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The Windmill - To Be Continued... CD (album) cover


The Windmill

Heavy Prog

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4 stars Heavy Prog as in traditional Norwegian prog........

I was a bit miffed when I discovered that The Windmill had been put in this category. Then I listened to this album a couple of times and the pieces in this jigsaw puzzle fell into place. My objections was removed forthwith.

The band may disagree with me, but I see a clear red line from this album back to the first generation of Norwegian prog bands from the 1970s. The accent, the instruments, the Pink Floyd fascination, the sound, the overly ambitious songs and the folk rock references. I don't think The Windmill will ever convince anyone that they are a band from USA, Chile, Italy, Holland or even England. Made In Norway is written all over their sound. Just like with the debut album from D'Accord, btw. And that is a very good thing about The Windmill.

My dull musings aside..........

The two opening tracks Cinnamon and The Colour of Seasons lulls the listener into the false impression that this band is a light-weight prog rock band. Two excellent tracks, they are. The latter one is my favorite. Those two tracks has both some rock and Pink Floydish space rock over them. The Windmill then change gear and direction on the third, the twenty- two long track A Day in a Hero's Life. This is an epic in the Yes and Genesis vein. It is also a pretty heavy prog track which leads my thoughts over to Rush too. Not to mention Jethro Tull at Aqualong. A Day in a Hero's Life is an excellent epic and a proof that this band has a lot of different arrows in their armory. The three closing tracks really establish The Windmill as a complex band which is not afraid of mixing complex melody lines and rhythm patterns with almost commercial melodies and heavy metal guitar riffs.

The quality of their material is excellent throughout. My only gripe is that not all tracks is fantastic. But this is still an excellent addition to any prog rock collection. I will also rate The Windmill as one of the best Norwegian prog bands in a very impressive scene. Forget black metal. The Norwegian prog scene is the only true Viking ship armada on the seven seas and the one you should all throw your gold and silver coins at.

4 stars

Report this review (#295585)
Posted Saturday, August 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars (7/10)

With a name like 'The Windmill' I had assumed these guys were from Holland, but actually it turns out this is a lesser known band hailing from Norway. Now, Norway is not a country known for its massive prog rock scene, but there are a few good bands from there, and I think you can add The Windmill to that list too. After a lot of hard work, it all came to fruition in 2010 when these guys were finally able to release their first album, with the teasing title of "To Be Continued...".

Though they are down as heavy prog, The Windmill are clearly drawing large amounts of inspiration from the symphonic/folk acts of the 70s, like Camel and Jethro Tull. A lot of that has to do with the flute (and to a lesser extent, saxophone) that is present throughout the album, and how it is played. There is also noticeable influence from some of the heavier Neo-Prog bands (like Arena), which you can especially hear in keyboards and guitar (and there are some very IQ-ish rhythms scattered throughout the album too). There's no massive attempt to push boundaries but at the same time, the music is all enjoyable and holds my attention very easily for the duration of the album. Certainly one couldn't claim them to be merely a ripoff retro/nostalgia act and nothing else.

The album kicks off in an immediate manner, grabbing your attention with "Cinnamon", an uptempo light instrumental. It's a bold and exciting start, and straight away establishes how the sound of The Windmill will be incorporating the flute/sax and the neo-proggy keyboard sounds. Next up is "The Colour Of Seasons", which starts with some pop like keyboard, and to be honest this one occasionally gets a little cheesy for my tastes. There are some basic lyrics (in English) about the seasons; the chorus repeats "the colour of seasons like a rainbow" and other similar lines. Still, I'm usually very forgiving of basic lyrics when they were penned by somebody who only speaks the language as a second language. The band do also inject a reasonable amount of heaviness (from the guitar) and diversity (I really like the melodic saxophone solo) into the song, and it is far from bad, still plenty to enjoy.

What comes next is absolutely the highlight of the album, the epic "A Day In A Hero's Life". The hero here is as in 'comic book hero'. The lyrics get kind of odd, but in a fun way. Maybe I'm just a bit of a superhero nerd... There is a lot on display in this song. There are many parts: some ominous, some quirky, some melodic, some dramatic, some even quite sad ("Please, don't hurt my world" etc.). The flute and especially the guitar are excellent throughout, and the best heavy sections of the album are definitely present on this song. As with the whole album, the vocal duties are shared between different band members. They can sound strong or melodic (or various other ways depending on who is singing), but are always competently executed and pleasantly accented. All of the vocalists are able to hold up their end, and allow The Windmill to cover a greater breadth of sound than they would otherwise be capable of. I especially like when they are all singing together, whether it be harmonising or singing across each other, and there is a good section in the middle of this song where precisely that is happening. The Windmill also chose well which themes to repeat through the song, as it moves through its various sections, and there are many memorable moments to "A Day In A Hero's Life".

More instrumental muscles are flexed with "The Eagle", which moves from a gloriously melodic symphonic sound into more guitar (and sometimes saxophone) driven hard rock territory. The Windmill are definitely very adept at keeping long instrumental sections fresh sounding. They pull this trick off again in the extended instrumental section of "Don't Be Afraid". I especially liked the section with the effective heavy guitar stomp, decorated playfully by the flute, and the melodic section that can really soar, with the lead going back and forth between flute and guitar as they play off each other wonderfully. The chorus of this song is also strong, and though the lyrics are again simple I find them quite uplifting. The title track ("To Be Continued...") ends the album with some lovely flute being played over the top of some piano. It also pretty much promises us the next album from The Windmill. Luckily they didn't jinx it, and 3 years later we got the "Continuation".

As a first album, this is a decent effort, and The Windmill should be proud of what they have achieved. For my money though, they would best it with their second. Still, if you enjoy the classic prog rock sound, and you want to hear something slightly different and a bit heavier from Norway, then this is a great little album that I'm very pleased with and would happily recommend.

Report this review (#934696)
Posted Sunday, March 24, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Norwegian group, found in 2001 by musicians from the municipalities of Royken, Hurum and Asker in the eastern part of the country.The original line-up was Jean Robert Viita on keyboards/vocals, Arnfinn Isaksen on bass, Morten Loken Clason on multiple instruments, Erik Borgen and Bent Jensen on guitars and Vidar Kleivane on drums.The last quit in 2005, replaced by Svend Hjalmar Borgen, at a time when the group was ready to enter the studio for the recording of its debut.This was a very slow process due to limited time and technical problems, at the end of which Svend Borgen and later Jensen left the group.The remaining guitar parts were played by Erik Borgen and Clason and the rest of the drum parts were recorded with new drummer Sam Arne Noland.Finally, after three years of recordings at the Yellow House Studio in Fredrikstad, ''To be continued...'' was privately released in 2010.

The result of the hard work by the group is more than rewarding.An album full of dynamic, fresh but also a bit of nostalgic Progressive Rock with both modern and analog instruments used, very much close to the music of LEAP DAY, GALLEON or FLAMBOROUGH HEAD.''To be continued...'' is filled with excellent compositions, built around melodic guitars, powerful organs, lovely vocal arrangements and some superb synthesizers.The album even contains a fantastic 21-min. epic, entitled ''A Day in a Hero's Life'', with strong GENESIS, YES and CAMEL inspirations, led by strong breaks, dramatic changes, instant melodies and a very rich and sensitive approach, incorporating influences also from Folk Music and Heavy Rock.But the remaining pieces are actually on the same level, full of delicate flutes, smooth organ and intricate guitar ideas to go along with quite decent vocals.The instrumental passages are also a highlight of the album.The strong sense of melody combined with the haunting atmosphere often created by the musicians result to extended instrumental themes, which cannot do else but capture the listener' attention and emotion.

Starving for some Classic Prog transformed into recent years?The Windmill were established for this reason and their debut belongs definitely among the best 2010 releases.Great stuff and highly recommended.

Report this review (#937504)
Posted Sunday, March 31, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4.5 really

The Windmill from Norway is one of my fav progressive rock bands from recent years. I have a soft spot for their music since they released their first album in 2010 named To be continued.... Formed in 2001 but only in 2010 they come with thir first opus who become quikly a respected album in this genre. I love this album and everything thei offer from the music to the excellent art work made by the wife of the keybordist Kirsten K. Viita, really excelltnt work that goes hand in hand with the music. Now, the music is more then great, with lots of intresting arrangements, with each musician shining on their instruments. Opening with the catchy instrumental Cinnamon, what a great opener for sure, keyboards and guitar buit together in a perfect unit. Follow The colour of season, a mid tempo piece with nice melodic passages and all the ingredients to be a fairly solid tune, I like a lot the vocal parts. A day in hero's life is an epic clocking around 22 min of sheer briliancy moments, rich arrangements with excellent songwritting. Great changes in tempo and top notch musicianship Strong are the flute moments who gives a certain vintage atmophere overall. Solid track. The album is well balanced going from mid tempo passages to more up tempo in nice skilfull manner, from melodic lines to more heavy prog , passages thet flows very well and with substance. All pieces are excellent, not a weak or boring moments here. To be continued.. is to me one of the better examples how must sound a good solid prog rock album these days. Love it from the first spin. Recommended for sure, The Windmill is one of the best exponets in prog rock relam in last years. 4,5 stars without hesitation.

Report this review (#951009)
Posted Sunday, April 28, 2013 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
3 stars 3,5 stars, really. You know those bands that have everything you want in music but still they haven´t cooked enough the formula to fully deliver something special? Well, that´s the case of this very interesting combo from Norway. Their musicanship is excellent, as expected. They play a mix of symphonic and neo prog, jazz rock and norwegian folk, which is melodic and, in some ways, original. There are several moments of great beauty like parts of The Eagle and Don´t Be Afraid. However, the impression I get is that they pehaps should have waited a little longer to honey their songwriting and arranging skills. If they had done that, this could have been a killer debut. And that is specially clear in the case fo their epic, the 21+ minute A Day In A Hero´s Life, which has several very fine parts but somehow does not deliver that vital cohesive feeling you want to hear from such massive undertaking. It sounds good, but not to the point you want to hear it again right after it is finished, if you understand what I mean.

Ok, maybe I´m being a little too harsh for an album that I found quite pleasing and with not a single bad tune on it. Even the vocals are quite superior to most prog bands nowadays. I guess if they develop their already obvious compositional habilities they can go from just very good to excellent soon. The title of the CD itsefl is quite telling and fitting.

Conclusion: very promising. If you like melodic prog rock you should check To Be continued.... I´m looking forward to hear their next works.

Report this review (#955116)
Posted Monday, May 6, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Barely a few minutes into their debut song on their debut album, the Windmill do the unexpected, they kick you in the software section of your body and make sure you cringe in delight!

Talk about a spicy opener, humorously entitled "Cinnamon", elevating both the spice and the original Mission Impossible, Barbara Bain-acted vamp/spy. The sweetness is there at the beginning, almost jazzy and then swiftly turning bold and fiery. The bass guitar is unafraid to introduce itself and the solid drumming falls obediently in line. This is a fast- paced and shuffling instrumental exercise intended to limber up the spirit and showcase the quality of the instrumentalists, make no mistake about these guys' chops, they are quality musicians. The synth outbreak alone is remarkable, hinting at past glories and some devilish guitar phrasings. Tremendous introduction to their craft.

"The Colour of Seasons" states a different mood, a fine cross between Collins-led Genesis and some quasi- Supertramp-ish feel, what with the sax and the heavy drumming. The vocal sections are limpid and pretty accessible, whilst the instrumental playing is just off the charts. Not a song that will hit you ASAP because of the Norse-tinged English singing, which may detract at the outset but fades kind of charmingly away. But the subtleties really bring in the warmth behind the nimble fingers.

"A Day in a Hero's Life" is a bold statement, a rambling theatrical play that struts 21 minutes and such with delicious flair. It's not perhaps perfect but it's thunderously played, by inspired and confident players. The bizarre piccolo synth solo is beyond heavenly and celestial especially when the rest of the band kick in, rather boisterously! Pleasures nodes are floating in nirvana again. It's the style selectivity and the sonic structure that curiously inspire, as they display a lot of spirit in the instrumental parts. Fluid guitar rampantly fluttering into the most absurd voice choir you will ever hear, almost like Norse chanting, with a Canterbury/Gentle Giant twist. Very well pulled off and cleverly done. Morten Clason's sultry sax makes multiple entrances, very Floyd of course because of the languid exhortations into psychedelic glory, what with the raging campfire organ carpeting for the fuzzed-out axe solo. Very intense activity within the various segments of the epic, the piece never seems disjointed. Au contraire, the soloing simply inspires to even tighter playing and carving out seductive new ground, especially when the sax goes for an extended blast. This is ultracool, a word I like to cherish since my 80's fix with Ultravox. Keyboardist Jean Robert Viita does some unforgettable work throughout, as his presence is paramount to their colorful sound.

"The Eagle" is a towering symphonic splurge with an arsenal of colorful keys leading the way, swirling guitars joining the simple melody fray, all quite grandiose and majestic. One has the impression of comfortable surroundings, the mood getting slightly funkier with that sensuous sax spreading some urbane perspiration, the soaring guitars grinding effusively and the elegant piano finishing the deal. Truly salivating stuff, with a little hint of Boston's "More than a Feeling" guitar work.

"Don't Be Afraid" is a another heavy melancholic ballad , done superbly with sprawling sentiments that heighten the edge , a trademark that this band will repeat in the future I hope , as they simply revel in such gigantic melodies. The magical flute is strategically placed for maximum effect, certainly painting a Tull effect, what with profound relationship- based lyrics and an insightful vocal delivery. The booming Led Zep Kashmir-inspired section is stunningly fitting, giving the melodious track some well-deserved oomph, taking this piece into the heavens. The flute takes a lovely solo, the organ roils and the guitars explode. Simply perfect music that talks to me.

"To Be Continued?" is a lovely folky melody, issued from the fine Norse folk tradition, hinting at more music to come ?.I actually enjoy final statements that appear as an intro to the next album, something early Mostly Autumn did rather convincingly, as it creates a sense of perpetual change.

A fine opening page to the Windmill's obvious talent, a band to watch intently as their best is yet to come.

4.5 Future Episodes

Report this review (#979536)
Posted Sunday, June 16, 2013 | Review Permalink

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