A few years ago my favorite Brazilian band released the album “Chessboard” on the new Masque Records label. When the album came out it was difficult for me to get my hands on a copy. To my surprise a promo copy was included in the promo parcel from Brasil I got a few weeks ago ... thank you Masque Records! Of course this album had already reached my CD cabinet (I think I bought a copy in Germany). Tempus Fugit deserves a review ... if only it was for making me smile every time I put the album in my CD player. “Chessboard” is an album packed with warm melodic symphonic rock music.
The band debuted in 1997 with the concept album “Tales from a long forgotten world”. Their debut album had a warm welcome in Japan, Europe and the USA. In the year 2000 the band released “The dawn after the storm” on Musea Records. In my review for progVisions I recommended that album to all keyboard- and melodic sympho lovers.
André Mello - keyboards, lead vocals, backing vocals; Henrique Simões - electric & acoustic guitars, backing vocals; Ary Moura - drums; André Ribeiro - bass, acoustic guitar
Mirna Bertling - vocals; Pedro Peres - Bass; José R. Crivanno - electric guitar; Fernando Sierpe - vocals
The album opens with the instrumental track “Pontos De Fuga” which is divided into two parts. The first part is a great symphonic keyboard intro that seamless goes into part two where you can hear for the first time the trademark of Tempus Fugit's music, warm and melodic music with delicious instrumental parts. On top of the rhythm section (with a nice fretless bass) lie melodic electric guitar and synth solo's. In Brasil the sun must be shinning every day ... that is the feeling you get ... the music has always a cheerfully atmosphere. There lies a veil of happiness over the music.
“Unfair World” starts off with a delicious melodic guitar part before the first vocal lines. The first part is more a ballad with beautiful vocal lines sung by André Mello himself. The second part is more up-tempo but the music always stays very melodic. The melodies are very strong on this album. The next track “Only to be with you” is pure symphonic rock. You can hear great guitar parts, romantic piano and delicious synth and guitar solo's. And always those beautiful melodies ... the music goes straight for the heart. “Only to be with you” is the first highlight of this wonderful album.
“The Princess” is divided in the parts “My Princess” and “Tears from the Sky”. In the first part you hear the voice of guest singer Mirna Bertling. The song develops into a wonderful duet sung by Mirna Bertling and André Mello. “My Princess” has a breathtaking melody. In “Tears from the Sky” Henrique Simões plays a great guitar solo in a style that reminds of the work of Camel's Andy Latimer. What can I say ... this music brings you in a state of symphonic bliss.
Then follows the magnus opus and title-track of this album. “Chessboard” is divided into the parts “The Game of Life” and “The Leaving”. In “The Game of Life” everything comes together. Fernando Sierpe is singing the first part accompanied by rhythm guitar and that delicious bass sound of André Ribeiro. Later on Mirna Bertling joins on vocals. After a romantic duet André Mello plays a beautiful synth solo. I like the warm synth sounds André is using on this album. This track is full of guitar and synth solo's and the tension of the music slowly builds up to a climax. The album closes with the delicate ballad “The Leaving” which has beautiful vocals, acoustic guitars and beautiful orchestral keyboard strings. In the end Henrique Simões plays his last melodic guitar solo and the tension of the music builds up again to a climax.
With “Chessboard” you will get 50 minutes of warm and melodic symphonic rock. You can find the most beautiful vocal lines and melodies on this album (“The Princess”). This album is highly recommended to all sympho fans who like warm and melodic music with great guitar and keyboard solo's. I just love the vintage sound of André Mello's keyboards. If you liked the album “The dawn after the storm” ... you have to buy “Chessboard” also!