Well, we have something very good here. Blacklands is a new act from Germany, founded in 2006 by the drummer Thomas Kelleners. In 2012 the band released its first official album “A New Dawn” and I have to confess that the result is superb.
I ‘d describe their music as a mix of early Marillion, Pendragon, Pallas with many symphonic elements ,maybe the way that Arena sound in their latest album “The seventh…”. Of course, not in a degree of copying. Actually, the main differentiation with the usual neo prog sound is the way the keyboard parts are arranged. They sound more symphonic and not so neo prog. But this is absolutely positive, at least to my ears.
Of course, I ‘d like to mention the beautiful female vocals of Moja Nordelli. So warm and harmonic, that have nothing to do with the boring operatic ones, which seems to be the trend of the past few years. There is also a great guitar work with many leads and solos either atmospheric and sentimental or virtuosic. I ‘d pick out the solos of “Ocean Of Tears” and the ones from “Memories” and “Powerplay” as they brought to my mind the mighty Steven Rothery and the way that he ‘s “building” his solos. The moods of the album keep changing and this is something I always expect from quality music. The nice production is also very helpful while listening to this beautiful album, although it’s a little bit heavier than I’d prefer for those compositions.
The one and only negative comment I have to make about “A New Dawn” is its long duration (78’). This is a personal preference but I’d listen to it easier if it was no longer than 60 minutes.
I’ m sure that every fan of progressive rock will find this album, at least, very good. Especially fans of Magenta and the 90’s Polish prog scene. So, give yourself some time to listen to Blacklands’ first attempt and you won’t get disappointed. Let’s hope they continue that way.