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Forward Shapes - Legacy CD (album) cover


Forward Shapes


Crossover Prog

3.55 | 15 ratings

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4 stars FORWARD SHAPES is a studio only project formed back in 2005 by Brian Andrews (keyboards) and Andrei Kryssov (guitars). Their aim was a simple one: To record a full length album of progressive rock. The manner in which they chose to do so was a tad less conventional however. The songs themselves were mapped out by 2008, and then the formative duo invited musicians from around the world to contribute their parts, assembling the different instruments used in a specific and not too common order. The website of this project chronicles these developments in minute detail to anyone interested. The end result became the CD "Legacy", self released in the early spring of 2012. Containing 8 tracks and clocking in at just under one hour, and as far as debut albums are concerned it's a reasonable well conceived production too.

In terms of style the compositions tend to stick within the progressive rock realm, with occasional detours bordering the softer side of progressive metal. Piano and keyboards are key elements, and the instrumental foundation is built around the interaction between piano and guitars in particular. Acoustic guitar and wandering piano in tightly interwoven lead motifs, darker toned, dampened guitar riffs as a contrasting subtle undercurrent to the tangents as well as more dramatic and flamboyant guitar riff and piano interactions more thoroughly exploring and focusing on the differences in tonal range and resonance. Most pieces also feature the vocal talents of Alison Vance, whose powerful, emotional delivery adds a distinct dramatic flair to the proceedings as well as combining splendidly with the piano. Keyboards are applied somewhat more sparingly, and arguably most effective in calmer instrumental passages combined with melodic guitar soloing to produce moods and atmospheres not too far away from late 70's Pink Floyd in expression. But as far as comparisons go, I suspect the stated influence of a band like Nightwish is a better one. If you can imagine a stripped down version of that band, with less dramatic guitar motifs and the symphonic backing replaced by piano, then you're starting to hone in on the sound of Forward Shapes.

Personally I found them to be more interesting than the norm on three distinct occasions: Mirrors of You, due to a nifty and effective powerful recurring vocal section that elevates this piece. Holding On, a slower paced ballad where the interactions between vocals, acoustic guitar and piano are stunningly beautiful. And finally in the brilliant, twisting and turning dramatic intricacy of instrumental piece Elusive, an aptly named and fairly sophisticated number that explore the dramatic dynamics of the piano and guitar interactions in sequences that are truly stunning at best.

The end result is pleasant enough, just how much so depending on musical taste more than anything else I imagine. If you have a taste for melodic, fairly intricate hard rock that avoids pompous arrangements but doesn't avoid a certain dramatic flair, Forward Shapes debut production "Legacy" is a disc you probably should spend a few minutes investigating further.

Windhawk | 4/5 |


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