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Pictorial Wand: Face Of Our Fathers

Face Of Our Fathers is a concept release, from Mattis Sorum's progressive rock band called Pictorial Wand. Band architect Mattis handles the writing and plays guitar, bass and also keyboards, organ, piano and percussion. Face Of Our Fathers is his second Pictorial Wand release, the first was 2006's double album A Sleeper's Awakening. The principal subject matter is "how the former generations leave behind an inheritance for the next, and how they in turn try to deal with it", which makes for a different concept on would could be such an emotional time in ones life.

Four talented vocalists, male and female fill the roles of Love, Reason, Pride and Hope, their voices fit perfectly with the music on this CD, adding to that music is the welcome sounds of the flute, violins and cellos. A highlight of Face Of Our Fathers would have to be "The Ghosts Start Dancing", this track contains many turns, from tranquil beginnings to vibrant sounding keyboards and animated guitar.

Face Of Our Fathers will delight the fans of such artists as Ayreon, those music fans who appreciate multiple vocalists and entrancing music.


Track list:
1.The Wasteland
2.Struggle Of Autumn Leaves
3.Prince Of War
4.The Ghosts Start Dancing
5.Verse Of Despair
6.Face Of Our Fathers
7.Circle's End

Added: December 3rd 2010
Reviewer: Scott Jessup
Score:
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2781
Language: english

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Pictorial Wand: Face Of Our Fathers
Posted by Jeff B, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-12-03 21:15:34
My Score:

Verse of Despair

After hearing all of the praise for Pictorial Wand's sophomore album, I couldn't wait to experience Face of our Fathers myself. This Norwegian project is a one-man-band of sorts, being entirely composed by Mattis Sörum, who also plays guitar, bass, keyboards, and percussion. Although I had pretty high expectations for the album, many of them were far exceeded. Calling Face of our Fathers incredible is no understatement, constantly boasting top-notch musicianship, breathtaking vocal melodies, and haunting compositions. If you like somewhat operatic symphonic prog with heavier touches every now and again, this is a highly recommendable release. The talent of Mattis Sörum is undeniably stunning - the music that he's created is remarkable and well-worth all of the praise that it's garnered. Although the album isn't quite a masterpiece, Pictorial Wand is surely a band to keep your eye on in the coming years.

The music on Face of our Fathers is a cross between gritty southern-symphonic prog in the vein of Kansas, the theatrical aspects of early Genesis, and heavier operatic tendencies in the vein of Ayreon or Pain of Salvation. It's a satisfying and original mix of classic prog and more modern prog metal influences. The instrumentation is often unconventional for modern symphonic prog, frequently featuring violin and cello, which even further adds the apparent Kansas influences. Every one of the seven songs is on the longer side, with the lengthiest being over 12 minutes. Thus, this is a rather long album, clocking in at almost 70 minutes. There are a few parts that "drag" a bit, but they are, thankfully, few and far between. The vast majority of Face of our Fathers is a miraculous journey worth taking. As I've mentioned earlier, the talent exerted from Mattis Sörum is amazing, and the other musicians are terrific as well. It's especially worth noting the vocalists Tore Christer Storlid, Gry Tronslien, Julie Christensen, and Petter Selliseth. These vocal harmonies are just breathtaking, and are utilized perfectly. Any person who enjoys great vocal arrangements will be in heaven with this. Vocally, I'm often reminded of Pain of Salvation especially.

The production, while slightly unprofessional, is still excellent. Everything is clear and easily audible. It's great to hear some a group who doesn't fall into the over-produced symphonic prog trap.

Conclusion:

I was expecting a lot from Face of our Fathers, and I can confidently conclude that this is every bit as good as I thought it would be. If you like good ole symphonic progressive rock with some modern amenities, this is the album for you. It's every bit as great as the beautiful artwork that accompanies it. 4 stars are well-earned for this modern masterwork. Great job on behalf of everyone involved - I can't wait to hear more!

Pictorial Wand: Face Of Our Fathers
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-01-16 18:40:12
My Score:

Wow! That was my initial reaction upon hearing the sophomore effort from Norwegian progressive rock band Pictorial Wand. This is a fabulous album that would have made my top five releases of 2009. The band line-up includes Mattis Sorum (guitars, bass, synthesizers, organ, piano, percussion), Tomas di Sansimone (drums), Arild Sveum (organ, piano), Hogne Moe (flute), Gunhild Mathea Olaussen (violins) and Live Kostöl (cellos). There are also four vocalists including Cry Tronslien (representing Love), Julie Christensen (Reason), Petter Selliseth (Pride) and Tore Christler Storlid (Hope). With so many players and vocalists Ayreon immediately comes to mind, and there are some similarities most notably in the vocal sections. Aside from the excellent vocals, instrumentally speaking this is stellar stuff. The guitar playing is very good with a nice mixture of acoustic and electric sounds. The riffs come through crystal clear and the playing is very clean. Keyboards are also vital to the band's sound whether it's a noodling synth solo or a beautiful piano melody. The players are quite talented but show restraint, never venturing into over indulgent excessiveness and always maintaining a touch of class.

This is a concept album dealing with the world we leave behind for future generations and what they do with what is left to them with an emphasis on four thematic ingredients: love, reason, pride and hope. The story is a compelling one and offers great reading as one follows along with the music. The concept, lyrics and music were written by Sorum.

Listing the highlights of this CD is a daunting task since it contains so much quality material. The album starts with the moody "The Wasteland" where a funeral sermon opens the song and a tolling of a bell begins the adventure. Guitars, keyboards and strings are used to create a mournful feeling reminding me a little of Pain of Salvation. Listen for some stellar guitar play including a bare bones solo that screams rock and roll and ending vocals that finish it off perfectly. The haunting "The Ghosts Start Dancing" features airy acoustic guitar and atmospheric keys blended together with strings before the pace quickens and the music builds upon more guitar and keys, at times recalling Ayreon. Throw in some flute and emotional male and female vocals and we have another winner. The rocking title track is pure prog flavoured rock and roll where organ sounds and fiery guitars compete for the spotlight and the soulful vocals are the icing on the cake. The musical journey ends with "Circle's End" and its soft orchestral beginning of keys and strings before more dramatic keyboard passages take hold along with another excellent vocal arrangement.

This album is a perfect blend of melody and complexity, which should make Face of our Fathers very appealing to a wide range of prog listeners. Highly recommended to anyone who appreciates well crafted progressive rock. Absolutely stunning!

(originally reviewed for www.progressiveears.com)




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