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Mangrove - Beyond Reality CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.60 | 53 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Well, that was a close call you might say. After listening to this album about 5 times it left me more and more underwhelmed and I was about to give it a three star rating. I couldn't believe it really but to understand that I should explain my personal little history with Mangrove.

Their debut Touch Wood was my second experience with the band because I first got acquainted with Facing the Sunset. This second album made me fall for them completely because this successor was a more than excellent work. Touch Wood however showed that Mangrove had made an obvious improvement with FtS. Touch Wood was a nice album with several very nice moments already revealing great class. This class came out with the successor and then it's understandable you expect at least conformation with the third release.

And there we have the problem, the inevitable trap one falls into every time again: the high expectations, so high probably that it's almost impossible to live up to. And that's what's going on here with me. I expected a masterpiece because I know this excellent band is capable of that. After first listening I heard some very nice things and thought: well, it could be there. But next few attempts left me underwhelmed like I said because I also heard the flaws all over sudden like an unoriginal and almost cheesy concept. I mean, come on guys, lines like "A face beyond reality, how I'd like to change your mind". This is such an obvious theme that has been done a hundred times before. This is really disappointing. Overlooking all the band has done I think it's safe to say their instrumental compositional and executional performance is their great strength and is the reason why I love the music so much. But let's face it, the lyrics and the vocal efforts are truly the Achilles heel of the band and cause my relatively low ratings for a band with such enormous potential. This potential also shines through clearly on this latest but in my opinion not as brightly as on Facing the Sunset which was close to a masterpiece to me.

Beyond Reality isn't I'm afraid but I have to be fair and I have to admit this album has some great moments too. The epics are a mix of the disappointing lyrical and vocal performance and huge instrumental parts that again gives the shivers down the spine as Mangrove did before. It's the reason I will always pay them the respect they deserve. After a last thorough listening I can only conclude this is way too good for a three star rating so I can only think of one justified conclusion: four stars. Beyond Reality is a slight step back compared to the predecessor as I already mentioned. Nevertheless the build up of the album is carefully worked out and deserves a compliment (including a magnificent grand finale in the second half of last track Voyager). Next time an interesting concept (lyrically) and we'll probably could welcome a masterpiece I'm sure they are capable of. A well meant hint from me: minimize the vocals and maximize the instrumentals.

progrules | 4/5 |


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