Fragments is the first album of Parzivals Eye, a project of Chris Postl, bass player in the German prog band RPWL. Together with well-known musicians as Christina Booth (Magenta), Alan Reed (Pallas), Ian Bairnson (Alan Parsons Project), Ossi Schaller (Ian Anderson) and Yogi Lang (RPWL) he made a perfect album! I dare to say that this one belongs to the best albums in my whole prog rock collection. All tracks are excellent because of the structure, the overwhelming solos and the great vocals by Christina and Alan. Besides, Yogi Langís production is very clear and convincing.
Longings End is the magnificent start of Fragments. After the soundscape of a train, the steel guitar, mellotron and guitar arpeggios take over with in the background the voices of Chris and Christina. It sounds a bit like Genesis Trick Of The Tale-era. In the middle section, you hear echoes from Mostly Autumn and dark voices ending with the phrase ĎIíve got to get out of hereí. A fine guitar solo by Ian Bairnson supported by the mellotron makes this track one of the highlights of this album. What a start! Alan Reed sings on Signs, a song about a man who thinks technology can solve anything. It starts tenderly, but soon the tension builds up with a rhythmical and psychedelic theme ending with a howling guitar solo by Ossi Schaller. The title track Fragments has a similar structure. It begins acoustical in a Genesis-like style with vocals from Chris and Alan. A fiery guitar riff penetrates into your head to stay there for a while. Suddenly the atmosphere changes with soft mechanical voices and ending with a heavy guitar solo. Face My Fear, sung by Alan, is quite similar to an RPWL-song. Itís a ballad with a nice chorus and a kind of bluesy, Gilmour-like solo in the middle-section. The song Meanings combines Christinaís talented voice with several synthesizer solos, a good prelude for the next highlight: Skylights is a superb blend of the best of Genesis, RPWL, Mike & The Mechanics and Alan Parsons. This song has a lot of emotion, especially in the end where Ian is at his best with a chicken skin guitar solo. Disguise is an up-tempo song and one of Alan Reedís best vocal performances. Again, several guitar and synth solos intertwine into a fascinating pace. Chicago is a famous Graham Nash-protest song of the early seventies, emotionally sung by Christina in a long version. Starting as a piano ballad, the middle section includes a magnificent dobro solo and ending with the dobro and a guitar solo. Where Have Your Flowers Gone sounds like a simple Beatles-song, but the combination of the steel guitar and the rhythm guitar makes it something special and interesting. Through Your Mind is a beautiful ballad sung by Chris and Christina. Itís a kind of country tune with a fine Hammond organ as a basis. The chorus is easy to sing which makes it a perfect finale for a live concert. In Wide World you can hear the influence Chris Postle has in RPWL. The final song Another Day combines all the music of the previous songs: fingerpicking guitar playing, rocking guitars and of course a very original and catchy melody.††††††††††††††††††††
I think Fragments is one of the best prog albums that appeared in 2009. Iím very excited to see Parzivals Eye play alive in November together with Sylvan, another top-notch German prog band.†††††††††††††††††††††††
***** Cor Smeets (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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