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BEACON OF LIGHT (NL+E)

Artiest / Band: 
ADVENTURE
ADVENTURE Beacon Of Light

Het Noorse gezelschap Adventure uit Trondheim en omstreken bestaat in diverse bezettingen al bijna twintig jaar. Kernleden van de band zijn Terje Flessen (gitaar) en Odd-Roar Bakken (toetsen). Hun bedoeling was een dijk van een progplaat te maken in de stijl van hun helden uit de jaren zeventig. Dat beide heren afkomstig zijn uit een muzikale hoek die meer op de hardrock van de jaren zeventig is geënt, blijkt echter bij beluistering van het bijna 73 minuten durende spektakel op Beacon Of Light. De intro doet denken aan dat van Deep Purple’s Speed King om vervolgens over te gaan in mix van instrumentale en vocale stukken die invloeden bevatten van vooral Uriah Heep, Rainbow, Marillion - beide uit de beginperiode - en Camel in Fragile Frame. Verder hoor je invloeden van Duitse bands als Anyone’s Daughter en Novalis, terwijl uit eigen land Kerrs Pink herkenbaar is. Leadzanger Vebjorn Moen heeft een getrainde stem met een aardige vibratie. Doordat hij nogal eens geforceerd rauw zingt, zijn zijn bijdragen naar mijn smaak wat over-de-top, terwijl zijn collega Henning Mjoen een weliswaar onopvallende, maar voor mijn oren veel prettiger stem heeft. Diverse stukken op dit album zijn onderverdeeld in passages die qua sfeer en stijl nogal verschillen wat de spanning er aardig in houdt. De in totaal dertien nummers bestaan uit vier langere tracks en een aantal korte(re) stukken met het geluid van de late jaren zeventig. De muziek is een uitstekende mix van ouderwetse symfo en melodieuze heavy muziek. De composities zijn melodieus en ongecompliceerd, in die zin dat men geen vreemde maatsoorten of ingewikkelde structuren hanteert. Als basis gebruikt Adventure vaak standaardakkoorden. Voornamelijk om die reden klinkt de muziek voor een oudgediende als ik niet alleen wat gedateerd, maar is er bovendien nauwelijks sprake van enige originaliteit. Presto Ballet doet ongeveer hetzelfde, zij het ietsje steviger en met minder nadruk op de symfonische elementen, maar bij die band spreekt de zang mij meer aan. Muzikaal is Beacon Of Light best een aardige plaat, sommige stukken zijn zelfs bijzonder aardig, maar de zang is voor mij een breekpunt om dit album echt te koesteren. Het pronkstuk op dit album is echter het titelnummer.

(ENGLISH):

This Norwegian outfit from Trondheim, led by guitarist Terje Flessen and keyboardist/rhythm guitarist Odd-Roar Bakken, exists for almost 20 years, though there were several changes in the line up. Their aim had always been to create the ultimate ‘prog’ record, in the style of their heroes from the seventies. Odd is it may seem, both Terje as well as Odd-Roar, according to the information provided, mainly played hard rock in their early days and those heroes were also mainly the hard rock bands from the seventies. Although the album is a very pleasant mixture of seventies hard rock and prog, the influences of bands like Deep Purple, Rainbow and Uriah Heep are clearly recognizable. The production was done by Flessen and Bakken and the album features several guest musicians and vocalists. After the beautiful intro played on the organ and reminding of Deep Purple’s Speed King, the first part of Something To Believe In features the organ played like Ken Hensley, so very much sounding like Uriah Heep, but the vocals by Vebjorn Moen are making a difference. Especially when he tries to mimic the more raw vocal by Ronnie James Dio, for my ears it just does not work. Moen has got a good singing voice but for my perception it doesn’t go well with this kind of music, though the few times when he sings more gently, it fits a lot better. Odd-Roar tries his best (and with success I might add!) subsequently on the synthesizers, followed by a piece where the sound of the music comes close to German prog acts like Anyone’s Daughter, Novalis or Ramses. The last piece of Part 2 features the acoustic guitar, mellow tones on the keyboards and some flute. In Part 3 the acoustic guitar is the foundation of a more poppy song, with a rather simple melody but nice bass playing by Terje. The title is repeated just too often for my taste. The Swan brings back the sound of the aforementioned bands from Germany. Now Henning Mjoen does part of the lead vocals and his voice matches this kind of music better in my opinion. The melodies are not too complicated but the orchestral arrangements and the keyboards are exquisite. At the end of the track the acoustic guitar by Terje is played like Blackmore would have done. The first part of A Crack In The Ice is a nice almost entirely instrumental piece in a style mixing Uriah Heep and Rainbow. The second part is a mixture between Uriah Heep (the more powerful passages) and again bands like Ramses. Flessen plays his distorted (probably Fender) guitar quite well with nice melodies as well as some good solo’s. Odd-Roar proves he can play the acoustic guitar too next to his keyboards in the short but tasteful instrumental track called Emilie’s Piece, with Mari Haug Land on the flute. Mjoen sings gently in the opening part of Fragile Frame, accompanied just by an acoustic guitar and keyboards. Then he brings more power in his singing when the full band joins in. Very gentle passages, a bit like their fellow countrymen Kerrs Pink, are alternated by more powerful yet melodic parts, featuring organ and flute. Some nice changes in key in this track. ‘Ritchie Blackmore’ returns in his current profession as guitarist of Blackmore’s Night and the acoustic guitars are joined by Mari’s flute. The title track opens with a nice overture by keyboards and flute, then more of the old fashioned heavy stuff. Terje often plays his bass following the notes played on the guitar and this part reminds of Uriah Heep again but I must emphasize one can find some really nice instrumental pieces here. A more heavy though uplifting version of Kerrs Pink can be heard in Part 3, a tasteful, melodic instrumental. Part 4 features the piano and a distant electric guitar, so the album doesn’t end with a grand finale but fades away rather anonymously. This track however, because of its variety, is one of the best on the album. A fine mixture of early symphonic progressive music with the characteristics of the most popular hard rock bands from the seventies. Some really nice melodies and instrumental parts are there but due to the use of fairly standard chord-schemes and vocals I don’t particularly fancy, this record doesn’t appeal to me as much as the ones from Presto Ballet.

Despite of the lack of originality, which wasn’t intended anyway, Adventure still managed to produce an album, which I would consider to be an honourable tribute to their heroes from the roaring seventies. Fans of the more ‘adventurous’ but equally heavy prog with a seventies/early eighties sound, should definitely check this record out.