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Symphonic Prog • Sweden

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Flagship biography
FLAGSHIP was formed in the summer of 2002 by Linus Kåse & Christian Rivel both of NARNIA fame. They both share the passion for symphonic rock in the vein of KANSAS, STYX, BUGGLES & QUEEN. They realized that very few bands today play this kind of progressive music where melody is the key thing. Lots of ideas came and soon they started to record some demos. They first named the band WINDY CITY, after one of the song titles, but in 2004 it was changed to FLAGSHIP. One of the goals for the band is to bring attention and highlight to this kind of music again. The thought is also to keep the band a duo, like the BUGGLES were in the late 70´s and early 80´s. Together they now wished to bring in new elements into the music that they hadn't tried out before. To capture the sound they wanted, they now had to pick just the right musicians to bring the right chemistry into the songs. FLAGSHIP wanted to create a fresh sound and production with the roots from the late 1970´s but with a touch of the new millenium. Since the song arrangements are very demanding the line-up had to be top notch, with musicians who'd both understand the feel and essence of the songs as well as technically able to actually perform them. Hence the FLAGSHIP team was completed with the only obvious choice of people. As a big bonus "Maiden Voyage" contains a guest performance by the legendary KERRY LIVGREN, former guitarist of KANSAS!! He is playing the guitar solo on his own composition GROUND ZERO, in a new arrangement written by Linus. This song is taken from Kerry´s first solo album "Seeds Of Change" released back in 1980. For Christian & Linus it was very special and emotional to have one of their musical heroes involved on the debut album of FLAGSHIP. So get into the flow and enjoy the musical journey that will take you to another dimension, and remember these words: HOLD ON TO YOUR DREAM !!!


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The Electric ManThe Electric Man
Bright Antenna 2017
Audio CD$5.69
$2.89 (used)
Bright Antenna 2013
Audio CD$7.73
$1.71 (used)
Maiden VoyageMaiden Voyage
Metal Heaven 2005
Audio CD$15.48
$8.49 (used)
Flagship by FlagshipFlagship by Flagship
Audio CD$78.16
Flagship by Bright AntennaFlagship by Bright Antenna
Bright Antenna
Audio CD$43.26
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FLAGSHIP discography

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FLAGSHIP top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.75 | 38 ratings
Maiden Voyage

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Maiden Voyage by FLAGSHIP album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.75 | 38 ratings

Maiden Voyage
Flagship Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Flagship is a young band in progressive rock scene but with known musician in metal field, because they came from another swedish band of melodic power metal named Narnia. I knew Narnia couple of albums in late '90's and one this decade and I was quite impressed and pleasent surprised by this offering named Maiden voyage from 2005, Flagship sounds very diffrent then Narnia. Flagship includes three members from that power metal band: Linus Kåse on keyboards, Christian Rivel on lead vocals and Carljohan Grimmark on guitars. Also Linus Kase is the member of another progressive rock outfit from Sweden named Brighteye Brison. All embers did a fine job here, a truly symphonic prog album with a lot to offer. Every musician shine on every track, living no place to take a breath after each piece. The music is very fluent, the pieces run to each other very well, with a touch of Kansas, maybe because of the violin segments, but aswell the keyboards sound very Kansas in places, but all the time good. The tracks are lenghty, each one over 7 min, enough space for each musician to make a great job. All tracks are quite complex and very rich orchestrated, very good musicianshiip on every second of this album. As the album goes from one piece to another some influences I find, or better said similar with Spock's Beard or even some Styx but this time very vague, mostly on vocal parts but not a copy after all. As I said the music is very up tempo in places but combined with fine piano arrangements, some very intristing rhythnic section on all tracks, from mellow in the beggining and then just in a second after turns a totaly with the vein one, excellent, great musicians. The keyboard parts are absolutly great, not a weak moments here , Linus Kase is a brilliant musicians who knows how to use the instruments and creat something worth intrest. Grimmark's rhythm guitar moves from more melancholic overtones in places combined with Kansas like piano to more metalic one like on The throne, very well structurated and well produce. The tracks are long and demonstrates that Flagship realy are a band to check out if you like this style of music, the strenght of the musicians are excellent. Now, the voice of the manin songwritter here Christian Rivel is very good and fits to this kind of music like a glove. They have invited as guest the mighty Kerry Livgren on last track Ground zero, nice job of this unmatced musician. So, a very good album, a nice surprise for me, because knowing that some of the members are from a metal band who played quite diffrent music, this time they done it, big time. Mayden voyage is a solid album in symphonic prog scene with talented musicians and very well composed pieces. Recommended for sure, 4 stars.

 Maiden Voyage by FLAGSHIP album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.75 | 38 ratings

Maiden Voyage
Flagship Symphonic Prog

Review by Genesis Head

5 stars This album came out of the blue! Hadn't heard of the band before. Or should I call it collaboration since it's the only recording so far with Linus Kase of Brighteye Brison and Christian Rivel of Narnia in the foreground. Doesn't seem to be any activity going on in the Flagship camp, not really since the release of Maiden Voyage in 2005. I got hold of this since I encountered the great Brighteye Brison a while back and I have to say that it would be wonderful to hear more from Flagship since this is a stunning progressive rock release. There are plenty of symphonic instrumental passages, skillfully arranged by Kase and the crew also consists of amazing drummer Mick Nordstrom who performs the songs with great technique and taste, Brighteye Brison bass player Kristofer Eng (always enjoyable) and guitarist Carljohan Grimmark (Narnia). With violin added to these 70's influenced sounds it is easy to draw parallells to Kansas, not least when Kerry Livgren himself is a guest star on his own composition Ground Zero. The opening track Heart Is The Center starts of true Kansas style but goes through several moods, not so Kansas like, before reentering the intro part. Apart from this Flagship stands very much on its own. Kases rearrangement of Ground Zero is a updated version without the originals quirky 80's roboto like vocals on the chorus. The vocals of Per Hallman (also Brighteye Brison) are pure beauty to me. Energetic and smooth at the same time. It is new and fresh but like the album as a whole it never goes into metal territory, it's 70's prog bonanza! The Kase original Windy City is a masterpiece which fits the bill perfectly with it's part-glam-Elton John-meets-Kansas-goes-Genesis style. Maiden Voyage is a joyful gem of prog music that really deserves a follow-up. I only hope Rivel and Kase will make this come true once more!
 Maiden Voyage by FLAGSHIP album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.75 | 38 ratings

Maiden Voyage
Flagship Symphonic Prog

Review by therek

3 stars After first listening to Flagship’s Maiden Voyage I considered it a pretty lousy recording instead of a highly praised album I’ve read about. But somehow I kept coming back to this CD and in time I even begun to like it. Obviously I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece of symphonic prog–maybe because of lack of any substantial experience with the genre–but rather a funny crossover prog, somehow similar to Metal Majesty or Gamma Ray’s pop-like songs from Power Plant (It’s A Sin and Heavy Metal Universe, or rather Happy Metal Universe, for example).

On a strict instrumental level Maiden Voyage is a rich, well thought out and really interesting keyboard-driven album with the omnipresent piano effect (yay!). The impression of seriousness is broken by occasional chirpy musical theme--like the one in the middle of Heart is the Center--and cliched lyrics combined with frivolous vocal lines. Come to think about it, this is precisely what at first put me off but later on captivated me, making me come back to this CD again and again. Just listen to the refrain parts of You are and The Throne, which happened to be my two favorite tracks of the album.

Unfortunately the most praised song, Ground Zero, guest starring Kerry Livgren from Kansas is in my opinion the weakest track of this album. Christian Rivel’s voice doesn’t sound as well as on other tracks and Per Hallman’s vocal appearance doesn’t help at all. The way the chorus “waiting for ground zero” is sung simply irritates me and song’s slow pace bores. It’s the only track on this album that I tend to skip, which by itself is said ’cause it makes this not-so-long recording (47 minutes) even shorter.

To sum it up, I’d say Maiden Voyage is a good listening as long as you’re not taking it too serious. Also, it may require some time on it before you’ll begin to appreciate the work done here. I like listening to this album when I’m in mood for some cheerful songs and want to give myself a break from pompous or sometimes grave recordings in my musical collection. I usually play it along with Gamma Ray’s Power Plant and enjoy pop-like compositions in more symphonic/rock arrangements.

 Maiden Voyage by FLAGSHIP album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.75 | 38 ratings

Maiden Voyage
Flagship Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars When I heard about this band I was intrigued, specially if you know that their founder members worked with christian metallers of Narnia. So I was not expecting much. But due to many good reviews they got it here on PA I decided to give them a chance. And impressed I was! their sound has nothing to do with Narnia. In fact their major influence seems to be the one the classic Kansas. Ok, there are some Styx, Supertramp and maybe Queen hints here and there, but Kerry Livgren is not a guest here without a good reason.

Having said that I must say Flaship is no copycat. Their sound might be influenced by, but it is quite original and - thank god! - a bit more progressive than those aforementioned groups. In fact they made a quite interesting 70´s style prog rock but with a modern feel on it. They are not retro, although the generous doses of Hammond organ are really great. I also liked Christian Rivel vocals a lot. The production is quite good. Some tracks are better than the others but there are no fillers. Very promising start indeed!

If you like classic prog rock in the Kansas style, get this CD. If they keep this high quality standard for the next releases, I guess they have everything to become really big. Recommended. 3,5 stars rounded up to four because of personal taste.

 Maiden Voyage by FLAGSHIP album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.75 | 38 ratings

Maiden Voyage
Flagship Symphonic Prog

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

3 stars If you can imagine a blend of Kerry Livgren’s A.D. and Stryper, you pretty much get what Flagship’s music sounds like. And maybe a little bit of Queen’s theatrical panache, but closer to Paul Rodgers’ vocals than Freddie’s. Well, that pretty much sums things up - goodbye.

Okay, there’s a bit more than that, I suppose. But not much more really. Flagship are a duo consisting of Narnia bandmates Christian Rivel and Linus Kåse, but their music on this album wouldn’t have been possible without a considerable number of guest musicians including another Narnia alumnus Carl Johan Grimmark; Brighteye Brison vocalist Per Hallman and bassist Kristofer Eng; Modest Attraction drummer Mick Nordström; bassist turned violinist and part-time Santana tribute band member Björn Klingvall; Grand Stand guitarist Michael Rank Jensen; and Candlemass vocalist Thomas Vikström.

Never heard of any of these guys? Good, I thought it was just me.

How about this one then? Kerry Livgren of Kansas, A.D., and Proto Kaw fame not only lends the band a song, he also guest stars on guitar. The final track on the album “Grand Zero” from Livgren’s tremendously underappreciated 1980 solo debut ‘Seeds of Change’. This wouldn’t be my choice of songs to resurrect from that album, but it fits the band quite well. There are some things from the original that are missing here, namely the plethora of keyboards and the choral backing vocals. But otherwise this is a decent cover, and Livgren’s quarter-century of experience since the 1980 release have paid off with a tremendously improved guitar track, including an extended solo bridge leading up to and through the song’s ending. Definitely the highlight of an otherwise modest release.

So if you haven’t figured it out yet, this is Christian Rock through and through. So be warned if you aren’t into that sort of thing. The influence of Kansas is strong and obvious, as is that of other cross-bearing bands like Mastedon, Petra, and any number of other contemporary Christian-oriented rock bands. These guys all seem to be competent musicians, so if you aren’t put off by the constant glory-bound messages, it’s a decent record. “Throne” is a lengthy passage with lots of violin and very decent soaring guitar work, as opposed to the opening track “Heart Is the Center” which also features violin but sounds at times like the theme to “Fame”. It’s a mixed bag at best.

But it isn’t progressive by any stretch of the imagination, unless you count the mildly neo-prog drawn out guitar sustains, haphazard drumming, and layered melodic vocals. In other words, kind of a Bible version of Carptree, or maybe a less guitar-laden Explorers Club. You get the idea.

If these are your kinds of bands, you’ll probably enjoy this album. If you are a Kansas or at least a Kerry Livgren fan, you’ll definitely enjoy “Ground Zero”. The rest of the album gets two stars, maybe 2.5. “Ground Zero” gets four. So we’ll split the difference and say three stars overall, but just barely.


 Maiden Voyage by FLAGSHIP album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.75 | 38 ratings

Maiden Voyage
Flagship Symphonic Prog

Review by beebs

4 stars Very entertaining debut by this Swedish outfit. I've only heard it once, but will be playing it many times to come. Fans of Kansas, Protokaw, 10cc, Styx, and Supertramp should take note. These guys are polished, fresh and inspired. Best debut I've heard, I think, since Riverside. Lots of synth playing, catchy and bright tunes with lots of time changes and deep hooks to draw the listener in.

Tracks that struck me on first listen include "You Are" and "Heart is the Center". I expect big things from Flagship in years to come.

 Maiden Voyage by FLAGSHIP album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.75 | 38 ratings

Maiden Voyage
Flagship Symphonic Prog

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is the Swedish duo Christian Riveli (vocals) and Linus Käse (keyboards), added with band members on vocals, solo - and rhythm guitar, bass and drums and guest-musicians on violin, acoustic guitar, background vocals and electric guitar (Kerry Livgren from KANSAS on the track Ground Zero!).

Right from the start Flagship manages to keep my attention, what a powerful and dynamic sound! The six compositions (between 6 and 10 minutes) contain lots of flowing shifting moods and strong soli on guitar, keyboards and violin. That violin, blended with the harder-edged and propulsive sound, often evoke KANSAS but at other moments Styx comes to my mind, due to the Minimoog runs and vocals. My highlights on this CD are the tracks You Are (between sensitive piano, warm vocals and violin and sumptuous organ, heavy guitar riffs and flashy synthesizer flights) and The Thorne (captivating and alternating featuring sparkling piano, swelling organ, fiery guitar and a splendid bombastic final part). The last composition Ground Zero delivers a compelling guitar solo from Kerry Livgren. Flagship plays in the vein of the great Seventies symphonic rock dinosaurs but with a modern sound and many fresh ideas. To me they sound as a new, very good USA progrock band! SPLENDID FIRST EFFORT!!

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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