Future Lies Broken
KURGAN'S BANE are a progrock / melodic rock band from Baltimore. After their average demo from 1997 the band is back with a great step forward. The band now has a female singer (Lisa Francis) who adds a great atmosphere to the songs. The compositions on 'The future lies broken' are very good, all tending between progressive rock and melodic rock. The highlights of this very recommendable album: Through the camera (warm guitar sounds, catchy melody, fresh bass playing, ranging from soft melodic progrock to heavy rock), Just look at me now (sensitive song with slightly complex chords and some more powerful riffs) and the epic Vermin which constists of three songs: Frankie five angels (FATES WARNING alike complex instrumental), Headless mice (great floating track with great vocals) and the complex Feudal Tourniquet. Nap in e-minor is a short classically inspired acoustic instrumental. Bad blood is a track that I wouldn't have missed on this album as it contains no highlight. But nethertheless: a cool and refreshing underground album ! Check it out ! Markus Weis, D.U.R.P. -------------- 'Kurgan's Bane variously cite as their influences Floyd, The Who, Rush, Van Halen, The Dregs, Yes, Marillion and Tull, and one can see where their music comes from - but it's not in any way derivative of any one source but, as is music generally, a product of what has gone before. The future for Kurgan's Bane is not broken - in fact, I hope that they build upon what is here and go onwards from strength to strength.' Marisa, February 25, 2001. New Horizons. --------------- The Future Lies Broken is Kurgan's Bane's second CD. I have notheard the first one, Search From Sea To Sea, but for those who have, I can still confidently say that things have changed. Former singer Alan Jantz has parted ways with the band and brothers Pete (electric and acoustic guitars, vocals) and Jeff Laramee (drums, percussion, vocals) and their companion Luis Nasser (bass, keyboards) have found his replacement inLisa Francis - a woman with a voice that can really rock. The album kicks off with Through The Camera. A lovely piano opens up and then a nice riff enters. From this opening and onwards it is obvious that the band has a strong Rush-influence. But it is an influence they handle well, in my opinion. Lisa Francis' vocals remind me of another female American progressive rock singer - Lana Lane. Both have that darker (not typically female) rock voice which I must admit that I enjoy a lot. There is a lot of volume and depth in Francis' voice, which is kind of surprising when one sees pictures in the sleeve where she looks like a pretty small girl. The track is a bit hard, but still in a soft way with very neat production. There are some moments which remind me of early Marillion. Lyrics-wise this track deals critically with the Media. All in all, a very nice opening and one of my favourite tracks on the CD. Warm Winter Nights presents us with some really nice bass playing and more of those fantastic vocals. The Lana Lane reference here stretches to include some of the guitar playing, reminding me slightly of Destination Roswell from Lane's Garden Of The Moon album. There are also more Marillion and IQ influences present - and, of course (I feel like saying), the by now almost mandatory Rush reference. The guitar solo has a bit of hard rock quality to it, not so much in speed as in sound; it has a bit of an edge to it. Nice track. The fourth track, Frankie Five Angels, is the instrumental first part of the song Vermin which stretches over tracks four to six. This first part, which is also the longest, has some interesting bits - I especially like the bass - but is on the whole slightly too long and also too repetitive. This is one of the weaker moments on the CD and it does lower the quality of Vermin as a whole. Headless Mice, the middle sequence of Vermin, opens with soft keyboards and ethereal vocals. It is nice and melodic. The lyrics are OK, but at times I find myself annoyed by the often insistent (and to be honest not always that good) rhyming which is practised. The song has a gentle build-up that really breaks out into a crescendo after the end of the vocals and then moves into Feudal Tourniquet, which opens with a direct vocal attack. A really good track with clear Rush influences and lyrics that I really like. It features another hard rock guitar solo which fits excellently into the whole and here a bit more speed is added. I really like this track and my only complaint is that Vermin as a whole is pulled down quite a bit by it's first part. Seeing the good bits in the first part, the really nice second part and this superb third part, I regret not being able to hear the song that the band obviously has the potential to make here. Still, Feudal Tourniquet on it's own is one of my favourite tracks on the CD. Track seven, Nap In E Minor, is a very short piece played on classical guitar. A rather nice interlude between the longer songs, which allows Pete Laramee to show his skills on the quiet side. If I would have to name one track on The Future Lies Broken as my favourite, it would have to be The Curtain And The Rose. The vocals are brilliant and the music is really good. Gentle piano/keyboard bits are contrasted by hard guitar bits. And over it all Francis' vocals just soar like a great dark bird of prey. The only thing that bugs me is a very bad rhyme in the lyrics. In a catalogue of different kinds of people ('The old and the young / And the misunderstood / The actor, the author') very much reminiscent of the ending of Marillion's Berlin (i.e. lyrics-wise), the Laramee brothers have suddenly chosen to enter 'the prose' to find a viable rhyme for 'The Rose'. The only problem is that whereas all the other words in the catalogue refer to living beings (single or in group), 'prose' is something abstract - a style or type of text. Of course, this is a minor detail on the whole, but it still bugs me. Great song though. Broken Clock is an instrumental song with clear Rush references but also with elements of IQ in it. I especially like the basslines which open the song. The track is pretty heavy on the whole and quite nice. Definitely much better than Frankie Five Angels which opened Vermin. The album ends with Regina. The opening is a slow build-up with instruments, melodies and sounds creating a thicker and thicker texture which breaks into rock, after which the vocals come in. It is the longest track on the CD (Vermin is the longest song) and works very well. The Rush reference is once more present and the song is a really nice ending of a very good album. After the music has stopped, the album ends with sounds of the ocean and some windchimes. To conclude, I am really happy to have found out about Kurgan's Bane and their music. I will definitely keep an eye and an ear open for new stuff from their direction. The easiest way to describe their music is to say that it sounds quite a bit as if Rush had decided to record an album with Lana Lane on vocals instead of Geddy Lee. And I mean that in the best way possible. If you are into Rush and/or some IQ and early Marillion with a harder edge to it, do give Kurgan's Bane a chance. It is well worth it. Conclusion: 9- out of 10. Joakim Jahlmar.