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Flaming Row: The Pure Shine

Just prior to the movie release of The Dark Tower I went back and read the original novel by Stephen King, the veteran author honest enough in the introduction of this reprinted version to discuss the flaws of his early work. Still, I quickly ploughed my way through the book, which I’d first read many moons ago, before deciding to give the movie a miss. However, through the band Flaming Row (which is an undeniably uninspiring name) I’m back in the world of The Gunslinger and his Dark Tower as this German band base their third album, The Pure Shine, on King’s sci-fi/fantasy/western. For those interested, while the lyrics take a more artistic journey through the story and characters, for the most part you can recognise the tale being told. Although I’m not sure how it would all convey to anyone not aware of the books in the series.

Sadly, the main comparison I’d make between book and album is nearly but not quite, with the intention clearly admirable but the musical journey just a little too calculated. The guest list augmenting singer Melanie Mau, multi-instrumentalist, lead vocalist and chief songwriter Martin Schnella, keyboard player Marek Arnold and drummer Niklas Kahl is undoubtedly impressive; the likes of Dave Meros and Jimmy Keegan (Spock’s Beard), Gary Wehrkamp (Shadow Gallery), Johan Hallgren and Leo Margarit (Pain Of Salvation) and Glyn Morgan (Threshold) among a cast that’s long enough to fill this review in its entirety. However, with the mix of symphonic prog, prog metal, folk infused rock and classic rock all just a little too organised for its own good, much of it quickly fades out of memory. Mau is a talented singer, if something of an acquired taste, as she adds an almost too perfect approach to the ordered music she fronts, meaning in places it’s quite difficult to shake off the feel that it’s a stage-play-musical that’s being performed in front of you. For me this leave the elements too neatly stacked-up in order to ensure that it’s the story that shines, with the music feeling like it’s employed as a vehicle to take us from scene to scene. Something that is maybe even more apparent as the fully instrumental version that can be found on disc two fails to capture the imagination.

For me, The Pure Shine is a rather odd experience where I understand that the performances are to a truly high standard and that the song construction has been lovingly crafted and curated. Yet, while there’s not a moment on this album that I actually dislike, neither are there many sections that compel me back for more.

Track Listing
1. A Tower In The Clouds
2. The Last Living Member
I. A Mystical Structure
II. Roland Of Gilead
III. Maerlyn's Rainbow
3. Jake's Destiny
I. The Painted Pictures
II. Relentless Pursuit
III. 1919 Midworld
4. The Sorcerer
I. Evil Forces Of The Dark Side
II. Distracting Illusions
III. Arra
5. The Final Attempt
6. The Gunslinger's Creed
I. Roland's Revenge
II. The Sorcerer - Reign Of Darkness
III. The Secret Place Of No Return
IV. Our Savior

Added: January 30th 2020
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: The Flaming Row @ bandcamp
Hits: 236
Language: english

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Flaming Row: The Pure Shine
Posted by Jeff G. on 2020-02-04 00:42:11
My Score:

"The Dark Tower" is a series of books, not just one book. Reading only the first novel would not convey the depth or plot of the series. Also, the title of this album is "The Pure Shine", not "The Pure Show".

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