Vuur - In This Moment We Are Free - Cities

Vuur - In This Moment We Are Free - Cities

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(CD/LP, InsideOut Music, 2017)

There is no doubt about it; Anneke van Giersbergen has managed to create a solid fanbase from her THE GATHERING days with her unique singing and, maybe on top of everything, through her down-to-earth attitude and warm personality which captivates every audience. Another amazing achievement is that Anneke has fans coming from a brought music-listening spectrum, with Metal having the strong(est) presence. The latter group of fans has kept a burning desire of listening Anneke going heavy again with the work she did with Arjen’s AYREON being the closest but not exactly the real thing. I think it is ok to spill the beans about here and say that VUUR will definitely mark this highly anticipated return and allow me to tell you why.

The song-titles should be a hint that there is a thread connecting the eleven tracks, and based on the press release, this has to do with the vibe and - possibly - the inspiration Anneke has gotten after visiting all these cities. That’s a very interesting concept and I am really interested in reading the lyrics. Ok, I don’t want to turn this into a Chinese torture and say right away that “My Champion - Berlin” opens the album with a heavy footing driven by the low-tuned distorted guitars with absolutely killer drum lines. The music flirts with atmospheric Death Metal and you are more than welcomed to think of KATATONIA and the heavier days of THE GATHERING. Careful though, VUUR is not to be considered as some sort of a THE GATHERING reincarnation but a different vehicle with a different direction. There are some most interesting Progressive structures with the riffs wonderfully pairing with Anneke’s amazing performance. Just pay attention to the calm(er) break with the multiple guitar layers and how the build the tension with the most powerful vocals and you’ll understand how thick the song-structures are here.

VUUR leave Europe for the first time with the third track “The Martyr And The Saint - Beirut” that has a slower tempo but does not hold back in heaviness. The way Anneke is using her wide singing range will definitely remind you of THE GATHERING without taking off the foot from Progressive Metal territories and the guitar solo will highlight this with the brightest colors. The amazing wailing vocals bring VUUR on the US West Coast with “The Fire - San Francisco” with rhythm guitars almost crossing the Doom Metal borders. Again, Ed Warby’s drumming makes a powerful duet with the guitar riffs offering solid opportunities for some headbanging; awesome.

“Save Me - Istanbul” brings a nice Eastern breeze in an almost epic way before passing the baton to the velvety singing which uniquely pairs with the heavy rhythm guitars leading straight to a hearty double-bass drum break revisiting the song’s main riff theme. I am telling you there is some serious headbanging material here so brace yourself until the Progressive-styled solo.

The more I listen to the album, the deeper I dive into this journey through all the cities VUUR are taking me; from the colorful surroundings of Rio with the playful “Freedom - Rio” to the narrow streets of London guided by the killer lead guitar work the transition is both smooth and absolutely a joy. Based on the complexity of the songs and the way each layer is meticulously upon each other, having Joost van den Broek behind the soundboard was the right thing to do considering what he has done with EPICA.

You should keep in mind that “In This Moment We Are Free - Cities” is not a simple album and should not be taken lightly meaning that you’ll have to invest some serious listening time and unfold all the layers every song is built upon. To cut a long story short, I’ll say this; Anneke’s return to the heavier music happens with the best way possible and I am extremely excited to get the live treatment, especially on this side of the Atlantic.

PS: The multiple vocal harmonies in “Reunite! - Paris” will give goosebumps all the way.

10/10 


Links:

www.Vuur.Band
www.FaceBook.Com/VuurBand
www.Twitter.Com/Vuur_Band


Tracklist:

01. My Champion - Berlin
02. Time - Rotterdam
03. The Martyr And The Saint - Beirut
04. The Fire - San Francisco
05. Freedom - Rio
06. Days Go By - London
07. Sail Away - Santiago
08. Valley Of Diamonds - Mexico City
09. Your Glorious Light Will Shine - Helsinki
10. Save Me - Istanbul
11. Reunite! - Paris


Lineup:

Anneke van Giersbergen - Vocals
Ed Warby - Drums
Jord Otto - Guitar
Ferry Duijsens - Guitar
Johan van Stratum - Bass