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Salander - The Fragility of Innocence CD (album) cover

THE FRAGILITY OF INNOCENCE

Salander

Crossover Prog


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4 stars The following review was writen by my wife Nihal Eleftheriou, who is the co-host in the radio show Prog & Roll, and she's singing in 2 songs in the album. (I'm puting this review under my name, because I have an account here).

Opening to the wise words of Jacob Bronowski, the latest concept album of Salander 'The Fragility of Innocence', is an experience to me on a personal level. Inspired by the heartbreaking story by Dave Curnow himself, 'The Fragility of Innocence' sets a fictitious stage on what you first think to be Auschwitz before you realize that the album in fact has got nothing to do with WWII but is about brutal, involuntary medical experimentation and corporate greed. As a matter of fact the story takes place in modern times, in a remote part of Iceland, where a helpless mother and daughter are ripped from their homes under false pretenses, to be brought and placed in a ghetto of experimental nightmares, satisfying men's almost carnal desire for immortality. In a way, both the album and the story is a bitter reminder of how close we are to the evil that is humankind. No German SS soldiers, concentration camps, guns and trenches are needed to be reminded that, mankind, regardless of nation, religion, intelligence and statue, is capable of sinking the lowest levels of beastliness in order to achieve their ambitious goals where remorse, much too our distress, comes too late if it comes at all. And such is the story of Fragility of Innocence. Dave Curnow and Dave Smith, who were kind enough to let me participate in a few songs on vocals, worked musical wonders on the tragic story. The lyrics and the weeping guitar by Dave Curnow vividly portray the pain, struggle and desperation of the family while the mellotron, synths and bass by Dave Smith create a chilling Segway between our age and the recent history that we know only too well. The first of the nine tracks, Aldri Sakleysi Er Farinn (Age of Innocence is gone) calls to us listeners from the depth of modern history, while the music slowly works its way into universality and modern ages. Aldri as a song is the first glimpse into the main idea that is hidden within the core of this album. The second track, Cold Icelandic Winter has got ironically paradoxical warm melody in order to display how nature's cold is in fact warmer than the coldness of an evil heart. The tunes are innocent at first much like the child of the story, with a hint of impending doom or an unspoken fear that is to come. The third and the fourth tracks 'Tomorrow is a New Day' and 'Leroy's Tale', are about false hopes and deception. The music is full of hope excitement and happiness, to display how innocent and pure hearts are the easiest of preys by default because they deem others just like themselves. The fifth song Internal Doors is our first step into the reality that comes uninvited. When one door opens, the other closes eternally much like death itself. The song beautifully portrays the threshold and the transition from innocent dreams to harsh reality. The next song, And So to Sleep, is by far my favorite of the entire album. I find it impossible not to cry at. The helplessness, the desolation, sorrow, loss, it is all there all too nakedly. The downfall has reached its peak at this song, there is no future or hope left as is felt throughout the tragic, almost ethereal tunes. Malansky and Evil Doctor which are the seventh and eight tracks are two sides of one coin. Two doctors of the same corporate project, one embracing most humanly emotion which is remorse, the other consumed by greed and ambition, incapable of ever becoming human again' The last track of the album Race Against the Machine in fact feels like a race against both the literal machine and the machine that is the humankind. The race is lost but something is gained before it all ends in the same innocent melody of Cold Icelandic Winter. In remorse somebody rediscovers the innocence of the heart at the very end. All in all I have to say that the concept album The Fragility of Innocence speaks to the humanity and its emotions through the most universal language above all: The Music! All the songs are in perfect sync with what they convey as an idea and Salander's vision of this story is beautifully mirrored in what they created: An excellent Album. As for my rating, I would give a solid 4 stars Nihal Eleftheriou (Radio producer in the radio show Prog & Roll)

Report this review (#1380290)
Posted Tuesday, March 10, 2015 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Prog Team
3 stars Salander's fourth and final album was released in 2015, and a concept album about an 8 year old girl living in Iceland called Silja, based on a story written by Dave Curnow. The album comes with a PDF of the story, which is well-written and interesting, and there is no doubt that a great deal of research has gone into it. The first song on the album is "Aldri Sakleysi Er Farinn" which translates from the Icelandic into "Never Innocence Has Been", with a spoken word introduction that is frightening and compelling all at the same time. This leads into "Cold Icelandic Winter", which starts with an Icelandic line before Dave Curnow sings the rest in English (thankfully). Although the vocals are treated, this is one of the numbers where they brought in the use of a live human drummer, and there is something about this upbeat pop/prog number that is really compelling. The emotional lyrics are totally at odds with the tempo and style, yet they combine together to produce one of my favourite songs from the band.

The following song features just Dave Smith on vocals and synths, and although related musically to what has gone before it is also quite different in many ways. The whole album is like this, as they move and change the styles as they go through, being symphonic here, or more rocky there, or bringing in more pop styles if that is the right thing to do. The music can be smooth, or incredibly angular and jagged, almost as if Talking Heads are attempting prog. I would have liked to have heard more from Frank Urbaniak as there are still some songs where the drum machine has been employed, but overall this is a much more polished release than the previous 'Stendec'.

Also available for 'name your price' on Bandcamp, it is available in its original form or as a remastered version that also contains some bonus songs that date back to 2005, and what finally led to the forming of the band. Definitely worth investigating.

Report this review (#1976369)
Posted Thursday, August 9, 2018 | Review Permalink

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