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Flame Dream - Supervision CD (album) cover


Flame Dream

Symphonic Prog

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5 stars

Remarkable work for fans(amateurs) neoprogressive. Melodious and in a measure the complex(difficult) art in the best traditions Yes and Genesis. This group should have to whom like Clepsydra, Marillion, Yes and Genesis.

Report this review (#25776)
Posted Thursday, April 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars Ouch! The drop-off in quality from OUT IN THE DARK to this was pretty precipitous. I know, my review of that album was fairly lukewarm, but I really can't believe this!

OK, to be fair, there are decent moments here on, say, the instrumental "Dancing Into Daylight" and it's not exactly a "sell-out" as it's still identifiably prog-rock. The problem is that there are moments of this album that are downright plagiaristic. Clearly, the band had been spending far too much time listening to the two UK albums, time they should have been spending honing their sound. "Signs Of Solitude" lifts a chord sequence directly from "Nothing To Lose", the bass-riff from "Thirty Years" turns up in "Paradise Lost". And most galling of all, they copy the entire end sequence from "The Only Thing She Needs" note-for-note in the middle of "Time For A Change"! The CS80 chords are even intact, and it sounds like they just erased Eddie Jobson's violin and dubbed a Roland Ruckstuhl keyboard solo over it! For a so-called "progressive" rock band, this degree of theft of another band's work is absolutely UNFORGIVABLE.

As for the rest of the album, there's little to get excited about. "Blackmail" and the title tune are OK but unexciting pop-prog. "Tragedy" is a warmed-over "Undertow" imitation. And the less said about the piano ballad "Woman's Art?"-from the faintly sexist lyrical conceits to the imbeciliic and predictable "twist" ending-the better.

Report this review (#42769)
Posted Sunday, August 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars This Swiss band released ''Out In The Dark'' in 1981. Although it was released in the eighties, it still had the genuine seventies sound cloning ''Genesis'' quite well. This ''Supervision'' work is another affair, believe me!

This is a partially a pure product from the eighties: synth pop, spiced with neo-prog elements. When I listened to the opening number ''Blackmail'' I thought I was confronted to some sub-sub par ''Buggles''. The difference of course is the ''The Buggles'' were fun and inventive while they released their debut album. This one is just a re-heat of an old plate.

There are some ''Genesis-Collins'' attitude during the weak title track. Over five dull minutes with an overdub bass and unmelodic sax. Press next is the best option. The first decent track IMO is ''Signs Of Solitude''. It is precursory of what ''IQ'' will be doing a few years later: a melancholic and sad ballad, strongly ''Genesis-Gabriel'' oriented (same applies to the short ''Woman's Art'').

The following ''Tragedy'' is of the same mould but with Collins oriented vocals this time. What a change! Peter Wolf (their vocalist) already did this mix of voices in their previous release (he was more Anderson-like before though).

''Time For A Change'' is another ''Plastic Age'' pop track. Still, it features some fine synthesizers during the instrumental middle part. Not too bad a pop song after all. The closing number is a twelve minutes epic divided into three sections. It is probably the best that you can expect from this album. Each part is distinctive but nicely flows into one another.

''Arrival'' is rather dramatic and again on the sad side, it is very short and introduces a more upbeat ''The Attack''. Gabriel sits next door in the middle of ''Epping Forrest'', probably. A warrior track: battles, war, dead. A theme very close to the one from ''The Knife''. But this must be a coincidence, right?

The closing part holds all the drama of ''Here Comes The Flood'' and pleasantly ends this album.

If you would take out the synth pop tunes from this work, it is quite a neo-prog album ''avant la lettre''. But it is only interesting as such. Two stars.

Report this review (#191089)
Posted Sunday, November 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars [3 - 3,5 stars]

I've been listening to Flame Dream for a long time now, and ever since I knew them, I enjoyed their music very much. Their musical style may not be the most original out there - the Genesis and Yes influences are obvious, but the band's music (especially on Elements and Out in the Dark) was still very well written and catchy, and surely would make for a great addition to any 70's prog lover's collection. Those who run short on Genesis and Yes material to listen would definitely be satisfied with Flame Dream's style.

I've been wanting to give Supervision a listen for a long time, but this album is not easy to come by. Judging by Progarchives ratings, I was expecting it to be much more pop-rock oriented, but I do enjoy good pop-rock from time to time, so I wasn't prejudiced against it at all. Now that I finally listened to the whole thing, I have to say I'm positively suprised, as the songwriting here isn't all that bad, and some tracks actually get pretty proggy and interesting. I think Supervision to Flame Dream is what ...And Then There Were Three... was to Genesis - both bands have lost their main guitarist at that point, and continued with more accessible, yet still not soulless music. At times, both of the records, in terms of the atmosphere, sound quite similar to each other. I'm also happy that, despite changing the style a bit, it still feels like a Flame Dream record.

Blackmail is a very good opener, with a groovy bassline and some great keys to go along with it. As much as I enjoyed Peter Wolf's vocals on previous FD recordings, unfortunetely I don't think they mix with this type of "hit" song very well (imagine Peter Gabriel singing the material from Duke!). But since I dig Wolf's voice, they don't ruin the song for me all that much. Overall, the song might be just a tiny bit cheesy, but I still like it quite a lot.

Dancing into Daylight is a short intrumental piece, which sounds like it could be a leftover from any of the band's 70's albums. A pretty generic, folky little tune with melodic flute and light acoustic guitar. At least the synths aren't too bad.

The title track - Supervision - is actually a pretty good, mysterious song. The intro is so atmospheric! I absolutely love the quirky main riff and saxophone on this one. Lots of weird, playful synths too. This is Flame Dream at its best on this record! Really great stuff.

Signs of Solitude is a mellow ballad, and not a bad one. It has a nice, romantic atmosphere which reminds me of Genesis' Wind & Wuthering period. The instrumental passage in the middle is not bad either.

Tragedy is a slower, sad track, pretty much something you'd expect to find on any FD record. Unfortunetly, I don't find all that interesting.

Time for a Change is an alright song, with an instrumental part in the middle which is more interesting, but sounds uncannily similar to UK's The Only Thing She Needs.

Woman's Art? is the obvious elephant in the room here. It is absolutely atrocious! The main theme sounds like generic children's music or merry-go-round music. And the dreadful wordplay, ugh. It's not catchy, nor good, nor interesing in any way. Why the hell it is on this record? Good thing it's only three minutes long.

Paradise Lost is the longest song on the record, divided into three parts. It is also closest to the band's previous, more progressive style of writing. The first part is basically a short intro, pretty bare, but still somewhat climatic. Part two is definitely a highlight, and it is among my favourite Flame Dream songs in general, with the band delivering the musical awesomeness that made me like the previous records so much. Not extremely complex, yet more challenging than the rest of the album. Great drumming, thick basslines and wacky keys - it's amazing! I just wish there was some saxophone in it. The closer - part three - presents that "romantic Wind & Wuthering atmosphere" yet again. Unfortunetely it actually doesn't feel all that conected to the previous parts. It's nice, but a bit old at that point.

So, overall it's not a bad record. Blackmail, Supervision, Signs of Solitude and Paradise Lost are the highlights here, and definitely deserve to be checked out - the rest of the record is decent I would say (apart from Woman's Art? obviously). If you are that kind of proghead who enjoys the Genesis material from around ...And Then There Were Three... or Yes' albums past Tormato, there is a big chance you'll find some great music on this album. I woudn't recommend it strongly otherwise though. Also, if you like Flame Dream as much as I do, Supervision should definitely be on your "to-listen" list. So give it some love!

Favourite tracks: Blackmail, Supervision, Paradise Lost

Least favourite tracks: Woman's Art?

Report this review (#2170745)
Posted Tuesday, April 2, 2019 | Review Permalink

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