Forgotten Suns - Fiction Edge I - 2000
Of our brother country Portugal come Forgotten Suns, a band formed by Linx (?) to the -few vocal parts, Ricardo Falcao to the guitars, Nuno Sénica to the drums, Miguel Valadares to the keyboards, and Johnny (?!) to the bass. Galileo Records has made a big effort to launch these boys, giving them all resources, amongst them one of the best artworks I have seen.
Sincerely, I should admit that the music style that I expected doesn't correspond with the content of "Fiction Edge I", since I feared a vulgar photocopy of Marillion or, what is worse, any musical shit guided to the easiest and insubstantial neoprog. Fortunately I have made a mistake although just in part, as Forgotten Suns is a band that plays music close to neoprog but that, the same as its label partners Xang, has a remarkable level and worthy of being listened to.
This conceptual CD begins with "Big Bang" (6:37), an incredible instrumental -except for some sentences in French mentioned by a feminine voice - replete of synthesizers that endow it of a majestic and not very common beauty in bands of this genre. Lovers of Tangerine Dream or Kitaro, do not miss this beginning. By the way, the five or first ten seconds of the song include sounds of static electricity (a homage to the times of Lp's or just a defect of my copy?). "Creation Point" (6:23) remembers vaguely to the sound of "Clutching at straws" with potent rhythms and in which the voice of Linx proofs that he is not a Gabriel's clone. The piece finishes with an exquisite guitar solo and atmospheric keyboards. Some beautiful guitar arpeggios introduce us in "Rising" (2:05) The bass, the keyboards and a synthesized guitar take us of the hand into space paths until the incredible orchestration of "Nature" (1:08). A storm begins, a heart beats and a boy cries while the piano of Valadares takes out some exquisite notes in "Child" (1:28) before sung moments come back in "The Warning" (2:02), remembering us from to the stage 85-87 of Marillion again. In 20 minutes already heard, less than half have been neoprog and the rest is instrumental symphonic rock of high quality.
"Wartime" (7:43) is a more predictable piece in comparison to what we have listened to date, whose more evident references are Pendragon and IQ and that is only saved by the final climax. Well, nothing happens, as then we enjoy the 95% instrumental suite "A Journey" of 21:20 minutes!. In these moments I give thanks to God for not having been born deaf or a fan of Enrique Iglesias. Can a young Portuguese progressive rock band maintain the listener's attention during almost 22 minutes?. The answer is yes. "A Journey" maintains the tension in all moments thanks to constant rhythm changes, instrumental displays of Valadares and Falcao, rhythms created by Sénica and Johnny (really original and close to the creativity of Rush), and the ability of the band to create epic or atmospheric moments. After this main dish, the dessert is the short "Arrival" (1:20), a beautiful interlude that serves as prelude to "Routine" (12:19), a piece with a very beautiful beginning that, maintaining the calmness, changes intensity countless times. I don't exaggerate if I say that this song may have been included in "Fugazi" without any problem, especially when Lynx is showing specially inspired and dramatic singing. To conclude this excellent CD "Betrayed (part II)" (7:51, don't look for the first part) continues in the Marillion-esque mood of "Routine". Good piece, although I expected a much more epic ending.
I recognize openly that neoprog is not a music that I love. It is not for the genre itself, but for the quantity of mediocre bands that have saturated the market during the last 10-12 years and that have lowered its average level. Fortunately there are bands that know how to rescue the neoprog patterns big quality. With "Fiction Edge I" all the lovers of progressive rock full of synthesizers and melodic guitars will feel more than satisfied and they will wait the second part eagerly.