"Adventure is a progressive rock project spearheaded by Terje Flessen (guitars/bass) and Odd Roar Blakken (keyboards/acoustic guitar) back in the 1990's in an attempt to bring back the symphonic and hard rock sounds of classic 70's bands. After releasing their self-titled debut a few years back, the duo are back with Beacon of Light on Progress Records, an epic sounding new release that should please those into bombastic, hard rocking prog rock music. Joining the duo are a host of guest singers and drummers, giving Beacon of Light a sort of prog-rock opera feel not unlike acts such as Ayreon, Roswell Six, and the like.
The press sheet that came with this release brings up such names as Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Jethro Tull, Camel, ELP, and Trace, and those are good comparisons, though I wouldn't say that Adventure are really mimicking any of them too closely. The hard rocking riffs, the classic keyboard sounds, the occasional flute, all these elements are things that vintage prog & hard rock fans love, and Adventure bring them to the forefront here. Opening suite "Something to Believe In" is a real slice of bombast, the lead vocals of Vebjorn Moen husky and thick (though they might be a tad over the top and overly dramatic for some) while plenty of thunderous guitar riffs and vintage keyboard sounds explode around the mix. Lyrically, this one's about the belief in a higher power, and the internal battles that all humans have when it comes to balancing good and evil. The third movement of this piece sees all the epic sounds move into a more tranquil state, as acoustic guitar and synths take on a more somber tone, making for a very well rounded 18 minutes of music. Other highlights here include the dreamy 'The Swan", a real Camel & Uriah Heep influenced number with haunting vocals by Henning Mjoen and lots of heavy as well as pastoral sections, the 2-part epic "A Crack In the Ice", which mixes heavy rock with Camel styled melodic prog, the lush, almost White Willow-ish "Emilie's Piece (featuring some lovely flute and acoustic guitar), the Hammond & guitar drenched "Fragile Frame", and the extended 4 part finale "Beacon of Light". The latter should be a favorite of vintage prog lovers, as it comes complete with plenty of assorted keyboard sounds from Odd Roar Bakken and Flessen's mix of heavy riffs, tasty solos, and lush acoustic strumming. Moen returns on this epic to add his powerful, bombastic vocal delivery.
Beacon of Light will prove to be a big hit for unsuspecting prog fans here in 2009. Not only does this CD contain some magnificent playing, but the lyrics, dealing with religion, racism, global warming, war, and narcissism, prove to be very relevant in these troublesome times. Seek this one out folks!
RATING: 4 of 5 stars
SEA OF TRANQUILITY
"5 out of 5 stars"
" Norwegian band Adventure began in 1990, and although they have only two albums to their credit, the new release entitled Beacon Of Light has made quite an impact on this reviewer. It is always exciting discovering new (at least to me) bands and such is the case with the latest offering from this Scandinavian progressive rock band. The core of the band consists of Terje Flessen (guitars, bass) and Odd Roar Bakken (keyboards, guitar) along with a few other musicians helping them out. The band plays progressive music mainly in the symphonic style although I also hear elements of progressive metal scratching the surface. The band is clearly influenced by 70s style prog and some of the heavier moments take on a Uriah Heep flavour. I can also hear the occasional Flower King's moment, especially in the longer multi part epic tracks.
The album begins with the three part epic "Something To Believe In". Starting with grandiose organ sounds, the music takes on a majestic feel as it does throughout much of the CD. In "Part 2" the band turns it up a notch, bordering on progressive metal with powerful riffs and swirling synths, but mostly this is a symphonic tour de force. More strains of organ can be heard before the mellow acoustic intro of "Part 3", ending this epic on a more subdued note.
"A Crack In The Ice" has good balance between heavy and lighter sounds offering stellar synth play and melodic lead guitar. The dramatic vocals of Vebjorn Moen suit the music very well. His deep, rich voice almost takes on an operatic style, again reminding me Uriah Heep. It took me a couple of listens before it finally began to sink in; the singing on this CD is one of my favourite parts. The Heep influenced "Fragile Frame" complete with lovely acoustic guitar and excellent vocals by Henning Mjoen is an album highlight.
Adventure quite possibly saves their best for last with the four part suite "Beacon Of Light", an excellent slice of symphonic rock with powerful drumming and some of the best lead guitar work on the album. Crunchy guitar rhythms make this one of the heavier tracks and the gritty singing of Moen works well with the superb backing vocals of Eva Cecillie Bjerkhoel.
This was a pleasant surprise and highly recommended for fans of 70s influenced symphonic progressive rock. Do yourself a favour and hear it for yourself.
RATING: 4,5 of 5 stars
"This album is a real good surprise."
"Terje Flessen and Odd Roar Bakken are the men behind one of this years big surprise. Adventure is no less than a symphonic prog rock band with obvious references to the happy 70’s, and bands like Jethro Tull, Uriah Heep, assorted other 70’s bands and, not least, the fantastic band Camel. Their music ranges over majestic and epic to calmer parts with flute and acoustic guitar and over to heavy, almost prog metal style parts and the good this is that absolutely everything works well together. Recommended!"
Rating: 9 of 10 stars