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The Windmill - 'To Be Continued...' http://ns2.rocktopiarecords.com/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/d9/50/66/932_TheWindmillToBeContinued_1295990106.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 25, 2011    
 
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A very good debut outing that will find an appreciative audience with Prog fans.

This is the debut album from Norwegian quintet The Windmill which has actually taken them close to a decade from the band's inception to fruition. Indeed, the recording process alone started in March 2006 before being completed in December 2009 due to the band members having full time jobs.

For the record the band consists of Arnfinn Isaksen (bass), Erik Borgen (vocals/guitar), Jean R Viita (keyboards/vocals), Morten L Clason (flutes/sax/vocals/guitars/keyboards) and Sam A Nøland (drums/percussion) although just to confuse matters Svend H Borgen (drums) and Bent Jensen (guitars) are both listed as playing on every track. I'm a fan of most genres of Prog but being of a certain age my first love has to be the Classic period of the 70's and early 80's, which the likes of Spock's Beard and The Flower Kings have developed in recent times, so this release is right up my street having a certain retro feel to it.

Opening track, 'Cinnamon' is a delightful Camel style instrumental that wouldn't be out of place on that band's 'Snow Goose' album. Whoever is playing the lead guitar on this number is clearly a disciple of Andy Latimer. 'The Colour Of Seasons' has a lovely refrain but I have to say that the heavy accent of the vocalist is a bit obtrusive at times when clearly he struggles with pronouncing English accurately. This track puts me in mind of Magic Pie in feel with its fine Hammond organ and strong riffs underpinning the melody. I'm not usually a fan of saxophone but the interlude here is well observed and doesn't get into screeching territory. 'A Day In A Hero's Life' is the album's epic, clocking in at just under twenty two minutes. As you'd expect the song passes through a number of phases which flow into each other seamlessly. I particularly like the Hammond organ refrain that reappears several times and the layered guitars are very impressive. Again, I am minded to Magic Pie but can also detect Camel, Spock's Beard and Gentle Giant in the mix. Whichever drummer is responsible on this track his work is fantastic.

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'The Eagle' is another instrumental and it's a delightful piece that has a melancholy feel which I suppose is apt as they have dedicated it to a friend who died. The opening electric piano will immediately bring to mind Camel's 'Nude' album, although later on Steve Hackett comes to mind. I'm not too sure about the use of sax on this one. 'Don't Be Afraid' has a Jethro Tull-like refrain that pops up from time to time but overall it's rather more straight forward than Ian Anderson's songs. It has a terrific chorus.

The album closes with the title track which is a short plaintive flute instrumental, which is beautiful but strangely low key way to end proceedings.

Aside from the occasional vocal lapses this is a very good debut outing that will find an appreciative audience with Prog fans.

Gary Marshall

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