Freedom To Glide -
Sick To Death

(EP CD 2014, 19:12, Private Release)

The tracks:
  1- A Better Way(5:11)
  2- Dear Mum(1:33)
  3- No White Stone(3:18)
  4- Shell Shocked(9:11)

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Background Magazine already reviewed-three times-the music released by the British duo Andy Nixon (vocals, guitars, bass, programming) and Pete Riley (piano, synthesizers, organ), both members of the British Pink Floyd tribute band Dark Side Of The Wall. Under the moniker of Freedom To Glide they impressed me with their EPs Rain (2011, see review) and The Wait (2012, see review). But their absolute highlight until now was their first full length album Rain (see review). Words could hardly describe what Riley and Nixon had achieved on this true masterpiece. I compared it to the Pink Floyd albums Dark Side Of The Moon (1973), Wish You Were Here (1975) and The Wall (1979), and regarded it as being of the same high quality. When I got their latest effort Sick To Death it was obvious that expectations did run high.

The new EP Sick To Death is equal to a concept album. It deals with the consequences of the so-called war neurosis, or better known as “shell shock”. During WWI, many soldiers came home with major mental health problems. Physically they were in order, but mentally they were close to madness. At that time it was thought that these problems resulted from the air that they breathed as they stood near a grenade that had exploded. This phenomenon was soon to be named shell shock. This war neurosis drove some soldiers to refuse their service. The British army was less tolerant for application and left many of these soldiers (who-as we know now-suffered post-traumatic stress) mercilessly executed for desertion. Only in late 1915 was it politically decided that these men had to be treated in psychiatric hospitals.

Riley and Nixon were inspired by such stories of so-called war neurosis after visiting a war museum. And so they continued their impressive series on the theme of war. And I can only say that Freedom To Glide made a strong follow up in their everlasting musical cycle, which deals with 100 years of war. Too bad it only last for about twenty minutes.

As well as on Rain, this album does show the duo knows how to hit you with their lyrics. These men know the insanity of war and everything to do with it. It's just excellent the way they express their emotion in words. Also in terms of music, the duo continues to follow the line of the previously released work. Four atmospheric songs are reminiscent initially to the music of Pink Floyd. Each track is very mellow and sounds rather laidback!

Opener A Better Way has a beautiful building, with atmospheric guitar work and powerful vocals. It is followed by the shortest track of all. Dear Mum has some atmospheric keyboard parts and spoken words. The spoken words reminded me of former Floyd member Roger Waters. The third piece No Whitestone is mainly performed on the acoustic guitar and has some strong keyboard parts. The shrill guitar parts cut deep into your soul, beautifuly. It is right away followed by Shell Shocked. The orchestrations and acoustic guitar make sure to get a nice atmosphere and at the end, the madness of the whole subject is clearly made with more bombast through heavy guitars.

It should be clear that the level of music this duo has made so far has been very high. All EPs together with the album are an impressive war memorial. The band has my blessings and hopefully will they continue releasing more of such strong music as you can find on their latest effort.

**** Henri Strik (edited by Robert James Pashman)

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