Project: Patchwork -

(CD 2018, 72:04, Progressive Promotion PPRCD061)

The tracks:
  1- PreFlection(2:09)
  2- Struggle And Agony(8:09)
  3- Yearning For Confraternity(7:02)
  4- Worried Citizens(9:21)
  5- Fear Of Loss(6:16)
  6- First Disorder(7:21)
  7- Inferno(6:05)
  8- Last Horizon(3:22)
  9- Of Sheep And Wolves(9:28)
10- A Winter's Tale(9:55)
11- Reflection(2:57)

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Sometimes when you have reviewed an album, you really don't have the feeling a successor will be released soon or even ever. I think when I reviewed Project: Patchwork's debut (2015, see review) I never would have thought a second album was to be released.
Ok, perhaps I was a little bit sceptical about Gerd Albers and Peter Kroll's album in the first place. Not rewriting my review though, but I did have the feeling the album was carried by the large amount of incredible guests that featured. So now Re Flection has been sent to me for another review and to be honest, I am quite curious how and if the music has evolved.

What hasn't changed on Project: Patchwork is the wide variety of guests participating. I'm not going to point them all out, I just want to highlight a few names. The duo again gets a lot of help from the SSTTGD, Cyril, Toxic Smile clan; Marek Arnold, Martin Schnella and Larry Brödel. But also Subsignal's Markus Steffen and John Mitchell (Arena, Kino, Lonely Robot) both deliver their signature soloing to the album.
Re Flection starts with a spoken word intro; PreFlection, that gently introduces acoustic guitar and piano. The piano part btw is almost an exact copy Maiden uniteD's interpretation of Iron Maiden's intro for Empire Of The Clouds. Struggle And Agony follows, after some hiccups the song displays the electric theme from the intro and some nice Alice Cooper reminding vocal parts. Halfway thru the track the fine progressive rock takes a detour towards a folk rock related part. Towards the end John Mitchell leads the song back to the original progressiveness of the beginning of the composition. Gentlemen Albers and Koll must be fans of Dutch band Maiden uniteD, because like in the intro, the beginning of Yearning For Confraternity almost exactly mirrors one of their songs. But nevertheless this gently becomes a very interesting composition. Contributions of the fabulous vocalist Larry B. and solo guitar parts from Markus Steffen ice this fine tasting cake. Marek Arnolds signature woodwind playing leads in Worried Citizens; a gentle smooth composition with less interesting vocal parts. As well as the male the female voices also let me down a bit during this over nine minutes clocking song. Also too bad the guitar solo does seem to drown in a blurry mix. Larry B. wasn't chosen for nothing, his vocal parts on Fear Of Loss are amazing, he solely lifts this composition to a higher level. This track has a slight Genesis feeling and Larry does remind me of Phil Collins a bit. Fine guitar melodies lead in First Disorder. The female vocals give this track a very nice touch and Stephan Pankow's guitar solo perfectly suits the music. Inferno seems to be a pretty nice composition, but Olaf Kobbe's second attempt as lead vocalist is just too weak to make the song really interesting, pretty nice keyboard solo though. What follows is a kind of acoustic ballad; Last Horizon. Again, too bad they have chosen for Jessica Schmalle to take the lead in three compositions, for both Melanie Mau as well as Magdelena Büchel have a more interesting voice. The song with the odd tittle; Of Sheeps And Wolves; google the word sheeps! is a smooth melodic progressive composition which lasts over nine minutes. The song is a pleasant one and you don't even notice you are listening to such a long composition, which is good for a progressive rock song. One of the highlights for me is the song A Winter's Tale. Here we are treated the duo Melanie Mau and Martin Schnella, who proved to be a very pleasant sounding duo on their own record; The Oblivion Tales (2017, see review). The album finishes with a cool atmospherically, soundscape style tune called Reflection, a smooth end of the album.

Again, this is a difficult album for me to judge, a true patchwork it is. There are a number of great compositions, where namely the guests take these to a higher level. Other compositions are less interesting and close to mediocre. But there is a progression after the previous release, so I have high hopes for a following release.

***+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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