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The Windmill - The Continuation CD (album) cover


The Windmill


Heavy Prog

3.92 | 228 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars (8/10)

The follow up to "To Be Continued...", The Windmill's second album, "The Continuation", makes good on its titular promise, what we have here is very much a continuation. In fact I think they even improved a lot from the first album (which I already liked). They have built on the sound they established already, and now feel a lot more focussed. The songwriting has certainly stepped up a notch, the whole album sounds a lot more professional, each band member seems to have improved on their respective instrument(s), and they have fitted a lot more into each song. The end result is truly excellent, and should cause everyone to pay attention to this band for now and for the future.

As if it could be any other way, the first track "...Continuation" fades in right where "To Be Continued..." faded out, establishing the continuation straight away. It starts with the same flute theme as before but then develops it in a heavier direction.

The album then properly gets going with "The Masque", starting with some low key vocals (up to 4 and a half minutes), which are followed by a fantastic long instrumental section to the end. The song continually builds up only to reinvent itself and start again. All the while the whole thing feels like one continuous piece that flows perfectly with many great riffs, building in heaviness to the end, whilst still allowing many individual instrumental showcases. "The Masque" encapsulates a lot of music: melodic symphonic sounds, flute solos, heavy organ, a soft synthesiser solo, and even some acoustic guitar, with a clean melodic electric guitar solo concluding the song. I'd hate for the epic of the album to overshadow this song (which comes in at about 13 minutes itself), because it is every bit as excellent.

Things mellow out on the next song, "Not Alone". It has a good intertwining of flute and guitar at the opening over the floating synth. There is some good confident singing (definitely better compared with last time), especially the chorus with the backing vocals helping create a large sound. Woven through the song is some really mournful flute and guitar soloing that is very easy to enjoy. Like "Don't Be Afraid" on the last album, this song presents some sad lyrical concepts in a nonetheless uplifting manner.

One of the best surprises of the album was "Giant Prize". Apart from a small symphonic break of beautiful melodies in the middle of the song, it would not be out of place on "Aqualung", with its bouncy hard rock guitar and flute riff. Short and sweet, this is a catchy and brilliant little song that is sure to get stuck in your head. It contains some of the most Andersonian (is this a word?) flute flourishes from The Windmill so far, and I can't get enough of it.

Once again though, it is an epic that is the centrepiece of the album, this time reserved for the last track. Coming in at about 25 minutes, "The Gamer" trumps "A Day In A Hero's Life" for length as well as quality. As is almost now a tradition for The Windmill, the lyrics are not especially standard, this song is about a man addicted to games becoming gradually more isolated, antisocial, mean spirited and arrogant, before realising his mistake. This song really feels like a proper epic, opening powerfully with some great guitar, and providing a really satisfying ending. This time around, The Windmill have decided to take their time a bit more with the long song, and I would say the result is an entirely different beast to "A Day In A Hero's Life". "The Gamer" is also the heaviest song (for keyboards and saxophone as well as guitars) The Windmill have thus far produced, and actually gets quite dark, especially with the aggressively sung vocals ("Please, go away", "I'm the master of games, and I don't like bloody flowers!") over the slow distorted guitars. There is even an unexpected but nonetheless highly entertaining 2 minute interlude of classy blues music about 16 minutes in, that I always get a kick out of hearing.

All the songs on this album are very strong, and have their own unique character. Comparing this album with the last one, everything is noticeably stronger: the classic sounding flute, the skilful guitar, the neo-prog influenced synths as well as the good range of other keyboard sounds, the more confident vocals (both lead and backing), the songs, even the lyrics improved!

I'm sure that The Windmill will be a great band to keep an eye on, I'm really pleased with "The Continuation", and look forward to seeing where they might go in the future. This album is sure to keep a broad variety of prog fans (e.g. Jethro Tull, Camel, Arena) very happy. There is no promise of another album like last time, but they can't stop after a great album like this, I'm sure. 2013 has been a great year for prog albums already (less than 3 months in), and hopefully this album wont be passed over due to being overshadowed by more prominent releases.

ScorchedFirth | 4/5 |


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