In May 2010 the Norwegian progressive rock band The Windmill released their debut album To Be Continued... (see review). This was the result of five years of hard labour. However, those years were well-spent because the album got the highest rating of five stars on our website. Now three years later the band recorded a successor. On The Continuation guitarist Bent Jensen no longer participates. He was replaced by Stig André Clason in the summer of 2010. Together with Jean Robert Viita (keyboards, vocals), Erik Borgen (guitars, vocals), Morten Clason (sax, flute, guitars, vocals, keyboards), Arnfinn Isaksen (bass) and Sam Arne Nĝland (drums) they presented an album that contains the same high level of musicality as their first effort. These five compositions are all worth listening to, having almost the identical influences as on their debut.
According to our reviewer the band were inspired by the music recorded by bands like Arena, IQ, Pendragon, The Alan Parsons Project, Alquin, Led Zeppelin, Focus, Camel and Pink Floyd. Well, throughout the album I could still hear traces of the latter three bands, but at the same time some songs reminded me of Jethro Tull and Flamborough Head, mainly due to the use of the flute. The music made by their compatriots of Magic Pie occasionally came to mind as well. However, not only the sound and the style of prog rock can be heard on The Continuation. Several times I noticed that they either enjoy blues as revealed on Giant Prize for instance. This song holds even touches of reggae!
As I already said before all tracks are worthwhile listening to, but to me the 24-minute final track The Gamer is without doubt the ultimate highlight on this record. The twin guitar parts on this epic piece are of a high quality level and just like the heavy guitar tunes they add value to the song. Especially the many beautiful parts played on the keyboards are breathtaking! The only thing that could have been better is the singing. It's not bad at all, but the vocal parts should be improved to bring the band to the next level. A nice gimmick can be heard on the first track ... Continuation. It starts where the last track To Be Continued... of their debut album ended, something that Mostly Autumn also did on former releases.
When you look at the cover and booklet with the fantastic artwork created by Kirsten K. Viita, you'll get the impression that The Continuation is a concept album. But this isn't the case although the songs do have something to tell. For example The Gamer is about a boy who sits all day long in front of his Sony Playstation, The Masque is a song written by Morten Clason after he'd recovered from a serious illness, and Not Alone, written by Jean Robert Viita, deals with children who became orphans after losing their parents. Finally Giant Prize is about winning a huge amount of money in the lottery.
After To Be Continued... The Windmill recorded a strong follow-up album that will probably be enjoyed by people who like the above-mentioned bands. This time they didn't reach the highest rating, buy they came pretty close!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
Where to buy?
All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2013