Flamborough Head
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Flamborough Head

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Nov
03
Flamborough Head @ De Harmsdobbe

Bakkeveen, Not Applicable, Netherlands

Bakkeveen, Not Applicable, Netherlands

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The Dutch sympho band Flamborough Head has definitely grown mature since their last album (almost 4 years ago) One for the Crow. Their new CD Tales of Imperfection offers seven songs, three of them instrumental. The songs are very diverse, some rush moments mixed with delicated melodies. The musicianship is very high, especially the skills Eddie Mulder (guitars) and Koen Roozen (drums) are impressive. To complete the line-up: Edo Spanninga (keyboards), Marcel Derix (bass) and Margriet Boomsma (lead vocals and flutes).
The CD kicks off with the instrumental 'For Starters', a beautiful composition. Margriet is great on the flute. 'Maureen' is a very diverse song with many different moods. During almost 12 minutes the song constantly changes but is still very cohesive. It makes sence all along. The third song 'Higher Ground' is an instrumental again. It reminds me of The Flower Kings' work. Nice tune! Next is 'Silent Stranger', the only weak spot on the album IMHO. The vocals of Margriet sound very hard and without emotion. But then comes 'Captive Of Fate', a beautiful arrangement with great harmonies! 'Mantova' (or should I say "Mexico") is the third and to me the most brilliant instrumental on the album. It has an addicting drive (I want to hear this song over and over again) and the interplay between guitar and keys is fascinating!Highlight on the CD. 'Year After Year' is a good song, nothing more and nothing less.

All in all a very good album! There is happening a lot in a musical way, you never get bored. [...] highly recommended to all the fans of real symphonic prog with a taste of folk (and even some neo-prog)

Review by Akagert - www.progarchives.com


I have followed this band for quite some time and every time the Dutch band FLAMBOROUGH HEAD comes up with another strong new record. Also this time they have released a very impressive CD, which is featuring high class Melodic Progressive Rock like LANA LANE fronting PENDRAGON, so what we have here is good clean female vocals and a lot of exciting instrumental passages. The songs are very melodic, almost AOR, yet pure Progressive Rock due to the long interpretation of the included 7 songs. The whole feeling of the CD reminds me of the 70s, sometimes a lot like RENAISSANCE and MOSTLY AUTUMN, yet rockier than the first band and more melodic rock based than MOSTLY AUTUMN, so somewhere in between these bands. The vocals of lead singer MARGRIET BOOMSMA are truly wonderful, as good as any other female singer in the Pop/Rockscene. Sounds cliché, but I really think FLAMBOROUGH HEAD has now released their strongest record, because each song has got all the elements a classic progressive rocksong needs to contain, which are rich keys, beautiful melodic guitarsolos, clean melodic vocalwork and even some flutes played by the female singer. Definitely a CD worth checking out for any fan of high class music. The absolute highlight for me is the 10 minutes counting “Silent stranger”, but in the end every song is a winner on this CD!
(Points: 8.7 out of 10)
- Web


This is the fourth album (others also on Cyclops) by the Dutch (frisian) prog ensemble Flamborough Head. First a little history on the band. In 1998 they released their debut album: Unspoken Whisper. This was followed by Defining the Legacy in 2000. Both albums are in the Neo Prog style (Pendragon, Pallas). On their 3rd album, One for the Crow (2002), there was change in style due to two new members .Vocalist and flutist Margriet Boomsma replaced Siebe Rein Schaaf and Eddie Mulder became the new guitar player. Still a lot of neo prog on that album, but also a bit more retro and folkish.
Now to the new CD. At first I almost didn't recognize them as Flamborough Head. The neo prog has almost disappeared and turned to a more folkish and retro kind of music (Renaissance, The Tangent, Genesis and Transatlantic) and the flute has become an important instrument as can be heard on the intrumental opener.
Second song Maureen has some beautiful instrumental passages and also some good singing, would fit on a Transatlantic album. I am not going to review every song but Captive of Fate is very beautiful ballad and fans of the Flower Kings and Neal Morse will love the instrumental song Mantova.
So to get an idea of their music it's like the above mentioned bands added with some good flute playing and female vocals. The lyrics (no concept) handle about life and people and the imperfection of it all.
I was surprised by this album. Fortunately it was a very pleasant surprise.
Cyclops have also released an album of old demo's by Flamborough Head. It's called: Bridge to the Promised Land (Cyclub 009)
- www.silhobbit.com


This is the third release from Flamborough Head, who I have to admit to knowing little about and therefore some research has been necessary to familiarize myself with the band and it's history. This done I can tell you that some personnel changes have occurred since the bands last album and in come Margriet Boomsma (Vocals, Flutes & Recorders) and now as a fully fledged member Eddie Mulder (Electric, Acoustic & Classical Guitars).

The album opens with the title track - lush strings forming the opening theme, nice changes within the dynamics before the introduction of the vocal sections. Magriet Boomsma has a distinct folk like quality to her voice and its introduction to the track was a contrast to the symphonic opening section - fine backing vocals help reinforce a strong Folk Rock notion. One for the Crow is the first of two lengthy opening tracks, both with solid guitar themes and nicely orchestrated string movements setting the tone for the album. The second of the tracks, New Shoes follows a similar pattern between the vocal and instrumental sections, a similar tempo and again with a complex middle section, amply displaying the obvious talents of each of the musicians - shades of Tony Banks and Genesis from Edo Spanninga in the keyboard department.

Track three is the first of two instrumental pieces, the first and the shorter, is the gentle Separate played principally by Eddie Mulder on classical guitar with accompaniment from Margriet on recorders, I believe, an excellent piece. From this we are taken into Daydreams a much fuller instrumental with numerous changes in style, medieval, folk, rock ballad and although the chord sequence is fairly predictable at times it allows some fine guitar work from Eddie. These pieces were probably my favourites from the album, gently atmospheric and varied in approach.

Nightlife picks up the pace and brings me to one minor criticism, that the tracks although varied in construction did follow a similar tempo throughout. This aside Nightlife and the final song Limestone Rock are strong pieces showing Margriet Boomsma in more varied and dynamic roles, almost "Musical" at times. Couple this with her delicate, infectious flute and recorder playing surely this must be a huge plus to the band. And yet again two fine solos from Eddie Mulder - this man is tasteful and his style and bluesy feel did bring to mind Dave Gilmour. Sandwiched between these two songs is another gentle instrumental Old Forest this time on electric guitar and a flute accompaniment - lovely. And finally the concluding pieces played on classical guitar New Shoes - a) Old Shoes Reprise and b) Pure 16th of June.

Throughout One for the Crow I couldn't quite make up my mind if the verse-chorus vocal sections worked with the distinct and progressive nature of the rest of the material, the two didn't quite mesh for me. Granted it made the music more accessible and gave greater variation, but the two elements seemed a little at odds. However this is the first recording together with the new line-up and the combination of both folk and rock elements, along with the fullness of the symphonic sound could quite easily set Flamborough Head aside from the others.

All in all this is a good album with catchy melodies, strong instrumentation and a grandiose sound, at times titanic, in others delicate and textured. Certainly from what I have read, One for the Crow, is a step towards a more commercial AOR sound, but still retaining the essence that is "Prog". I am not suggesting this is necessarily a bad thing and on the evidence here I can see a wider audience for Flamborough Head in the future.

Bob Mulvey - www.dprp.net


Discography

Unspoken Whisper 1997 (Cyclops)
Defining The Legacy 2000 (Cyclops)
Bridge to the Promised Land 2001 (Cyclops)
One For The Crow 2002 (Cyclops)
Tales of Imperfection 2005 (Cyclops)

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Bio

Flamborough Head has existed since the beginning of the nineties. Keyboard player Edo Spanninga felt it was time to start a band which would make progressive rockmusic, a musical flow which was nearest to Edo’s heart but in which he had never been active before. Flamborough Head worked on new material and they decided to record this material in their rehearsal room in Bakkeveen, on their own recording equipment for a cassette-demo. This demo was released in 1994. Background Magazine wrote: “The balance between keyboards and energetic guitar licks is excellent. The songs are about six to seven minutes long, with the right changes in mood and spheres. This is the kind of true progressive rock I think BM readers would like to hear”. After listening to this demo, Malcolm Parker of the English proglabel Cyclops decided to offer Flamborough Head a record contract. As a result of this development, the band recorded their debut-album Unspoken Whisper, which was released in 1997. Followed by some excellent reviews, the band gained a steady growing following, showing up at concerts. The Classic Rock Society (Rotherham, UK) also became aware of Flamborough Head and awarded the band as “Most Promising Prog-Act of 1998”. Fueled with lots of motivation Flamborough Head then went on to write and produce the next album Defining the Legacy. After a change in line up (Margriet Boomsma – Vocals & Flutes and Eddie Mulder – Guitars & Vocals) Flamborough Head shifted from the previous neo-progstyle to the more 70’s oriented style which has become the band’s trademark these days. In the meantime Cyclops Records had decided to release Flamborough Head’s original demo because there was a considerable demand for it. Entitled Bridge to the Promised Land and released in 2001, it closed the “mark-1”-era of the band.
The new line up of Flamborough Head released the album “One for the Crow” in 2002 which got excellent reviews from all over the world. The group also performed throughout Europe, mainly at festivals, before enthusiastic audiences.

In 2005 the band released the next album called “Tales of Imperfection”, their best so far, which even took them to Mexico in 2006 (to perform at the prestigious BajaProg-festival) and to Budapest in 2007,
where their shows were also received very enthusiastically. At the moment the band is working on a new studio-album and a live album.

Since 1997 Flamborough Head have been the organizers of a highly popular progfestival in the north of The Netherlands called ProgFarm. For more details on this festival please visit the Flamborough Head website.