"Yet again another Swedish gem arrives for your listen pleasure. Brighteye Brison's third release Believers & Deceivers is great example of full-fledged symphonic rock. The band consists of two keyboard players (grand piano, hammond organ, mellotron, rhodes, wurlitzer, pipe organ, clavinet, cp-70 and synthesizers), guitar, bass and drums. They also use saxophone, trumpet, mandolin, theremin, and xylophone to add to their full body sound. Three of the band members sing so you are provided with some very nice vocal harmonies and they each take turns singing lead vocals. Overall their sound has a positive feel that hearkens back to the 70's and at the same time sounds fresh and modern.
The CD consists of four tracks, the first being the shortest at just over five minutes long. This track reminds me a bit of A.C.T. with some very nice vocals and an up-tempo feel. Even though this is their shortest track there are some nice changes in it and a long instrumental passage. The second track is little longer at seven and a half minutes long. Here we have a song that has a Flower Kings feel to it. I also hear a little bit of Bruford (Jeff Berlin vocal era). This song has a very active bass line that changes through the song, with multiple keyboard sounds and a strong guitar solo. The next two tracks are two epics at twenty minutes and thirty-five minutes and this is where the band really shines. In these songs you will hear influence from Yes, Genesis, Gentle Giant, Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, Caravan, Camel, Supertramp, IQ, Spock's Beard, Flower Kings and more. Both these tracks have many tempo and mood changes; spacey, somber acoustic, majestic all the way to hard rocking parts. The band really does a good job of making everything flow smoothly with all these changes. As an added bonus you get to hear some real pipe organ on these tunes.
I have to say this is one of the best CD's I have listened to this year. What I really enjoy about this album is how the band use their influences to make it sound familiar, yet at the same time sounds exciting and new. What else could you ask for- great musicianship, strong compositions, a variety of vocal arrangements, and interesting lyrics all in a positive sound. I am a Believer."
Rating: 5 stars
SEA OF TRANQUILTY
"Believers & Deceiver is already the third album by Swedish Brighteye Brison, apparently the moment for a change of members, drummer Daniel Kase was replaced by Erik Hammerström. The last album 'Stories' was already a winner and a perfect example of modern retroprog, the expectations were very high. They consider themselves this album as their most progressive, and with epics of respectively 20 and 34 minutes this seems certitude.
But the album starts with 2 shorter tracks: a funky bass introduces 'Pointless Living' as a progressive piece of work, especially where the Gentle Giant-piece comes in, as well as the catchy chorus. Although this is with his 5 minutes the shortest song of the album, it contains all the ingredients that are typical for this group: the use of analog 'vintage' instruments, polyphonic vocals and excellent compositions. "After the storm" sounds a bit more Canterbury and is full of special rhytms and breaks, often doing the voice acrobacy that reminds me of 10cc, and an excellent guitar solo on top. But for true symphonic rock, you have to listen to the longer songs, a church organ in "The Harvest" marks the beginning of a rollercoaster of pace and mood changes, like Yes and Genesis, without forgetting their countrymen The Flower Kings. Very particular in the music of Brighteye Brison also remains the diversity of the keyboards, Linus Kase is an excellent musician. The jazzy touch is like on previous albums present by the use of wind instruments, a bit surprisingly ex-drummer Daniel Kase plays the trumpet here. The atmospheric and ambient sounding chorus is also reminiscent of The Alan Parsons Project. Many groups would already have lack of inspiration, but here the best is yet to come. "The Grand Event" is a progressive musical climax, in which all the influences of the seventies are present, while it sounds quite modern. Actually, this number contains actually 10 or more tracks, at about 5 minutes there is a typical Gentle Giant snippet, which once again showcases the vocal abilities of all members. Some people will perhaps have more trouble with the saxophone-passages, which obviously sound pretty jazzy. But these fragments are rather short, the symphonic parts clearly prevail. Of course it is not obvious for a listener to be captivated for over 35 minutes, but the variety, complexity and melody makes this song very enjoyable.
I must frankly confess that after first listening to this CD my rating was lower, mainly because I did compare it with their last album 'The Stories. " But actually, "Believers&Deceivers' showed to be a growing cd and it now belongs to my progressive highlights of 2008. It is now really clear, that you have to be in Sweden for good progressive rock."
"Thanks to the wide variety of instruments used on the album,
talented musitians and their ideas,
the album will definately fascinate those who love prog-rock music of
the 70s. Rating: 8/10"
"Although Brighteye Brison are part of the wave of progressive rock talent that continues to emanate from Sweden they could easily be mistaken for an American band. Their third album overflows with a rich variety of textures graced with polished harmonies so typical of many US acts. Their lineage can be traced back to 2000 when keyboardist, saxophonist and vocalist Linus Kåse joined forces with bassist, vocalist and fellow Stockholm Royal College of Music student Kristofer Eng. Linus’ elder brother Daniel brought his drum talents from the Stockholm Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and six months later guitarist Johan Öijen completed the original line-up. Following the release of their 2003 self titled debut album sound engineer, keyboardist and vocalist Per Hallman came onboard. The recording of their second album Stories was spread over three years before it finally saw the light of day in 2006. In the meantime the band made an unlikely appearance on a Swedish tribute album to the glam rock outfit Sweet in 2004. Drummer Daniel left the band after the release of the second album to be replaced by Erik Hammarström. More recently they contributed to Inferno the latest project from the Finnish Progressive Rock Association Colossus.
The potential of two keyboardists is exploited to the full utilising an array of analogue instruments including Mellotron, Hammond organ, pipe organ, synths and grand piano. In addition Kåse and Hallman incorporate a variety of electric pianos including Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Clavinet and the Yamaha CP70 electric grand. The way in which their complimentary styles mesh is a throwback to earlier dual keyboard acts like Rare Bird and Greenslade. It’s not all keys driven however as guitarist Öijen is given ample space to shine with a succession of solos, riffs and melody lines. Eng and Hammarström are not backwards in coming forward either although bass fairs better in the mix than do the drums. Case in point is Pointless Living which opens with a heavyweight solo bass riff introducing a rousing and compelling guitar theme bringing Rush instantly to mind. All manner of keyboard parts follow, each jostling for pole position before a wave of Earth, Wind & Fire style soulful voices accentuate the infectious chorus. It’s a near perfect opener that meters along under a head of steam pausing only occasionally for breath.
After The Storm includes several jazz flavoured excursions best of which is the excellent piano playing and smooth Level 42 style lead vocals. Other plus points are the shimmering organ backdrop, nimble bass work and busy drumming which underpin the track. A number of solo diversions however including a piercing synth break and a sprawling guitar workout means that for me it doesn’t flow as well as the rest of the album although the playing is top notch. The Harvest which is the first of two epic length pieces is probably the albums most accomplished piece and works on every level. It has hooks aplenty including a celestial organ intro; a psychedelic Beatles influenced vocal section and mellow electric piano meditations with overtones of Tony Banks. It builds in tempo with a driving rhythm pattern lifted from Genesis’ Watcher Of The Skies heralding a stunning vocal melody with layered harmonies. A busy instrumental segment echoes ELP with rousing synth and sax exchanges underpinned by rhythmic organ punctuations. Hallam trades his keys for gentle acoustic guitar leading the band into a gorgeous unplugged rendition of the songs principle chorus. The atmospheric Vangelis style synth and Mellotron string backdrop is a real joy. The majestic finale comes courtesy of a catchy ringing guitar and vocal theme with shades of Yes and The Flower Kings.
The Grand Event is almost as good as its predecessor although at 35 minute it’s probably just a tad overlong. Breezy mandolin and a haunting sax refrain introduce a lush acoustic guitar and synth strings overture that has all the hallmarks of Pink Floyd’s Welcome To The Machine. A complex counterpoint a cappella vocal interlude is pure Gentle Giant by way of Spock’s Beard. The intricate guitar and keyboard interplay that follows keeps it in GG territory with a nod in the direction Van der Graaf Generator thanks to an edgy sax break. The eerie sound of the Thermin courtesy of bass man Eng is an unexpected inclusion whilst the stirring sound of the pipe organ ensures the track lives up to its title. When this is joined by a prominent and compelling Hammond melody it certainly pushes all the right buttons and suddenly it has vintage Kansas written all over it. Ex drummer Daniel Kåse makes a guest appearance at this point this time adding trumpet to the mix. Several crescendos and false endings contribute to the tracks extended length before eventually military drums and soaring guitar provide a grandiose coda.
With their latest release Sweden’s Brighteye Brison have produced the quintessential prog album that neatly sums up everything that is good about the genre. With one foot firmly in the 70’s and one in the present day this is classic progressive rock with a contemporary edge. As a regular contributor to the DPRP pages my listening time is usually devoted to the latest releases and rarely do I find the opportunity to revisit albums. Believers & Deceivers however is a disc that is destined to become a regular resident in my CD player over the coming months. In fact it will be a benchmark for every other release still to come my way in 2008 and is certain to be a tough act to follow."
Conclusion: 8.5+ out of 10
DUTCH PROGRESSIVE ROCK PAGE
"Brighteye Brison have further developed their music. Very recommendable!
RATING: 4,5 OF 5
the new and third outing from brilliant Brighteye Brison, still using
vintage, analogue instruments! And to good effect I might add !! Ive listened
to this fabulous album, several times now and it grows on me at every
spin! Not only do they use vintage instruments, they deliver extremely
perfect vintage music by the mega-load!! With excellent multi layered
vocals, well composed songs,blending and delivering music from inspirational
sources such as: Gentle Giant, Hackett, Van Der Graaf G, Genesis and little
hints to Gryphon, to name a few! The superlative Hat-trickcomes
to mind, as I find these incredible musicians, so excellent on this their
I loved their former album (read review elsewhere) but this one really
tops that experience, it might be one of the greatest progalbums of this
year, so far!?
First of all, this album will serve you better played loud!!!
Ok, track run-down:
Pointless living starting out with slap bass lines, growing
into a somewhat (if you can imagine that) blend of Gryphon and high wired,
hard edged Yes !? No ? Well just listen!!
After The Storm vintage prog? You bet your bank account!!
This track delivers breaks, time
signatures and themes enough to cover a whole album, these guys are brilliant!
And..I must mention the superb guitarsolo!!
The Harvest 20:27 minutes of sheer symphonic prog bliss!!
Church organ de luxe begins this
excellent epic fare. This track holds everything you could imagine in
The grand event on this fine album, are without doubt exactly that: The
Grand Event clocking in
at some wonderful 34:44 minutes, filled to the brim with superb symphonic/prog
like they used to
make ém a musical masterstroke from these great swedes: Linus
vocals & percussion/ Johan Öijen: Guitars/ Kristofer Eng: Bass,
taurus pedals, theremin, mandolin
& vocals/ Erik Hammerström: Drums/Per Hallman: Keyboards, vocals,
acoustic guitar. So thumbs up,
hat´s off, full rating and WOW!! Go get it!!
P.s Did I mention, this album also holds some amazing vocal/chorus
Another great release from the fine people of Progress Records!! Rating:
"My absolute recommendation!"
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