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Cromwell: Black Chapter Red

German progressive rock band Cromwell formed in 1993 and released their debut Burning Banners in 1997. For reasons unknown to me the band took an extended hiatus but is back with their new album Black Chapter Red released in May, 2016.

Here is another band formerly unknown to me but I am glad I have made their acquaintance. Band members are Holger Weckbach (vocals), Eric Trauzettel (drums), Frank Nowack (guitars, bass) and Wolfgang Täffner (keyboards).

As reference points I would compare Cromwell to the earlier efforts of IQ, Pendragon and Jadis. The guitars are melodic and easy on the ears as are the lead vocals. Their first effort had female vocals but the band has now switched to a male singer and he really nails it. He has a wonderfully melodic voice with perfect English enunciation and no accent I can detect. Keyboards are also used as a nice compliment to the guitar whether it be in a lead capacity or for texture. I would consider this heavy neo prog with a slight melancholic tone pervading throughout, especially in the guitar work and the melodies are outstanding. "Starlit Sands" is an outstanding opener with great keys, heavier riffs and an excellent hook. The guitarist definitely channels Gary Chandler of Jadis at times. This is really first class neo prog/melodic rock. Orchestral keys begin "Black Confetti", another great track with moody guitar and solid riffs. Again, the excellent vocals of Weckbach cannot be overstated. The moody "Roots" drips with emotion mixing in the heaviness with softer moments, especially in the keys. "The Lights" is a lovely acoustic number with sweeping arpeggios and gentle guitar lines. It is both melodic and forlorn, in perfect standing with the rest of the disc. The heavy "November Sky" is one of the best tracks with powerful riffs and emotive keys, including some tasty organ soundscapes.

Nine tracks and not a bad one in the bunch. Black Chapter Red will certainly be making some best of the year lists come December, including mine. Another excellent release courtesy of Progressive Promotion Records.

Track Listing:
1. Starlit Sands (8:20)
2. Black Confetti (6:12)
3. Roots (6:49)
4. The Lights (3:24)
5. November Sky (6:00)
6. Black Chapter Red (8:16)
7. Kissing Dynamite (4:04)
8. Deep Down (6:13)
9. End Of Life (6:41)

Added: October 31st 2016
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Score:
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 1346
Language: english

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