The Druckfarben story began in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough in the mid 1980s, where guitarist Ed Bernard and drummer Troy Feener began exchanging musical interests in grade 9 art class. Ed introduced Troy to the progressive rock of Yes and Gentle Giant ... and soon the two started playing music together.
Meanwhile, at a nearby high school, young keyboardist Will Hare was working out on Bach and Rachmaninoff; at Jarvis Collegiate in downtown Toronto, young bassist Peter Murray was gaining a reputation as the guy who could play “YYZ” by Rush; and, further south in Rochester, New York, singer Phil Naro was already a full-fledged professional front-man in the metal band Talas, alongside legendary bass virtuoso Billy Sheehan.
Druckfarben started off performing covers of prog classics by Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, Gentle Giant, Kansas, Rush and others, and the band's first set (March 1, 2008 at Roc ’n Doc’s in Port Credit, Ontario) kicked off with the tour-de-force “Close to the Edge”.
Although Druckfarben built up their collective performance chops on prog classics, the band always intended to apply the fruits of those labours to their own music. Work on original material soon started, with Ed leading the songwriting and production charge, and in October, 2011, the band's debut self-titled CD emerged in all its glory. It’s a tribute to the enduring love that all members of this quintet have had for progressive rock since their high school days.
Druckfarben's self-titled debut album starts off with the short up-tempo track “ELPO”. On top of an ELP organ you can hear an impressive rhythm section and a screaming guitar solo. The next song “Influenza” is characterized by the voice of the singer ... which has some similarity with the voice of Jon Anderson (Yes). You can hear that the band has the musical skills to play complex progressive rock. The music of Yes is shining true the music but the band has developed their own style ... Druckfarben has a fresh progressive rock sound. Ed Bernard is playing some up-tempo guitar solo's in this track. But the next track is far more interesting to me ... in “Smaller Wooden Frog” ... the band mixes influences of Gentle Giant and Yes together ... and they do so in a convincing manner. “Dead Play Awake” starts with a melodic guitar solo. After the first hectic songs this composition has more melody and has a better balance. I had to think of the American band Glass Hammer when I listened to this composition. “Walk Away” is a short up-tempo track with some nice melody changes and vocal refrains. In the opening of “Seems So Real” you can hear clear influences of Gentle Giant. Gentle Giant was the most original progband of the seventies, but also the most underrated one. Nice to see that the band is not completely forgotten. I have still sweet memories of the concerts I attended in the early days of progressive rock. The composition develops into a nice prog ballad with nice vocal refrains. The next track is also a slow song and is called “Nat Nayah”. This song has nice vocal melodies and has some jazz influences in the guitar parts. “Sons Of Anakim” is again influenced by Gentle Giant ... I just love these tracks ... Yes encounters the Gentle Giant! The album closes with the song “Nonchalant”. In this delicate song the band uses instruments like mandolin and violin. In my opinion the violin is a great instrument for progressive rock. Nonchalant has some influences of the band Kansas.
The strong point of Druckfarben is that the band integrates all those influences of bands like Yes, Gentle Giant and Kansas on a delicate way into their own music. The band is developing their own style. Druckfarben has made a convincing debut album. Highly recommended!