Every progVisions reader is a witness of progressive genre´s evolution. Along this time we´ve seen bands that has reached to the first division, other bands that have fallen after a succesful period. But we have also seen great bands that never have crossed the line between underground and massive success.
This is the case of Solar Project, a German band that has released some great albums that should be owned by every prog fan. Works like “The Final Solution”, “World Games” or mainly “The House of S.Phrenia” are a must for those who love Floydian sounds. If you haven´t listened to these albums, you have a task.
After two good albums - “… In time” y “Five” this project formed by Robert Valet (keyboards and acoustic guitars), Volker Janacek (drums), Peter Terhoeven (guitars and bass), Betina Wirtz (vocals), Sebastian Jungermann (bass) and Jade (sax) strikes back with the sixth album. This time the core of the band formed by Robert, Volker and Peter is not surrounded by lots of guests musicians. It´s a rock line-up.
As always, an album with a great cover art, booklet, and conceptual. The album consists of four tracks (“Days of Wrath” (6:18), “Thunderstorm” (30:24), “Force Majeure” (20:00) and “War” (11:13)). The opening song “Days of Wrath” misleads and misleads a lot, and perhaps a newcomer could be deceived. The song is very poppy, has vocals a la Bowie and too much technology that it´s not my cup of tea.
But still we have more than an hour of album and fortunately things change from the second track on. Solar Project returns with this thirty minutes long track to their sympho ethereal atmospheres plenty of Gilmour-like solos, with flying saxos and even a spanish guitars played in an amazing way. Lots of variation and a sound quality better than lots of major releases. Many people consider Solar Project as a Pink Floyd´s rehash (Waters), but I don´t think so. I think this is the follow-up of a style already created but with additions of attitude and personaliy.
Of course “Force Majeure” follows the same line of the previous song, but I must admit that Betina Wirtz´s is not my cup of tea… I don´t know, perhaps it´s because of her strong German accent. Anyway, there aren´t sung parts, and the music is lead by instrumental developments. As “guests vocalist” we have here fragments of speeches by Chamberlain, Margot Asquith, Kennedy, Truman, Roosevelt, Churchill, Johnson, and Bush Jr after September 11th terrorist attack.
“War” starts as a mid-tempo with acoustic guitar, growing its intensity thanks to a wonderful sax until peace returns with some hypnotic and beautiful music.
For those who don´t know the quality of this absolute strangers essential in every prog-collection, “Force Majeure” is a good album if we don´t count the first song. Those who have been followed this German band´s career, this album follows the path created by previous masterpieces, although is not as good as them. I miss “House of S.Phrenia” and other albums´ grandiloquence when the project was formed by lots of guests musicians who gave colour to the music. In any case, you should have this album... Solar Project is one of the few sure bets in current progressive scene.