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Believe - Seven Widows CD (album) cover

SEVEN WIDOWS

Believe

 

Neo-Prog

4.10 | 126 ratings

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Warthur
Prog Reviewer
5 stars I was one of many who were highly impressed by Believe's Yesterday Is a Friend, but who found that following albums failed to live up to the high bar set to that masterpiece of the Polish neo-prog scene; regular flux in the group's lineup hardly helped. Then you had the reformation of precursor band Collage in 2015, with Believe band leader Mirek Gil returning to the guitar spot there and bringing along then-current Believe lead vocalist Karol Wróblewski to act as the new frontman for the reformed group. You'd have been forgiven for wondering whether Believe were done for.

However, it wasn't long into the reunion that Mirek bowed out again, perhaps wisely deciding that whilst a bit of nostalgia from time to time can clear the air, too much can bog you down. Łukasz Ociepa joins this time around as vocalist, and Robert Kubajek is the new drummer; the rhythm section is rounded out by the trusty Przemysław Zawadzki on bass, whilst the album also sees a welcome return of violinist Satomi to the fold.

Though she had appeared on The Warmest Sun In Winter, Satomi's contribution had been limited there to just a guest appearance on a couple of tracks (one of which was, strictly speaking, a bonus track), in keeping with the regrettable tendency on the Karol-fronted albums (This Bread Is Mine, World Is Round and Warmest Sun) to play down her contributions more and more over time.

Thankfully, Seven Widows radically reverses this trend, not only reinstating her as a full band member where she belongs - Yesterday Is a Friend would never have been the masterpiece it was without her contributions - but also relying on her more than ever, expanding her duties to include keyboards, which she turns out to be an adept hand at as well.

Indeed, composed as it is of a suite of seven parts, Seven Widows largely finds Believe tearing up the strategy they'd followed during the Karol-fronted era and plotting a brand new course, favouring the most progressive aspects of their sound. Gone are the various sops to poppier or grungier or otherwise more mainstream-leaning genres which had turned me off World Is Round, and which crop up as criticisms of other Karol-fronted material.

Whether that direction was prompted by an attempt to play to Karol's strengths as a vocalist or a bid by Gil to take the band into the mainstream, that's done now; if you enjoyed the Karol-fronted albums, you should come to Seven Widows expected a sudden (but perhaps welcome) change in course, whereas if you were one of us who felt that Believe had lost their way since Yesterday Is a Friend then take heart - finally, Seven Widows has offered a true followup to that album's approach. No mere remake, it's a journey down the path not previously taken after Yesterday - and if it represents Believe's tomorrow, I can only look forward to their next album with eagerness.

Warthur | 5/5 |

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