Melodic Revolution Records Featured Album July 2017
Forever Twelve | Home
Label: Melodic Revolution Records
Release Year: 2017
Genre: Classic/Symphonic/Progressive Rock/Heavy Prog
John Baker – Lead Vocals
Steve Barberic – Keyboards
Tom Graham – Guitar/Keyboards/Bass/Vocals
Fernando Martinez – Drums/Percussion
The Seven Seas
Kansas By The Sea
Fate Is In Our Hands
There are many things going on with Forever Twelve’s Home. First of all this is their debut album for Melodic Revolution Records. The second being many many influences within the band’s dynamic happening here. Third of all this proves once again that the staff of Melodic Revolution Records continues to think outside the ‘proverbial box’ to grow their ever growing roster. According to Forever Twelve’s Official Facebook Page :
What others have said:
…elements of jazz, folk, rock, fusion, neo-prog, classical and pop all used to serve a musical purpose, express a certain mood or idea
…should especially appeal to fans of Marillion, Clepsydra, or Flamborough Head
…These original songs show influences by Genesis, Yes, Camel, and Rush, among others
I say there is much more going on in all three areas of how the band sound, what fans would listen to this band and the influences of the band. Forever Twelve are a return to progressive rock in its purist form. This band takes it back where people trashed the three minute single for a song that was the length of a entire 22 1/2 minutes on vinyl. A time when people preferred the 4-8 panel gatefold and appreciated all the art in its purist form. It takes us back to the time when keyboards began to be celebrated instead of tolerated. It takes us back to the time when Billy Ritchie of 1-2-3/Clouds fame, basically gave birth to the progressive rock genre and influenced a few guys, one would be a guy named Keith Emerson, another would be Robert Fripp and another few guys by the name of Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman. Yes literally that Rick Wakeman and Jon Anderson.
.When I listen to Forever Twelve’s Home I am reminded of the early period of progressive rock that allowed people both an escape through the melodious labyrinth’s of multiple time signatures and chord progressions and unique rhythmic changes and further intellectual nurturing through its dreamscapes due to its lyrical content and concepts. Forever Twelve also seem to embrace this earlier period of progressive rock along with the later periods of Supertramp and neo progressive periods of the 1980’s.
Forever Twelve’s dedication to the craft is very reminiscent to 1-2-3/Clouds, Yes, Caravan. Eloy, Genesis, Lindisfarne, Fairport Convention, Strawbs and Eclection on the earlier end. On the more current and modern end elements of Marillion, Flower Kings, Transatlantic, Spock’s Beard, Enchant and The Samurai Of Prog come to mind. The band has a very uncanny ability to take all those earlier influences and bands and create their own distinct sound without it appearing to be dated, imitated or duplicated. They also do this without watering anything down as well.
Throughout the duration of the seven songs on Forever Twelve’s Home the band certainly manages to stay true to the very core values that have come to define progressive rock as a genre to some and a lifestyle to others. Throughout the remainder of this review I will be pointing out the various influences that shine through from every song that makes up Forever Twelve’s Home.
The Seven Seas opens up from the first note with the fullness of the band. You have a very deep rhythm section serving as the anchor. Meanwhile in harmony to the deep rhythm section you have the fullness of the stringed section serving as a rudder in which to steer the track in its various time signatures and chord progressions. The band manages to balance all of this where it is not overwhelming as to invite the listener in with ease. Along with such beautiful harmonic balance between the instruments, you have the angelic voice of John Baker. The vocal reminds me of all the best parts of Jon Anderson of Yes meets Rodger Hodgson of Supertramp going on within John Baker.
There also seems to be subtle elements of jazz in the tradition of the late Alan Holdsworth going on underneath the fullness of the arrangement. Although more of a neo progressive style, I would be remiss in saying that this contains some heavy prog elements in melody with the neo progressive nature.This track is also as much guitar driven as it is keyboards in the stringed section. The deep bass/drum rhythm section in harmony with the deep keyboard portions provide a very heavy prog melody throughout the track.
Home begins with a drum along with the bass serving more and a percussive instrument within the rhythmic section. From there the guitar shines through to allow the fullness of the bands instrumental to breathe. After all this beautiful open melody the track drops and breaks and allows for the warmth in the vocals to enter with the instrumental to achieve a full harmony. Also after the break and vocal the track takes a more atmospheric nature with the steady flow on keyboards while the rhythm section serves as a backbone to the vocals. The track also includes intricate time signatures and chord progressions more in the tradition of Knight Area meets Cairo. This track has some more emphasis on vocal harmonies as well that add more depth to the song in general.
Daisy Chain is the band’s first single off Home. This track maintains the jazz style integrity that seems to be a unsung hero to the album. While the deep rhythm sections and atmospheric elements with the keyboards serve as ground zero for the album, the jazz elements really trigger the time signatures as much as the progressive elements. The band have a very keen sense on when to employ a jazz based time signature and a progressive time signature. Daisy Chain is a prime example of this.The song takes a break midway through with a semi solo that allows the various instruments to execute more intricate chord progressions. This track is also very loaded with classic progressive rock elements much like ELP meets Yes. The band really draw from many parts of the progressive rock spectrum and this song is a perfect example of it.
Kansas By The Sea is one of the more experimental and atmospheric songs the band has offered up on Home. It opens with a beautiful effect of a ocean wave washing up against the shoreline. This happens in melody and harmony with a piano. The ocean effect with the piano give the track a conceptual feel about it. This is a track that could open up introductions to newer fans going forward. The guitar and bass lines also give the appearance of two different instrumental characters within the song. Lyrically this is both a retrospective track and one of optimism equally. The song also has a very robust chorus working for it among its experimental nature. This song has periodic breaks to set up the next part of the desired story of the band. Towards the end the song takes on a very heavy prog King Crimson style in the tradition of 21st Century Schizoid Man.
Karmageddon starts out with various effects of the city before going into a very guitar and bass driven chord progression. This is the heaviest song on Home. The bass and guitar really send the mind and emotions of the listener on a immediate roller coaster ride. It soon drops a bit and a very balanced vocal comes into play. From there the track takes on a more methodical purpose. Every riff, every portion of the instrumental has a definite purpose and does not serve as just any old filler for the song. The drums really send this song into rhythmic areas that are very unorthodox. The band shows its full time signature and chord progression prowess on this song. All of this really makes the song a very unique offering to the album. The keyboards are more in the Hammond Organ tradition.
Acoustic Rose is just that a rose. It opens up with a beautiful acoustic guitar and keyboard atmosphere that allows the listener to settle in and start to really digest the entire album. This is just as strong with the lyrical and vocal harmonies as it is with the instrumental melodies. The deep rhythm section lays back a bit for the more guitar and keyboard driven atmospheres to shine through. The vocal harmonies have a very folk Crosby,Stills, Nash & Young vibe working about them as well. This seamlessly transitions into the next song Fate Is In Our Hands.
Fate Is In Our Hands is the seventh and final song on Home. This transitions seamlessly off the prior song Acoustic Rose. This opens up like a old school gritty blues based guitar chord progression. The added crackle of vinyl effect is very rare in the era of digital media. The listener can easily notice that the band is paying homage to the essential roots that made progressive rock not only a genre but a lifestyle. This has both a heavy Pink Floyd meets King Crimson atmosphere. The band does a great job playing a summary of elements on here that really tie all the album together as a cohesive unit. This one is also heavy King Crimson induced throughout the entire track.
After listen to this I come to the conclusion that Melodic Revolution Records has another great signing on its hands. I would encourage the band to tour with this. I believe a live experience of these songs and this album in particular would be a real treat to fans both old and new to Forever Twelve. This is a band that could easily qualify for a Cal Prog, ROSFest even Prog/Power USA & Prog/Power Europe. I give Forever Twelve’s Home a 5/5 .