Flaming Row - Elinoire

(CD 2011, 79:53, Progressive Promotion Records PPR CD 005)

The tracks:
  1- Elinoires Theme
  2- Initiation Fugato
  3- Overture
  4- First Day
  5- Nightingales Chirp
  6- Do You Like Country Grandpa
  7- Lea's Delivery
  8- Elinoire
  9- Rage Of Despair
10- Adams Theme
11- Neglected Garden
12- Time Mirror
13- Watershed
14- Review
15- Unearth The Truth
16- Fathers Theme
17- Farewell
18- A Place To Revive Your Soul

Flaming Row Website        samples        Progressive Promotion Records

The album Elinoire by the German band Flaming Row contains almost eighty minutes of music. It's presented as a concept album which is rather cool for a debut. In general, most concept albums are progressive rock albums either, which is certainly the case here, but Elinoire has much more to offer. It's not only prog rock that knocks at your door, but also power ballads, mainstream rock, metal and even alternative rock can be heard. This band or project was initiated by guitarist, bass player and vocalist Martin Schenella in association with vocalist Kiri Geile, who was responsible for the story and the lyrics. The line-up is completed by keyboard player and saxophonist Marek Arnold (Toxic Smile and others) and drummer Niklas Kahl.

Mentioning all vocalists and musicians would take too much space here, but I have to credit some well-known names in the world of progressive music, just to give you an idea of the very high standard of this album. For example Shadow Gallery's Brendt Allman and Gary Wehrkamp, who both provided for the guitar and keyboard parts while the latter did some lead vocals as well. The same applies for Jimmy Keegan, Spock Beard's touring drummer, and Billy Sherwood, known from numerous bands and projects. No offence to the less familiar vocalists, I only mentioned these guys to increase the album's sales!

All these characters have been chosen for their voices and listening to the story I can only say that they're excellent choices. Being a concept album it reminded me of the Dutch project Ayreon, whose albums are of a very high standard either, but leader Arjen Lucassen once said that he had asked too many musicians and different kinds of vocalists. So, could this be a problem on Elinoire as well? On this album about thirty musicians collaborate and fifteen different vocalists. That's quite a lot, but due to the great variety in musical styles, this doesn't seem bothersome. The grunts in Rage Of Despair are in complete balance with the angelic voices in the title track. The closing song A Place To Revive Your Soul lasts more than thirteen minutes and can be regarded as a new kind of progressive epic! Man, what a song! The band deserves a huge compliment here for the variation and the power.

It's hard to name the highlights of this album; the only thing I can say is that you have to listen to it more often. Only then the characters will grow and while listening and reading the booklet the story unfolds itself. Martin Schenella did a fantastic job putting these talented musicians together in order to create something special. Therefore he deserves a lot of respect! For people who like some variation in their progressive rock - and that should be the case, because that's what progressive's all about - Flaming Row should be their thing! Elinoire is a perfect progressive concept album that needs to get attention. So far, it's one of the best albums I've heard this year.

****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)

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