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Final Conflict - Another Moment In Time - Live In Poland (DVD) CD (album) cover


Final Conflict



4.55 | 9 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Where's the title track?

Encouraged by the previous reviewer's endorsement of this band, I decided to check them out. This DVD was thus my introduction to this fine band from the British Midlands. The line- up of Final Conflict is similar to that of Wishbone Ash with two lead guitarists that also function as lead vocalists. This twin lead guitar/twin lead vocals approach is quite unique in the Neo-Progressive world and is one of the things that ensure that this band has a sound of their own. Final Conflict is not at all your typical Neo-Prog band. In fact, the music here has something of a "classic Rock" feel to it, but nonetheless progressive.

Final Conflict has roots that go back into the mid 80's but it seems that they had a rather slow start with their first proper album appearing first in 1991. However, as explained by the two band leaders, Andy Lawton and Brian Donkin, in the bonus interview on this DVD, the band released two cassettes back in the 80's and some of the material from these early cassettes was actually re-recorded for 2006's Simple album and features in the band's current set list. Again according to the bonus interview, the atmospheric show opener Solitude is one of these early songs. This set is thus a career-spanning one and functions perfectly as an introduction to the band.

For being a lesser known band what struck me immediately when watching this DVD was how convincing the band feels on stage. Especially the two front men who harmonise with each other with seeming ease both vocally and instrumentally. The performance is full of energy and emotion and they come across as believing strongly in what they do. However, they are extremely modest as they tell the audience how great the upcoming two bands - Credo and Pendragon - are (apparently this was a kind of mini festival with three bands playing on the same night) and that, I quote, "we'll just carry on with our stuff quietly in the background". Well, this is just false modesty. Final Conflict is not exactly a band that makes quiet background music especially as they have a somewhat harder edge compared to Pendragon and their performance is highly energetic. They also get a good response from the Polish audience and deservedly so.

While guitars and vocals are at the forefront of the band's sound, there is also a strong presence of modern keyboards and a powerful rhythm section. I read somewhere that Neo- Progressive rock is where Metal music and New-Age music meet, and this might perhaps be an apt description of the music found here. The keyboard player is very competent. The drummer and bass player are extremely young, but they do a great job here. Especially the drumming is powerful and never timid or tame. There is even a short drum solo followed by a little "jam" where all the musicians show off their chops a bit. It is clear that this is a very solid band!

As I said, this DVD was my introduction to the band but I have since heard (and reviewed) all of their studio albums. The song that presumably gave this DVD its title (A Moment In Time, originally featured on the Hindsight album) is paradoxically nowhere to be found on this DVD. This is too bad as this is a good song, but what is here clearly makes up for it, though even if the program is a bit on the short side. Considered as the very best songs of the band's 25 year career, it leaves us wanting some other songs, I think. But there are only good songs here, several of which are excellent!

Solitude opens the show quietly with just keyboards and slowly builds up significantly with strong harmony vocals, then drums, bass and guitars. Other stand out tracks are the 15 minute Stop with great guitar and keyboard work and a strong verse and Stand Up both from the album Stand Up. It is explained in the bonus interview that these two songs are conceptually connected in the way that Stop is aimed at the younger generation while Stand Up is aimed at the older generation. The Janus is the only song that I feel has a more conventional and theatrical Neo-Prog sound. Waiting For A Chance has a somewhat folky guitar melody.

To sum up. This DVD is a very good introduction to the band even if I think that the studio album Stand Up is their ultimate musical statement. It is a solid performance, excellently captured on tape and presented in great packaging. My version has a DVD, a CD of the same show and a (small and rather uninformative) booklet that all comes in a nice foldout digipack DVD case. This is the way music DVD's should be!

This live recording has lasting appeal and allows many repeated listens. Highly recommended!

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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