Chrysalis is the fourth album of the American band Man On Fire. On the new album lead vocalist, songwriter, producer and keyboardist Jeff Hodges has extended the band to a six-piece. The new musicians are the soulful female singer Elise Testone, the great percussionist Quentin Ravenel on drums, trumpeter Cameron Harder Handel and on violin the trained virtuoso Jenny Hugh. The dynamic work on lead guitar and the distinctive flexible fretless bass are still in the hands of Eric Sands. And yes, just as their latest release Habitat (2005) the new album still sounds refreshing and free of explicit influences. In general it's a rather complex album. T his time I won't describe the individual songs, but I try to give you a global idea of what the music's all about.
You neither hear any vintage progressive rock music in the vein of Pink Floyd, Genesis or Yes, nor neo-prog of bands as IQ, Pendragon, Pallas or Arena. No, I would like to call it modern American progressive rock without having any conventions or clichés. The arrangements are again very refreshing and surprised me over and over again. The rhythm section of bass and drums sounds funky and the jazzy trumpet, the violin and many samples have been integrated in the overall sound on Chrysalis. The lyrics written by Steven Carroll are rather serious. Repeat It, for instance, is an accusation against our chaotic world with its continuous news coverage of violence. The title track consists of four funky and groovy parts. The other tracks are darker, cinematic, jazzy, elaborate, and played by excellent musicians. You have been warned! Man On Fire provide us with almost one hour of intelligent, strange and above all unpredictable music!
*** Cor Smeets (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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