rogers on drums, for your information be aware has played with Touschstone and DeeExpus. So three years after this live but six years after their last studio album here is that it provides us with "Return of the Artisan. And immediately say that they make us a gift back.

After "The Calling", a short vibrating introduction where the new rhythm section is given till, British formation enters the heart of the matter with the excellent "The Mechanic". This song offers the listener a series of sequences simply magic. The two guitarists playing in complementarity, one doing roar his instrument, the other developing a melody whose harmonies are entangled with the climbs of keyboard. All is powerful and carried out a range of styles ranging from the metal to the Symphony almost all punctuated by real narrative in place. Hats off for Steve Lipiec for his work on keyboards including at the piano, with the short instrumental "The Spark" whose theme is taken up in intro of the title "Hopes and Dreams". By the way, this "Hopes and Dreams" proves to be a great wealth, the use of Hammond sounds is for something and guitar games can bring back you to a Nick Barrett without losing its personality.

The inspiration of Final Conflict does not stop there, as with "Around About", the voice, the game of the synths and guitar make this title a time beautiful. On "Babylon" is the more sensitive side of the group, which is presented once again the set of keyboards is delicate and very fair, while the guitar, for its part, will be in the vein of Pink Floyd. With "The Harlequin" is the Henri Rogers set that holds the attention, not to mention the Steve Lipiec synth solo, which is masterly. "Keeper of Conscience" follows this title demonstrates the versatility of the group at the level of the compositions. Hypnotic piano cadenza, a throbbing guitar and a feeling-impregnated song make this title another moment of "Return of the Artisan". And it is not over because it's with just the title song that ends the album. The tempo is powerful and catchy, once again the game's protagonists is excellent. Final Conflict confirms the overall excellence of this album.

With this album, Final Conflict presents a renewed group that has found its balance and a dynamism that makes us good. If some of us believed the group in lack of inspiration, be aware that this is the return of these artisans of the progressive. This album is filled with delicious moments for the ears, do not pass side, because it is one of the must-have of the year 2012. Be warned!

 Return of the Artisan by FINAL CONFLICT album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.07 | 93 ratings

Return of the Artisan
Final Conflict Neo-Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars Skirting on the fringes of the unknown , Final Conflict have been around for quite a while and slowly, like some resolute turtle showing a proggy finger to the hare, they have come to the frontline of modern neo-prog bands that excel in what they so stoutly believe in. The arrival of drum maestro Henry Rogers (Deeexpus, Touchstone) has given these veteran lads quite a jolt forward, as can be witnessed with the splendid "Another Moment of Time CD and DVD Live in Poland", a visual and aural documentary that shimmered vibrantly from beginning to end. Well, this vital live album has shoved them further into the limelight with a sizzling studio release, "Return of the Artisan" that stamps their prog ticket with massive splatter! The maturity is manifest from the very start as the individual performances are beyond the customary, as per Steve Lipiec's graceful piano and bassist Baz Elwood's dexterous technique littering the album with enchanting aplomb. Both Donkin and Lawton are expert vocalists and stunning axmen, some of the best in neo for sure. And as for Rogers, well, I have been drooling over his playing for a while, a meaty basher of the finest pedigree, a pure delight all the way through. The material proposed is vivid, powerful, bombastic, melodious and passionate. Fans of harder edged prog like Deeexpus, Mystery, RPWL, Galahad, IQ, Touchstone and Porcupine Tree will enjoy this tremendously. Easily and by far, the most surprising album of 2012!

"The Calling" is a brief intro, vocals alone sending a crisp message introducing the rapturous "The Mechanic", perhaps one of FC's finest comps, a bulldozing spooky colossus, lush with palpitating structures that morph into a pure Floydian soundscape of utter delicacy, a swerving and pulsating dazzle with the hereditary languorous guitar solo to die for. Spurting synth flashes splatter the rash guitar waves, pummeled by the brutal percussive rhythm, while the spoken word sections supply an unfathomable sense of unease. A metaphorical 2 minute piano ode, "The Spark" provides exactly that, an unruffled flame of impending desire to rock the listener's world with some serious music. Lipiec is simply stunning in his effortless elegance. Gorgeous!

The piano resumes its stately course by introducing "Hopes and Dreams", a longer piece that will slowly build up a bulldozer riff, allied by searchlight guitar beams that scream and scorch, bruising bass pylons and booming drum blasts. A sprightly organ solo adds some posh spice (okay, I am sorry for the bad wordplay!) to the already bubbly mixture. Lipiec will burn a synthesizer solo later as well. Numerous dual axe solos gracefully add their two-cent worth. The vocals have a little urgent Dave Cousins tinge ("Hero and Heroine" ?style), while the mellotron howls in the background. This highlight piece has this immense sense of accomplishment, as if it was always there, waiting to be heard.

"Around and About" has a breezier feel, though still honed to a sharp tone, propelled by some looping and revolving bass runs, (see the nature of the title!), underpinning complexity within a simple vocal formula is what distinguishes this band from so many others. Tinges of Middle Eastern rhythms give this arrangement a sense of dizziness and desperation. Slashing Andy Summers-like guitar phrasings, hazy electronic synths and impassionate vocals make this another stunning listening experience.

The extravagant "Babylon" shows off their softer side to be as radiant as their rockier penchant, a canvas of seductive synthesizers in a blessed wedding with suave vocals, a windswept sun kissed ballad of perpetual proportions and an unforgettable chorus that will stick to your soul. Screeching gulls, water splashing the dock and vaporous dream vocals converge amid the bass growl. Another splendid track!

The grandiloquent and beastly "Harlequin" has that doom-laden quality that immediately appeals, a musical universe where Bonham-style thumping bullies a raunchy guitar phalanx, the vocals both delirious and ecstatic. The tortuous synthesizer solo confirms the brilliance of the mood where hints of Saga, Galahad, Led Zeppelin and IQ all entangle the listener into a web of pleasure. Rogers pummels madly, darn good stuff, this! Elwood's bass guitar forges ahead unflinchingly, hurling the hypnosis forever forward. This will be a killer live track to finish off their set list.

"Keeper of Conscience" again shows off the polyvalent nature of the band songwriting, a brooding arrangement that transcends the formulaic and dives into darker territories, dare I say slightly experimental like mid-period Porcupine Tree. The hypnotic piano tingles, the harsh guitar wallops and the bass dances along for the ride, the sweet vocal section invites dreamy mirrored reflections, glinting in the fading sunlight. The proggiest selection on this startlingly delicious menu.

The 10 minute title track only serves to confirm the overall excellence, a sturdy and louder power ballad, with jangling guitars, proficient vocalizing, matchless melodies, bold and chivalrous rhythms and churlish solos that will please the discerning prog audiophile. The sonic talons are set into a massive groove from the first second and does not let go, squeezing hard and fast. This would be another seminal live selection, showcasing the various soloing talents available to rapturous applause. "You won't believe your" ears !

"Return of the Artisan" is an exalting sequence of first class tracks that have melody and meat, shining production values with crisp vocal expression, fascinating melodic contributions and truly expert musicianship from each member of the band. Not a single second of filler, no spam, no wasted emotions, a most impressive performance. Add on a gorgeous cover and the die is cast, a must have for the neo/symph progfan .

Looking forward to many further conflicts!

5 craftman revisits

 Another Moment In Time - Live In Poland (DVD) by FINAL CONFLICT album cover DVD/Video, 2009
4.54 | 8 ratings

Another Moment In Time - Live In Poland (DVD)
Final Conflict Neo-Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars Final Conflict's Moment in Time -Live in Poland DVD features Henry Rogers, a drum phenomenon that has propelled bands such as Touchstone and Deeexpus and a personal favorite of mine, a real basher in the old style Bonham-Taylor-Moon mold. So this is my introduction to Final Conflict. I never got around to getting Stand Up " , their 1997 masterpiece, always hesitating for some obscure reason but when I saw Henry's name on this puppy, well??I knew it was going to be good, in fact real first-class. These lads are prog veterans, resolutely in the business of progressing their qualified art forward and with complete disregard for any oversimplified criticism by both the prog fanatics and the silly pop-rock world. Good show, I say! I see closer parallels with Credo than say IQ, Galahad, Pallas, Pendragon or Marillion. It's all very English, very immediate and extremely entertaining.

The concert starts off with the usual symphonic flourish, always need an overture in prog , so as to pay homage to the classical period greats , Final Conflict's maturity is evident on the opening "Solitude" where squalls of Steve Lipiec's keyboards create quite a stir, combining with a duet vocal, both Andy Lawton and Brian Donkin shine within the pools of synthesized melancholia. When Rogers starts rolling his thunder, the mood develops into a more standard neo-progressive onslaught, fiery dual guitars (the same two) crossing 6 stringed swords, sustaining a classic chorus that holds a bright candle to all the past prog glories and fulfilling a tremendous first salvo. When the guitars rage, it's done in a gut wrenching demonstration of prowess, nothing experimental or avant-garde but delightfully entertaining. A remarkable entrance piece, a classic on many levels, and, yes the bass work from Barry Elwood is phenomenal. .

"Stand Up" has a threatening commencement, rifling drum rolls, sweltering guitar lasers, active bass and 'them there' huge beats. Catchy, memorable and haunting, the thrill is in the complex simplicity of both music and the voices, urging one to 'stand up" and sway to the dream. One can witness the obvious enthusiasm from all the players, singer Brian Donkin diving deep into the emotion, looking like a proggier Michael Sadler of Saga fame or axe man Adam Lawton carving sophisticated slabs of tight-rope soloing. Monster track and one for the neo-prog ages.

The somber-funk of "The Following" lays down a firm bass and drum motif, on which liquid piano shuffles along and the vocals entwine nicely with the basic melody. After a characteristic breezy main passage, the musicians toss in some interesting ideas, superb backing vocal work, jazzy piano, big fat juicy axe solos (ya know, slow, fast, slippery and wet). Nice to see Rogers holding down the fort so eloquently, solid stuff! This may be Neo- prog but the instrumentalists are all superb musicians with divine chops.

"Miss D'Meanor" bounces along with vigor, panache and the first strains of painful passion, supplied by some bright playing = simple synth solo, dual guitar sensations a la Wishbone Ash and a time-keeper style of bass/drum rhythm . Effortless is good only when it's well constructed. The duet vocal is equally appreciated.

"Stop" is the epic show-stopper (pun) that governs this disc, an out of this world slice of classic prog (like early Genesis and early Marillion), as it slowly expands into a whopping crescendo of sound, well-anchored on the low-end, Lawton really getting into his vocal performance, convincing the audience of his aching sincerity. The lyrics reference the shameful epidemic of child abuse (verbal or physical) and a generation of wounded youth, who can only grow up imitating the torturers. They are not singing about peace, love and trippy rock 'n roll! This is a serious matter and the frustrating rage soon explodes all over the speakers, "I could break your barrier" as the bass bops all over the place in utter frenzy. Rogers simply shimmers here, pushing, pulling, grinding and plowing masterfully. As for Donkin, he really tears into a bevy of tasty solos that shiver down the spine (nothing too technical but very bluesy) while shrieking the secondary vocal. Yes! A prog model track.

This marvel segues into "Rebellion", the rage puts fuel to the fire, a raucous, madcap rant that slams hard and bruised (the bass again), churning smoke from the sizzling organ and the punky vocals add anger to the whole. There is a pervading sense of chaos, monolithic and peerless, crowned by a panoramic fretboard solo.

"Can't Buy Experience" boots it into bliss overdrive with Henry smiling brashly as he bashes away, then Donkin starts sweating profusely as spouts off some insane lyrics about the life experience! Lipiec slips off some ivory synthiness, thus adding to the maelstrom. "All Alone" is a FC oldie that blooms in a live setting, showcasing strong melodies, immense playing and the panting intervals that characterize this seductive style finding a Fish-y Donkin as he duels nicely with Lawton on the guitar and the mike! What talent on display, arguably highly charged emotional content with some fluid instrumental work, all drummed together by that Rogers fella! "The Janus" is a two-faced slice of deranged vocals (sounding something like Fish or his Polish cohort Adam Lassa of Abraxas), a bi-polar arrangement of twisting keys, screwy guitar screeches , all pushed along by a rabid beat. The dual guitar onslaught is never tiresome, as both Lawton and Donkin push the envelope. "Waiting for a Chance" sums it all up quite brightly, a bruising finale to a tremendous concert and its eternal availability via DVD. All is nicely executed blessed with a fantastic sound, bright visuals without corny effects and the heat of the moment is vividly captured.

Final Conflict is quite a revelation, a rather unusual twist on the allegedly formulaic sentence that neo-prog seems to be saddled with; I see a huge amount of genialness, honesty, enjoyment and pride in their craft. I look forward to their new album 'Return of the Artisan' with Rogers sitting firmly on the drum stool. All the musicians are to be commended for their genuine passion and their ability to extol these virtues in a live and very personal setting! Wow! I am stunned and you will be also! Top DVD !

5 Last battles

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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