Italian progressive rock can be a bit of a minefield having, as it does, its own distinctive qualities not generally found in prog from other parts of the world. This is often a good thing but there are occasions when it just doesn't work and, I'm sorry to say, that this is one such occasion. Flower Flesh was formed in 2005 and, according to their press release accompanying the album, they set out to emulate the likes of Genesis, Yes, Uriah Heep, Kansas, IQ, Marillion, Dream Theater, Porcupine Tree, Magellan, Spock's Beard and Riverside. The selection of names here would suggest that Flower Flesh would create a truly remarkable album but I could find little evidence to support this. Instead, what I found is a collection of compositions which lack coherence and identity.
There is a great deal of talent in the ranks; Marco Oliveri delivers some seriously good guitar riffs and solos, and Andrea Sgarlato's keyboard skills are not in any doubt. However there is little in the way of originality or union between the individual musicians and instruments. The production and mixing also let this album down; at times, Daniel Elvstom's vocals seem to totally overpower the music behind him which is a great pity. I struggled to find any originality - nothing new here at all. The tracks lack decent structure and direction, and at times I found the music very predictable. From a more positive perspective, I found Daniel Elvstrom's vocals to be perfect for progressive rock and felt they were best showcased in Italian. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to write and sing in a foreign language so credit must be given for that. The final track, Scream And Die is the best track of the album with greatly improved production and excellent lead guitar. Elvstrom even sounded slightly similar to Bryan Ferry...which is no bad thing at all!
Duck In The Box seems to suffer from an identity crisis. It's evident that these are five very talented young men who have the possibility of a great future ahead of them. What I feel they need to do is to stop emulating others and begin finding a tight and unified sound of their own. I'm certain that, following this debut album, they will grow into a formidable band. I wish them well.
** Sue Doyle
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