Two years ago I gave "Defining the legacy" four stars out of five and told you that Flamborough Head was the best Dutch Symphonic Rock band for me. Also I told you that two members would leave the band. Guitar player André Cents has been replaced by Eddie Mulder and one of the keyboard players/composers Siebe-Rein Schaaf also left the band. The second replacement is not a keyboard player but the female singer/flute player Margriet Boomsma. Because Siebe was one of the composers and wrote the (autobiographical) lyrics for "Defining the legacy" you can imagine that the new album sounds different. In fact we have a new line-up here and that gave the band other possibilities and a different sound. Secondly the band wasn't interested in making the same album again. So the progressive spirit is still intact!
The line-up is now as follows:
Edo Spanninga - keyboards, Koen Roozen - drums, Marcel Derix - bass, Eddie Mulder - guitars and backing vocals, Margriet Boomsma - vocals, flute & recorders.
Because of the story the previous album had a lot of aggression in it, which also gave it a dynamic and heavy sound sometimes. The new album sounds more mellow and has not that aggression in the compositions. Therefore I will not compare the two albums. I think it is positive to see a band that develops the sound further and is not making the same album over and over gain. (This is the case with The Flower Kings, I love the music of the Swedes but it is also at the same time a little bit boring!).
The openings and title track of the album "One for the crow" (12:00) is a beauty. The music is from the new guitar player Eddie Mulder and the lyrics are from newcomer Margriet Boomsma. So no discussions about the new members, Margriet Boomsma has a beautiful voice and Eddie Mulder is a very talented and all-round guitar player. In this track he sounds sometimes like Andy Latimer. But there are aggressive as melodic parts as well. And Edo Spanninga is doing it again; he creates delicious string sounds on his keyboards. The opening keyboard sounds are great, very melodic and the string-sounds have that classical touch. Fantastic opener, and maybe even my favourite track of the album.
Next track is "Old shoes" (13:13) and starts with melodic guitar on top of the keyboards layers. The melodies in this track are very beautiful. All kinds of keyboards, the recorders of Margriet, piano, etc. Eddie is playing some beautiful melodic and emotional solos. The long tracks of Flamborough Head have a lot of variation and never become boring.
In "Separate" (1:40) Eddie shows us his skills on classical acoustic guitar and is only accompanied by some recorder and keyboard strings. "Daydreams" (6:18) starts in the same way with acoustic guitar, a melody on recorder and the already mentioned keyboards strings. After this intro the electric guitar brings us a melodic solo. The music stays very melodic and relaxed with nice Mellotron sounds. "Nightlife" (10:06) is more up-tempo and the rhythm section of Koen Roozen and Marcel Derix is more in the picture here. But again nice melodic guitar and vocal parts. "Old forest" (2:45) is a melodic piece with acoustic guitar and the recorder of Margriet. The way she plays the recorder here remembers me of Edmondo Romano of the Italian band Eris Pluvia ("Rings of earthly light" - 1991). "Limestone rock" (9:59) honours with a small guitar solo another Dutch band: Focus. Further on the guitar sounds more like Latimer. The middle section is mysterious and beautiful with delicious keyboards of Edo. On top of that a beautiful (again the Eris Pluvia sound) recorder solo that is later followed by a Gilmour like guitar solo of Eddie. The last track of the album is "Old shoes" (2:16) which exists out of two small but beautiful acoustic guitar parts: "Old shoes-reprise" and "Pure 16th of June".
The change in line-up has brought Flamborough Head into the next stage of their career. The music is more mellow and could be best described as beautiful "Melodic Symphonic" music. So readers who know the band only from "Defining the legacy" please first listen to it at your local record shop. I think this is a good album with some beautiful moments and with some great long tracks. "One for the crow" (12:00) and "Old shoes" (13:13) are my favourite long tracks. You have to listen to the album a couple of times to see its beauty.