Perfect Storm - No Air,
The Netherlands has long been a country which really appreciates its prog, and it is no surprise that so many bands have toured very successfully over there and often choose one of their venues as a place to recorded live albums and DVDs. Back in the early Nineties it was also the home of SI Music, one of the most important progressive labels around, and there seemed to be a never-ending roll call of great music coming out of the country. Over the years there has been a resurgence in older bands, but I have not seen many new ones coming out which are likely to shake up the establishment, but perhaps in Perfect Storm we have just that. Formed in Groningen, everyone in the band is active in other bands, coming together in this one and bringing all their own experiences and influences to bear. Founded by guitarist Gert-Jan Schurer, the rest of the band are Adel Saflou (vocals), Jesse Bosman (drums), Ard Offers (keyboards), David Klompmakers (bass) and Hiske Oosterwijk (vocals). Adel takes most of the leads, but Hiske provides a valuable backing vocals as well as taking the lead when the time is right.
This is good old fashioned neo prog, but in many ways, it ties in with the melodic rock/prog crossover style which became popular in the Nineties, particularly with American bands. Although there is no doubt all these guys can play, they rarely allow themselves to get caught out in the open with solos but rather the musicians tend to stay somewhat in the background with the focus mainly being on the vocals. With two wonderful singers that is a good call to make, but one of the real joys here is that one never knows what is going to come next as they can switch from all out belting melodic prog to suddenly slowing everything down, bringing in more of an acoustic sound and totally changing the tempo and emotion. The best example of this is probably in “The Search” where the tempo and emotional change is enhanced by the switch to the delicate sound of Hiske, away from the more melodic rock sound of Adel. Then when that section completes, we go into a brash Muse-style guitar rip which just contrasts so much against the delicacy which has gone before. It is at times like this that the guys settle into a groove and let them show off their chops just a little, but never for too long.
This is an album which will rightly appreciated by fans who would not normally listen to prog as well as the more hardened of us, and I certainly look forward to hearing more from them in the near future.