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With compositional proclivities rooted firmly in the sounds of seventies prog rock, it seems Brighteye Brison's fourth album is also conceptually related to said decade. Not intrinsically so but rather in its fantastical narrative that seems very much anachronistic in today's scene and more associated with that of a Yes or Hawkwind album of yore. So here we have 'The Magician Chronicles - Part I' (presumably the first chapter in a planned series of conceptual releases) which delves into the mythology behind the character of Brighteye Brison. Press sheet blurb informs the story is set "in a galaxy far away, spanning eons of time: a brave knight goes on a perilous adventure in the quest to confront a wicked magician who wields dark magic in order to create a being of super human qualities." Indeed! So, like I said, the concept's somewhat of an anachrony and, dare I say, a little lame but how well does it translate into music? Surprisingly, very well. Vocals are handled by the band's two keyboardists, Linus Kåse and Per Hallman, and bassist Kristofer Eng who all deliver fine performances, harmonising well and add a little melodrama here and there in their individual phrasing of the lyrics that gives weight to the fact a story is being told. Additional narration from Figg Norling enhances such and, on the whole, all instruments deployed on the recordings seem purposeful each time they appear, such as the sporadic bursts of saxophone as well as taurus, theremin, marimba and tubular bells alongside the expected keyboards, drums, bass and guitar. The overall effect is that a story is unfolding, sonically as well as lyrically. As naff as that story might appear to some, it cannot be denied the album succeeds in its conceptual intention. Prog with a purpose, rather than for the sake of, if you like! With two keyboard players, 'The Magician Chronicles' is rather synth heavy in places as one would expect but not overly so as songs generally contain well mixed layers of instrumentation where guitar will sometimes take the lead, sax at other times, and keyboards more often than not. Apparently, analogue synths have been used so there's a fairly organic sound to a lot of the music and while very well produced, the production hasn't been overly polished; rather the three songs sound very natural. To be blatantly honest, I expected not to enjoy this album based on preconceptions formed from reading the press sheet prior to spinning the disc but I can happily report that Brighteye Brison's latest is actually quite an engaging listen. Just don't expect anything too modern; if anachronistic prog rock is your thing then this is mightily fine stuff.
Progress Records
Review by Mark Holmes
11th Nov 2012
1) The Rise of Brighteye Brison
2) The Magician's Cave
3) Mind Fire Menace
"Prog with a purpose, rather than for the sake of..."