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Symphonic Prog • Netherlands

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Mangrove biography
This Dutch prog-rock band took root in '95 when schoolboy friends Roland van der Horst (guitar and vocals) and Joost Hagemeijer (drums and keyboards) teamed up and started to write their own compositions. In '98 they released the album "Cold World" as a project titled Brainstorm. Two years later singer Eric Holdtman joined Roland and Joost, but unfortunately left in 2001 due to personal circumstances. Meanwhile the new band MANGROVE had released their first demo-CD entitled "Massive Hollowness" (2001) with bass guitar player Pieter Drost (who had joined the band earlier that year). Keyboard parts were played by Joost Hagemeijer and Hans van der Linden. Soon after the recording sessions Chris Jonker joined MANGROVE as the new keyboardist. In this line-up MANGROVE released the album "Touch Wood" as its own production in 2004.

The CD "Touch Wood" is a fine example of 24-carat symphonic rock. The nine warm and melodic compositions sound laidback but also contain sumptuous eruptions and fiery accelerations. The music is mid-GENESIS and IQ inspired with soaring keyboards, twanging guitars and decent vocals (often a bit similar to Peter GABRIEL). The rhythm section is solid and the keyboards sound pleasant with some beautiful Mellotron samples. The final song "City of Darkness" (splendid choir-Mellotron and howling guitar) comes mighty close to the best GENESIS, it could have been 'lost material' from "Seconds Out"! A nice try by 'symphomaniacs' who want to make symphonic rock themselves.

In 2005 the band released the album "Facing the Sunset", which contains four compositions (between 10 and 21 minutes) evoking the good old days from mid-GENESIS, early HACKETT solo and early IQ. Especially the wonderful Mellotron samples (produced by a special sophisticated computer program) and the beautiful, very sensitive electric guitar work are strong points in MANGROVE's pleasant symphonic rock sound.

The ten compositions on the 2006 two-disc live CD "Coming Back To Live" sound tasteful, melodic, accessible and contain lots of fluent shifting moods, from dreamy to mid-tempo and from slow rhythms to bombastic eruptions. The keyboard work has strong echoes of Tony BANKS (70-77 GENESIS) featuring excellent choir-Mellotron samples (like "Afterglow" from GENESIS' 'Seconds Out' LP), strong Hammond waves, some Fender Rhodes piano runs en many synthesizer flights (often BANKS his known ARP Pro Solist sound).

Dutch symphonic prog band MANGROVE has proven to be a very pleasant option for progheads who love mid-GENESIS and early MARILLION!

(updated December 2006)

: : : Erik Neuteboom, The NETHERLANDS : : :
Fan & official Prog Archives collaborator

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Touch Wood by MangroveTouch Wood by Mangrove
Mangrovian Music
Endless Skies by MangroveEndless Skies by Mangrove
Beyond RealityBeyond Reality
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Sound Pollution 2011
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Coming Back To Live 2Coming Back To Live 2
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MANGROVE discography

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MANGROVE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.82 | 25 ratings
Touch Wood
3.68 | 38 ratings
Facing The Sunset
3.60 | 53 ratings
Beyond Reality

MANGROVE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.31 | 10 ratings
Coming Back To Live

MANGROVE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.33 | 3 ratings
Live Beyond Reality
4.00 | 1 ratings
More or Less... ... an Acoustic Evening

MANGROVE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MANGROVE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.20 | 6 ratings
Massive Hollowness


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Beyond Reality by MANGROVE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.60 | 53 ratings

Beyond Reality
Mangrove Symphonic Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars In 2001 they released their first demo-CD entitled Massive Hollowness. Soon after the recording sessions Chris Jonker (a fellow Tron-maniac) became the new keyboardist, a huge asset. In this line-up Mangrove released the album Touch Wood as an own production in 2004, followed by Facing The Sunset in 2005 and the 2-CD Coming Back To Live in 2006 (it contains strong renditions of songs from their 3 studio-albums). Beyond Reality from 2009 was Mangrove their third and unfortunately final effort. I was lucky to witness the band as a support-act for USA band Echolyn and pleasantly surprised about their strong performance. They presented their new album Beyond Reality, by far their most mature effort.

Listening to Beyond Reality I notice how easily Mangrove switches from a bombastic 24-carat symphonic rock sound to a more polished and even song-oriented approach. This reminds me strongly of other Dutch band Kayak their Seventies sound. For example.

A surprising shifting mood from neo-prog to early Floyd with piano, slide-guitar and Hammond organ and finally a compelling symphonic rock sound with vintage keyboards and sensitive guitar in Time Will Tell.

From progressive pop to howling guitar with breathtaking choir-Mellotron drops and a splendid bombastic grand finale featuring all symphonic rock elements in the titletrack.

And from a polished sound with catchy rhythms to another strong grand finale with a strongly build-up guitar solo and lush choir-Mellotron in the final composition Voyager.

But Mangrove also delivers a fine ballad entitled Love And Beyond: sensitive guitar and piano with warm vocals, followed with a slow rhythm featuring howling guitar and floods of Hammond organ.

My best impression of Mangrove is when they are fully playing in the 24-carat symphonic rock tradition. Like the varied and dynamic, IQ-like Reality Fades with omnipresent fat synthesizer flights along delicate classical orchestrations with moving guitar work, a break with a wonderful Hammond and Moog sound and a dreamy part with soaring church organ, what a fantastic composition! And the first track Daydreamer's Nightmare, an epic of 15 minutes: it's layered with shifting moods, breaks and strong musical ideas, it contains a captivating tension between dreamy parts with classical guitar or piano and melancholical vocals and bombastic parts with heavy keyboards and howling guitar runs. The colouring by vintage keyboards (Hammond, Moog and Mellotron) is great and in the end the music culminates into very bombastic with lush keyboards and sensitive electric guitar, I am in Prog Heaven by Mangrove their trademark sound!

In my opinion this Mangrove sounds very tasteful, melodic and accessible. For those reasons it will appeal to a wide progrock audience, 'thumbs up' for this promising Dutch progrock band that unfortunately has disbanded.

 Touch Wood by MANGROVE album cover Studio Album, 2004
2.82 | 25 ratings

Touch Wood
Mangrove Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars From ''Massive Hollowness'' Mangrove couldn't else than move forward.Corrective actions occured regarding the line-up with Eric Holdtman (later he appeared on King Eider's '' Somateria Spectabilis'' album) and Hans van der Linden out of the picture, entering is new keyboardist Chris Jonker, while the band's leader Roland van der Horst took over the vocal duties.The band recorded its official full-length debut ''Touch wood'' at The Farm Studio in Zeewolde, mastered at The Music House in Mangrove's hometown Apeldoorn and released privately in 2004.

These moves by the leading members had more than a positive impact in Mangrove's overall style.The confusing sound of their previous release is subsituted by more-developed and focused compositions with symphonic and Neo Prog inspirations, while van der Horst's voice recalls the vocal lines of ROINE STOLT.The new music side of the band is pretty attractive.Based on the path bands that MARILLION, THE FLOWER KINGS and SPOCK'S BEARD developed over the years, they present long and well-executed tracks with changing themes and moods, quite close to the style of KNIGHT AREA and GALLEON, where melody meets atmosphere meets adventure.The style is modern Symphonic Rock, much based on synthesizers and guitars with sporadic organ and Mellotron washes, not very original but certainly on a higher level than their debut.Interesting melodies, bombastic synth instrumental parts and very tightly connected textures result series of great pieces of Prog music, that can be both deeply lyrical and musically intricate.There is some obvious influence by RUSH in some of the guitar moves, but there are also plenty of nice solos included.This is pretty typical Neo/Symphonic Prog of the modern Dutch school, featuring the principles of the Symphonic Rock genre surrounded by modern elements and a clear production.

I will say this again, The Netherlands appear to be among the top 3 countries regarding Neo/Symphonic Prog acts of decent quality.Add yet another group in the list, as Mangrove's ''Touch wood'' is an excellent album, that is far from personal, but contains tons of extraordinary moments for the fans of the genre.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

 Massive Hollowness  by MANGROVE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2001
2.20 | 6 ratings

Massive Hollowness
Mangrove Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars Dutch outfit Mangrove was born out of the ashes of the band Brainstorm (a 98' CD out entitled ''Cold World'') in Apeldoorn, led by guitarist Roland van der Horst and drummer Joost Hagemeijer.The original line-up featured also vocalist Eric Holdtman, bassist Peter Drost and keyboardist Hans van der Linden.The first work by the band was the self-produced mini-CD ''Massive Hollowness'' in 2001.

The opening ''Freedom'' is a negative surprise, like a late-60's rocker ripping off the guitar chops of THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE and having a completely dull chorus.Things will get better from this point and the band delivers decent but far from essential compositions.The three-part 10-min. ''Zone'' contains influences from RUSH, CAMEL, PINK FLOYD and PORCUPINE TREE with long both spacey and psychedelic guitar work along with background synths but the vocals of Holdtman remain totally unexpressive.The rest of the album features compositions mostly somewhere between Heavy Prog and Neo Prog with guitar in evidence, mediocre arrangements, while the vocals are very melodramatic and definitely not among my likings.Some good guitar riffs and solos are actually the only things to remember.

Amateur production regarding Mangrove's first steps.Uninspired musicianship with a few decent ideas, which will please a very small number of Progressive Rock fans.Better avoid it.

 Beyond Reality by MANGROVE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.60 | 53 ratings

Beyond Reality
Mangrove Symphonic Prog

Review by mbzr48

5 stars The album opens with two fairly long tracks, 'Daydreamers Nightmare' and 'Time Will Tell', and while I am not generally a great fan of epics numbers I have to say that these pieces are both very well crafted and have sufficient variety to keep the interest going.

From the outset the style of the album shows itself to be smooth, deeply melodic and wonderfully fluid. Throughout there are subtle changes of moods between quieter and more strident passages but always the music is very inspiring and uplifting. The listener will enjoy the mix of soaring guitar work backed by a solid rhythm section with keys used to equally good effect whether in a lead role or simply providing a dramatic backdrop for guitar and vocals.

There are times during both of these opening numbers where the keyboard work does tend to get a bit on the twiddly side, almost akin to early Marillion, but it would be simplistic to think of 'Beyond Reality' in terms of yet another Neo-prog offering for the use of this style of playing comes across as more of a nod to what has gone before rather than being the backbone of the album, and I have to say it sounds really rather fresh and inviting in this environment. The added pop overtones in the second track, with vocals that reminded me of A.C.T. at their best, was also most welcome adding another new edge to the bands rich sound.

Having rolled off two long numbers Mangrove go on to prove that they are equally at home writing slow ballads as we move into the gentler restrained tones of 'Love and Beyond'. This opens with vocals supported by soft piano work, building up gradually with superb IQ like guitar work before bringing things back down to earth once more for a very restrained finish. This really is a top notch track that I could listen to again and again.

Next up is 'Reality Fades' which is a solely instrumental number. Here guitar and keyboards vie for attention underpinned by some fine bass and guitar work in what proves to be a most pleasing and somewhat anthem piece.

The title track, 'Beyond Reality', is a mid length track with a lot going for it. Opening with a soft piano introduction the guitar and bass quickly cut injecting some power before cutting back to vocals and acoustic guitar. Instrumental breaks allow for injection of some very emotive guitar work, which manages to impress without the need to go over the top. As the track progresses additional layers build up producing a fuller, richer sound while the vocals take on a more classic rock style.

'Voyager' is another longer number which brings proceedings to a very satisfactory conclusion and once again everything you could want is here. Atmosphere, drama, passion - the music really is magnificent and leaves you on a real high. The only thing to do at this point is to go back and listen to it all over again!

The packaging is as ever superb in that the booklet provided is professionally produced with excellent art work. One criticism I do have however is that the lyrics are all printed in mirror image. While this is an amusing novelty initially it quickly becomes more than just a little irritating if you want to read the lyrics while listening to the songs, particularly if you don't happen to have a mirror handy!

With this album Mangrove have continued to build on their past work while at the same time they have taken giant strides towards creating a unique sound that is truly their own.

From a musical point of view there honestly is nothing I failed to like about this album, my only concern now is where on earth can the band go from here? I don't know the answer to that question but I sure look forward to finding out!

This really is a band that continues to go from strength to strength and I am hugely impressed with this release - for all progressive rock fans I would urge you to check it out!

Very highly recommended! 5 Stars

 Facing The Sunset by MANGROVE album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.68 | 38 ratings

Facing The Sunset
Mangrove Symphonic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is Dutch band MANGROVE's second album released in 2005. It's a concept album that the drummer created. So we get four long tracks ranging from about 10 to 21 minutes. The vocals are average but I do like the sound of the band. The second half of the album is stronger than the first half in my opinion. While they are listed under Symphonic there are a lot of Neo- Prog elements to their music.

"Facing The Sunset" has this epic intro but it sounds so much better when the song settles in with a beat around a minute. A calm with organ after 2 1/2 minutes as reserved vocals join in. It picks up before 6 minutes with guitar. Another calm before 8 1/2 minutes this time with piano. Reserved vocals join in. Sampled mellotron before 11 1/2 minutes. "I Fear The Day" opens with laid back piano as reserved vocals join in. Mellotron 2 1/2 minutes in. Relaxed guitar a minute later.The strummed guitar before 4 1/2 minutes with mellotron is good. More guitar before 6 minutes then the vocals return.

"There Must Be Another Way" is the best track and it is an instrumental. Piano to start before drums and a fuller sound take over. This is good as the guitar becomes prominant. It settles 4 1/2 minutes in as acoustic guitar comes in then the synths roll in before 7 minutes. It then starts to build. An uptempo section after 10 minutes with guitar out front is a highlight as well. "Hidden Dreams" is the closing 21 minute epic. I like the intro of guitar and drums. Synths follow then vocals. It settles after 5 minutes with vocals and piano. Mellotron before 6 minutes. It picks back up. A dark calm 9 1/2 minutes in as mellotron rolls in.Vocals a minute later.This is GENESIS-like. It picks back up 14 1/2 minutes in. Vocals are back before 17 minutes.Relaxed guitar and sampled mellotron end it.

Overall a pretty good album. If the first two tracks were as good as the last two i'd give this 4 stars for sure. Still an enjoyable listen.

 Beyond Reality by MANGROVE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.60 | 53 ratings

Beyond Reality
Mangrove Symphonic Prog

Review by maryes

5 stars One great moment of symphonic prog waitng for you in -MANGROVE- "BEYOND REALITY" !!! The music is very outstanding, changing the sounding atmopheres to heavly for softly and serenity towards euphoria. Showing strongly influences originating from the prog movemment of the 70's, remembering bands like Eloy, Styx, Genesis, Pink Floyd etc...bring to our minds some nostalgia,.mixing styles such like symphonic (mainly), heavy, space and neo prog. The vocalist seems like Dennis de Young from Styx and plays guitar with a mix of the styles of David Gilmour (Pink Floyd) and Steve Hackett (Genesis). The other musicians are also fantastic and complete the band with competence. The best tracks are 1 , 2 and 5, with highlight from the 2nd !!! My rate is 5 stars !!!
 Facing The Sunset by MANGROVE album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.68 | 38 ratings

Facing The Sunset
Mangrove Symphonic Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I couldn't find an inch of interesting stuff in their debut album "Touch Wood" and I approached this follow-up with extreme care.

When you look at the track list, the elements are there: four tracks clocking at almost one hour. But when I looked at the line-up my enthusiasm was severely tempered. Roland van der Horst is still in charge of the vocal department which is all but great news.

Still, I have to be honest and tell that some instrumental parts are well crafted but too reminiscent of "Genesis" to be fully interesting. One can't feel the passion that animated the early "Marillion" or even "IQ" either. To cut a long story short the title track is only a third tier neo tune: good guitar though and pleasant mellotron (but nothing from the other world).

Vocals during "I Fear The Day" are quite dreadful and the band is trying to emulate some of the great Scandinavian scene with the use of the Mellotron and with some very cold lines. The contrast with the warm guitar is very pleasant though.

The best that this band could do is playing some instrumental piece: and that's exactly what happens with "There Must be Another Way" (indeed)!!! This is a travel between neo and prog metal for the start, an almost Hackett / Howe for a short acoustic guitar break (quite pleasant) later on, an average middle part quite chaotic which opens on a fantastic and bombastic guitar finale.

Two real great minutes of music: it gets to your heart (at least to mine) and fills your ears with joy. Excellent (but the whole song lasts for over twelve minutes).

The epic holds some fine moments as well; but very much derivative from the great ones I have mentioned already.

This album is better than their debut (easy task should I say), but I am much less enthusiast than my fellow colleagues. Two stars.

 Beyond Reality by MANGROVE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.60 | 53 ratings

Beyond Reality
Mangrove Symphonic Prog

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

2 stars For the most part, this group sounds like a generic neo-progressive band. Worse than being generic, this album seems to be downright derivative in many places. On the upside, the lead guitar is wonderful and by far the best thing this album has to offer. However, the vocals are horrendous- not due to the singer's natural voice, but due to how he uses it. He tries to evoke a snarling, angst-ridden character, like blending Peter Gabriel and Roger Waters and cranking up the theatrics. When they are quiet, they are barely audible; when they are loud, they are atrocious. The rest of the band is decent, but do nothing remarkable throughout the duration of the record.

"Daydreamer's Nightmare" Delicate, dreamy classical guitar, sitar, and synthesizer drift into more explosive music that remains steady, introducing a thick guitar solo. A soft verse brings in heavier music and sounds quite like early Marillion without the pizzazz. Although this song has an exceptional vocal melody, it isn't excellently executed (though it isn't done poorly); still, this is easily the strongest composition, with several great instrumental moments- the main guitar solo really shines.

"Time Will Tell" Ninety seconds in is a segment that is almost a carbon copy of the beginning of the verse of "Machine Messiah" by Yes, right down to the bass run. This lengthy piece relies heavily on various keyboard solos, including synthesizer and electric piano. I think the guitar solo is expertly crafted and works extremely well over the music. With a rather shoddy transition, the music turns into something right out of the notebook of 1973 Pink Floyd, which dully drags on until an upbeat synthesizer-led conclusion takes over.

"Love And Beyond" Simple piano and soft vocals make up this slow-dance prom song, which is interrupted by a decent guitar solo.

"Reality Fades" This is a fairly lackluster instrument with some enjoyable guitar lead, but not much else.

"Beyond Reality" Gorgeous piano opens this track, which includes some tasty electric guitar. The intro drops off, bringing in acoustic guitar and singing. Otherwise, the song is several minutes of utter cheese. The singer even adopts this Roger Daultry-like grit in his voice, and his singing "I will survive" makes me chuckle.

"Voyager" Relying heavily on synthesizers, the final track has a Supertramp-like sound, with a keyboard hammering out the chords and a quirky lead vocal, but does develop into something heavier, with Uriah Heep-like shrieks. The track is mostly one extended guitar solo, however, with some uninteresting music backing it. The guitar itself is great though- the player really channels Steve Hackett. Still, the overall piece borders on monotony.

 Beyond Reality by MANGROVE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.60 | 53 ratings

Beyond Reality
Mangrove Symphonic Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The third album of this Dutch band is by far their best released so far.

From a dull and weak debut which was totally "Genesis" derivative and of little interest, the band was able to display a better offering for this "Beyond Reality". This is best confirmed during the excellent opener "Daydreamer's Nightmare". Almost fifteen minutes of very good instrumental passages: by far their best song ever.

The neo feel strikes back with the epic "Time Will Tell" which starts as a gentle and standard song. Average (but invading) vocals and too little space for musical development. Fine guitar as usual but average keyboards are the conventional spices of their music.

To be complete, it is true that the second half is very much Floyd oriented and, again, a very Gilmour-esque guitar passage is raising the level quite substantially. The closing section is an ocean of Banks oriented keys: very pleasant indeed, but I have heard these lines maybe a hundred times already?

The excellent instrumental "Reality Fades" holds some fabulous guitar passages: melodic to death, crafted a shell: in one word gorgeous. Splendid. Exceptional. At times, this Dutch band really sounds great during this album.

This work is a major improvement in comparison to their weak debut and average sophomore album. The title track is again very symptomatic of the whole feeling: superb guitar but average (mellow) vocals. Just too bad?

Still: it is a good compromise between neo and symph (this is the first of their efforts that can be partially referenced as symphonic IMHHO). The final section holds very much of the great "Afterglow" from who you should know.

"Pendragon" lovers should be delighted with these superb and so moving guitar solo. A fine album; three stars.

 Touch Wood by MANGROVE album cover Studio Album, 2004
2.82 | 25 ratings

Touch Wood
Mangrove Symphonic Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

1 stars Early to middle "Genesis" for the music and general trash for the vocals. These are the basic ingredients you can find while listening to the long "Touch Wood".

The whole of the feeling being remarkably summarized during the opening and "epic" song. The vocal disenchantment is truly unbearable and a real pity. How is it possible? Lots of German bands were having such a problem, but usually Dutch bands could overcome this handicap. But not "Mangrove" apparently.

An average singer would have been more than welcome and this album would definitely have scored higher. But, as such it is difficult to rate it in the high spheres. One could have hoped a more instrumental work, but no: vocals are everywhere and are really painful. Now, when you listen to "Vicious Circle", there is nothing good nor creative to expect. Just a poor "Genesis" clone. Would you believe, with a debut album in 2004?

This pastiche album is quite painful to listen to from start to finish. And I'm not of the most purists from this great site. But still: this band hasn't an inch of personality.

I am quite perplexed with the music performed: I was quite keen on listening and reviewing the band when I saw that it was referenced within the symphonic style and that it has received quite high scores. But these were much too optimistic IMHHO. To listen to the weak "Penelope" put all things into perspective. Press next, really.

The band decided to release a long album (I wonder why) and it dramatically failed. It is frankly poles apart. The worse is probably being reached during "Help Me". These are the only words I can possibly think of while listening to this track. Awful.

And when I heard from the lyrics from "Wizard Of Tunes" the sentence "I don't believe in miracles" I was just voiceless. For sure, miracles didn't show up. Some good guitar though for a few seconds. But is this enough??? Of course there is also a rip off from "Watcher". Stop please! This is enough!

Actually, I really wonder why this band has been placed into the symphonic genre while they fully belong to the neo one. I'll dig more into this with their later releases.

Weak. Pale copy. Inexpressive. Three out of ten but downgraded to one star. The worse neo prog you can expect. is featured in this album.

And I needed more than four hundred words to tell you this!!! Unbelievable.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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