DarWin - DarWin2: A Frozen War,
Following on from the debut, ‘Origin Of Species’ in 2019, the second album came out towards the end of 2020. Guitarist DarWin has again joined forces with drummer Simon Phillips (Toto/The Who/Jeff Beck) and singer Matt Bissonette (Elton John, David Lee Roth, Ringo Starr) as the core unit. As with the last album he has brought in a host of stellar musicians to fill out the sound, including bassist Billy Sheehan (Mr Big/ Steve Vai/Winery Dogs), guitarists Guthrie Govan (Aristocrats/Asia/Hans Zimmer/Steven Wilson) and Greg Howe (Michael Jackson/Justin Timberlake) and keyboard player Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater/Alice Cooper/Black Country Communion) along with Alex Sill (acoustic guitar) and Jeff Babko (keyboards) while The Reykjavik String Quartet also return.
The first album was a double CD event, but the second is far shorter, just five songs and 31 minutes long (although it is also available in an extended version where there are a further 9 songs as orchestral versions – this was later released as album in its own right as ‘Darwin 3’ in 2021). This is a direct continuation to the debut album, where the story was set in 2028, where an exhausted ecology, and global conflicts, have led to a huge upheaval of the world order, straining, and diminishing human populations. The lives of everyday people and families have been turned upside down by the intense ecological pressures related to climate change. This polished, layered, progressive rock music with great performances from all involved ( as if we would expect anything else from these guys). The standout for me is the last song, “Another Year”, which is a wonderful duet with some great female vocals (I have no idea who it is, sorry) and it is the interaction between her and Matt which really makes this shine. High class, powerful and middle of the road prog with strong songs, great performances, guaranteed to make any proghead smile.