Forgotten Suns - Fiction Edge 1 (Ascent), (CD, 70:49) GR 003 Galileo Records P.O. Box 30 9126 Necker SWITZERLAND If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Marillion would be overcome with flattery if they ever took the time to listen to Fiction Edge 1 (Ascent), the new release from Portuguese proggies Forgotten Suns. To say that the boys from Iberia were a little influenced by the U.K.-based neo-proggers would be like saying Charlie Sheen likes a cocktail every now and again. The similarities between this album and Misplaced Childhood-era Marillion cannot possibly be overlooked, as everything from song structure to playing styles are seemingly taken lock, stock and barrel from Marillion. Normally, I would say that this type of worship - almost plagiarism - is a bad thing, but I must admit that I found myself enjoying Fiction Edge greatly. Perhaps it's because I miss the old days of a Fish-led Marillion, and Forgotten Suns helps fill that void. However, more likely its just because Forgotten Suns are simply good songwriters and musicians. There are a few differences between Forgotten Suns and Marillion - for one, the Portugal-based rockers are more apt to break into a little heavy rhythm guitar action than their counterparts, and drummer Nuno Senica is quite a bit more acrobatic on the drum kit than Ian Mosley. But, the differences literally stop there. You will swear that it's Mark Kelley playing the keyboards on Creation Points, Steve Rothery-like guitar runs are all over the place, and the singer Linx even seems to take on a Scottish-brogue on "The Warning." It may seem I'm overstating the similarities, but it's simply impossible to ignore while you listen to Fiction Edge. The subject matter that Forgotten Suns has decided to tackle on this release - namely, the history of the known universe - is pretty "heavy" stuff, and the music is peppered with plenty of well-placed sonic accessories such as spoken word passages, and swirling keyboard samples. Linx does a nice job in the vocals department, sporting a smooth and emotional voice reminiscent of slightly more masculine sounding Dennis DeYoung. As mentioned before, the keyboard is very similar to the work of Marillion's sometimes spastic, sometimes lush keyboardist Mark Kelly, and the melodic and emotional guitar work of Ricardo Falcao is an obvious homage to Rothery. All in all, the instrumental work is quite nice, with extra kudos going to guitarist Falcao for his showing a wide range of textures in his playing. Some of the high points of the album come oddly enough on the short instrumentals - the 2-minute "Rising" features beautiful orchestral sounds and chord progressions from Miguel Valadares, and the sub 2-minute "Child" mixes some innocent and tender piano work with the sound of a baby being born into the world - very nice stuff. Some of the longer works are noteworthy as well, "Creation Point" (despite its muddled production) is a very catchy neo-prog number that features Linx's smooth voice prominently. "Betrayed, Part II" is another example of the band showing its ability to produce very emotional, "goose-bumpy" music. However, the band does slip up a bit on "A Journey" - a 20-minute instrumental that is incredibly tedious... I would have much rather have had two or three more melodic songs than this display ok "length for length's sake." However, other than that one problem, I'd have to have to declare Fiction Edge 1 quite a success for Forgotten Suns, and I certainly look forward to future work from these guys. Some folks may take offense at the obvious derivativeness of the music, but good music is good music no matter how derivative it may be. And Fiction Edge 1 is simply full of good music. - Michael Askounes (firstname.lastname@example.org) TRACKLIST: 1. Big Bang (6:31) 2. Creation Point (6:23) 3. Rising (2:05) 4. Nature (1:08) 5. Child (1:28) 6. The Warning (2:02) 7. Wartime (7:43) 8. A Journey (21:20) 9. Arrival (1:20) 10. Routine (12:19) 11. Betrayed Part II (7:51) CREDITS" Linx: Vox, backing vox, piano Ricardo Falcao: Guitars, backing vox Miguel Valadares: Keyboard and Synthesizers Johnny: Bass Nuno Senica: Drums and Percussion
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