Readers familiar with my reviews, must have noticed the maximum reward I granted the previous two Toxic Smile albums; I'm Your Saviour (2011, see review) and 7 (2013, see review). Both excellent albums were filled with mature progressive rock music, played by a perfect line-up; keyboard and sax player Marek Arnold-still is one of the most wanted musicians to play with-and vocalist Larry B. who keeps continuing to impress me with his fabulous voice, the rhythm section existing of bass player Robert Brenner and drummer Robert Eisfeldt who preserve the ideal foundation for Toxic Smile's music. Guitarist Uwe Reinholz adds melody as well as power to the band's music but recent information says this latter musician has left the band after the recordings in favour of guitarist Stephan Pankow.
Although Farewell could indicate that this release is the final production of Toxic Smile, I can assure you the band is alive and already working on/planning a follow-up for this release. Farewell is a concept album with just the one track that basically features a protagonist who has become increasingly disillusioned with our world of technology and screens, screens on everything. Everywhere you go, people are staring at little colourful screens. So, in his depression, he decides that he will resign himself to experiencing the world exclusively through sound. Musically the album fuses strong progressive rock melodies with metal referring guitar riffs as well as funky chops. There are plenty of passages where the piano takes the lead, sometimes with the companion of Larry's strong vocals, sometimes accompanied by the guesting violin orchestra. I can promise you forty-two minutes of interesting music, where a strong metallic guitar riff seems to be the guiding line in the music. A very strong element are the percussive parts in the music which create a kind of positive vibe. Farewell holds numerous wonderful solo passages of sax, piano, keyboard and guitar, something a true progressive aficionado is looking for in an album. But something that really stands out are the perfect vocals and choirs that are presented on the album. All in all this album offers you everything a progressive rock epic should.
Forty-two minutes used to be normal or even fairly long when it came to a regular LP many years ago. These days people are complaining about this length or defining this album as an EP. For me, I prefer forty-two minutes of high quality music, performed by Toxic Smile over any other band that releases a double album of one-hundred and thirty minutes filled with pointless music.
****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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