Realisea - Mantelpeace

Kev Rowland

One day recently I was going through Facebook when I saw a post from my good friend Michel St-Père saying what a good album this was and how he had played on one of the tracks. I said I had never heard of it and was soon contacted by Brian de Graeve (Silhouette) who told me it was a new project of his which got me even more intrigued. I have been a fan of that Dutch band for some years and gave their last release ‘The World Is Flat and other Alternative Facts’ a 5* rating so I was determined to investigate this more fully. The songs were written by Brian de Graeve (vocals, guitar) and Marjolein de Graeve (vocals, flute) over a number of years, and recorded with the addition of friends so while the band line-up was completed by Rob van Nieuwenhuijzen (drums), Geoffrey de Graeve (bass guitar) and Christophe Rapenne (keyboards) there are a whole host of guests including Michel st-Père (Mystery, Huis), Erik Laan (Silhouette, Chain Reaktor), Simon Rogers (Also Eden), Aldo Adema (Egdon Heath), Sophie Zaaijer (Cesair, Sunfire), Jean Pageau (Mystery) and Bart Laan (SkyLake, Chain Reaktor).

But while this may seem from looking at it that this is an album which is massively layered and over the top, instead it is at the other end of the progressive spectrum and is far more pastoral and contains many folk elements. Yet over the top there can be dynamic guitar solos, or a violin, and yet there is always plenty of space within the arrangements and bombast may give way to gentle picked acoustic guitar with a keyboard support. When I commented that I had not heard it I was provided with some feedback basically asking why not and having now been playing it I can fully understand why that response was generated as this really is a sublime album. The vocals are wonderful, with Brian and Marjolein each having wonderful voices in their own right and taking lead on different numbers while also providing support on others, so much so that one just wants to drift away. The delicate harp on “Out of this World” is just delicious, and it is nuances like that which make this such a wonderful release.

This is very much a modern progressive album, but there are also definite influences being taken from British bands such as Renaissance. Electric guitars are often used to provide force and presence in a solo, but what makes this work is the difference between this and the rest of the song, with Rindert Bul’s contributions on “Your Part” being a fine example. Polished and enjoyable throughout, this is an exceptional debut and I am kicking myself for not coming across it when it was released, and I am sure there are many others who will feel the same when they hear it as this has definitely slipped under the radar. Hopefully many people will come back to this one when the new album is released in October this year on Friendly Folk Records.

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