Belgium Quantum Fantay are a band that always adds something special to their space rock roots. Sometimes you get to travel the world with the band, other times the music turns to a more progressive rock side. With again another change in the band's line-up, it doesn't change their music that much. Long-time drummer Gino Bartolini has been replaced by Louis Van der Linden on the 2019 release; Yemay Orisha, where a few years back, Tom Tas replaced his Thorium bandmate Dario Frodo as guitarist for Quantum Fantay. Leaving both keyboard player Pete Much and bass player Jaro as the driving force of the original line-up. Good news is, original band member Charles Sla returned as guest musician, playing the sound defying flute again. The album's line-up is completed with the vocal parts of Maera and Rafaela on two of the songs.
The album begins with a twelve-minute exercise in groove. The title track Yemaya Orisha (Veautifull Mocean Pt1) brings lush keyboard arrangements and some powerful guitar solos, hailing from the metal side of music. The return of Charles Sla bring back great memories and over Jaro's defined bass melodies, he lays down some beautiful flute parts. During the second part of the track; Mami Wata (Veautifull Mocean Pt2), you can hear the homage to perhaps the first real bubbling, mushroom consuming orientated space rock band Ozric Tentacles. A band that surly have been a huge influence, but in my opinion Quantum Fantay have grown to much more than a space rock band and therefore is much more interesting (to me). Nevertheless, the ultimate groove of Mami Wata (Veautifull Mocean Pt2) is absolutely brilliant and I think the more defined guitar sound makes this a highlight of the album. Although Riddles Of The Sphinx is a true space rock composition, there is so much more, if you dig in deeper, elements of fusion and melodic rock can be found in this quite accessible track. I even hear Jan Hammer during this song. The delicate spoken words of Maera are a fine addition to the already interesting track. With the returning Charles Sla and the guitaristic escapades of Tom Tas, Gemini Flower becomes a kind of heavy space track. Jaros' grooving bass sets the base for this bubbling synth versus guitar driven composition. The final composition; Serra Da Estrela brings you back to the original space atmosphere of the initial band, although it has to be said that drummer Louis is much more a rock drummer than previous drummer Gino. Where Gino was groovy and adventurous, Louis keeps it more solid and steady.
Where I stated it didn't matter who is in Quantum Fantay's line-up I have to conclude this is the rockiest album so far of my favourite Belgium Space outfit. There is still lots of grooving bubbles to trip on, but on the other side the element of rock has definitely grown. This minor shift could appeal to a wider audience, but I am glad Quantum Fantay also stays true to their own space heritage, with this great album.
****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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