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The Windmill - The Continuation CD (album) cover

THE CONTINUATION

The Windmill

 

Heavy Prog

3.94 | 202 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I think I found a new love, a windmill of all things and I am no Cervantes, though I do enjoy the art of writing, as it will always be the most perfect form of articulating one's thoughts and feelings, bar none. It only requires words. But I admire creative musicians who have carved out their own style and these Norwegians lads seem to be on the right path, after having entered the Progworld with their "To Be Continued?" debut in 2011. Well, they did continue and we are now blessed with a clear and concise "Continuation". It's also a massive leap forward and as good as the first album was, this is an outright killer. The quest for intricate arrangements and profound melodies is achieved with a superlative effort, combining Norse folk, classic symphonic prog, strong sax and flute interference emitting a heady Traffic mode, a little structural edge that hints at RPI with all the ornate coloration. The singing is intense and while perhaps not perfect, it gives the music a natural sheen.

But it's really the instrumentalist that shine, the quality of their craft is beyond any reproach. From the sharply honed bass guitar rumble and the obedient drum patterns, keyboardist Robert Jean Viita spreads some fabulous sound carpets such as his Hammond and synth solos on "The Masque", an eloquent epic piece that follows the intro title track adaptation off the debut's finale (I love that premise, Mostly Autumn did the same on their first three discs), makes for eternal continuity. Some of the best prog you will ever hear, just when a Spanish guitar solo comes and steals your passionate heart, caramba! Segue that with a blistering electric lead and this fan is done, cooked! Simple, timeless and beautiful. To then continue on with perhaps one of the finest ballads in recent memory, well? I like sad, melancholic, grandiose songs and "Not Alone "is just a prog Godzilla! Bruising and pile-driving rhythm power the neo-classical theme, led by a prancing flute and sophisticated piano, the voice has only to convey the dignified ache that permeates the lyrics and a delivery that has 'magnifique' stamped all over it. What a chorus, it's to cower in adulation. The flute sets the table and the guitar shrieks into action, careening crazily and in pain. Speaking of flute, the next brief piece "Giant Prize" is as close to a Jethro Tull chugger as can be, a full blooded slice of Anderson/Barre presumably in homage to the legends. It's fun and serves well as a little counterweight to the heavy melancholy before and after.

The finale is a gigantic epic of colossal size "The Gamer" , two dozen minutes of sheer symphonic bliss based on a rather distinctive premise, a video game addiction that quietly seems to affect millions of distracted youngsters (and a few older idiots !) and forcing upon them a lack of physical exercise or any mental bloom beyond fast reflexes. When done in moderation, its entertainment, when an obsession, the screen takes over and becomes God. The music is melodically exalted, fascinatingly strung together, led by the piper on the flute, aided by some scintillating guitar work by both axemen Borgen and Clason and abated by tremendous keyboard contributions. Also the sax likes to parallel the guitar blasts which give the sound an incredible amount of depth. The vocals are equally strong despite the slight accent, a trait which never bothered this reviewer. The plethora of melodies and intersecting riffs are splendid, keeping the listener always on edge, never quite knowing what is coming up next. Imagine a more aggressive Pink Floyd, with harsher guitars, heavy on the flute and sax as well as a modern outlook. In typical obsessive fashion, the bellicose main theme keeps coming back, highlighting the constant 'replay' demands that video games impose on their helpless victims. Just when you think it gets a little repetitive, honky- tonk piano and jazzy sax combine into a ballroom rumba in turn laying down the mat for a huge guitar solo, carnival atmosphere with more undulating sax and rocking piano. The final section gets quite bombastic, Hammond organ swirls amid the high-powered vocalizings. I like the voices used by both vocalists because it's real and not overtly polished, giving it some amazing credibility. 'One way out' he cries?? Nice.

The Windmill is a new player in the Neo/Symphonic stage and if they continue on this path, they will be highly successful at their craft. I along with many other reviewers will be keeping an eye out for these Norse craftsmen. "Not Alone" is on my playlist, amazing tune.

5 Don Quixotes

tszirmay | 5/5 |

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