For Absent Friends - The big room - 2001

"FAF is moving more and more into a melodic rock style"


Maybe some of you remember this Dutch band that made in 1991 the "SI Music SIMPly TEN" album entitled "Both worlds". For me it is still a pleasure to listen to that album. The band played melodic sympho but already in those days the band had a hang towards a more vocal orientated type of melodic music. The reason the band could do this lies in the fact that they had a fantastic vocalist who called himself A.T. I believe "The Big room" is their fourth studio album. But I only know the first mini album "Illusions" (1990) the already mentioned "Both worlds" (1991) and "Tintinnabulation" (1996).

At the presentation of the new album "Circle of deception" from the also Dutch band Timelock (will be reviewed soon in progVisions) I was able to see a performance of the band that has now Hans van Lint as frontman. This friendly guy is also a very talented singer. Often the vocalist is the weakest link in bands but FAF had the luck to find another great singer. This CD is also the latest FAF album on which we can hear keyboard player Peter de Jong. On one track we already can hear Julian Driessen, who also plays in Timelock. Both bands had always a close connection and often performed together at gigs.


Ed Wernke – Drums; Bacchus – Bass; Peter de Jong – Keyboards; Hans van Lint – Vocals; Edwin Roes – Guitars

Keyboards on "We can not" by Julian Driessen.


"The Big room" opens with "We can not" the track where Julian Driessen plays the keyboards. This song is a nice melodic rock song with some aggressive guitar work of Edwin Roes. And immediately the voice of Hans van Lint will get your attention. The next song is a beautiful ballad with delicate vocals entitled "Silly love song". The song has very nice melodies and a refrain that will stay in your brain for a while. The track, which is built on a basis of a nice piano melody, has a nice melodic guitar solo in the end. Next is "Giving up", a song with more up-tempo parts but the basis is formed by the beautiful melodies and vocals. Next is one of my favourite tracks "Cameroon". A ballad with a great vocal line. But there is still room for a guitar solo. The vocal refrains are amazing. The title track "The big room" starts with atmospheric keyboards followed by a slow and melodic guitar solo. The tension and the tempo of the music slowly build up towards the end with some organ and an up-tempo guitar solo. "If love" is the next ballad and we can enjoy again the beautiful vocals of Hans van Lint on top of the delicate piano of Peter de Jong. The text about a dying love is sung with a lot of emotion. A very sad but beautiful song. "Little things" and "Higher level" are a couple of melodic rock songs with nice vocals and some guitar solos. In "Don't hurt me" we can hear acoustic guitar and some blues influences. This song is not my cup of tea; I get a little bored after a while. The track, which closes this album, is called "The one". This is again a typical For Absent Friends (FAF) song with beautiful melodies and vocal lines.


This album can give you a lot of pleasure but it has nothing to do with progressive music. That is the only reason for my low rating. But it is of course not a must that music must be in a progressive vein. I must admit that I like the album very much. I enjoy the great vocals and lyrics of Hans van Lint. But in overall this album is a little bit on the soft side. I would like some longer guitar and keyboard solos. Also the drummer Ed Wernke is playing a little bit introvert. At the concert I witnessed the band had a lot of power and Ed Wernke impressed me with his great drumming. I miss that power a little bit on this record. On the other hand I think the band is trying to reach a bigger audience. And that would have been possible with this album. But you must be lucky these days to have a record company who can find the right channels for promoting your album.
Conclusion: A very nice record for the lovers of melodic rock music.

author - date - rating - label

Douwe Fledderus - January 2003. -   - Red Sea Records