Flagship "Maiden Voyage" (Complete Album 2005)


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LP: Maiden Voyage
Released: 2005
Label: Metal Heaven ‎– METAL HEAVEN 00011
Format: CD, Album
Country: Germany
Genre: Rock
Style: Art Rock, Prog Rock

Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals – Christian Rivel
Guitar – Carl Johan Grimmark
Bass – Kristofer Eng
Keyboards, Backing Vocals – Linus Kåse
Drums – Mick Nordström
Acoustic Guitar – Michael Rank Jensen
Backing Vocals – Per Hallman, Thomas Vikström
Violin, Viola – Björn Klingvall
Acoustic Guitar – Michael Rank Jensen
Guitar Solo – Kerry Livgren on "Ground Zero"
Violin, Viola – Björn Klingvall

1 Heart Is The Center @ 0:00
Lyrics By – Christian Rivel
Music By – Linus Kåse
2 You Are @ 7:38
Lyrics By – Christian Rivel
Music By – Linus Kåse
3 The Throne @ 14:28
Lyrics By – Christian Rivel
Music By – Linus Kåse, Stefan Olsson
4 Hold On To Your Dream @ 23:07
Lyrics By – Christian Rivel
Music By – Linus Kåse
5 Windy City @ 29:44
Music By, Lyrics By – Linus Kåse
6 Ground Zero @ 37:14
Arranged By – Linus Kåse
Lead Vocals – Per Hallman
Music By, Lyrics By – Kerry Livgren
Soloist, Guitar, Recorded By [Guitar Solo] – Kerry Livgren

Vocalist Christian Rivel has been every bit as versatile as he has been busy as of late. The first quarter of 2005, for example, saw him release not only Glory Thy Name, the debut of his new symphonic power metal band Divinefire, but also his hard rocking side project Audiovision and its first full length effort The Calling. Divinefire stayed busy enough to record its sophomore release, Hero, later in the same year, while in the spring of 2006 we can anticipate Enter The Gate, the fifth studio album from the power/progressive metal of his full time band Narnia. And that brings us to Rivel’s latest endeavor: the progressive rock of Flagship and its very fine debut, appropriately entitled, Maiden Voyage.

Flagship is actually a collaboration between Rivel and keyboardist Linus Kase (Brighteye Brison), Kase acting as the bands primary songwriter while co-producing the project along with Per Hallman (Stormwind, Wisdom Call). Rivel, as always, does a very fine job handling lead vocal duties in addition to contributing the majority of the albums lyrics. To help round out the project the two brought in several talented musicians: Carl Johan Grimmark (Narnia) fills in on lead and rhythm guitar while bassist Kristofer Eng (Brighteye Bison) and drummer Mick Nordström (Modest Attraction) comprise a solid rhythm section.

What Flagship brings to the table is progressive rock with classic rock tendencies. The best comparison I might make to the band would be Kansas, particularly its earlier material such as Song For America, in that the songs here are lengthy, highly complex and richly orchestrated. Kansas, however, is not the only band that comes to mind here. For example, you can also hear elements of Yes and Rush with hints of Styx and Queen thrown in as well; fans of Spock’s Beard, Neal Morse and perhaps even Dream Theater or Shadow Gallery will also find a home in Flagship.

While the production values to Maiden Voyage betray no overriding elements of thinness or muddiness, its sonics come across slightly dry and would benefit from just a touch of polish. The overall feeling I get, as a matter of fact, is the same as when listening too many of Kansas’ older albums from the seventies. Perhaps this was the desired effect; in which case the production values succeed laudably.

All in all, Maiden Voyage proves an all around solid effort that does an effective job of highlighting the combined talents of keyboardist/songwriter Linus Kase and vocalist Christian Rivel. The album, in the end, gets a definite thumbs up and comes highly recommended for fans of the progressive rock genre.
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