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progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members.

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progVisions

progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members. Our objective is to become a centre of information that contributes to the knowledge, growth and development of progressive rock.

album reviews

album review

Stealing the Fire -
Hot ice and wondrous strange snow - 1999

Stealing the Fire is a trio formed by Chris Bond (keyboards, drums), Saff Edye (voice) and Tim Lane (guitars, keyboards, bass and percussion). These Englishmen are very aware of their style and, without exceeding their limits, have produced a correct CD that, mainly, is a good stepstone for future works. The music of STF is, above all, pleasant to hear, with good melodies and instrumental developments. The most remarkable of their music is their capacity to run away from the prevailing progressive musical styles, that is to say, total absence of "pomp" and gratuitous fireworks and of useless technique shows. In any event, we should classify STF like one of those bands that practice “British” progressive, although with some pleasant differences.

The first song of the Cd “Stormwing” (6:25) gives us a good idea of the musical taste and influences of these guys. A short intro with the help of soft keyboards and melodic guitar submerges us in a instrumental topic built from guitar riffs that sound as a hard Rothery and from a changing keyboard that sometimes reminds us from English neoprog and others from the latest ELP. A very rhythmic, versatile and lively composition. Equally good is the second song, "Sirius Rising" (8:31), that displays a more commercial proposal with a clear Marillion and English neoprog influence. A weak introduction opens the way to "Cumulonimbus 101" (6:40), a very energetic and progressive instrumental topic in which it seems as if keyboards were competing between them other while the guitar (very good, by the way) has fun playing all kind of solos in between the mountains of keyboards. After this song, one of the biggest surprises of the Cd comes, the twelve and a half minutes of "Unknowing Angel". It begins in a soft way, with a vocal melody that reminds too much from Sirius Rising (it is necessary to look for more original vocal melodies), opening the way to magnificent instrumental moments, replete of rhythm changes, in which the guitarist pegs a heavy sound to the lattice of keyboards. In these instrumental sections we can really see the quality of these musicians, as their influences are diverse and sometimes surprising. "The Moriarty Cube" (6:39) is another very original composition that holds Arab music as a main influence, to gradually developed in more progressive textures than the previous songs and ending in fusion notes. Without a doubt, and in spite of the fact that this is not my favorite song of the CD, I must recognize that here the musicians have experimented with success. The longer piece of the album is the last one, “Spitfire Eros” (16:34), without a doubt, my favorite. A lot of instrumental imagination, some more original vocal parts than previously, and a lot of technique to make rhythm changes, to change atmospheres, and to create intensity, and a good starting point for future works.

To conclude, I believe that STF constitutes a band with a good future ahead in what we could call accessible progressive rock. If we mixed an American Marillion with their own attitude and instrumental originality we will make ourselves an idea of what STF could show us in the future. My advice is that they follow the path traced with Spitfire Eros and that, mainly, they maintain their good instrumental level without falling into pyrotechnic fireworks of those that, unfortunately, we are too used to. A promising beginning.

Alfonso Algora - February 2000
rating - Burning Chrome

 

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