Back in the seventies Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) recorded a wonderful track called Celebration. This song was the band's ticket to success and it introduced me to the wonderful music created by this fantastic Italian band. Their music strongly referred to bands as Genesis, Yes and King Crimson, the pioneers in the early days of progressive rock. The same track could have been found on an album that was recently recorded. That album not only has the same title, but Celebration even contains the same kind of music. This album introduced me to the Estonian vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Indrek Patte, who has been active in various bands since the seventies. It took him several years before releasing his first solo album in 2011. Celebration shows his personal fascination for progressive rock.
First song Resurrection starts quite similar as Firth Of Fifth (Genesis). The use of the flute and Patte's voice resemble those of Peter Gabriel in the early days of Genesis. Maybe the synthesizer parts differ from the one on Firth Of Fifth, but they certainly have a major role. Also the second track contains echoes of the seventies. On the strong prog rock tune Learn To Live you hear influences from Genesis' A Trick Of The Tail. The Journey has been influenced by Yes. While listening to this piece, the song Changes from 90125 − the first album that Yes recorded with Trevor Rabin in 1983 − crossed my mind several times. One Way has all kind of influences. People who are familiar with the music of Gentle Giant, Spock's Beard and The Flower Kings will recognize certain parts in this piece. Which famous progressive rock bands are next? Well, actually none. On the next two songs the influences from other progressive rock bands are no longer present. Therefore I couldn't compare these tracks to other names in the genre, but nevertheless Shine and You Stay With Me are wonderful songs that will be very enjoyable for lovers of neo-progressive rock music, especially the latter is a real beauty.
The last two tracks again show some musical similarities with other bands. Mount Meggido can be described as a mixture of Dream Theater, Spock's Beard and Gentle Giant. Especially the climax is very strong including a wonderful guitar solo. The title track is a fine progressive rock piece with beautiful keyboard and guitar parts. In this one the music Genesis made in the seventies is again all over the place with the flute having a large role in the whole picture. However, sometimes it seems as if Steve Hackett was hired to play some parts. The song is a perfect ending of an album that can be regarded as a tribute to progressive rock music in general.
Besides this tribute to all the great names in the history of progressive rock you'll find another source of inspiration on Celebration. Apart from his love for progressive rock Indrek Patte also is a strong believer of the Christian faith. You can compare it the way Neal Morse, Peter Gee and bands as Iona, Glass Hammer and Supernal Endgame mix their music with Christian lyrics.
You might say that Indrek Patte and his fellow-musicians copied a lot of what the old masters used to record several years ago. However, this doesn't mean that the music on Celebration is less interesting. On the contrary; I loved it a lot. I guess that many devotees of progressive rock music will agree that the music on this album reaches a very high level. Retro sometimes is a very beautiful word even if it has a Christian meaning!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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