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FLAMING ROW

Progressive Metal • Germany


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Flaming Row biography
FLAMING ROW is an international band-project formed by Martin SCHNELLA (STEEL PROTECTOR, CAST IN SILENCE) in 2008. His principle idea was to create a concept album with many musicians and vocalists. SCHNELLA wrote all the music for the project's first album and asked his dear friend Kiri GEILE (STEEL PROTECTOR) to join him, writing the story for the concept. The core of the band also joined friends and local musicians: drummer Niklas KAHL (MY INNER BURNING, CAST IN SILENCE) and keyboardist/saxophonist Marek ARNOLD (TOXIC SMILE, 7 STEPS TO THE GREEN DOOR, STERN COMBO MEISSEN).

Recordings of the debut album "Elinoire" started in late 2008 with most of the music being recorded until the end of 2009, with SCHNELLA taking up guitars, most bass guitars, some keyboards and vocals. Gary WEHRKAMP and Brendt ALLMAN from SHADOW GALLERY were asked to contribute and agreed to additional guitar/keyboard solos and vocals. The project also includes Billy SHERWOOD (CIRCA, YOSO, ex-YES) and Jimmy KEEGAN (SPOCK'S BEARD, KENNY LOGGINS, SANTANA) on lead and backing vocals and Ali NEANDER (RODGAU MONOTONES) on some guitar solos. The album includes a number of roles and characters, distributed among the project members, and the story unfolds around a drama about a young British family.

"Elinoire" was released in 2011 through Progressive Promotion Records and it is essentially a modern rock/metal opera in the vein of AYREON's projects. The album presents a mixture of modern progressive rock/metal and mainstream metal.

Biography by aapatsos

Flaming Row official website

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Buy FLAMING ROW Music


Mirage-A Portrayal of FiguresMirage-A Portrayal of Figures
CD Baby 2014
Audio CD$14.76
ElinoireElinoire
CD Baby 2011
Audio CD$22.76
$8.62 (used)

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FLAMING ROW shows & tickets


  • Progressive Promotion Festival on 12 Sep 2014

FLAMING ROW discography


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FLAMING ROW top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.13 | 30 ratings
Elinoire
2011
3.98 | 38 ratings
Mirage - A Portrayal Of Figures
2014

FLAMING ROW Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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FLAMING ROW Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Mirage - A Portrayal Of Figures by FLAMING ROW album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.98 | 38 ratings

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Mirage - A Portrayal Of Figures
Flaming Row Progressive Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars So, what we have here is the second album from German quartet Flaming Row, but is it? While Martin Schnella (guitars, keyboards, vocals) provided all of the music, based on a story written by Kiri Geile (vocals) and then arranged by Martin with Niklas Kahl (drums) and Marek Arnold (keyboards, saxophone), this is way more than ''just'' a band album. To be able to do justice to the story of the Third World War they have brought in a couple of guest musicians and the odd singer. Okay, to possibly put that more into perspective, the total singer and musician count on here is more than 30, and with the likes of Dave Meros, Kristoffer Gildenlow, Jimmy Keegan and Arjen Anthony Lucassen helping out on the music, and the likes of Ted Leonard, Magali Luyten, Simon Moskon and many others on the vocals, perhaps it isn't surprising that this is something a little special.

This is an over the top, multi-layered incredibly strongly produced album which sometimes stays in control as although each musician adds his piece it still somehow manages to remain a bombastic masterpiece instead of disappearing up an ego of its' own making. I challenge any lover of prog metal not to fall in love with this at the very first hearing, and just sit with the booklet and listen to the narration and singers telling the story while marveling at the melodic complexity that is displayed in front of your very ears. Although sounding nothing like Spock's Beard, it is almost as if they have captured the sheer brilliance of albums such as 'Snow', have then brought in some American melodic metal, combined it with the symphonic power of Nightwish while also ensuring that fans of the dexterity (both musically and lyrically) of Clive Nolan are well catered for.

Simply put, this is one of the most exciting and interesting albums that I have heard so far this year. I fell in love with it just a few bars into the first song and I kept hoping that I wouldn't be disappointed with the rest of the album while actually I just found more to savour. Each time I have played this new depths have come to light, and this has become for me one of those albums that actually prevents me writing about anything else as I just want to play it so much! It may be over the top, yet somehow there is enough restraint to ensure that it never really falls totally out of control, but rather shows that sometimes music needs to be more than just a couple of guys in a studio, and by adding so many others with their own techniques and styles it has allowed Flaming Row to create something very special indeed. The only question in my mind, is how on earth do they follow this? I note that in the booklet they state that this is to be continued, so that is something to look forward to indeed. www.flamingrow.de

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 Elinoire by FLAMING ROW album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.13 | 30 ratings

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Elinoire
Flaming Row Progressive Metal

Review by Progrussia

5 stars Some bands start out with a five year rehearsal period followed by a tepid EP to attract some attention. Not the project of a young German lad Martin Schnella called Flaming Row. They were immediately designed for a massive scale 15-vocalist rock opera stretching the limits of a 80-minute CD format. The main method of stylistic expression is a cheesy 80s inspired metal/hard rock. With droplets of more rough metal vocal style, soft rock, country and a nod to jazzy brass and woodwinds. I like the sound - fat, guitar-centrered, no double drum overkill common to pompous power metal. Emphasis is more on listenability, although there are brief instances of shredding. Its very well composed for a beginners metal opera, kudos to Schnella, with songs forming a continuous while. For such a long record it could use more stylistic diversity (a problem solved on the follow-up, Mirage), but its still heads and shoulders above 95 percent of metal I've heard.

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 Mirage - A Portrayal Of Figures by FLAMING ROW album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.98 | 38 ratings

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Mirage - A Portrayal Of Figures
Flaming Row Progressive Metal

Review by Progrussia

5 stars There has been a proliferation recently, notably from Germanic world, of what I call Broadway rock operas, that have roots as much in classic rock and pop as in metal. And unsurprisingly there is cross-contamination of members between bands, including between Flaming Row and similarly-minded, but more concise, Seven Steps to the Green Door.

Maybe I've listened too much of this stuff, but here I'm less impressed. No, it was quite a feat I imagine to arrange all ideas together and manage such a long list of contributors, and its all highly listenable and eclectic and not as sonically overblown as one might think - prog metal is really a misnomer for Flaming Row, who have actually more early 70s classic rock (in its organ-driven hard rock, country and folk rock forms) in their sound than metal. But for such a sprawling album, which, like its antecedent, makes full use of the 80-minute CD format, it could be more structured for anchoring the memory. The longer songs feel like a loose suite of ideas, and the ballads drag on. But if you can tolerate a certain amount of cheese and awkward lyrics, you'll be alright. 4,5 stars.

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 Mirage - A Portrayal Of Figures by FLAMING ROW album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.98 | 38 ratings

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Mirage - A Portrayal Of Figures
Flaming Row Progressive Metal

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Collaborator Post/Math Rock and Crossover Teams

4 stars It excites me to see progressive metal bands continually moving away from the norm, and toward new, fresh sounds and combinations. Flaming Row out of Germany has released their second album, and it's ambitious for certain. "Mirage - A Portrayal of Figures" is a massive, rock opera-like album that has a cohesive, definite story to it. "Mirage" is massive in many ways, from story to guest musicians. These guests include members of bands such as Haken, Spock's Beard, Pain of Salvation, and even Ayreon. This is really impressive for a band that is only on its second album.

"Mirage" revolves around the Magistrate, a group of alien rulers that have decided that mankind has progressed too far in their technological abilities, but not far enough in their morality or unity. This certainly isn't anything new, as I can name a few albums off the top of my head with similar plots: however, the added twist is that the survivors have banded together to fight back, but a lowly soldier believes that his leaders have different plans than they claim. It's obviously quite an undertaking, and I believe they pull it off pretty well with a good twist at the end.

The lyrical content is epic at times, delicate and quiet in others. This album, like most rock operas, falls prey to a basic problem that grinds my gears. Often, the lyrics are written to be dialogue, and this ends up feeling cheap and forced, as this dialogue is usually not conducive to real songs. I especially felt this way about Ayreon's 2013 album, "The Theory of Everything". "Mirage", however, only falls into this rut a few times, as most of the album is comprised of real songs that are well-suited to the story.

The music is the shining force on this album. Calling Flaming Row a progressive metal band is a bit of a generalization, as there are many styles at work here. Sure, there are some hefty metal portions, but there are also jazzy sequences, American country parts, many European folk influences, and even some rousing "saloon" piano, for lack of a better description. These are all mixed well, seamlessly even.

The music is an eclectic mix, then, of heavy guitars (at times), dynamic drums and bass, the always excellent keys and sax of Marek Arnold, and guest musicians that play everything from Uilleann pipes, whistles, and violins to mandolins, cellos, and basically everything you can imagine. One can imagine the folksy vibe that would be present with all those wind and stringed instruments.

The tracks themselves are extraordinary for the most part. The album begins with a 16+ minute title track that feels epic and soaring. Right on its heels, though, we have my favorite track "Aim L45", a quieter, more organic and folksy tune that is simply beautiful. But, after that, "Burning Sky" starts the massive feeling all over again. This is rather representative of the entire album, as the styles and tone move up and down and all over the place. The myriad of vocalists that appear on this album make for a diverse, if sometimes hard to distinguish, array of "faces" to remember. It does feel a bit crowded at times, even hard to follow. However, the music keeps the listener grounded, and multiple listens are rather rewarding.

"Mirage", then, is a soaring story of giant proportions, one that is told well and executed musically even better. The many styles in play keep things interesting, and there are some jaw-dropping moments that really make the album what it is. Flaming Row, I believe, has trumped their first album by quite a bit here, and I expect to uncover more and more as I continue to listen to this wondrous album.

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 Elinoire by FLAMING ROW album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.13 | 30 ratings

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Elinoire
Flaming Row Progressive Metal

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Germany's FLAMING ROW was formed by Martin Schnella back in 2008, and the principal idea behind the project was to create and record a conceptual CD featuring a story with several characters, encompassing a multitude of different moods and atmospheres. Most of the material was assembled in 2008 and 2009, with a core of local musicians and a wide array of guest contributors. The end result became the CD "Elinoire", which was released by Progressive Promotion Records in 2011.

Flaming Row has made a good quality debut with "Elinoire". Progressive metal is the stylistic foundation of choice, but flavored with enough stylistic variety to avoid becoming repetitive. Good quality compositions and performances are the common denominator throughout, with a few innovative details brought to the table as well. A well made concept album by and large, and one I suspect should find favor amongst fans of Arjen Lucassen's Ayreon productions first and foremost.

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 Elinoire by FLAMING ROW album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.13 | 30 ratings

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Elinoire
Flaming Row Progressive Metal

Review by aapatsos
Special Collaborator Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams

4 stars Any similarity with actual facts or cases is purely coincidental...

Flaming Row is the vision of the talented composer and multi-instrumentalist Martin Schnella and Elinoire is the debut album of this multi-national project (rather than band). Flaming Row actually has a core of 4 members but in this modern rock opera, the number of musicians and vocalists comes up to the unbelievable figure of 30!

The album is thematically spawned around a concept of a young British family drama, but I have to be honest that the lyrical part is the one on which I concentrated the least. At first, I almost discarded it as a "stereotypical" modern progressive metal album, but subsequent listens have changed my mind towards a more positive approach. Throughout the 80 minutes of this concept, the roles are interchangeable and the different vocalists and moods keep the interest at high levels. The participation of Allman and Wehrkamp give this extra push to profile and quality and the SHADOW GALLERY influence is apparent. The music and the overall approach remind heavily of the paths that Arjen Lucassen follows with AYREON; they are actually almost identical: a concept with several roles and a story that unfolds through roles and emotional variations.

The powerful guitar work resembles to most of the "big ones" of modern progressive metal, such as SHADOW GALLERY (Overture), AYREON (Nightingales Chirp) and PAIN OF SALVATION (Time Mirror). There are a lot of mellow songs and ballads but also a number that go back to the roots of heavy/power and mainstream metal (Rage of Despair and Lea's Delivery). Although the influences are pretty obvious, the quality of composition and delivery is so high that shades everything else, and with dynamites such as Unearth the Truth, Schnella delivers his credentials.

All and all, a satisfying package of European progressive metal reaching production, sound and executional excellence. The step beyond for this project would be to reach closer to compositional and mainly innovation excellence in order to produce something truly memorable; the pre-requisites are certainly there. Elinoire is unreservedly recommended to fans of AYREON.

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Thanks to Rune2000 for the artist addition.

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