Brighteye Brison - V

(CD 2019, 66.50, Bad Elephant Music)

The tracks:
  1- The Crest of Quarrel(12:31)
  2- V(17:27)
  3- The Magician Chronicles - Part II(36:52)

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Brighteye Brison is a Swedish 5-piece formation which was founded in 2001 and released four studio-albums between 2003 and 2011. And now anno 2019, after 8 long years for the fans, here's the new album simply entitled V. I am only familiar with their third effort entitled Believers & Deceivers from 2008 and in a review I wrote: “This new Brighteye Brison album is pure Seventies oriented progrock (from Genesis and Yes to Gentle Giant and Focus)!” and “After more than 40 years of progrock, Brighteye Brison is a dynamic and exciting example that this often nailed music style is still alive, highly recommended!”.

So, it took more than 10 years before I had my second musical encounter with Brighteye Brison, I asked the band to provide me information about the last decade. This is their short story, told by Linus Kåse (keyboards, saxophone and vocals).

“So, we released an album called The Magician Chronicles - Part I in late 2011 (see review). This was our fourth CD, and it proved to be the third and last one on Progress Records. I believe that we might have started the recordings for a follow up even before the release of TMC, or at least directly afterwards. As fate would have it a lot of things started to happen around that time. Band members started up companies and families and I started touring and recording quite a bit with other artists. Both Erik and I joined Anglagard in 2012 which meant a lot of rehearsing and touring for the next couple of years. We did sporadic recording sessions with Brighteye trying to find time to finish up as much as we could. I believe the songs were written quite early on but it just took a lot of time to record it all and get them to sound the way we wanted. I guess in early 2018 we started to see that the project we had been working on every now and then for the last 7 or so years actually started to sound quite complete. I was convinced that we would be able to finish it off with just the right push and I contacted Martin Hutchinson at Bad Elephant Music whom I met in London a few years ago while touring with Anglagard. From there the ball started rolling and we finished up the album during late 2018 to early 2019.”

1. The Crest of Quarrel (12.31): It starts with a long intro featuring sound effects, then Mini Moog flights in a tight mid-tempo beat, gradually turning into a slow rhythm. To me the music sounds like a blend of symphonic rock (vocal harmonies and Hammond like Yes), Neo-Prog (tight beats, song oriented) and AOR (Eighties Styx and Kansas). Next a slow rhythm with lush strings, a pumping bass, Hammond organ waves and warm vocals and vocal harmonies, very melodic, harmonic and accessible, with a pleasant colouring by Mini Moog flights and guitar riffs. The final part is bombastic with again the Mini Moog, vocal harmonies, powerful guitar and tight rhythm-section.

2. V (17.27): First an impressive intro with the unsurpassed vintage sound by the Mini Moog and Mellotron violins, along fiery guitar. Then a tight beat, embellished with piano, rock guitar and pitch bend driven synthesizer flights, again very pleasant and accessible. Now the music becomes inspired by Yes and their worldwide hit single Owner Of A Lonely Heart, the spirit of this song reigns over the entire composition: a swinging rhythm with rock guitar, vocal harmonies, heavy guitar riffs, like “modern prog meets AOR”. Next majestic Mellotron violins, and then interplay between acoustic guitar and the distinctive Theremin, topped by vocal harmonies, an original musical idea. During the rest of this epic composition the music alternates between symphonic rock, Neo-Prog and AOR, coloured by tasteful work on vintage keyboards (Hammond, Mini Moog and Mellotron) and harder-edged guitar, it sounds dynamic, melodic and harmonic, the atmospheres shift from hypnotizing to bombastic. In the compelling final part a Bach inspired Hammond solo and heavy guitar with howling runs (Malmsteen, Blackmore and Vai come to my mind), this band knows how to please its fans!

3. The Magician Chronicles - Part II (36.52): Brighteye Brison now goes to the extreme with this mega epic composition, and presents the most symphonic rock inspired music on this album ( but it also borders with Neo-Prog and AOR at some moments). From the Rick Wakeman inspired intro with the mighty church organ sound and Mini Moog flights to the bombastic final part featuring vocal harmonies, a moving electric guitar solo and a lush Hammond organ sound. In between cascades of flowing shifting moods, from dreamy and slow rhythms to mid-tempo and bombastic. This is wonderfully coloured by strong vocals (and lots of vocal harmonies), excellent harder-edged guitar work, vintage keyboards (a lot of 'Mini moog Extravaganza', along Mellotron, Hammond and Hohner clavinet), the distinctive Theremin and varied piano play. The music evokes the sound of bands like Eighties Yes, The Flower Kings, Glass Hammer and Spock's Beard, also very melodic, harmonic and accessible.

I conclude that this very long epic composition is more symphonic rock rooted, so for me (as a diehard Seventies Symphonic Rock fan) more captivating, more elaborate and more dynamic than the previous two epic compositions. It is also closer to the only other Brighteye Brison album I am familiar with, Believers & Deceivers. But apart from this personal note, my conclusion is that Brighteye Brison has delivered a very pleasant and tastefully arranged album, I am sure it will appeal to many progheads who like Old School oriented symphonic rock that borders with modern prog, Neo-Prog and AOR.

**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Dave Smith)

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