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Marvel - 2003 Everafter



MARVEL - EVERAFTER (2003, TARGET RECORDS)
Ivan Almeida - vocals, acoustic guitars
Ricardo Fernandes - guitars, vocals
Joao Paulo Aca - guitars
Miguel Madeira - bass
Jorge Roque - drums


Background
There is more to Portugal than Cristiano Ronaldo on a football field, or the world renowned southern coastal region of Algarve. Yes, it takes the shape of a rock band - Marvel to be precise. There have only been a handful of bands from the country that have stood out, of late the only other notable band has been the prog influenced Nordica (who are on the comeback btw, with a new album no less!). Formed in 1999, Marvel first came to our attention via a series of demo's which appeared on their MP3.COM site a couple of years ago. Some of these also found their way into Battle Of The Bands type competitions, one of which was very successful for Marvel - that being the UK mag Power Play where they won the damn thing. Since then they've also appeared on the Munich's Hardest Hits Compilation Vol 3, and now find themselves at the top of the heap for burgeoning new melodic rock label Target Records - who as it turns out, had been after the signature of this band for some time. The band had been previously compared to a modern, rockier, edgier version of Harem Scarem and Marc Fereira's excellent Monkey Bite project, and in a way, I suppose I can hear the similarity. When compared to those original demo's, gone are the keyboards while the guitars get more focus second time around. Marvel also sang their earlier material in Portuguese, but after finding much interest from abroad, took the plunge and wrote everything in the good Queens English. A Portuguese rock band, a German label, and of course a worldwide audience. Sounds very international to me! Well, let's dissect the material.

The Songs
'Fingerprintz' is the pick of the bunch, and it's the lead-off track for a very good reason. The build-up and eventual chorus is a winner. The next one is too strange. It's not clear what this song is about, but the lyrics on 'Bag Of Bones' don't really give the game away, despite references to lost love etc. However, when the spooky movie effects kick in mid song you're left wondering just where the hell Marvel are coming from (no pun intended). 'Thought About The Days' is a fiery guitar driven piece, probably the ultimate representation of Marvel's overall sound. The band change pace for the ballad 'I Know U Too Well', the ebb and flow direction also alternates between tender and urgent. The songtitle 'Hang On To The Night' sounds as if it could be an AOR-type track, and you'd be half right. The sound typical of many of the releases found on the Frontiers label over the years. Not such a bad thing, but stereotypical it is. The chant-along choruses of 'Long Way 2 Go' gets the blood flowing in the same way as Mitch Malloy or Mr Reality. The lightened guitar sound taking on a poppy/radio feel. Not so for 'Revolution Day', which is a lot more aggressive, the lyrics conspiring the listener to become part of the rock n roll revolution (where have I heard that before?). The twin guitars work in tandem on the harder rockin' 'Wayout', again this is the direction that Marvel sound most comfortable in. The same approach is taken on 'How Do You Make Me Feel', the solos are particularly sonic and dare I say it 'widdly-diddly'!! They end with the sublime acoustic 'Another Day, Another Way', a nice winding down tune which showcases the band in a different setting, an ideal piece for the Unplugged Set'.

In Summary
'Everafter' is not so much as a walk down memory lane, but a ride through the skateboard park of the new millenium, complete with guitar riffs and an attitude that's part and a parcel of the new breed of rock. I feel Marvel should look at taking an even harder direction to their music, as I feel that's where they feel most comfortable. At the moment they are caught 'betwixt and between', like Neo in The Matrix (choose the red pill or the blue pill). In the case of Marvel, either take the modern rock path, or a full on rock/metal direction. Settling for the middle ground could prove to be something of a 'no-mans land' for them. Whatever path they choose, the band will be worth watching, as the talent is undeniable. A worthy debut in any case.

URL: www.marvelmusic.com

Track Listing:
01 Fingerprintz
02 Bag Of Bones
03 Thought About The Days
04 I Know You Too Well
05 Hang On To The Night
06 Long Way 2 Go
07 Revolution Day
08 Someday (Standing On The Edge Of Time)
09 Wayout
10 Same Old Stories
11 How Do You Make Me Feel
12 Fake The Truth
13 Another Day, Another Way

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