Pictorial Wand returns after almost three years with a follow-up called Face Of Our Fathers. This time the band focuses on a single disc of material. Their debut A Sleeper’s Awakening, was an amazing body of work and I was wondering if they’d ever follow it up. I’m very glad they did because Face Of Our Fathers feels more cohesive than the debut. The band consists of multi-instrumentalist Mattis Sorum (guitars, bass, synthesizers, organ, piano, percussion), Tomas di Sansimone (drums), Arild Sveum (organ, piano), Hogne Moe (flute), Gunhild Mathea Olaussen (violins), Live Kostöl (cellos) and Cry Tronslien, Julie Christensen, Petter Selliseth (& Tore Christler Storlid (vocals).
For comparison sake, one band comes to mind - Ayreon. There’s many similarities especially with the vocalists reacting to another. The music is similar too but with a more variety in styles. There’s a Scandinavian vibe to it as well. The instrumentation is tighter this time around, which is important when telling stories with song.
Just like the debut, this is a concept album. The subject matter deals with how we leave Earth for future generations. The roles that each of the vocalists are love, reason, pride and hope. There are 7 tracks, 3 of which are above the 11 minute mark. They sandwich in 4 songs in pairs, ranging in length from 6 to 9 minutes.
My favorites or highlights of this album are the haunting “The Ghosts Start Dancing” which starts off with acoustic guitars and atmospheric keyboard passages with beautiful haunting female vocals countered with male vocals that blends so well. The male vocals seems to be comforting the female vocals. The song slowly gets an energy to it without taking away the melodies.
“Verse Of Despair” is a somber song with an occasional burst of energy along side a more folky sound. The female vocals have such a powerful vibe to them that gently tells the story. Ending off the album is “Circle’s End” which ends this musical journey. It has moments of energy that falls somewhere in between progressive rock and metal. It beautifully ends this amazing album.
In closing, Face of our Fathers has a very appealing sound that both prog and prog-metal fans will enjoy alike. I find this to be one of the better albums of 2009. Had I received this in 2009, it would have been a part of my top 40 favorite releases. Without any doubt, this is a highly recommended album that will be a great addition to anyone’s progressive rock/metal music collection.
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on May 9th, 2010