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Flame Dream - 1982 Supervision

ARTIST: Flame Dream
ALBUM: Supervision
LABEL: Vertigo
SERIAL: 6435 144
YEAR: 1982


LINEUP: Roland Ruckstuhl - keyboards, vocoder * Peter Wolf - lead vocals, woodwinds * Urs Hochill - bass, vocals * Peter Furrer - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Blackmail * 02 Dancing Into Daylight * 03 Supervision * 04 Signs Of Solitude * 05 Tragedy * 06 Time For A Change * 07 Woman's Art? * 08 Paradise Lost: Part 1: Arrival, Part 2: The Attack, Part 3: Finale

The volume of high quality progressive bands that emerged from Switzerland during progressive rock's heyday is impressive considering the relatively small size of the nation and yet land-locked between two of the movements most fertile scenes - Germany to the north and Italy to the south; it makes perfect sense. Luzern's Flame Dream along with Irrwisch and Circus made great strides commercially both in their homeland and throughout Europe while also-rans Agamemnon, Dragonfly, Nautilus and Welcome languished in hopeless obscurity lacking the commercial drive their peers wholeheartedly embraced. In the case of Flame Dream their first two albums where planted squarely in the Van Der Graaf Generator, Yes and Genesis musical garden of delights but it was their third record that got my undivided attention. Released in 1981 'Out In The Dark' is a sparkling jewel of melodic prog and while few realized it at the time; a defining moment for the burgeoning 'neo' movement.

The Songs
Naturally progressive rock purist's lost the plot; not caring for Flame Dream's new streamlined direction and a year later 'Supervision' took matters further; once again echoing Kayak as well as 'And Then There Were Three' era Genesis. The departure of short-term American guitarist Dale Hauskins brought keyboards back to the fore and the fancy fingerings of Roland Ruckstuhl are more than up to task as is lead singer Peter Wolf (no relation) who has an air of Peter Gabriel in his phrasing although on 'Blackmail' he emulates Kayak's Max Werner to the point of being scary. The addition of Wolf's flute on the wispy 'Dancing In Daylight' and the pure Genesis worship of 'Tragedy' give the Flame Dream sound a classically pastoral vibe while the quirky 'Time For A Change' could almost pass for Split Enz. Of course, despite the band's poppy aspirations this is still a progressive album and the lengthy three-part 'Paradise Lost' with its grandiose instrumental passages will more than satisfy those with more traditional leanings.

In Summary
The group put on some fairly large shows throughout Switzerland as well as a tour with Nektar and yet for some reason in 1983 Flame Dream released 'Travaganza'; their fifth studio album while changing their name to the album's title for British consumption. It didn't work and after one more record '8 On 6' as the much cooler Flame Dream, the band ended a damn fine run. Sadly none of their albums have been reissued on CD, officially at least.

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