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5BRIDGES

Symphonic Prog • Netherlands


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5Bridges biography
Five old flames relight the fire of contemporary progressive rock. Loose but tight - Bas Luijten

The progressive fivesome 5bridgeS from Haarlem, The Netherlands, takes it's name from Keith Emerson's Five Bridges Suite Keith Emerson. The band aims to, as they say themselves, create a bridge to the 70s, "the decade in which craftmanship was still permitted to be warm, original and somewhat frayed at the edges".

The band consists of keyboardist and Hammond torturer Luke d'Araceno, guitarist Enzo Gallo, singer and multi-instrumentalist Piet Roelofsen and the massive rhythm tandem Martin Thoolen (bass) and Rob van der Linden (drums). This line up has the gift to let listeners have flashbacks of the era of Yes, Genesis and ELP, without ever sounding outdated. And

The bands debut album, released in February 2009, was partly released earlier as a demo. Both are called The Thomas Tracks, and they're based on drummer Rob van der Linden's novel - entitled 'De handelingen van Thomas' in Dutch. A novel writing drummer, that's another flashback to the 70s - anyone remember Neil Peart?

5bridges is not a band of teenagers, but these men certainly have the same vibe as their younger collegues, best proven by a quote of bass player Martin:

'The progress that we are making gives me a real kick, and the best thing about it is that playing generates more energy than it consumes.'

(bio based on information provided by Karin / antennas)

Angelo Hulshout

5Bridges official website

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5BRIDGES top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.88 | 100 ratings
The Thomas Tracks
2009

5BRIDGES Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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5BRIDGES Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 2 ratings
The Thomas Tracks (demo)
2008

5BRIDGES Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Thomas Tracks by 5BRIDGES album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.88 | 100 ratings

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The Thomas Tracks
5Bridges Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I could not have agreed more with Poldo65s remark about italian band The Watch. 5Bridges definitly does the same Gabriel-era Genesis impersonation as they do, except for the fact that they are much better songwriters and the music here is much more interesting than anything The Watch (or The Night Watch, as they werer known ion the beginning) has released so far. And this is only 5Bridges debut CD! I must thank my long time PA friend Progrules for introducing me to this dutch band. Ok, no originality here. But they do come up with some really strong stuff and their performances are stunning.

No, The Thomas Tracks is not perfect. It is maybe too long (almost 75 minutes of music). the production could be a lot better and unfortunatly it does not have any tracks that really stand out. However, it flows rather nicely and I can hear the whole album from start to finish without skipping a single track. As you may have guessed the intrumental parts have lots of Hackett-like guitar parts, vintage-sounding keyboards that remind me of... who else? Tony Banks, 12 string acoustics and the singer has some similarities (but not too much) of Gabriel. But it is obvious that while the Genesis influence is overwhelming, they actually know how to write fine melodies and very good songs. I guess that soon theyll be writing something more of their own, because its easy to see they are too good to be stuck in one mold forever, unless they wish to do so.

Conclusion: this CD is a pleasure to hear! I recommend to any symphonic prog lover, specially the ones who have a soft spot for early Genesis. 5Bridges is a very promising band. Im looking forward to hear their next release (with a better production, hopefully). My rating here should be 3.5 stars, really, but they did their homework so finely I think its worth an extra half.

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 The Thomas Tracks by 5BRIDGES album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.88 | 100 ratings

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The Thomas Tracks
5Bridges Symphonic Prog

Review by Brendan

1 stars ONE AND A HALF STARS; A BAND RECREATES GENESIS SOUND TO THE MOST MINUTE DETAIL, ALBEIT SLOPPILY AND WITHOUT INSPIRATION.

The Thomas Tracks, by 5 Bridges is an all to familiar sight in the world of todays progressive music: a lead vocalist determined to sound JUST LIKE Peter Gabriel, a keyboardist who sounds JUST LIKE Tony Banks and a guitarist who sounds JUST LIKE Steve Hackett.

This album sounds like they were trying to recreate their favourite elements of 'Selling England by the Pound' in every song. In fact, every song kind of sounds the same.

The problem with these bands is that while they are starry-eyed, softly kissing up to Genesis, with love permeating through every note, phrase and syllable, they lack something that Genesis had in the first place. We know that 5 Bridges, Big Big Train, Unitopia, Knight Area, TCP, Marillion and others are immitating Genesis, the vocalist usualy straining hard to get Peter Gabriels phrasing, but who were Genesis immitating?

Back in 1973, when Genesis cut 'Selling England by the Pound', they may have been 'influenced' by other people, but it was THEIR sound, their INSPIRATION and ORIGINAL IDEAS. These bands aren't coming up with those things.

The end result means that usually all these bands have going for them in the end are flashes of brilliant instrumental music and tehcnical ability. In fact the compositions on this album are complex, but are lacking inspiration and are not memorable. The vocals are poor, with some very weak pronunciation of words, for example 'anudda' instead of 'another', and the vocals are generally a bit hard to understand.

Here is a song by song analysis:

Didymus - A great track by this albums standards. Begins with eerie electric piano, then there is some singing that is similar to that near the start of 'Dancing out with the Moonlit Knight'. There is also some nice fusing with techno, an original idea for a change. Good riffs - 7 / 10 Babylon Curse Reversed - nothing inspiring - 3/10 On Calpe's Rock - Again, a highlight for this album. Begins with some nice piano, a bit like that near the start of 'Firth of fifth', and develops into a nice, gentle song - 6 / 10 The spell of eternity - trying to be 'The Battle of Epping Forest' with London accents and the like, but some excellent instrumental music - 4/10 Martialis' reveries - a brief but beautiful song - 7/10 Tricks and treason - some good riffs but not very good - 3.5 / 10 Lovernius' song - An intro into the next song - 2/10 Batavians revolt - it's complex but drags on for almost 12 minutes without any real inspiration - 1/10 Amazons and haven - Not an amazing song, but the instrumental music in the last third of the song is quite powerful - 4/10 Sign on the wall - a bit more laid back than the others - 4.5/10

Overall, the guitarist is excellent, comes up with some excellent riffs and ideas, and the keyboardist is neat too, and the band is good. The songs all sounds the same, however, and a lot of the ideas aren't that memorable. 3/10

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 The Thomas Tracks by 5BRIDGES album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.88 | 100 ratings

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The Thomas Tracks
5Bridges Symphonic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I'm actually surprised there aren't more negative reviews on here like Bonnek's complaining about another GENESIS clone band. And this really is like listening to someone do a paint by numbers piece of art. It looks great it's just that there isn't a lot of creativity right ? And yes this album sounds good to me and to be honest if it wasn't for the vocalist i'd probably give this 4 stars anyway because so called clone bands have never really been a turn off for me if it's done well and with some of that creativity.

THE WATCH is a good example of a band who is no doubt hugely influenced by GENESIS yet there's emotion and some amazing songs. Anyway, from the vocalist to the guitarist to the keyboard player this is GENESIS -101 pure and simple. And it's done very well over 74 minutes. And yes this is a concept album to boot.

I know i'm in the minority here but repeated listens haven't changed my mind. I like it but not enough to award it 4 stars. 3.5 stars it is.

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 The Thomas Tracks by 5BRIDGES album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.88 | 100 ratings

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The Thomas Tracks
5Bridges Symphonic Prog

Review by TheGazzardian
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Symphonic Rock lovers, rejoice! For what 5Bridges have done here is create some excellent music that any lover of symphonic rock will enjoy. There isn't much here in the way of innovation (bar some strangely effective combinations of electronic effects/drumming + real instruments in parts), but what they lack in newness, 5Bridges makes up for in quality.

I can't help but envy Rob van der Linden. Beyond the obvious fact that he can play drums (a skill I hope to acquire someday), he not only gets to write books, but then gets to go and create a prog rock band based around the events in his book ... and write lyrics for them? Let's see, plays drums, writes books, writes music, plays prog ... yep, I'm definitely feeling some envy here.

The band he has assembled sure seems to know what they are doing. The album runs close to the full length of the cd, a length that most bands can't seem to fill effectively, but there isn't really a single note in here that leaves me feeling bored. It all seems to flow so naturally, from the first note of the first song to the ending of the album.

Personally, I don't quite see the correlation between lead singer Piet Roelofsen's vocals and Peter Gabriels. For one, I am too aware of his accent, and secondly, I think his voice lacks some of the theatric power that Gabriels had. While Piet sings with passion and emotion, I think of Peter Gabriel's vocals in "The Musical Box", and they really sound quite different to me.

When I'm listening to this album, I can't imagine it being anything but a 4 star album. When it's off, it drops to three in my mind, because I can't think of any high points in the album. But the tricky thing is, this whole album is full of excellent music - very consistently excellent music - and there aren't really any low points either. If this album were a graph, it would be a pretty straight line.

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 The Thomas Tracks by 5BRIDGES album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.88 | 100 ratings

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The Thomas Tracks
5Bridges Symphonic Prog

Review by Plastic Dreamer

4 stars I've lived with this album now for four months, and can confess that only this week have I really begun to enjoy it in its entirety.

There were a few standout moments like track four, "The spell of eternity" and track 6 "Tricks and treason" that kept me listening for so long in the hope that further magic would rise to the surface. Well my endurance has paid off.

What may seem like a fairly dry uninspired 74 minutes at first does actually bloom into a consistent, thorough, and rich concept album that I suspect will keep getting better as time passes.

Once penetrated, The Thomas Tracks reveals that its beauty lies in its subtlety. From what I read, 5Bridges seems to be made up of mature musicians. At a guess I'd say that some of the band members are at least 45years+. The kind of understated music that is presented here, I feel, can really only be successfully written and performed by those that have a solid foot in the past. A way to illustrate this would be to compare Marillion's "Misplaced Childhood" that is full of drama and indignant outbursts, with a later album like "Marbles" that is performed by a band that has greater control over the way it chooses to express itself. So although The Thomas Tracks is a debut album, I get the feeling these guys have been around the block a few times before.

There is no filler on this album, indeed one gets the feeling that the foundations had been firmly mapped out and secured before any artistic development began. I read just recently that the concept is based on a novel published by the drummer Rob van der Linden. He and the band obviously know the source material intimately and it shows.

Comparisons with Genesis? Absolutely. There are phrases in the music that reference Genesis very delicately. Does the singer sound like Peter Gabriel? Hmm..kind of, but with his Dutch accent I fondly say that he sounds in some places a little like Peter Gabriel impersonating Gold Member from an Austin Powers film. Don't let that put you off though.

Acquiring this album wasn't the easiest of transactions I made last year and I've read in other places that I am not the only one to have had that experience. I hope that future 5Bridges albums are available in conventional outlets.

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 The Thomas Tracks by 5BRIDGES album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.88 | 100 ratings

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The Thomas Tracks
5Bridges Symphonic Prog

Review by Progga

5 stars This is a concept work and the sound is very Genesis like but at the same time different. Parts of it reminds me of the lamb lies down on Broadway. The album very much flows from one track to the next. Yes, there are highs, but the overall strength of the album is the consistant high quality of its material.

The work needs quite a few listenings for the listener to discover how good the work is. Why is this I ask myself. Perhaps because the work flows and does not repeat much with many of the tracks being long and involved. Frankly, the more I listen to it the better it becomes. Could in years be regarded as a classic album.

This is my first review and what an album to start with. For anyone that has already reviewed this and rated it less than 4, listen to it a few more times and see if your opinion changes. You may be missing a masterpiece of symphonic rock!

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 The Thomas Tracks by 5BRIDGES album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.88 | 100 ratings

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The Thomas Tracks
5Bridges Symphonic Prog

Review by Kev

5 stars Access to purchase the album is difficult, but in view of the comments of other prog rock reviewers I finally managed to obtain the album through the bands own web site.

Very Genesis sounding, but at the same time the band have their own identity. This is a concept album and one track flows nicely into the other. There are highlights immediatly obvious such as "On Calpes rock", "The spell of Eternity" and Sign on the wall." The tracks however are not immediatly catchy and it will take the listener a few plays before you discover how good the album is.

I have to admit to being a Genesis and Camel fan and bands of that ilk. Often I found that the bands found it difficult to turn out consistantly good material throughout an album. And this was in the days of far shorter albums at 40 to 50 minates an album. The good thing with this album is that it is strong throughout. Its also an album that you can keep playing and get more out of.

My teenage daughter I will (almost) give the final word to. After half a dozen listenings she said to me. "Dad this is a really good album, can I put it on my i-pod." Its up to us prog reviewers now to give this album by word of mouth the publicity it deserves. I understand that this is only the first album by this band. I will certainly be buying the next one to which I await with interest.

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 The Thomas Tracks by 5BRIDGES album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.88 | 100 ratings

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The Thomas Tracks
5Bridges Symphonic Prog

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

2 stars So we are 2009. Apparently that has not yet dawned on the part of Holland where this retro-symphonic rock band comes from. Now, I have nothing against retro if it's done with style and inspiration. I marvelled at Astra's Wierding album this year. But even in the heyday of prog rock, this Thomas Tracks album would have passed by completely unnoticed.

This is just an average revisit of Genesis, complete with a Hackett-clone and a Gabriel-clone on guitar and vocals. I think they even re-used some Nursery Cryme melodies and they certainly must have got a good bargain on some of Mr. Banks' antiques. Stuffy moogs and organs aplenty.

Normally, I would try to smooth my verdict by defending they do their kind of thing quite well. Really, I can handle derivative albums if they at least feature some adequate playing or good songs. Unfortunately, the occasions where this gang of retro-proggers could claim this are few: the opener Didymus and The Spell of Eternity come close, but no, not really. The result is unimaginative music, amateurish, devoid of personality, passion and creativity.

When prog re-established itself at the end of the 90's, I had really hoped that this time we would be spared of the kind of stale stuff that appeared after 1974. Wrong guess. For me, this is every bit as disappointing as Yes's Tormato, Camel's Breathless or ELP's Works. But, as you noticed from the other ratings it's just me again, poking my nose into other's people's pleasure. I should be ashamed!

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 The Thomas Tracks (demo) by 5BRIDGES album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2008
4.00 | 2 ratings

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The Thomas Tracks (demo)
5Bridges Symphonic Prog

Review by progrules
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This demo was shoved in my hands about a year ago by a friend and he specifically asked me what this new and unknown band sounded like in my opinion. The only band I could think of was Genesis obviously thanks to Roelofsen's voice which resembles it about 90%. He agreed but also mentioned several other names of bands which I don't even remember because I totally disagreed. This is so Genesis retro prog, it almost equals The Watch and Puppet Show in this respect.

Another thing that struck me when hearing this is the strong compositions it contained. Apart from the first track that is clearly the lesser of the four, the other three are battling for first place as best song and really this is a tough call. All three are amazing but in the end Curse of Eternity probably wins. And funny enough it's the only track that's not on the official release by 5Bridges.

Up till now I'm still hesitant to buy the real album because I have the feeling on this demo the best four songs are featured. If not, it's my bad luck because I think I will leave it with this demo. It's a great demo but if you don't have it yet, go for the whole album and you will not be disappointed. Highly recommended.

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 The Thomas Tracks by 5BRIDGES album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.88 | 100 ratings

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The Thomas Tracks
5Bridges Symphonic Prog

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Specialist

5 stars Unexpected surprise from the Netherlands

Unlike the previous two years, 2009 has been a bit slow, almost none of the albums released has impressed me and the ones I waited with more obsession have absolutely disappointed, but yesterday I received "The Thomas Tracks" by the Netherlands' band 5BRIDGES, and the hope in Progressive Rock has returned instantly, because I found the album delightful from the first to the last note.

As the guys from Haarlem say, each one of he five members is a bridge between the 70's and the XXI Century, playing pristine Symphonic as only the pioneers could, but without copying anybody. It's true that Piet Roelofsen's voice is extremely similar to Peter Gabriel's in range, intonation and style, but I don't feel anything forced, by the contrary, everything is absolutely natural.

The band's sound has clear GENESIS influence, but strangely Luke dAraceno's on keyboards doesn't sound to inspired in Tony Banks, as a fact I find a lot of similarities with Rob Reed from MAGENTA, similarities which are enhanced by the excellent guitarist Enzo Gallo, who has a lot in common with Chris Fry from the above mentioned band. So unless they are some sort of evil genius who copy bands from the 70's and also their coetaneous from 30 years later, we are talking about an original sound with respect for Symphonic Prog in the style of the classics.

"The Thomas Tracks" is based in the novel 'De Handelingen Van Thomas" by "Rob Van Der Linden" (Yes the drummer of the band), and as any respectable conceptual album done by a talented band, flows with perfect coherence from start to end, placing the efforts in the whole project rather than individual tracks, something that is evident when discovering that despite the different moods and radical changes, the basic atmosphere is respected all along the album.

"The Thomas Tracks" begins with "Didymus" and it's beautiful but dramatic introduction based in vocals and keyboards, this section is at the same time nostalgic and powerful, because while the vocals keep the soft atmosphere, the organ goes "in crescendo" with a constant repetition of chords that keep the suspense.

The choirs are absolutely tasteful, and when the band starts to join, you know something radical is going to happen...............and it happens, when guitar and keys join the music increases in intensity and strength, but the explosion is not abrupt, by the contrary, it's coherent and by stages, as if they tried never to loose control over the music, just wonderful.

Even when most of the tracks are linked one to other, for purpose of review I will try to describe them as individual songs instead of an integral entity as "The Thomas Tracks" is, so "Babylon Curse Reversed" starts with a beautiful keyboard melody that gives pass to a strong guitar, when the vocals take the lead, a stubborn organ keeps hammering in the background as a constant and the excellent drumming of Van Der Linden keeps the song in perfect time.

"On Calpe's Rock" starts with a beautiful piano soon followed by the drums and bass, a Moog solo breaks the soft rhythmic entrance with brilliance and the distorted guitar returns us to the Rock universe, all vibrant, but suddenly the vocals break this wonderful chaos and even when they enter into ballad territory, the radical changes and breathtaking synths don't let us forget we are before a Prog band.

"The Spell of Eternity" have a strong connection with "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway", the same desperate and claustrophobic atmosphere is present, and of course the massive Mellotron are the delight of the 70's fan. The fun part is in the vocals, because as Gabriel, Roelofsen does an outstanding job playing with different voices and adds narrative passages.

"Tricks & Treason" is much more romantic and soft, now they seem closer to GLASS HAMMER, with a fantastic interplay between Luke dAraceno and Enzo Gallo in the keys and guitar, but the vocals always bring us back to GENESIS because of the range so similar to Peter's, this time the organ is fast and frenetic, everything is just perfect.

"Lovernius Song" is a total change, while the other tracks had a bright even when mysterious atmosphere, "Lovernius Song" starts obscure and a bit haunting, mostly based in organ and acoustic guitar keeps the listener at the edge of the seat.

"Batavian Revolt" as he previous song starts acoustic, but soon they move fro this adding all what they have, Enzo Gallo makes the guitar cry and the organ maintains the suspense but Roelofsen keeps the sanity with his voice that seems to control everything. The changes are multiple but the atmosphere remains intact from beginning to end, somehow this song reminds me of "Trespass".

The only thing I will say about "Amazons & Heaven" is that we are before a spectacular song from start to where the keyboards are out of this world, a fantastic 11 minutes epic with everything a classic Prog fan needs to listen.

The album ends with the soft "Signs on the Wall", a softer but dramatic song that gives a correct closure to the album, again the organ is amazing and absolutely unique, something that is a constant along "The Thomas Tracks", they remind of GENESIS but don't play like GENESIS, the sound like a 70's band but with a unique distinctive sound that takes the best of the glorious decade but add the modern sound of this new century.

I never rate a debut album with more than 4 stars because I always expect more from the new bands, and even when I'm sure that 5BRIGDGES will give us more surprises, I will make an exception and give 5 solid stars to "The Thomas Tracks", because not doing this would be unfair and lack of consistence, I believe the album is in the masterpiece level and I'm giving them nothing they haven't earned.

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