Albion - You'll Be Mine

(CD 2018, 43:45, Lynx Music LM45CD)

The tracks:
  1- Call It A sin(3:06)
  2- Lullaby(6:50)
  3- Does Anybody Count(4:26)
  4- Lady Death(6:02)
  5- You'll be mine(8:23)
  6- Doubt(5:08)
  7- Hell(9:50)

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The roots of Albion, a Polish (neo) prog group, go way back to the late 1980s when two teenage boys, pupils of the secondary school, started to play progressive rock. The band really got going when in 1992 two other bands broke up and the members of these joined forces. They chose the band's name just for the sound of the word - no other 'deeper' meanings attached!

I have their early albums in my collection, but I must admit that it has been many years since I've listened to this Polish band - until our editor made me listen their 2015 compilation album Unsongs (see review), which provided a fine re-acquaintance. Now here is a new studio album that enhances my newly found interest because I would say that this is their best album so far (granted, I have not heard 2012's The Indefinite State Of Matter yet).

The new album You'll Be Mine marks the return of original lead singer Anna Batko, who had left the band back in the 1990s. She is joined by Jerzy Georgius Antczak on guitars and keyboards, Paweł Konieczny on bass, and Rafał Paszcz on drums and loops programming.

If we had to characterize the music, I would suggest we take melodic neo progressive rock as a starting point, add some moody, atmospheric metal (but not too much) and on top of that we have good female vocals and a slight poppy tinge to it. The result will please many prog heads and has the potential of crossing over to the mainstream, even. Let us look at some of the separate tracks.

The opener, Call it a Sin (I am reminded of Pet Shop Boys, but luckily this is very different) starts calm with female vocals, then Marillion-like guitar which then leads into a part that would fit a gothic/symphonic metal group. A mere three minutes, but showcasing the band's sound in a nutshell.

The second track, Lullaby, treats us to some very Pink Floyd kind of guitars (and also the tempo is rather Floyd-like). It's only fitting that this is one of the longer tracks because the drawn-out guitar works best when extended.

Lady Death has some clear parallels to the music of Italian gothic sympho-metallers Lacuna Coil, both sound wise and regarding the lead vocals. The same can be said about Doubt.

The title track, You'll be mine, is rather held back and atmospheric, but in the second half that wonderful Steve Rothery (Marillion) kind of guitar takes the lead again

The almost 10 minutes closer Hell provides a climax, starting quiet, introspective and even folky and then adding power and heaviness only to culminate in a riff-based, marching finale that also has some creepy sounds going on in the background.

A fine album that invites repeated listening and is over before you know it! Well, it is rather short according to modern standards, but I like 'em at LP length. Well done!

****- Carsten Busch (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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