Most people who know me well, have noticed that one of the categorizations I make in progressive rock is the one on country of origin. My personal collection is sorted first on country and second on band name. Luckily it is an aberration which more of my progressive rock friends have.
I think it was in the 90s that I discovered that the country of origin was a very important factor in how a band sounds. I discovered at that time for example that Italian progressive rock bands sound more or less like Genesis in the old days.
It was in these same 90s that I discovered a band called Collage. The band came from Poland and had a record deal at SI Music. When I first heard their album Moonshine (1994), I was flabbergasted. When I found out that this band came from Poland, I was flabbergasted for the second time. I had never heard something from Poland. So I was really down and out. At that time I was a concert junky. At almost every concert there was, you could find me. When Collage played in the early 90s at the Tivoli Utrecht venue, I went to the show. This was an unforgettable show. Live Collage played unbelievable good. It was almost as if I was listening to the album on CD. Long story short, Collage have a very special place in my progressive rock heart.
What has Collage to do with the review of Seven Widows of the Polish band Believe? Everything, of course.
One of the key players of Collage, Mirek Gil, founded Believe after Collage broke up. Mirek Gil played a very special role in Collage. Gil was the guitar player in this band and also wrote most of the songs. Gil is a very talented player with a characteristic style and -sound. He was not one out of a dozen, but has a special touch. Especially his lingering guitar solos are his trademark.
Believe is a band which knew turbulent times. There were several changes in the line up. At the moment Believe's line up is: Lukasz Ociepa (vocals), Mirek Gil (guitars), Satomi (violin, keyboards), Przemas Zawadzki (bass guitar) and Robert “Qba” Kubajek (drums).
All the previous albums were neo prog related and were rather high quality. Further on the influences of Collage are obvious. Despite the quality, I missed some sort of unity in the albums. Unity on which Seven Widows can be found. I think they have made the most stable album in the band's history. Seven Widows is an album which contains seven songs. The songs have no real title. The first song is just “I”, the second “II” the rest you can guess, I suppose.
At first sight it looks as if the songs are related, but that isn't the case. This album has a sort of central theme, but isn't a concept album.
The album starts rather dark. The strings especially are responsible for it. When Gil starts to play, the direction is melodic as always. When after a short while a violin starts to play, it is rather striking. The violin is an instrument that will play a significant role in all the songs. Gil has given an extra twist to his music, it seems. If you don't like violins in progressive rock, then this album will not quite be your cup of tea.
After a while I got used to it and I really start to like it. Believe distinguishes itself from many of its peers
All the songs are Collage-like. The music contains the following elements for example: heavy guitar orientated atmospheres, very melodic guitar parts, folk orientated violin parts, dark colored string parts and excellent vocals. All guitar solos are fabulous of course. What that man can play. He plays with sense and feeling. That's a great combination.
All songs are at least 8 minutes. So for most progressive rock lovers, there lies no problem. In most cases that is the “best” duration.
This album is the best album Believe has ever made, in my humble opinion. It has the depth that I missed in all former albums. It has also a solid foundation instead of quicksand. For Believe it will be the classic- or epic album I believe.
When you love the music of Collage and Satellite (also a spin-off of Collage), this album will fit you for sure! Great album.
****+ Aad Bannink
Where to buy?
All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2017