A collection of interviews & reviews pertaining to our album Legacy.
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September 30, 2012
The music is melodic, blending Symphonic Progressive Rock and Progressive Folk with Melodic & Gothic Female-Fronted Metal and Progressive Metal, but avoids the excessive heaviness of most Metal bands. The Rock/Melodic Metal passages with vocals remind me of “Edenbridge”, “Elis”, “Nightwish”, “Within Temptation“, “Evanescence”, “The Gathering”, “Delain”, “Beto Vazquez Infinity”, “Stream of Passion”, “Leave’s Eyes”, and “Nemesea”, and the Prog-Metal instrumentation is like “Everon”, “Enchant”, “Shadow Gallery” and even “Dream Theater”. The smoother Progressive parts, sometimes with a Folk lean, recall “Rush”, “Styx”, “Renaissance”, “Believe”, “Quidam”, “Tori Amos”, and “Blackmore’s Night”. Continue Reading...
The compositions are driven by the piano of Andrews, who plays in a style like “Renaissance”, “Styx”, and “Evanescence”. Other keyboards support a background of symphonic arrangements. Andrei Kryssov discharges Prog-Metal guitar solos that are melodic and soulful, always following the musical themes suggested by the arrangements. Buchner and Hunter add Rocky and Prog bass lines that balance the songs, while Minnemann, with his refined skill, gives fluidity to the entire rhythmic section. The songs shine with the great voice of Alison Vance – whose vocal timbre recalls me of “Anneke van Giersbergen” (“Agua de Annique”, “The Gathering”), “Sabine Edelsbacher” (“Edenbridge”), and “Sabine Dünser“ (“Elis”) – being less operatic but having a sweet touch, recalling “Annie Haslam”, (“Renaissance”) and “Tori Amos”. “Legacy” features 8 tracks.
The opening song “I Live On” (5:26) and track 3 - “Mirrors Of You” (6:23) - bring the free-flowing energy of Rocky rhythms and strength on the chorus, with passages of Melodic Metal guitar solos and instrumentation that recall bands like “Elis”, “Edenbridge”, and “Nightwish”. “Mirrors…” is my favorite for having an epic mood, great chorus, and lively pianos like “Renaissance”. Tracks 2 and 4 - “Never Forget” (7:56) and “Degrees Of Freedom” (7:25) - alternate soaring keyboards, classic pianos and passionate vocals with denser Prog-Metal instrumentation, sounding like a mix of “Everon”, “Shadow Gallery”, or “Dream Theater” with “The Gathering” and “Edenbridge”. Slowest, “Degrees…” is crowned with baroque guitars solos. After the instrumental track 5 – “Elusive” (5:00) – which is an explosive, intricate and ferocious Prog-Metal piece – “Legacy” reaches a turning point. The initial rocky disposition is replaced by melancholic moods and a gothic atmospheres on the piano ballad “Holding On” (4:48), recalling the sonority of “The Gathering” and “Evanescence”, also bringing dramatic vocals and soulful guitar solo. The last two tracks are the most Progressive, Symphonic, Folk & Epic of the album: “Proclivity” (7:39) brings in a powerful Heavy-Metal riff that is broken by the smoothness of Alison’s vocals. Kryssov‘s best guitar solo joins with classic pianos and a final epic male/female choir in a song that recalls “Edenbridge” and “Nightwish”. The title track “Legacy” (11:15) is better still. Flowing in a mid-tempo Progressive cadence, this magnum opus is divided in many parts – the intro brings subtle vocals and Classical guitars and pianos; the middle section is full of instrumental Progressive passages stuffed with clean soaring guitars, tuneful bass lines and symphonic keyboards; and the final climax is marked by Classical piano solo and the comeback of peaceful vocals – also recalling the most amazing moments of “Nightwish”, “Quidam”, “Believe” and “Renaissance”. Forward Shapes belongs to a new generation of Female-Fronted bands that are renovating the style (“The Flaming Row“, “Effloresce“, “Children In Paradise“). For now, Forward Shapes has no plans to play live and focus on the promotion of “Legacy” – a really outstanding album, highly recommended for fans of “Edenbridge”, “Nightwish”, “Elis”, “Within Temptation“, “Evanescence”, “The Gathering”, “Nemesea”, “Delain”, “Leave’s Eyes”, “Beto Vazquez Infinity”, “Epica”, “Renaissance”, “Quidam”, “Believe”, “Tori Amos”, “Everon”, “Enchant”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Dream Theater”, and so on…
September 24, 2012
"Legacy", Forward Shapes' first release is a well made mixture of different sonorities, which obviously lead to prog-rock. Every song, in its own way, its unique: of course, every song is similar to the others in the general feeling (we're talking about a prog-rock album here, so you won't find a punk/metal/funk/jazz song in here. If you wanted something like that, stop reading and don't listen to this album), but you'll never say "Oh Lord, these two tracks are identical!" or "I've already heard something like this". Every song its unique, as I said, and in this detail resides Forward Shapes' strongest point: willpower. Forward Shapes was formed in 2005 by Andrei Kryssov (Guitar) and Brian Andrews (Keyboards), and after some very serious difficulties, the search for excellent members to fill in for the missing instruments (and they indeed found excellent members: Mark Buchner on bass, Alison Vance as the singer, Ryan Hunter as a bass player, backing vocals and Irish whistle, and finally, one my favorite drummers of all time, Marco Minnemann they finally recorded this album not united, but separately, because they all live far one from each other. Continue Reading...
So, after so many years of waiting and dedication to a single project, shouldn't we praise Forward Shapes' commitment to "Legacy"? Also, they did a great job! Each track is able to entertain you without bore you, even in the 11-minute-long title track: "Legacy". "Legacy" does not have the pomposity of many prog-rock albums, every song is direct, it doesn't have enormous solos which only make the song heavier. The keyboards lead in every song, and I have to say Brian is absolutely a fantastic player on his keyboard, while everything else follows. Unfortunately, I also have to say Alison's voice, although being beautiful, is not very incisive at certain points, and sometimes she doesn't manage to give that little bit more of strenght that would have made some songs really beautiful. But, as I said before, her voice is beautiful and she's capable of singing some really high and difficult notes, so this is only a very minor fault in a fantastic album. Special mention for Marco Minnemann, who's absolutely brilliant on the drums, with marvelous fills and rhythms. I really, really envy Forward Shapes for having had him to play on their first cd. Well...I really, really like this album. It has personality, and everyone put so many efforts in it that it'd be an absolute shame if you wouldn't give it a try. I strongly support this band, and I really hope they'll get all the attention they deserve!
Rating - 88/100
July 25, 2012
Every now and then, we like to deviate from our main focus of female-fronted metal to introduce readers to something different they may like. Today’s review covers such a band: Forward Shapes, a piano-driven progressive rock project from Orange County, California. Keyboardist Brian Andrews and guitarist Andrei Kryssov founded Forward Shapes in late 2005 while they were studying at Chapman University together. Over the next 2 years, they composed songs with the vision of creating a full-length progressive rock album with female vocals. Add 3 more years of searching for and recording the right musicians to fit that vision, and the end result is Legacy, a sprawling opus of melody, hope, and (for a debut album) surprising complexity. Continue Reading...
Legacy sounds like the result of Tori Amos joining forces with American alt-rockers The Fray and then veering into Dream Theater and Rush territory. This record contains tempo and time signature changes galore, and each track twists and turns its way through labyrinthine structures. (Don’t take that last bit lightly; the average song length on Legacy is 7 minutes!) This kind of music requires skilled musicians, and Forward Shapes has plenty of them. Andrews dances his way up and down the piano keys with the litheness that only classically trained pianists have. Kryssov’s prog influences are evident in his quick-fingered riffs and dizzying solos. World-renowned drummer Marco Minnemann (Illegal Aliens, Frank Zappa) puts on quite a show as well; his previous experience with progressive and metal artists comes in handy on Legacy. Alison Vance provides the clean, crystal clear vocals that are also part of Forward Shapes’ trademark. The naïveté and sweetness she conveys matches well with the album’s simple, optimistic lyrics.
For much of its 1-hour playtime, Legacy maintains equilibrium between atmosphere, edge, and melody. The ambient intro of "Degrees of Freedom" is deceptive, segueing into Kryssov’s cartwheeling guitars and Vance’s anthemic first verse. The synth-strings on the second verse intensify the song’s message of emancipation: "I won't regress / This is my chance / To be something more." "Never Forget" has a similarly styled beginning, but is more mellow and surreal in nature. Andrews’ concentration on atmospheric keys instead of a driving piano here may be the reason why.
Legacy does offer some good rock-out tracks. "Proclivity" delivers a rush of sensations with a soaring refrain, rollercoaster guitar and piano solos, and complementing male and female choirs. The instrumental "Elusive" sums up the album’s eccentricities and unpredictability while dipping into calmer, guitar-based atmospheres halfway through. "Mirrors of You" uses a more traditional structure to condemn modern-day ideals on beauty and encourage self-acceptance. According to Forward Shapes’ bio, Vance’s audition of "Mirrors of You" impressed Kryssov enough to invite her to sing on Legacy. If Vance’s audition was anything like the final recording, where she sails through her lines with staggering conviction, I would have chosen her as well.
Despite its expert execution, Legacy isn’t an easy album to fall in love with. This is a music-oriented album packed with technicality and dexterity. Vance may play a crucial role, but progressiveness reigns supreme. Thus, the multitude of instrumental sections may fatigue the listener. This isn’t helped by the frequent changes in time signature, tempo, and key that sometimes jar a track’s overall flow. Also, the ballads on Legacy aren’t that interesting. "Holding On," the album’s single, wades in acoustic waters aimlessly and with little emotion. The 11-minute title track has moments of radiance, especially the cresting guitar/piano waves that begin around the 2:30 mark. Otherwise, it sticks to chorusless meandering and fails to unify its sections into a strong, cohesive epic.
Regardless, it’s impossible not to be moved by Legacy. The record’s ambition needs time to be appreciated, but its spirit makes it worth that time. The lyrical subject matter and the focus on a piano-driven style give Legacy a unique and likeable character. In fact, Legacy makes a decent summer record: It’s smart, upbeat, light (compared to most fare we cover here), and brimming with creativity. And Forward Shapes certainly has no lack of talent, from its leaders Kryssov and Andrews to its herald Vance. Perhaps a smoother, more melody-based album with less technicality yet just as much imagination would be more appealing. A second album may not be in Forward Shapes’ plans, though; the project has announced they have no plans to play live. So maybe we should just roll down the convertible top, play Legacy while driving under a cloudless sky, and let it lift us up.
8 / 10
Best Songs: "Proclivity," "Mirrors of You"
Recommended for fans of piano-driven or progressive rock, or for fans of Tori Amos, Evanescence, We Are The Fallen, and Within Temptation
June 21, 2012
A unique blend of rockin' piano, female lead vocals, electric guitar and beautiful vocal harmonies. With special guest Marco Minnemann on drums, Legacy is an atmospheric Prog Rock album that will take you on a melodic journey of epic proportion. Far from being a traditional band, all the musicians who played on this, Forward Shape's debut album have never been in the same room, and have never played a single song together. Indeed, each instrument was recorded in various home studios owned by the musicians on this album. The band was founded in late 2005 by Brian Andrews (Keyboards) and Andrei Kryssov (Guitars), freshmen at Chapman University in Orange County California. Their vision was simple: write, record and release a full-length Progressive Rock album with female lead vocals. And this is it! Continue Reading...
There is actually some awesome music here, kicking off with the progressive rocker 'I Live On', with vocalist Alison Vance reminding me of Charlotte from Dutch rockers Delain. A great keys and guitar intro greets the slower 7 minute + and one of my faves 'Never Forget', reminding me of the band Asia - I can imagine John Wetton singing this one. 'Mirrors of You' is another number that just continues the excellent start to this album. The remainder of the record continues in a similar vein, with some excellent progressive but yet commercial rock - imagine a mix of Delain and Asia/Yes (with female vox) then maybe that will give the listener a rough idea where this band is at musically. 'Holding On' is a belting ballad, absolutely beautiful, but the climax of the whole record is the 11 + minute closer and title track, which is an absolute Progressive Rock epic in it's own right. Furthermore, I understand that guitarist Andrei is a fan of The Birthday Massacre - the guy is a cool dude. Check this band out and listen to a couple of the tracks and then consider buying this album - well recommended, 8.75/10 (Dave)
June 7, 2012
Forward Shapes is a brilliant Prog Act, from the internet, yes, from the internet. Their album is stellar and shows off some brilliant music. With a few rising stars (most notably Marco Minneman) this band could very well be the next big thing. The guitar work on this record is stellar with some tasty performances that put out some great Dream Theater type riffs. The solos are also excellent and show the level of genius of Andrei the guitarist. The bass work is pretty solid and it really pushes the music forward on songs like Never Forget. The drums are brilliant, Marco Minneman is one of my favorite drummers in the world and it is a joy to get to hear him on this record. He proves his genius yet again and has made me fall even more deeply in love with his work. The keyboard work is also pretty good and gets a lot of wonderful Haken styled melodies into the music. Finally we have the vocals, which are excellent. The singer of this group has a beautiful voice that makes her, in my mind, a female James Labrie. So, if you're looking for some killer prog, come check out this band.
April 28th, 2012
'Legacy' is the hugely enjoyable new eight track album Orange County based progressive rockers Forward Shapes. This album has all the fundamentals I like about this genre that strikes that chord with me for its rich diversity, fun energy and passion. A lot of care and attention has gone into the creation of the album, especially with the out of this world production artwork, it baffles me as to why bands like Forward Shapes are not huge and remain unsigned. 'Legacy' has all the hallmarks that fans of catchy, rock and power metal will fully enjoy. The band are based around musicians Brian Andrews on keyboards and Andrei Kryssov on guitars. Guesting on the album are Mark Buchner on bass, Ryan Hunter also on bass and backing vocals, the mighty Marco Minnemann on drums and Alison Vance who handles the lead vocals. Continue Reading...
'Degrees Of Freedom' is absolutely huge. Alison Vance has a sensational voice that is up there with Issa and Lana Lane, this track is a moody melodic song. There a lot of piano sections and this song has a Nightwish feel and is stunning. And if you think that song was awesome then wait until you hear the gorgeous 'Holding On', this song is dynamically massive, the whole feel of the music and vocals is sensational, it's massive and just made me shiver, huge power driven balladic in feel with lovely piano playing, very deep and passionate song, most impressive.
'Legacy' is immense and runs in at over eleven minutes long, it's an elegant thought provoking piece, storytelling lyrics and haunting heart wrenching vocals. Why we have not heard of Alison before now amazes me, she’s like the darker end of Candice Night mixed with a little Ann Wilson and assorted other singer, she has to be one of the best female singers out there today in prog. And the band, what can I say, technically perfect, no flash just everything played with tons of feeling, wondrous stuff. 'Never Forget' drifts along, this is an up-tempo commercial rocker with lovely vocals, it's really catchy and reminds me of Nightwish and Evanescene, there are lots of musical changes and ideas during the song making this another highlight, it’s get really racey with the keyboard mid way through with a Dream Theater feel, and it’s awesome.
There is so much to enjoy from this album, I'm really excited about this band, musically it's all here, there is something for everyone to enjoy throughout 'Legacy', we couldn't ask for more really an this is one of those albums I can play forever and get lost in. Watch out for Forward Shapes, one to look out for in the future and a band who perform with feeling and style, and that’s a rare thing. Forward Shapes slick and sophisticated, and should be around for a long time to come, amazing record.
September 24, 2012
Interview with Alison Vance and Andrei Kryssov
You've probably heard before of “long-distance relationships”. Some of them end well, others...do not. But, have you ever heard about a “long-distance band”? No? Well, I guess you don't know Forward Shapes, then! This band was created in 2005 at first by Andrei Kryssov and Brian Andrews (Guitar and keyboards, respectively), but they needed other musicians in order to have and record the other instruments, too. And so they finally found Marck Buchner (Bass), Ryan Hunter (Bass, Irish Whistle), the acclaimed Marco Minnemann (Drums) and Alison Vance (Lead singer). Their “geographical diversity” led Forward Shapes to record every part of every song of the album on its own. In fact, they've never played live all together, making this project extremely special; and extremely well made. So, we contacted Alison and Andrei to hear what's like to be in “long-distance band”! Continue Reading...
Hi Alison! Hi Andrei! Welcome to Femme Metal! My first question for Alison is a very personal one: when they first contacted you for the Forward Shapes project...how did you feel about that? Did you expect to be contacted after you first sent your demo? And, Andrei, what did hit you about Alison's demo in particular?
Alison: Initially I put up a short advertisement for myself as a vocalist on a website that Andrei found me on (I don’t even remember the website), and I told him I could do any style. He asked me to send back a demo, which I did, and once he decided to use me I felt like "All right! Let’s do this!". I did expect to be contacted after the demo because I made a point to bring great energy that would vibe with Andrei’s vision for his project. I thought, "I can do this if he gives me the opportunity".
Andrei: Thanks for having us! When I first heard Alison's demo I knew right away she was the perfect fit. First it was her voice - I loved her tone and delivery! I quickly sensed the passion behind her performance. The song "Mirrors of You" was specifically selected as the audition/demo track because of the technical challenge it presents to a vocalist - and Alison nailed it. Initially I asked her to record just the first verse and chorus, but Alison went way beyond that and recorded the entire song (this was a very strong sign of her commitment to this). I still remember hearing the final chorus that features a full vocal choir of Alison and Ryan Hunter (co-producer & engineer) - I remember hearing that part for the first time and thinking "she's the one". (This demo can be heard on our SoundCloud page)
Andrei...why Forward Shapes? I mean, I bet some people have called you crazy for having started such a project! At the beginning, did you and Brian think you would have finally made it?
Andrei: I've been studying music composition and guitar ever since my early teenage years. After years of listening to bands like Rush, Dream Theater and Nightwish, I decided that in college I would start a Prog band (with female vocals) for the purpose of creating an album. I didn't want FS to follow a traditional path of recording an EP, playing in clubs, trying to get signed and then release a debut album. The vision was to skip all that and go straight to writing and recording the debut! This was the pitch I gave Brian in the early days and he dug the vision. During the writing stages I had no doubts that we would be able to write enough material - in retrospect writing was the easy part! The biggest challenges came with finding the right musicians and recording. I did have my doubts at times that I would have the energy to persevere until the end - but I believed too much in the songs to give up!
Did you have some particular criteria to choose the other musicians, or you simply “picked up” the ones you liked the most?
Andrei: I did have specific criteria for each musician. For my co-founder I was looking for a classically trained pianist that was into composition. I was very fortunate to have met Brian because he is not only technically and theoretically proficient, but he has an incredible gift of being a very melodic player. The melodies just flow out of him and during our first "jam" session I just knew that he was the guy I wanted to partner with! For vocals it was very open ended, but we were specifically looking for a female vocalist with a rock edge. It was also important to find someone with a fairly original voice - we weren't looking for someone who sounded just like Anette or Tarja. Technicality and professionalism aside, essentially we wanted someone who could just plain sing and sounded good with the music! For Bass I always wanted a guy I knew from the music conservatory at our University to join us. He has perfect pitch (very useful when learning an hour’s worth of un-transcribed music) and is a killer bass player! I knew the Drums could make or break the album - and I was looking for someone with a very "tasteful" style (ala Phil Colins, Mike Portnoy and Neil Peart). I had auditioned and turned down nearly 10 drummers before reaching out to Marco Minnemann on a whim. When he agreed I knew I hit the jackpot!! I also didn't feel it was necessary to to audition him :) Finally I also want to mention Ryan, my co-producer and Engineer, who I met randomly because he was Alison’s recording Engineer. Ryan’s Prog and Symphonic influences, classical training and an array of skills made him a perfect fit. He ended up making a lot of random but key contributions that helped shape the final product.
Now, tell me something about you, Alison: how did you start singing? Did your parents support tour decision?
Alison: I think I probably started singing before I started talking. It has always been my passion and my parents have supported me since day one. Once I was old enough (around 7 years old) they encouraged me to perform with a singing and dancing group that trained me and inspired me to continue my training into adulthood.
What's been the hardest part of being part of “long distance” project? After all...you had to record an entire album not living near to each other!
Alison: The hardest part was finding times that worked with both of our schedules to Skype or talk on the phone or respond to emails. We were both working and our schedules were sometimes impossible to coordinate. We did a good job of making it work, but it was definitely a challenge.
Andrei: The time delay in between recordings. Things take a lot longer when everyone has other commitments (work, school, etc) which delay the production. For example if Alison was unsure of my vision for a certain section, she would record several versions and send them to me. I would then process the recordings, give feedback and have her re-record if necessary. This becomes a prolonged back-and-fourth cycle. Had I been in the same room with Alison I could have given instant feedback and things would have moved quicker.
As a drummer, I have to ask you this: how was working with Marco Minnemann? What do you think about his part in this album?
Andrei: It was incredible! He learned and recorded ALL the music in 4 days. It was insane!! I am beyond pleased with how his parts turned out on the album. Just check out the instrumental track "Elusive" (full track) his playing is out of this world! A true professional - I was really happy to have had the opportunity to work with him.
Alison, what do you think about Andrei and Brian? What was your first impression about them? (You can be as mean as you want!)
Alison: I never actually met or really worked with Brian, but I definitely respect and appreciate his arrangements and artistry on the piano. Andrei is very professional and had a true vision for his project. When he first explained his project I thought, "What a cool thing for his family and friends". But to see him elevate it and rise to its true potential is very impressive. Andrei was always very supportive of my creativity and artistic interpretation of his music. He learned how to work with a very intense vocalist and I seriously admire that!
What was your attitude towards your part in this album? Did you have to particularly train your voice for it? Was there a particularly challenging part in it?
Alison: My attitude towards my part in the album was this: my job is to bring the lyrics to life. I wanted the listeners to hear the key words and phrases that really defined the album (per my interpretation). I did have to train my voice because I had never done progressive rock before, but luckily I had Andrei and Ryan (co-producer and sound engineer) to guide me to the right sound. The challenging part was freeing myself to sound like I owned the genre. I ultimately had to decide that I had every right to sing this music.
And...as a singer, what was your favorite part of “Legacy”? I mean, what was your favorite “vocal part”?
Alison: I've auditioned with "Mirrors of You" and it remains my favorite melody to sing. I love the low smoky vocals of "How far will s/he go…" countered by the belting chorus and the "Whoa’s." Very fun.
Andrei, when you recorded the album, did you already have all the lyrics written down, or did Alison have the occasion to write something herself?
Andrei: Prior to beginning vocal recording I had written lyrics for three of the seven songs. The remainder was actually written after Alison began recording. The pressure of having the next song's lyrics done prior to Alison finishing recording a song really helped me put pen to paper.
In which ways do you think you can improve yourself, as musicians and as a band? Is there something new you'd like to try in your new songs?
Alison: I think I can always improve my vocal versatility, so I seek opportunities to collaborate with original artists and I work on my own music. It would be an honor to work on any new songs Andrei might have up his sleeve!
Andrei: As a musician I constantly look for new areas of inspiration (musical and non-musical). Whether it is a new band, melody or some random idea - I constantly look for new things to inspire me creatively. As far as new songs my biggest goal would be to improve as a songwriter. After going through the process I truly now understand what an artist means when they say they've become stronger "songwriters". I hope I can share that sentiment in the future!
Now that your album is out, do you have any plans about going on tour, or physically “regroup” the band, and write some more songs, or are you only focused about sharing Legacy with as many people as possible?
Andrei: No immediate plans to go on tour, play live or write new music. Everyone currently lives in different cities across the US so it's hard to do that kind of stuff when you are an "Internet" band. I won't however commit to saying that nothing will happen! It would be awesome to play these songs live so some kind of performance may happen in the future - stay tuned!!
Alison, Andrei, thank you very much for your time and your answers, and...good luck!
Andrei: Thanks again for having us Matteo, hope everyone enjoys the music!!
June 13, 2012
California is considrered by many to be the creative hub of the universe. Apple, Pixar, Sillicon Valley, and of course Hollywood. In terms of music and in particular progressive rock, apart from Journey, The West Coast hasn't really been in the forefront of what millions consider to be the thinking persons rock music. That may be about to change with this debut album from Forward Shapes who hail from Orange County in California. A debut album is always a statement of intent, particularly if there is musical territory to claim. This album is unashamedly planted in progressive/nu-metal territory with a claim-staking boldness worthy of the 49'ers. Have they struck gold? On first listen, most definitely. There is a confidence in both the writing and playing that suggests there is a lot more to come. Continue Reading...
In terms of influences/similarities, Rush, Dream Theater, Yes, Metallica, Marillion are the more immediate bands that come to mind. But there are hints of other bands - Genesis particularly with the use of solo synths and piano. However it's the combination of instruments that suggest Forward Shapes are ploughing their own furrow. This is a band that isn't afraid to use the piano in a rock context and certainly it's very clear that it's not for blues licks either. Then there is the soaring voice of Alison Vance. It's very refreshing to hear a female voice that does not come across as an angst-ridden raucous rock-chick but instead here's a woman who combines soulful tones with power and expression. She tells the story admirably and the producers Andrei Kryssov and Ryan Hunter (who also lend their guitarist and backing vocal skills to the album) have done an admirable job mixing the album whereby everything is in perfect listenable balance.
If there is one aspect to this band that sets them apart from the current crop of prog bands is their ability to change tempo and time signature and mood. In these aspects there is a sense that this band are determined to be very adventurous and have mastered that art from the word go. The aptly titled Degrees of Freedom demonstrates this perfectly and the lyrics suggest this too. This song does not stand still and leaves the listener spellbound. Instrumental piece Elusive is another outstanding track. This band can play and provide light and shade in a way that few mew bands I've heard recently come close!!! Rock radio stations take note!!!!
Holding On is where the emotions stirred by a well played piano and a brilliantly constructed set of chords give the listener another peak into what this band can do. Live in concert, this track has the potential to steal any show. Proclivity is another adventurous song with interesting use of orchestra. Very rarely does an orchestra works with rock. Here is a very welcome exception.
Legacy, the title track and the final track is the epic song here. This is a must-listen track too! In summation all the tracks hit home and every one is a statement of intent from a band who have done their homework in the writing, the playing and generally in just trying to be different.
This album has taken a long time to produce from what I see of the website, but it suggests to me that all these songs have been carefully honed and added to with great care. The wait has been worth it. Buy! This is a superb debut album. Have they struck gold? In my humble opinion, yes (and I don't mean the band of the same name)!!!
April 30, 2012
I received a copy of this album from the guitarist of the band. Needless to say, the gentleman is a fantastic player with a good ear, clean technique, and a fluid sense of melody. What is remarkable about this album is the fact that the musicians all played and recorded their parts in different locations! In fact, the drums were added last! A person listening to this album would not be able to identify any of these things from the finished product's polished sound. Like the other reviewers have mentioned, it has about an hour's worth of music. Moreover, the songs don't burden the ears by sounding the same like some other bands have unintentionally done. The songs cover a wide range of styles and influences and you can hear everything from a jazz influences to shred techniques being incorporated flawlessly. I think an album of this magnitude is a wonderful accomplishment under any circumstances and it is definitely a worthwhile purchase and a pleasure to listen to. Cheers gentlemen, you have another fan.
April 21, 2012
This progressive rock album is absolutely fantastic. Each track seamlessly intertwines classical and rock influences with thoughtful, hauntingly beautiful vocals. Relaxing, yet intense, Legacy will definitely be one of those albums that you can play over and over again, and with 8 lengthy tracks you are definitely getting the most bang for your buck. I look forward to what Forward Shapes comes up with next.
April 20, 2012
This is a progressive rock album that is unlike any other that I've ever heard. It's high energy, relaxing, and thought provoking all in one. The vocals are pure and all the musicians very obviously have some classical training based on their dexterity and clean execution. As a debut album, I'm very impressed with this. It's 8 tracks long, but, being a progressive rock band, the tracks are not short, so you're definitely getting your money's worth here with about an hour of playing time. Best of all, it's not one of those albums where the whole album sounds the same. Every track has a different feel and brings something new to your ear. I highly recommend Forward Shapes "Legacy" to anyone who's a fan of prog!