(All Album Reviews by Dragonflame713)
Back in the early 70’s, when progressive rock was in its glory days, I remembered an old TV show I used to watch called “Name That Tune”. The object of the game was who could name the song they were playing in the least amount of notes. Whoever was able to, would win a prize!
Flash forward to 2003, and I find myself playing this game, albeit in a different sort of way. With Martigan’s Man Of The Moment it didn’t take too many notes to tell me this was indeed a very special album! Best part about it, is that the prize was already in my hands, before I even started to listen! Goes to show while some albums take a few listens to really appreciate, other just seem to hit you immediately…
Those wonderful notes, appear courtesy of keyboardist Oliver Strahl. He not only has dazzling technique, he also makes excellent choices with the sounds he uses from his keyboards and synthesizers. Alex Bisch’s drumming is also a strong point here, producing tasty fills with both his stick work and his feet. The guitars on this album (courtesy of Bjorn Bisch, and Kai Marckwordt) range from gentle picking, to having a metallic punch. The vocals throughout the album have a sound that’s vaguely Peter Gabriel like. In fact, the sound is reminiscent of Gabriel/early Collins era Genesis, blended with Fish era Marillion. But not disturbingly so however…
The album is book ended with 2 epics, the first being “The Pride” clocking in at 10:00 and it immediately gets to work showing what this band is all about. Nicely varied, it sways from exuberant progressive rock, to dreamy passages, to solemn sounding sections. It never gets boring, not even for a second! The final epic entitled “The Mask And The Raven II” at 14:24, is just as varied and comes across as a glorious symphonic rock epic. There are wonderful moments throughout the album. Track 3 “Closer Contact”, reminds me of early 70’s Genesis circa Nursery Cryme with it’s gentle picking and narrative singing. Another symphonic ballad “Scapegoat And Scarecrow” is outstanding as well, combining beautiful piano parts, with symphonic majesty with the keyboards. “Images And Tales” begins with a musical box type sounds, and builds into another progressive rock epic clocking in at 9:15. Each track is an adventure. The production on this is excellent; everything is sharp, clear and full-bodied.
Well-crafted songwriting, interesting arrangements, and sharp musicianship through and through. Simply put one of the finest new progressive rock releases of 2003 in my opinion. HIGHLY recommended!