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Swapper's Eleven: From a Distance

Here's a new band for you, called Swapper's Eleven, and their new album From a Distance. These guys were formed by Alessandro Carmassi (vocals), Gary Foalle (bass, guitars, backing vocals), and Luiz Alvim (keyboards, guitars, backing vocals), who were winners of Marillion's 'Swap the Band' contest, and they've assembled a whole host of other winners to join them on this maiden voyage (17 musicians/vocalists in total from 9 countries) which features eight songs, including two monstrous 13+ minute epics. The music throughout From a Distance is modern progressive rock with a healthy nod to the early '80s British scene, notably bands such as IQ, Pallas, Pendragon, and Marillion. Carmassi has a voice that sounds very similar to IQ's legendary frontman Peter Nicholls, and with the analog styled keyboard sounds and velvety guitar work, it's not hard to draw comparisons to the moody material of that band. "The Collector" contains some bright harmonies and a wealth of symphonic musical passages mixed with some hard rock muscle, while the lengthy "Distance" is a haunting, dramatic slice of epic prog-rock, Carmassi's vocals soaring over Steve Rothery/Mike Holmes influenced guitar solos...beautiful stuff. "Spectrum" is classy all the way, lovely keyboard soundscapes and tasty guitar solos supported by three different vocalists works wonders, and the albums other epic track, "Open Your Eyes", offers up some intricate drumming within a fascinating arrangement that hints at modern day Marillion, '80s Rush, and a touch of Pain of Salvation as well as perhaps Porcupine Tree. Plenty of light & shade on this one, and perhaps the sleeper song on the album. Closer "Hope is a Stranger" is a more aggressive & complex track, the riffs having more of an edge and Carmassi digging in deep for an emotional delivery, plus we get a damn tasty synth solo from guest Dave Wruck.

For a recording that has 17 musicians on it, From a Distance doesn't sound like one of those fabricated 'project' albums, and really hits home as an actual 'band', which is a definite positive direction for this new group. Fans of contemporary progressive-rock/neo-prog would be well advised to investigate this debut from Swapper's Eleven, it's a keeper.

Track Listing
1. The Collector 05:37
2. Tomorrow 04:06
3. Distance 13:03
4. Spectrum 07:27
5. New Year's Resolution 03:48
6. Open Your Eyes 13:23
7. First Light 02:38
8. Hope is a Stranger 07:19

Added: September 26th 2020
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1450
Language: english

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