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Force Of Progress: A Secret Place

A German four-piece, between them the members of Force Of Progress have spent time with the likes of The Healing Road, Sweety Chicky Jam, Cynity, Marquette and Horizontal Ascension. Now, with none of those outfits meaning anything to me, the other hint here is the band’s name - Force Of Progress. After all, this quartet are progressive and they’re damn forceful!

The press release describes a fusion sound and to be fair that’s quite an accurate starting point but we’re talking progressive metal fusion here with bulging riffs that veer from Rammstein to Threshold. Although with all of Hanspeter Hess, Dominik Wimmer (also drums and guitar), Chris Grundmann (also guitars and bass) and Markus Roth (also bass and guitar) being credited with playing either keyboards or synths, there’s not too many prizes for guessing that this instrumental fare is based round a huge amount of melodies from those musical weapons. With guest fret soloists also showing up in the shape of Achim Wierschem on the sprawling smash of “New Reality”, and Claus Flitters on the album’s centrepiece, “Circus Maximus”, it isn’t as though the guitars have been forgotten about, with both (and the band themselves, of course) providing some seriously dextrous forays that undoubtedly catch the ear.

The latter track is also the album’s longest, running to over 11 minutes and in many ways, with a journey from keyboard led meanders to pointed synth stabs, and from glorious guitar workouts to ‘string’ infused spoken word (well, laughter), this really is where Force Of Progress lay out what they can do. With added acoustic guitar courtesy of Sebastian Mikolai and a real lightness of touch in some of the keyboard work, the different emotions on display becomes quite astounding. Unfortunately what it also shines a light on is that these are aspects left somewhat missing elsewhere, with the uncompromising nature of “The Hand Sculpted Heart”, for instance, feeling just a little too breathless for its own good. Factor in that, for my tastes, the album’s overall sound is remarkably bright and in your face and it often results in this band’s ability to offer up some light and shade becoming hampered by its presentation.

The level of musical ability on display across A Secret Place (which is the second album from this outfit) is off the charts and at times there are undoubted hints of greatness. However all too often it can get lost in an eagerness to shove a barrage of notes in the way of a superbly good melody, while the slightly one dimensional sound, for me, also blunts the impact. Force Of Progress on this showing are good, but they could be so much more.

Track Listing
1. The Hand Sculpted Heart
2. The Perfect Element
3. New Reality
4. Circus Maximus
5. A Secret Place
6. The Steps To The Precipice
7. Aggressor 

Added: May 23rd 2020
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Force Of Progress online
Hits: 1669
Language: english

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Force Of Progress: A Secret Place
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2020-05-23 12:49:54
My Score:

German instrumental proggers Force of Progress hit it out of the park on their debut Calculated Risk a few years back, and their follow-up A Secret Place is equally as stunning. With their 'Planet X-meets-Liquid Tension Experiment-with a tad of Snarky Puppy thrown in' style of prog-rock/metal/fusion, expect a wealth of chops here, which the band back up with some memorable melodies and arrangements. "The Perfect Element" blazes with heavy riffs, intricate rhythms, and blazing synth & organ tones, while "The Hand Sculpted Heart" is just a fun, jazzy-metal ride that showcases all the bands skills. "New Reality" sees all their heavy metal influences come out to play, wild Pantera styled riffs colliding with jazz-fusion synth lines for a wild ride, while the epic "Circus Maximus" is quite simply a lovely slice of symphonic progressive rock with layer upon layer of gorgeous keyboard & synth tones. Worth a mention also is the rampaging "Aggressor", chock full of snarling guitar riffs, acrobatic drums, and blazing synths, a must hear for any fans of the acts I mentioned above.

If you crave instrumental progressive rock with a healthy dose of metal & jazz fusion, A Secret Place will be something you'll need to put on your immediate radar.

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