In Germany multi-instrumentalist Frank Rohles doesn't need much of an introduction. He was/is a member of several Queen tribute bands and playing in the official Queen musical We Will Rock You. But also contributing on albums made by Subsignal (The Beacons Of Somewhere Sometime - 2015) and Thomas Konder (Labyrinth - 2017, see review and Solitude Road - 2016). So many people know him. Moreover he has a career composing songs for all of his solo releases. One of them I just received, titled Trapped In A New World Part 1.
This release turns out to be a fine flawless concept album on which he pays tribute to many of his musical influences. Next to Frank on lead guitars, keyboards, bass guitar, lead and backing vocals the main players on the album are drummer Acki Jan▀en and his son Marc Rohles on keyboards.
The album opens very orchestral with the instrumental track Overture. The sound of a classical orchestra starts before the heavy guitars join in. After that melodic parts rule the song and a great solo on the synthesizer can be heard.
During the next piece one of the most famous voices in progressive rock can be heard. On Starting Point lead singer Michael Sadler of Saga fame does a wonderful job. This catchy tune has several musical influences which come to the surface such as The Electric Light Orchestra and the earlier mentioned Queen. But also bands like Boston, Toto or Genesis with Phil Collins. Of course Saga is there too.
Hold Him In Your Arms sounds like another orchestral piece of music with great classical piano parts to start with. After that all hell breaks loose with a great heavy guitar riff. After that once again Michael Sadler takes to the forefront with his lead and backing vocals. The Electric Light Orchestra influences again show. Very beautiful here are the Pink Floyd parts with excellent playing on the electric guitar and organ.
Where're We Going Now is next and opens again with an orchestral sound before the heavy guitar parts take over. This is the first track on which Frank himself does lead vocals, he does it strongly if I may say so. Here the more heavy parts move towards the music of Dream Theater.
One of the most emotional songs on this release is next. Now That You're Gone is a real heartbreaking ballad. Frank shines here on the acoustic guitar and delivers very emotional lead vocals. Everybody who has lost some one probably can't hold the tears, thinking of the loved ones they miss so much. The songs sounds a lot like a Neal Morse or Spock's Beard tune, probably because of the very strong emotional guitar solo and keyboard parts in the background.
The album ends with the epic Tumbling Down. After another orchestral opening part the heavy electric guitars take over again. Yes Mr. Rohles really does now how to rock his guitars. Here again Frank does some outstanding vocal parts as well. Also the synthesizer has a leading role on this track next to the lead guitar parts. All beautifully done. The song ends the album in a great musical style.
Trapped In A New World Part 1 is without doubt for me personally one of the biggest musical surprises of 2019. Lovers of Saga, The Electric Light Orchestra, Pink Floyd, Toto and Queen are advised to check out this fine release. Do it fast because Trapped In A New World Part 2 might be already out when you read this review. Probably it will be of the same high musical level as you can hear on part 1. I hardly can't wait to get my hands on that one too! All I can say is well done Frank!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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