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Fren - Where Do You Want Ghosts to Reside CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.93 | 134 ratings

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4 stars Fren is an instrumental eclectic band from Poland that formed in 2017 and released its debut album in March of 2020. The band is currently made up of Oskar Cenkier (keyboards), Michal Chalota (guitar), Andrew Shamanov (bass), and Oleksii Fedoriv (drums). The music is based around a nice, free-floating space-style progressive rock sound that definitely recalls the earlier days of Pink Floyd, Caravan and King Crimson, along with a more updated style with occasional heavy guitars and cinematic crescendos.

Their debut album (called "Where Do You Want Ghosts to Reside?") is made up of 6 tracks and spans a 44 minute run- time. "Twin Peaks" starts it all off with a lovely and explorative track that will capture you right away as it sweeps you up in its lush journey with a lot of stylized and atmospheric synths, but ends with the introduction of heavier guitars towards the end. "Surge" is more exploratory, but begins much heavier with guitars at the fore all supported by waves of mellotron and synth. This 9+ minute piece carries you to several different realms as it continues on however as the music resides somewhere between space rock, heavy prog, and bits of fusion and folk infused that will easily make you think of early King Crimson styles mixed with solid guitar work. The music is not perfect, but that actually gives it the genuine feel as it moves from soft and soothing to jaunty riffs to hard guitar, all transitioning smoothly along held together by musicians that you can tell have spent a lot of time working together to achieve the sound. The heavier organ that comes along later hints at Uriah Heep style rock as the track winds itself up toward its conclusion.

"Gorąca Linia" is a lovely and shorter 3 minute piece that ventures more into a jazz/rock fusion style track where the band plays around with the theme by changing note durations and then smooths things out for short improvisational sections. "Pleonasm" is pretty much the epic, centerpiece at 12 minutes. Beginning with a simple piano line, the music slowly builds and then resolves in a tasty jazz-style improve still led by the piano, but driven by fast drumming. The tempo is in flux however, changing to slower, more peaceful moods at times and becoming more upbeat at others, but always retaining the nice jazz-ish influence. As fatter piano chords take over, the guitars start to feel their way into the whole thing, and then a sweet guitar takes over the improvising job while the piano supports. Without becoming too descriptive, suffice it to say that the music travels through meter, style and tempo changes, yet sounds grounded and cohesive all the way through this excellent track.

The bass leads off "Heavy Matter" with an engaging riff that takes the music into an area that is a bit heavier and more progressive. The flute effects from the mellotron bring in the prog-folk effect as things continue, the music tightens up and you get a feeling that the band is playing with Canterbury territory at times, but always remaining on a heavier side of prog. The last few minutes are spent in a slower, denser beat that develops into a Floydian style guitar solo, but with a thick bassline which suddenly elevates the music to an emotional and rousing finish. "Time to Take the Stones Away" finishes it all off in a solid, moderately slow beat where the guitar and piano work to build up an elevating finish, a perfect, positive ending to a great album.

This album proves that this is a band worth watching. The sound is very organic and classic sounding, but the band uses plenty of unique playing to let the listener know that while they love their influences, they can bring it all together into a sound of their own. By the time you reach the end, you feel a level of encouragement and strength, and you have a renewed sense that progressive rock is in great hands with bands like this. Even though this album is all instrumental, there is still a huge amount of emotion and dynamic to make you not even miss the vocals. The music is never stagnant, but is always exciting and dynamic. This is definitely an excellent album by a very talented quartet of musicians, and every one of them shines through on this album.

TCat | 4/5 |


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