MENNO VON BRUCKEN FOCK

CALATEA

Artiest / Band: 
FLAME DREAM
FLAME DREAM

Without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most interesting Swiss bands in the symphonic rock genre is Flame Dream. Led by keyboardist Roland Ruckstuhl, this band made several solid albums in the late seventies and the early eighties. Calatea was their first release in 1978. Ruckstuhl recorded this six-track album together with Peter Furrer (drums), Urs Hochuli (bass, bass pedals), Urs Waddispühl (guitars) and Peter Wolf (woodwinds, saxophones). Only one was composed by Waldispühl, the others by Ruckstuhl. The music is heavily influenced by Genesis and Yes (the vocal harmonies) the music contains elements from rock (guitar), but also classical music (grand piano and orchestrations), jazz (woodwinds and saxophone) and progressive rock because of the lengthy instrumental parts and countless changes in rhythm and atmosphere. In spite of guitar and woodwinds, Ruckstuhl’s keyboards dominate, which is a good thing in my opinion. Waldispühl's vocals are not impressive, Ruckstuhl’s voice is a mix between the voices of Phil Collins (Genesis) and Max Werner (ex-Kayak) and fortunately he does most of the singing. The Volcano is a track that lasts for eleven minutes with influences from Eloy who were gaining popularity in the late seventies. Ruckstuhl’s playing on the keyboards resembles that of Rick Wakeman, so yes, he definitely knows his way around on all kinds of keyboards!. Side two opens with Pyramids, a track with influeneces of Gentle Giant. The second track Apocalyps Of Sounds has a distinct Genesis touch, while in the second part also resemblances are recognizable with the Dutch band Alquin. The closing track Gate Out Of Calatea is one of those typical Flame Dream tracks containing unbelievably fine symphonic progressive music! A shame that this band seems to be forgotten.