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Flagship - Maiden Voyage

If you are familiar with Christian Rivel, you know that whatever he puts his hands to is usually something that you need to stop and pay attention to.  Whether it be Narnia, Divinefire, Wisdom Call, Audiovision, or one of the numerous other bands he's played a part in, you can be sure that you will get high quality music, powerful vocals, bold evangelistic lyrics, and stellar production and packaging.

That left me with no surprises as I popped in this new album by Christian's latest endeavor, Flagship.  Rivel, along with Linus Kåse, Carl Johan Grimmark, Kristofer Eng, Per Hallman, and Mick Nordström have crafted a gripping album of symphonic progressive rock that should appeal greatly to fans of bands like Kansas, Styx, Queen, and maybe even a more modern band like Tiles.  Even fans of Rivel's other heavier bands may like this just due to the familiar vocals. 

Musically, this is top notch.  The guitar playing by Carl Johan Grimmark is solid as always with a guest appearance by Kerry Livgren playing a guitar solo on the song "Ground Zero", which originally appeared on his Seeds of Change album.  You also have plenty of '80's keyboards, violins & violas, and big background vocals.  And Rivel's lead vocals are just as high-quality as you get from all of his other projects.  The songs themselves are very long, diverse, beautiful yet rocking, and full of passion. 

Christian Rivel is not one to get stuck in a rut with one particular style, and this album proves his ability to succeed brilliantly in yet another genre of music.  And once again, he has surrounded himself with superbly talented musicians to compliment his vocal abilities.  If you like progressive rock, this album is must have.

Rating: 92/100

Review By: Matt Morrow

Label: Rivel Records

Total Songs: 6

Total Time: 47:07

Tracklisting: 1. Heart is the Center, 2. You Are, 3. The Throne, 4. Hold on to Your Dream, 5. Windy City, 6. Ground Zero.

Best Songs: Tracks 1, 3, & 6.

Band Lineup: Christian Rivel - Lead & Backing Vocals, Linus Kåse - Keyboards & Backing Vocals, Carl Johan Grimmark - Electric Lead & Rhythm Guitars, Kristofer Eng - Bass, Per Hallman - Backing Vocal/Lead Vocals on "Ground Zero", Mick Nordström - Drums.

Band Website: N/A