Finch

Reviews

Glory Of The Inner Force

Glory of the inner force (ATCO)

Glory Of The Inner Force
(1975)

Finch was a Dutch band that played a style of symphonic-fusiony prog  is reportedly quite similar to that of fellow countrymen Focus, though I haven't actually gotten around to that band yet.  Still, Finch plays an extremely competent style of frenetic, yet melodic, instrumental progressive.  Their music is based on the intense guitar/keyboard interplay, which basically renders the album a fairly bombastic platter of wall-to-wall solos and otherwise complex instrumental themes.  All four tracks follow the same basic format, extremely technical prog and highly proficient playing, but a style that unfortunately wears a little thin by the end of the album.
"Register Magister" is the track everyone loves, probably by virtue of being placed first, and it definitely rules, grabbing the listener with an aggressive guitar hook and leading one through a complex maze of powerful themes, melodies and solos.  The second track, "Paradoxical Moods", is actually my favorite, as it is the most varied, not to mention an intense extended Hammond organ solo near the end.  Unfortunately, "Pisces" and "A Bridge to Alice" tend to lose me, as the solos just keep on coming in a generally consistent aggressive tone.  Both have their moments, especially "Bridge to Alice", which actually changes things up with some more (relatively) moody playing.  The two bonus tracks are good, but again unremarkable.  Being placed last on an already sort of tedious album certainly doesn't help.  More of the same basically.  Anyway, this a nice album of instrumental prog that provides a good middle ground between fusion and symphonic tendencies.  Glory... is a little too bombastic and wanky throughout for my taste, lacking some desirable dynamic effects, though it is enjoyable from time to time.  Definitely a must have for fans of flashy guitar work, or otherwise technically jaw dropping instrumental stuff.

(Greg Northrup, Progweed, 2001)

Dutch band Finch's debut album is acclaimed as a classic by some, and overrated by others, but either way you look at it it's still a must listen. Finch were an instrumental quartet with the emphasis on hard-driving and spirited instrumental play. They borrowed from music like Focus, and to a lesser extent, bands like Supersister, Solution, or Scope, and added fusion and other elements to make a very dynamic and exciting symphonic rock with organs, mellotrons, and blazing guitar. The four compositions display a number of upbeat, exciting jams with plenty of solos, symphonic/classical rock moments, and the occasional 70's lounge-jazz tangent. These latter moments are the type of thing that occasionally pops up in jazz fusion like Iceberg, Cos, Patrick Forgas, and TV commercials that I personally could do without. It is probably the dated 70's elements that prevents me from considering this a classic, but if you're at all into European symphonic rock you should definitely make your own opinion up, as the music is often quite breathtaking. With two good-quality bonus tracks added to the CD version, this is an essential reissue albeit a tad overrated.

(Mike McLatchey, Expose, 2001)

Glory of the Inner Force is an instrumental album of fusiony symphonic rock close to bands like Focus, Camel, and the Argentine band Crucis. A vague Canterbury influence is distinguishable as well. While all these references indicate that Glory of the Inner Force should be right up my alley, the album doesn't work that well for me. Somehow, the compositions seem to go nowhere and the album listens like an endless stream of solos and symphonic themes that don't seem to stick. For example, the opening bars of "Paradoxical Moods" sound simply cheesy to me (although the track becomes more interesting later on). However, it would be unfair to dismiss Glory of the Inner Force as mediocre or average. The guitar and organ playing is good and the other musicians are actively involved in the music as well. The last track "A Bridge to Alice" is pretty varied with a nice acoustic intermezzo, and "Pisces" contains some great, lively interplay between guitar and organ, very much like Crucis. This album is certainly worth a try if you like any of the bands I mentioned above, but I can't get really excited about Finch.

(Sjef Oellers, 2001, Gnosis)

A Dutch instrumental-progressive group who partly sounded like a more fusion-influenced version of Focus. "Glory of the Inner Force" was their first album and consisted of four long and complex tracks. The musicianship and playing of the band is really tight, impressive and energetic. There are lots of Jan Akkerman-like melody lines in the guitar playing of Joop Van Nimwegen and the keyboards of Cleem Determeijer included lots of frenetic Hammond, moog and some Mellotron. The opening track "Register Magister" is a really good one and the best on the whole album. Very complex with lots of inspired and good themes. However, the remaining tracks are unfortunately rather uneven in my opinion, especially on the second side of the album. There are tendencies to good parts and themes all the way through, but the tracks too often just floats out in tedious and aimless noodling. And fusion-tendencies bore the shit out of me, no matter what band who plays it. But it all comes down to personal taste, and I guess Finch would be just your thing if you're looking for a more fusion-orientated version of the Focus-sound.

(Tommy Schonenberg, Vintage Prog)

A Dutch instrumental-progressive group who display the musical aura of YES with elements of a more fusion-influenced Focus. IMHO this masterpiece of progressive rock spends its time concentrating purely on the instrumentation, delivering complex and fulfilling moods and grooves. "Glory Of the Inner Force" was Finch's first album and consists of four long and complex tracks with 2 bonus tracks released on a vinyl 7" to "Glory". The musicianship and playing of this band is highly energetic and highly efficient. Mellotron fans will love the keyboard talents of Cleem Determeijer who also adds some tasty Hammond and moog. Leader and guitarist Joop Van Nimwegen is also multi -talented musician whose playing reminds me at times of Jan Akkerman. Bass and drumming is also quite exciting and propulsive making this album a treat to listen to time and time again. Finch's . "Glory Of the Inner Force" is a wonderful 70's prog album that must be owned by all good music lovers out there…….

(James Unger,  Progarchives)

Lots of lush keyboards, endless technical guitar playing. My 1st impression back when I originally heard this was that it sounded like an all instrumental Focus. These guys were well trained on their instruments, and liked to play some fast and technical compositions. Very symphonic, very fusiony. They have very long drawn out songs, Epics I guess we should call them! They seem to try and tell their stories instrumentally, starting slow generally and upping the tempo mid-way to keep your attention and then usually a crashing finale. I Highly suggest all of their recordings, especially if you are a fan of bands like Focus, Finnforest, Pekka Pohjola. My only complaint is that they are not recording anymore!!

(Satch, Proggnosis)

The Netherlands was not left out of the progressive scene now nor during the heyday of the musics popularity, Focus, Alquin, Cargo, Earth & Fire, Kayak, Lady Lake, Solution were but a few bands that were creating progressive music in the 70's from the small country that seems to be loaded with musical talent.

Finch's music is instrumental, highly technical, and full of energetic musicianship, very fun band to listen to. I would almost have to liken them to early fusion, yet there is a very prevalent progressive rock feel to their music as well, Satches comments of Finch being an instrumental version of Focus are very accurate indeed, as that band also showed the same tendencies towards fusiony progressive rock, and not in any way fusion fans were accustomed to, the elements of jazz are not present in this music, it has a lot of soloing, skilled band interplay, yet rock is the driving force behind this bands sound.

If your tastes lean towards the instrumental side of early prog, and you enjoy some great jams, that also provide some solid structures, this early Finch album is great stuff. Imagine some early Return to Forever & Deep Purple mixed together, with no singers, that's about the best description I can provide at this time, anyway if you have read about this band and remain curious of their music, let me just say for it's day it was great stuff.

(M.J. Brady, Proggnosis)

I was just completely blown away by this album! I heard comparisons to FOCUS so I had to get this album. Well, guitarist Joop van Nimwegen sure got his Jan Akkerman chops down, but in my opinion, plays faster. The band was rounded out by keyboardist Cleem Determeijer, drummer Beer Klaase, and bassist Peter Vink. The opening cut, "Register Magister" just blew me away, with those intense riff and inspired compositions. "Paradoxical Moods" starts off a bit PINK FLOYD/FOCUS-like but eventually the band gets jamming and Cleem Determeijer starts wanking his organ. "Pisces" and "A Bridge to Alice" might not be as intense as the first two, but they are still amazing piece. Also of interest is this was the only FINCH album to feature Mellotron. I own the American vinyl copy released on the Atco label (in Holland, it was released on the Negram label), with the same basic cover, but different color clouds in the background (blue, rather than orange).

I quickly snatched FINCH's following two albums, both have great material, but don't quite match the raw intensity of this album. Without a doubt, the album you must start with if you're not familiar with FINCH.

(Proghead, Progarchives)

100 miles per hour Jazz-rock or cool symphonic inspired - Sounds a lot like countrymen fellows Focus but is even more instrumental . As one might guess from the cover and the title , this is aiming at esoteric territory but this does not hit the mark with me, but the quality of the music makes this appraoch Focus 3 or the lone Cargo album and if you take away the brass , a bit to another dutch band called Solution.

(Hugues Chantraine, Progarchives)

If spastic, hyper, jazzy, intense instrumental progressive rock is your thing, Finch delivers. There's plenty to absorb without the distraction of a vocalist (where would a vocalist possibly find a good pocket to sing in here?), the music being busy and kinetic through each of the 4 long songs.

What separates Finch from some other instrumental combos in the prog/jazzrock/fusion realm is the solidity of their arrangements. Nothing sounds improvised or off-the-cuff. Where bands like National Health, Kenso and Happy The Man seem to come from an improvisational background, Finch delivers solid structures at every turn. Myriad parts are layered on top of each other, constantly shifting mood from one bar to the next, all of it sounding 'written' rather than 'jammed'. Joop Van Nimwegen's guitar solos are fired off with a certain electricity that must've been improvised to some degree, but his sense of structure and timing make for some extremely memorable moments. His style is like Steve Howe (the melody) meets John McLaughlin (the speed). The Rickenbacker of Peter Vink grumbles and does some nice acrobatic turns ('Paradoxical Moods'), while the keyboards and drums color the tunes further with their nimble, fusion-esque intensity. The entire ensemble is like early Camel on a gritty acid excursion, maintaining a cool control while teetering on the brink of collapse. Their most energetic and raw excursion. A top-notch work of transcendental prog-rock indulgence.

Jeff Wagner, Progarchives)

The debut album from one of the best prog bands to come from the Netherlands during the 70s: 'Glory of the Inner Force' is a record full of musical glory and lively force. Right from the starting point, the opener 'Register Magister' shows a bombastic explosion of sound, fed by the fire of hard rock and the sophistication of jazz rock, ordained by the progressive laws of variations and unexpected twists in melody, rhythm and mood. Each individual musician's skill is top-notch, and all four of them know how to work effectively in togetherness: this opener is a clear example of how the band can use the melodic structure of the main motifs and expand their potential strength without over-indulging in excessive improvisation, always keeping the focus on the logic of the motifs themselves. As points of reference, I could cite Akkerman and McLaughlin as major influences on van Nimwegen's guitar playing, while keyboardist Determeijer sounds clearly inspired by the Canterbury scene, but mostly what these guys do is find their own voice while challenging each other during the performances. The rhythm section is awesome, too: they remind me of van der Linden-Ruiter in terms of energy and precision. The high standards of Finch's intensity level is reaffirmed in 'Paradoxical Moods' – including an incendiary organ solo by Determeijer and some of Klaase's best drum rolls in the album. This piece sound to me very reminiscent of 72-73 era Focus, since its framework is heavily leaned on jamming: finally, the closing section is similar to early Camel with a harder edge. Things certainly don't get much softer with the opening section of 'Pisces', which once again sees the band mainly focused on jamming (once again Determeijer exposes his talent brilliantly, this time on electric piano), until a slower section gets in and gives room for an intense guitar solo by van Nimwegen, and somewhere in the middle, a bass extravaganza by Vink, too. I feel the symphonic ending comes somewhat abruptly, not too naturally, as if its potential bombast had been aborted, but all in all, it's still a great track. Things go back to plain perfection with the majestic closure 'A Bridge to Alice', which is also the longest and most intense piece of the album's official repertoire. All throughout the series of successive motifs there is a predominant somberness performed in a bombastic ambience. Somewhere in the middle there is a captivating acoustic guitar solo, and immediately afterwards, a spacey section that enhances the air of mystery that is displayed in many places all over the track. What a splendid closure! But the CD edition has got some more for the avid prog fan: a bonus track titled 'Colosus', divided in 2 parts that occupied both sides of a single. It is a catchy piece, indeed, but not simplistic: the prototypical Finch sophistication is overtly there. Overall rating: the maximum mark, which is just what every masterpiece deserves.

(César Inca Mendoza Loyola, Progarchives)

Finch was one of Holland's greatest bands, in the 70's, with 3 out-standing records, over a period of nearly 2 years. In those years, they made music, that only few can accomplish, in a life-time. This is symphonic prog-rock at it's best
Finch, hit the world, just around the same time, as there fellow countrymen Focus/ Alquin/ Earth & Fire/ Solution & Trace. Many compared them to Focus, but to me, they come closest, to Trace. Finch is not so complex, as Trace can appear, at times. But they are more melodic. This foursome consists of; Cleem Determejer on Keys. Joop Van Nimwegen on Guitar. Beer Klaasse on Drums & Peter Vink on Bass. If the comparison to Focus, is to be found( if you ask me?), it's in the way Nimwegen plays his guitar or the way it sounds. (Or perhaps to Steve Howe?). He is ever so great. This is the 1995 remastered version with out-standing sound quality. Opposite Trace, Finch is a "rock-band". With lush keyboards, guitars on a highly technical level. Instrumental Symphonic progrock as I "love" it, with a musicianship rarely seen in those days. "Glory Of The Inner Force" have 4 fantastic tracks & 2 bonus tracks, running about 50 min. Epics I would call them. Here you'll get great melodies, many rhythm changes & excellent musicianship. Nimwegen is the master behind most of the Finch material. Determejer could easy make it with all the great keyboard-players. He's a master on his instrument and changes "sounds" constantly, ever so beautifully. Vink on bass, is an outstanding accurate bass-player, who plays with much passion & Klaasse's drums keeps up the high class & tempo
Finch is an outstanding piece of work. Made 3 outstanding albums, which I can recommend highly, to progheads who like there prog, fast-with lots of energy & high profile musicianship. My highest recommendations.

(Leo Christiansen, Progplanet)

To Album

Beyond Expression

Beyond Expression
(1976)

Finch released several instrumental prog albums back in the seventies before calling it a day. They were a 4-piece band consisting of bass, drums, keyboards, and guitar. Guitarist Joop Van Nimwegen leads the band through the dozens of themes in each track. Those themes tend to be melodic in a classical sort of way, yet have a theatrical hard rock influence (think Brian May in an instrumental prog rock band). The various sections range from mellow, guitar arpeggio-led, moods to heavy riffing and soloing. The keyboardist is also given plenty of room to play his various analog beasts. The closest band that I could compared Finch to is Modry Efekt. Both bands were led by skilled guitarists, yet everything sounds like a band effort and the music never becomes an excuse for endless guitar noodling. Many consider Beyond Expression to be Finch's best album, but there are two other albums on the market that are of equal interest.

(Zoltan's Progressive Rock Webpage)

Indispenable classic progressive rock album taking the band in a different direction than that explored on their classic debut album (Glory Of The Inner Force) . I guess if you had 1 instrumental album to buy this year then I have your stocking stuffer kids! There are only 3 nice long songs on this album and is much more exploratory than their debut album. Finch were well known for being an unpredictable band blending chunky hard driving parts with more spacey softer subdued interludes. Once again a fair amount of analog keyboards are utilized with some lovely moog and mellotron runs. At times Finch sound like Yes trying to perform Perpetual Change while on speed….Without a question the center piece of Finch is the Les Paul guitar work of Joop Van Nimwegen who performs some highly technical and full bodied parts. Hard for me to pick a fav between "Glory.." and "Beyond Expression" but I would definitely put into the essential category…..

(James Unger,  Progarchives)

It seems the Netherlands, for so long just quietly produced some of the finest quality progressive music on the planet (Earth and Fire, Trace, Focus, Ekseption and others) without a lot of hoopla or hype.

Finch, a thunderous all-instrumental outfit certainly did their share to add to that fine reputation. Beyond Expression is a very fitting title for this carefully crafted outing, as Finch strives to express that which cannot be put into words, but rather notes and sounds. Seemingly combining the best elements of Yes, Focus and Camel without being the slightest bit derivative, Finch lets forth 3 beautifully written, constantly changing instrumental pieces. Featuring Joop Van Nimwegen's searing guitar pyrotechnics and Cleem Determeijer's tasty, thick analog keyboards, the listener is drawn in with thunderous majestic passages and just flat-out screaming yet melodic guitar fireworks, while a busy, insistent rhythm section to hold it all together. I can't pick a favorite cut here, because all 3 are equally b, though certainly, the 20 minute "A Passion Condensed" could be looked at as a definitive Finch track.

Nary a moment of dullness can be found here, so strap yourself in for one ferocious instrumental ride!! You won't regret it!

(Progressive Ears)

Finch is, without any doubt, one of the leading symphonic bands that Holland has ever produced. Sure there was Focus, Kayak, Earth & Fire, but Finch was the only one able to keep you on the edge of your seat with purely instrumental music!

Beyond Expression was their second album, originally released in 1976 and only containing three tracks. The outstanding track has to be the epic 20-minute long "A Passion Condensed." Obviously there are a lot of atmospheres to be found in this one track. The intro is very similar to what Solution (another great Dutch band) was up to on its first two albums. Then there's a smashing Hammond-organ-solo by Cleem Determeier before the song arrives in a mellow sounding part which resem-bles Camel. Then it's full steam ahead for a wild guitar solo from Joop Van Nimwegen who freaks out in a Jan Akkerman-way prior to settling for a modest interval, which leads us to the grand finale full of guitar, strings (Solina) and ARP synth.

The slightly honky tonk intro of "Scars On The Ego" makes way for a dreamy interlude between guitar, flute-sound on ARP, and some original bass lines by Peter Vink. When drummer Beer Klaasse sets the pace, it's back to some great undergroun-d rock from Joop. Towards the end of the song the rhythm accelerates, bringing the sound into the Deep Purple arena. The vintage sound of the used synths illustrates the fact that these gems were recorded almost twenty five years ago! Part of "Beyond The Bizarre" is rather experimental, even cosmic, with Cleem using all sorts of sounds before attacking again by means of his grand piano. The final highlight comes courtesy of Joop, again backed by some nice mellotron. Pity the drum sound is so weak. If only the original recording had offered more power then we could surely speak of one of the world's most important symphonic releases. As it stands, it's still nice to hear it all over again although one has to be honest in saying that it sounds rather dated. If only Finch could get back together again though!

(John "Bo Bo" Bollenberg, Progressive World)

For me, I don't feel "Beyond Expression" quite lives up to the greatness of "Glory of the Inner Force". Here, the band went for a less raw and aggressive, more polished production. The opening cut, "A Passion Condensed" is truly a wonderful prog masterpiece, showing the guitar talents of Joop van Nimwegen. I wished Cleem Determeijer still used a Mellotron like he did on their debut, so instead he replaced it with a Solina string synth. He still uses plenty of Hammond organ, of course. I especially like the atmospheric middle part where Determeijer used a Wurlitzer electric piao. "Scars on the Ego" is another great piece, with a bit of a more "heavy metal" approach, especially in the guitar. It's still progressive, though. But it's that last song, "Beyond the Bizarre" that I was really disappointed with. It starts off interesting enough with some spacy string synths, but the second half of the piece really turns to crap with this cheesy classical piano, and cheesy guitar licks. That last song I can barely tolerate. This would be the last album to feature Cleem Determeijer and drummer Beer Klaase. Aside from "Beyond the Bizarre", this is still worth having, but go for "Glory of the Inner Force" first.

(Proghead, Progarchives)

FINCH released several instrumental prog albums back in the seventies before calling it a day. They were a 4-piece band consisting of bass, drums, keyboards, and guitar. Guitarist Joop Van Nimwegen leads the band through the dozens of themes in each track. Those themes tend to be melodic in a classical sort of way, yet have a theatrical hard rock influence (think Brian May in an instrumental prog rock band). The various sections range from mellow, guitar arpeggio-led, moods to heavy riffing and soloing. The keyboardist is also given plenty of room to play his various analog beasts. The closest band that I could compared FINCH to is MODRY EFEKT. Both bands were led by skilled guitarists, yet everything sounds like a band effort and the music never becomes an excuse for endless guitar noodling. Many consider "Beyond Expression" to be FINCH's best album, but there are two other albums on the market that are of equal interest

(Steve Hegede,  Progarchives)

More of the same but without the surprise and slightly less personal. Along with other group of the era such as Solution , Cargo , Supersister , Focus, etc..... Holland was home to good jazz-rock but nowadays is more home to neo prog . Here comes the old geezer saying : where have gone all the good times. Quality stuff that helped fill-up the space of my Finch compilation.

(Hugues Chantraine, Progarchives)

Slightly less frantic and a bit more challenging, Finch's second rounds off some of the sharp edges, but it's no less adventurous than the debut. The 20-minute 'A Passion Condensed' will probably stand for all time as their defining masterpiece, its mood changes and structural layers revealing themselves after many attentive listens. Each passage merges easily into the next, showing Finch at the top of their game, each member completely dialed-in and making this huge piece work. 'Scars On The Ego' smashes through next, standing as their heaviest-ever track. Based around a riff that feels like pure epic metal, the middle of the song settles into a hypnotic cosmic caress before erupting in a fury of sparks and fire (thanks to the wailing punishment keyboardist Cleem Determeijer and guitarist Joop Van Nimwegen dish out to their instruments). While the title of third track 'Beyond The Bizarre' would seem to indicate a wilder ride ahead, it is simply 14 minutes of typical Finch. It bounces between mellow and manic, highlighted by a joyous lightning-speed workout from the stringed instrumentalists. The middle-to-end section of this bouncy piece gives Determeijer several minutes of spotlight time before a rather dramatic ending brings things to a close. Straight piano doesn't often convince in progrock—we're totally spoiled by Moogs, Hammonds, synths, Mellotrons and such, no?-- so this section of "Beyond The Bizarre" is a bit boring, offering the only real lull on the album. Not as direct as their first, nor as refined as their third, this can probably be considered the most challenging and eventful of the three Finch albums.

Jeff Wagner, Progarchives)

What a fantastic prog band these guys were! It's a real shame they were utterly unknown outside their own country. They are a progressive rock fan's dream band - they have it all - the instrumental super-skills, the ability to construct complex, lengthy, highly melodic, symphonic pieces filled with every progressive device imaginable. Their mastery is accentuated by the fact that their music is entirely instrumental, which forces musicians to stretch their expressiveness and inventiveness to the limits, since they do not rely on vocals and lyrics. Their masterpiece is the 20-minute epic of epics, Passion Condensed. What a monster track that is! Everything that is great about symphonic prog can be found in it. In the middle of the piece is one of the most drop-dead gorgeous keyboard and guitar passages I've ever heard, interrupted by a furious guitar improvization before it resumes again. The chords are simply breathtaking. The piece begins and concludes with some high- power all-band acrobatics which include the main theme. The other two great tracks on the album are just as inventive and melodic as Passion Condensed. I consider this album indispensable because it is one of the most pure and archetypal examples of symphonic progressice rock that I have ever heard. All that without a lead singer!

(Elliot Minkovitch, Progarchives))

To Album

Galleons Of Passion

Galleons Of Passion
(1977)

Introduction:
A rerelease from the original master tape unfortunately containing no extra tracks and the CD is as such very short. There's probably not much more material around, beause this label has the tendency to put bonus tracks on the CDs if possible (with Kayak for instance). This third album by Finch dated 1977, was also their last one and did not feature Cleem Determeijer anymore. Peter Vink from the legendary Q 65 and Joop van Nimwegen were still there however. Lately I read an interview with the guys, and it seems that except for Joop all members are proud of their music and still like it a lot, thinking it the best they have done ever. Joop however thought that they were young and naive making this kind of music. A reunion seems to be far off, any case you were hoping.

The album:
The album starts out with a wailing guitar, like a siren. Then the keyboards come in and this is a bad thing in this case, because they sound rather dated and the melody is also rather trite. After a while there's a very laid back atmospheric part with guitar on the foreground and layers of keyboards beneath and this is a lot better. Joop shows that he can really play with feeling. The melodies of this song are rather straightforward and accessible. The band sounds quite a lot like Focus on this track.

The second track is shorter and starts out spooky enough. The sound reminds me of Pulsar and Floyd. The sound is very slow moving, but after over 2 minutes the track turns very percussive. A bit in the Latin style.

The third track sounds like Focus playing Shine on you ... The sound is very spacious here. This track is again very melodic and with some great guitar melodies, very clear and very pronounced.

The longest track is the fourth. Again it starts out quite menacing and hopefully they can keep the tension. After four minutes the song is still built up, by a repetitive guitar/keyboard riff. Unfortunately after five minutes it seems they have taken too long to develop the idea, but a quiet interlude comes to the rescue.

The last track is quite (jazz)rocky. Does not really go anywhere, but the track is saved just in time by a long terrific guitarsolo.

Conclusion:
The most accessible of the Finch albums. A little short I think. They might have found some bonus things for this or they might have put on one CD with another Finch album. Well, that's unfortunate, but the music is alright. Like I said rather accessible, instrumental music with the guitar on the foreground. People who like lots of guitar soloing or are fond of Focus might give this band a try. I do think Focus is still a notch better than Finch giving more direction to their music, but some of the melodies are quite good and the guitar makes up for a lot. Also people who like the instrumental Camel might have a find here. Their previous two were better if I remember correctly.

(Jurriaan Hage, The Axiom Of Choice)

Galleons of Passion, the third album, basically continues in a similar symphonic fusion style, but the music has become more accessible and really a lot less interesting. I would definately call this album average. I haven't bothered to listen their second album Beyond Expression, although it is supposed to be about as good as Glory of the Inner Force. However, I did hear The Makings of .... Galleons of Passion/Stage 76, a double CD with live recordings from 1976, demos, and outtakes. This set of tunes is more interesting than Galleons of Passion. The alternate versions on this 2CD are more lively and inspired than on the regular album, some of the unreleased tracks are pretty good as well, closer to Glory of the Inner Force. The live tracks are well done, but add little to the studio versions. Recommended if you like this band, but definitely start with Glory of the Inner Force.

(Sjef Oellers, 2001, Gnosis)

Finch, like Earth & Fire, Supersister, Focus, Alquin, Solution, Ekseption, Trace, and Kayak was one of many prog bands to come out of the Netherlands in the 1970s. Finch managed to release three albums in the mid to late 1970s: Glory of the Inner Force (1975), Beyond Expression (1976), and this one, Galleons of Passion, from 1977. Finch was basically lead by guitarist Joop van Nimwegen who I feel is one of the finest guitarist the prog scene had to offer, his guitar playing is very much in the style of Jan Akkerman, he even goes as far as playing a Gibson "Les Paul", just like Akkerman, but he's even a better player than Akkerman, in my opinion. The band also featured Peter Vink on bass, as well as a keyboardist and drummer. With Galleons of Passion, keyboardist Cleem Determeijer and drummer Beer Klaasse had left the band replaced keyboardist Ad Wammes and drummer Hans Bosboom. They also switched labels too, from Negram, to Bubble, a division of Ariola. The music on this album seems to have less creativity from their previous two albums and yet they still managed a fine album and really didn't affect their sound too much, aside from the creativity. Here they pretty much stick to a Pink Floyd, Moonmadness-era Camel and Focus 3 (the song off the Focus album by the same name, that is) kind of pace and tends to more conventional symphonic prog and less of the fusion. Certainly, as in their previous two albums, Joop van Nimwegen is often a show-off and his guitar playing often overpowers the rest of the band. The new keyboardist tended to use more string synths than Cleem Determeijer before him, making this by far their spaciest album. The songs tends to be shorter here, no side length epics like "A Passion Condensed" from Beyond Expression, for example, in fact the album has five songs altogether. There's a couple of cuts in the 4-5 minute range, while the longest are just under 10 minutes. But, like their previous albums, the production here is incredible, definately more polished and sophisticated than Glory of the Inner Force. The cuts on this album are "Unspoken is the Word", "Remembering the Future", "As One", the three part suite "With Love as the Motive" and "Reconciling". Of all the songs on this album, my favorite by far is "Reconciling", a totally killer way to close the album because it features some totally mindblowingly intense passages that harkens back to the finer moments of Glory of the Inner Force. It's something like Focus meets Moonmadness-era Camel with Glory's intensity. "With Love As the Motive" starts off spacy, then there's cool guitar riffs and spacy string synths, before the rather mellow finale, which seems a little out of place because the mood seems to conflict with which otherwise I felt was my second favorite cut. "As One" has been described as Focus playing "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", and from hearing it, I supposed that's true. "Remembering the Future" starts off with the typical Finch sound of this album before it ends with Peter Vink's unique sounding bass and a bunch of percussion. All three of Finch's albums sound rather dated, but I don't mean that in a negative sense, it's that it sounds very obvious when the band recorded these albums: the 1970s, since these albums sound very '70s. Unfortunately Galleons of Passion was Finch's last album, after all, I'm pretty sure the band saw it coming (the decline of progressive rock, that is) and bailed out before they, themselves might release some embarassing albums, like Yes giving us Tormato, it's American counterpart Starcastle giving us Real to Reel, Gentle Giant giving us Giant for a Day, and ELP giving us Love Beach (these were all albums released in 1978, a year after Galleons of Passion was released). Unfortunately there's no plans for a Finch reunion. Joop van Nimwegen had since became embarrassed of his stay in the band, calling it a "sin from his youth" (although the rest of the band had much fonder memories). The great thing of Finch was they were one of the few prog bands that released only good albums (not counting the countless one- and two-shot prog bands, of course), you can't say that to certain much better known prog bands like Yes, ELP, Genesis, or even Focus, for that matter. Personally I feel Glory of the Inner Force as by far their best album, so start there, then come to Beyond Expression, and this one, Galleons of Passion.

(Ben Miler, Amazon)

Letztes Jahr als Wiederveröffentlichung von dem holländischen Label Pseudonym Records aufgelegt, stammt diese CD ursprünglich aus dem Jahre 1977. Die vier Holländer Hand Bosboom (Schlagzeug), Joop Van Nimwegen (Gitarre), Peter Vink (Bass) und Ad Wammes (Keyboards & Flöte) spielen wunderschönen, melodischen Instrumental Rock bei dem etwaige Vergleich zu Kaipa (bei den langgedehnten Gitarrensoli mit Gruß an Roine Stolt) und Pink Floyd (stimmungsmäßig bei den ruhigen Keyboardpassagen, hier grüßt man Richard Wright) zu hören sind. Wer sich auf dünne Eis der Instrumentalmusik wagt, kann leicht einbrechen, da er aufgrund des fehlenden Gesangs einiges bieten sollte. Finch ziehen sich aber mehr als achtbar aus der Affäre, da ihre Musik nur so von tollen Melodien und Klängen strotzt, ohne dabei im absoluten leichtverdaulichen Melodic Sumpf zu versinken. Vielmehr verstehen es die vier, gekonnt ihre Kompositionen auf gleichem Niveau zu halten. Schwachpunkt ist dabei die viel zu kurze Laufzeit, dafür bereut man aber keine der 35 Minuten. Dominierend sind die Gitarre in der Melodieführung und die Keyboards bei der breit gefächerten Untermalung. Durch den melodischen Anteil ist man gezwungenermaßen tempomäßig langsam, bis hin zu mittlerem Tempo. Da man auf diesem Tonträger auch nur fünf Stücke vorfindet, bleibt in den einzelnen Liedern genug Zeit zur Entwicklung und Abwechslung. Recht relaxt wird da mal kurz geflötet, schöne langsame Keyboardläufe und immer wieder die getragenen Gitarrensoli. Schön anzuhören, so richtig zum Träumen. Beim abschließenden "Reconciling" drückt man beim Tempo und in der Abwechslung zwar etwas auf die Tube, streut auch geschickt mehr rockigere Elemente und ein fetziges Keyboard und Gitarrensoli ein, doch damit setzt man einen Gegenpol zum melodischen Rest und so ist dieses Lied für mich der vermeintliche Höhepunkt. Klarerweise ist der Sound angestaubt und man merkt den einzelnen Stücken offensichtlich an, dass sie schon einige Jahre auf dem Buckel haben. Auch bieten Finch nicht spektakuläre Instrumentalvirtuosität, trotzdem sollten sich alle Freunde der melodischen Variante des Progressive Rocks der 70er angesprochen fühlen.

Kristian Selm, Progressive Newsletter)

There were many ways for a prog rock band to end their career in the late '70s: turn to AOR, go mainstream, start writing more pop-oriented material that might not endear them to their old fans (but few wanted to latch on to the punk scene). Luckily FINCH refused to fall in to the punk/disco/AOR trap that brought down many prog bands at that time. No longer recording for Negram, FINCH was now recording for Ariola (actually a division called Bubble Records), with two new guys. With keyboardist Cleem Determeijer and drummer Beer Klaase out of the picture, the band brought in Ad Wammes on keyboards and Hans Bosboom on drums.

Here the band was going for a more conventional prog rock direction, mostly avoiding jams, as demonstrated on "Unspoken is the Word" and "Remembering the Future". "With Love as the Motive" starts off a bit experimental before going on to some great guitar riffs, before ending up in that dreaded "Beyond the Bizarre" (from "Beyond Expression") territory by being rather cheesy. The final cut, "Reconciling" totally blew me away! Without a doubt, the band harking back to the best moments of "Glory of the Inner Force", with some intense passages. This is where the band really gets jamming, something they hadn't really done on the rest of the album. Musically, there's no getting around the fact that this is 1977 (that is, the 1977 for those who refused to acknowledge punk rock existed), as the string synths are quite dominant here, with that spacy feel on some of the cuts. Good album, but nothing beats "Glory of the Inner Force".

(Proghead, Progarchives)

Another great album by Finch, who luckily didn't hang around long enough (ie. into the '80s) to record a bad album. 'Galleons Of Passion' is often considered the weaker of their 3 albums, and while it's definitely got its softer, less spastic moments, it's still a wonderful listen in its own right. And still totally 100% Finch.

Every now and then this album works its way into the dippy grocery-store Muzak that Camel and Focus would also occasionally get caught up in, but not often. More of the intent seems to be on creating comfortable spaces, which is in direct contrast to their previous albums. This helps make the intense moments that much more powerful. This is heard on the cosmic 'Remembering The Future', and all over Side 2, which is comprised of two long tracks: 'With Love As the Motive' and 'Reconciling'. Guitarist Joop Van Nimwegen sounds even more McLaughlin-ish when blazing over serene layers like the final moments of 'Unspoken Is The Word', and it's this sort of dynamic dichotomy that makes 'Galleons Of Passion' work so well. You just have to be a lot more patient in the listening to get the rewards that their first two albums slammed at you with a more direct intensity. A warm, welcoming excursion, this offers the widest array of dynamics of any Finch album (much credit for the vastness goes to keyboardist Ad Wammes). It's not their best album (I still can't decide between the first two), but it remains killer stuff, recommended to fans of Camel and Focus, as well as the more fusion-oriented Colosseum II and National Health.

Jeff Wagner, Progarchives)

This is the third and final album by the 70s dutch band Finch. All three Finch albums are instrumentals, but don't let that deter you, if you like progressive rock, you will NOT be disappointed with any of them. The sound/production quality is top notch. Rivals anything released in its day. The band was known for the excellent guitar work of Joop Van NimWegen and the nimble bass playing of Peter Vink. On this last album they took on a new keyboardist, who compliments the band perfectly with excellent synths. If you like Focus or Yes you will love this. These guys can play! The album starts with the 8 minute "Unspoken is the Word". Within seconds you will be hooked as your mind floats off into progrock heaven. Followed are "Remembering the Future" and "As One", two 4 minute pieces that while okay, are outshined by the last two tracks. The sad and beautiful 9 minute piece "With Love as the Motive" will sweep you away. The last song, "Reconciling" is the epitome of 70s progrock. Think of Yes meets Rush with a heavy dose of warm, tasteful synthesizers. There's not a dull moment throughout this 8 1/2 minute highly energetic and uplifting piece. Crank it up and it is 100% guaranteed to BLOW YOU AWAY! It's that good. A fantastic finale to a beautiful album. Get it!! Any price is a good one!

(Truefresco)

To Album

The making of ... Galleons of passion / Stage '76 Live

The making of ... Galleons of passion / Stage '76 Live
(2000)

The album:
Reconcilling (or should it be Reconciling as on the album?) is a great track to begin with: featuring some blistering guitar work this is really good. In the music I hear some echoes from early Focus and Mirage era Camel, but the totality of the sound is quite unique. Like Focus they were an instrumental band (forgetting the yodels of Van Leer for a while).

The follow-up is Dreamer,which is in fact a very dreamy track with slow keyboards. I can't be enthusiastic about it. It's too mellow and sounds like a slow version of Land Of Hope And Glory.

Remember The Future is a more mysterious track. Like the previous one it is quite relaxed and in it I hear some older Kayak echoes witha b bass presence and swirling keyboards. The song is quite weird in all, it never really comes around to being a composition. Lots of Latinish percussion, lots of bassplaying. Nice to hear, but quite unstructured.

The second epic, With Love As A Motive, opens threateningly. It seems that the band is more at home in the longer atmospheric pieces, then in the often more commercial, shorter ones. The mood evoked is reminiscent of Pink Floyd, until the up-beat starts revealing a terrific melody.

Night Walker is a rather short guitaristic piece, with plenty of changes in mood and time.

The next long track is Unspoken Is The Word with some very repetitive guitarwork while the rest plays mellowly in the back. The music has quite a laidback character, which is different from the heavier early albums. The guitarwork at the end is very melodic, maybe a bit too. Now it strikes: where have I heard this before: well last time I heard this album. Usually instrumental doesn't stick that well, yet it is a few years ago that I last played this music and it still sticks in my mind clearly.

Phases is a new one. This is a bit of hesitant piece with again at firts with some fiddly keyboards.

The closing track is the melodic As One. Relatively quite a lot of keyboard on this one. A spaceous tune, that may sound a bit commercial at times, but that certainly has some great moments.

Disc two features only five tracks, three less than the firts disc, but then again it IS twentythree minutes longer.

Opening with the "short" Scars OnThe Ego, it is a trip back into Finch history. This first track opens with wailing sirens after which we come to an up-beat, rather happy sounding part with keyboards and guitar. Then it's time for taking some gas back in a quiet interlude. Then the music continues for some time at a steady pace, until the keyboards and guitars tear loose with a solo.

The sound quality is okay, but it is clearly audible that this is a live recording and that it was made some time ago with a restricted budget. I had not problem with it though. Compared to the first CD, the music is less focused on melody and more on emotion and improvisation.

Paradoxical Moods from the first album, Glory Of The Inner Force, is up next. The opening is for the keyboards this time. Aftera nice melodic solo the track becomes a bit happy for a short period, but thena bluesy guitar sets in, played subtly. Again, Camel in the Mirage-era, Pink Floyd, because of the blues and Focus and Kayak as well for the indefinable Dutchness of the music. Especially here I'm reminded of the more epic tracks of Kayak. At the end the music takes on a very different guise for a while, very fast and almost a bit cartoon like.

Necronomicon is a previously unreleased track clocking at almost 18 minutes. Actually, this is a bit of a fantasy track, and not at all dark or anything. In fact, it is quite uplifting. The guitar is very much at the front here.Then we get a rather unstructured part with fiddling around on the bass and keyboards. A rather chaotic piece with rather little melody. After some 14 minutes, structure and melody return to the music

A Passion Condensed from Beyond Expression is with its twenty minutes the longest track on this double disc. It opens quite melodically, but also a bit more complex sounding than most of the material here, with quite a lot of breaks and variations. Nice rolling drums. Then the recognizable basic theme is introduced (early Camel). The music then takes on the various guises Finch has: extensive soloing on keyboards and guitar alternated with moody atmospheric intermezzo's. Especially noteworthy is the guitar solo just after halfway in which the guitarist does not seem to be able to play fast enough to get rid of all his cropped up emotions. At the very end the Camelesque theme returns.

The last track is Pisces from Glory. Opening with menacing keyboards. Often a band like Cliffhanger is compared with VDGG, but their vintage sound also owes to Finch it seems: the dark keyboards, the basswork right here, and the complexity of the music. The intermezzo opens with a bluesy feeling guitar solo after which Van Nimwegen lets go again in a flashing continuation. Then the melodic parts return for a while after which the music almost drops away entirely, only soft percussion and keyboards with the bass sizzling overhead.

Conclusion:
Well packaged and prepared (except for what seem to be typo's in the titles on the record). Because of the price and what you get for it, a much more attractive package than the original version of Galleons Of Passion. If you would be interested in anything Finch, this is certainly the album to get: you get songs available nowhere else including a look at both their more musically elaborate beginperiod and their more commercial final days. The music is foten very Camellike (Mirage/Moonmadness), but Finch is muchless compromising and rocks a lot harder.

(Jurriaan Hage, The Axiom Of Choice)

What ?!?! A new Finch CD ?! Pseudonym has released the three Finch LPs on CD, and now they released a new double CD !! Even before I heard the album, I knew I simply had to get it. And now I do ! Wow, two more hours of Finch music to listen to... And I am here to tell you that you should get this CD as well ! To make things easy for those who like Finch: buy this album as soon as possible - you won't regret it ! For the others I will write this review.

Finch were a Dutch band, together between 1974 and 1978. They released three albums with instrumental progressive rock. The constant factors in the band are guitarist Joop van Nimwegen and bassist Peter Vink. When listening to the three albums in a row, you hear the music change from very technical but still emotional, heavily guitar-oriented, Yes-influenced and long-stretched songs on the first album, to a more melodic, song-structured, and Genesis-influenced third album. This has to do with Vink's and Van Nimwegen's drive to progress, but also with the change in line-up between the albums.

The first of this double CD set is titled The Making Of... Galleons Of Passion and holds demos that were recorded for the third album. The five tracks that appear on the album are on this CD, but in slightly different versions. The other three tracks are previously unreleased, and make this CD's value increase by the second!
Dreamer is a quiet song, I'd almost say "sweet" and a bit un-Finch-like. The obvious Van Nimwegen guitar sound is there, however, making it more than a simple song. It fits the rest of the music that the band played on the third album very well. No really long and frantic solos, but an atmosphere to create.
Night Walker contains weird guitar melodies, alternating with the keyboards, creating a somewhat mysterious scene; very short in Finch terms, by the way. It's more like it could have been a part in a longer song.
Phases is longer and contains more diversity in Finch styles per 1977, including a structure that is more song-based than older material. This song would have fitted on the third LP very well.

CD 2 is titled Stage '76, and it is what I, and I am sure a lot of others with me, have been waiting for: Finch live! I know a lot of gigs have been recorded, and for those, like me, who have never seen this great band on stage, here's the proof we have been missing out on something wonderful.
On this CD, there are two tracks from the first two albums each, and an otherwise unreleased track. The recording was made between the second and third album, and portrays more if the improvisational part of their music than where the following studio album would have them go. It's great to see how the band can both stay very near the original album versions in one part, and go somewhere complete different the next moment, in raw and rough, but also very fine and freaky improvisations, to come back where they left off earlier. With skilled musicians like these guys, you can't expect anything else than music like this - complex rhythms and adventurous melodies. Not as overwhelmingly stuffed as those Yes dudes, but with room to breathe as well.
Of course, I have to mention the seventeen-minute Necronomicon [seemingly inspired by the stories of H.P. Lovecraft - Ed.]! It has the time and structure that suits the first and second album, but parts do show influences that would result in songs as on the third album as well. Other parts, however, sound weird beyond expression (pun intended), and more jazzy at times too, long melodic solos - it's all there! It's a marvelous track that would have been released earlier - maybe the second album should have been a double album.

Thanks to Pseudonym, we now have a document of Finch history that will remain inside my CD player for a long long time. Shame really, that a band like this could not grow further and had to stay in the largely unrecognized shadow of bands like Earth And Fire, Kayak, and Focus, while only the latter could come near the technical skills of Finch. And now I come to think of it, when you like Focus, you definitely have to check out Finch!
Nice packaging with a cover containing parts from all three LP covers, except for the no less than four typing errors in the song titles... Well, you can't have it all, I guess. But with this double CD, we do have a lot - and it's marvelous!

(Jerry van Kooten, DPRP)

A few years ago, when the long out of print albums from Dutch seventies progressive instrumental maestros Finch were finally released on the digital format, I was able to interview the band. Mind you I had to do this in two separate sessions. Leader/composer/ guitarist Joop Van Nimwegen still thinks Finch is a sin from his childhood days whilst the rest of the band still regard the band as one of their absolute highlights. A very weird situation and certainly not a good sign for a reunion. Of course we hadn't taken into consideration the existence of the "dusty attic" where not only a splendid live concert from '76 was found but also some authentic demo tapes from the Galleons Of Passion sessions. In all, about three unreleased studio recordings have now been added to the band's output, plus a live rendition of the equally unreleased Necronomicon. Especially, the latter is a true "find" what with its 17:48 playing time. So from now on you can cherish the double album The Making Of … Galleons Of Passion / Stage '76 Live.

A professional band such as Finch made sure they rehearsed every detail before they entered the studio to record. Studio time was expensive and no one had a home studio like today. That's why the songs from the Galleons Of Passion album we all know only slightly differ from the demo tapes on offer here. Of course there has been more attention for the recording of the drums, and here and there we hear different keyboard sounds, yet, to be honest, there's not too much difference. So all of our attention is focused on the "new" songs. 'Dreamer' is exactly like its title implies: a dreamy song, that gets very close to the material on the early Solution albums. "Night Walker" is based on a playful military rhythm, whilst "As One" is composed following the "traditional" recipe which is "constructive," layer on top of layer, instrument by instrument, in resulting in the true homogenous Finch sound. By means of the Fender Rhodes piano the song gets a 'funky' atmosphere yet it's once again the unique sound of Joop Van Nimwegen's guitar which sets the tone.

The "tame" demo CD is alternated with the "rough"' live CD, which brings us two (long) songs from the Beyond Expression album, two songs off of Glory Of The Inner Force and the already mentioned unreleased Necronomicon. The latter is composed in the same style as the "other" well known material, so for me it's difficult to understand why it was never recorded in the first place. There's a constant battle between Van Nimwegen's guitar and the many keyboards, courtesy of Ad Wammes, whilst Beer Klaasse drums like never before! This song that has been composed in collaboration with bass player Peter Vink also houses a lot of Rickenbacker sounds so it's as if the great Chris Squire is lending Finch a hand or two. Yet as a final view I don't have it at all easy with this kind of posthumous release. I'm convinced there will be a couple of hundred fans out there who will be very pleased with this release, especially what the unreleased material is concerned. Those of you who ever had the pleasure of attending a Finch concert all those years ago now get the opportunity to close your eyes so as to go back in time a mere 24 years. But I'm not sure about those demos. I mean, the entire Anthology hype around the Beatles has only been bought by the diehard fan that probably gave it a spin only once before they put it away in the cupboard in "mint condition." The only thing Finch could do to really amaze us all is consider a reunion, yet the stubborn Joop Van Nimwegen will soon take away all of our dreams. Too bad!

(John "Bo Bo" Bollenberg)

Holland's leading label for top-quality reissues Pseudonym Records has released another interesting title for progressive rockfans. This double CD from the somewhat underrated Dutch prog-formation Finch features 'the making of' their third album 'Galleons Of Passion', as well as an interesting live-set from December 1976 on the second CD.

What I always found curious of a band like Finch, was the fact that they released a 'stormer' of a debut ('Glory Of The Inner Force'), while both the second and the third album were more polished, but more dynamic and accessible. The demos for their 'Galleons Of Passion'-album sound OK to me, but they sound more like different mixes than demo-versions, which are showing how the band was in the process of making the album. Considering the musical content, it is nice to hear three outtakes from the recording sessions and for me, 'Dreamer' in particular is a great composition by guitarist Joop van Nimwegen. Together with the jazzy keyboard-work from Ad Wammes, Finch sounds almost similar to their Dutch colleagues Focus, after guitarplayer Jan Akkerman had left the band.

CD 2 contains live recordings of a band which sounds very powerful on stage as well. Peter Vink's steady bass-playing and Joop van Nimwegen's lyrical guitar-playing are in the foreground, which obviously reaches its high-point in a track like 'A passion condensed'. The middle-part of that song still shivers me ! Also, the previously unreleased 'Necronomicon' is too good to remain unreleased.

A nice package (excellent artwork), well worth for collectors of Dutch progressive music.

(Wouter)

Finch has a special place in my (prog)heart...as i purchased them on vinyl...when they came out (back then)...actually i found "Glory of the inner force" in a second hand store for Danish kroner:25,-. (which is aprox. 4 us dollars)and i was immediately hooked. So i own all 3 (original) cd's.....imagine my surprise ( boy in a toy store) when i learned that this item were up for grabs ....and i must say..its a MUST HAVE.. for Finch freaks at least....cd'1 is demo versions of "Galleons of passion" plus an extra never before released track "Phases"....and i really have to emphasize that this is a "you cant live without it" item!!! Filled with fabulous playing (Joop's guitar are just amazing) and the songs well written and executed!! Cd 2 are live and historic.... again with a plus (unreleashed) track "Necronomicon"...what can i say...im amazed and ...quite frankly..annoyed....well...annoyed to learn ...that the good Mr.Nimwegen has refused to ever(?) take up his magnificent art of playing again. So fellow Finch freaks and other "partners in crime" lets send him a letter..ha..ha Ok...this one (2 cd's) is a... in my opinion... MUST OWN!! Ohhh...and for those of you who do not know these brilliant musicians....imagine Focus without the singing ( and yodelling)...then add Akkermansque ( and then some) furious guitarsoloing.....and you are halfway there...OK ???!! 5 stars......certainly!!!

(Tonny Iarz, Progarchives)

To Album

Vita Dominica

Vita Dominica
(2012)

If you were to ask someone whether they know of a band going by the name of Finch you could get a response that names the wrong band as there are at least two bands with that name; a hardcore type band from the U.S.A. and progressive rockers from Holland. It is of course the latter which is the subject of this review.

Vita Dominica comes as a vinyl release in audiophile format, completely remastered from the original tapes with four of the six tracks never previously released. Three of the tracks are live versions of songs originally released on Finch's 1975 debut album, Glory of the Inner Force, recorded at a live session in Tagrijn, Hilversum possibly just after the release of the record.

Joop van Nimwegen (guitars), Cleem Determeijer (keyboards), Ad Wammes (synths), Peter Vink (bass), Hans Bosboom (drums) and Beer Klaasse (drums) are the musicians involved in one or more of the recordings on this album and, as is always the case, there are no vocals as Finch are an instrumental band.

Musically Finch could probably best be placed among Focus, ELP and the like as the music has a classical undertone whilst not being classical. As stated, the tracks are all instrumental with a melodic concept as the basis for the songs. It was often the case in the mid '70s that songs were of considerable length with plenty of soloing, each of the musicians needing to get their own spot, a claim to fame if you will. It is no different with Finch but all of the musicians play for the common cause and the sum of the band is greater than its parts.

Progressive music from the Netherlands is, in my opinion, highly underestimated, not in the least due to the Dutch way of life. During their existence Finch made a name for themselves which continued after the band had long ceased to exist. Their career was not a long one, releasing three albums in the mid '70s and parting ways in 1978 after a mere 4 years yet the music is quite interesting with a lot of nice hooks and twists and room for each of the musicians to do what they do best. The emphasis never lies with just guitar or keyboards and there is good variety.

The release of this album is bliss for us progressive rockers as the sound is very good; the album is packed in a high class gatefold sleeve with amply suitable artwork on the front and back and a trip down memory lane on the inner sleeve. In the accompanying notes it says (with a smiley) that lyrics are included, a humorous way of saying that no lyrics are involved.

Finding the single back on an album is very nice indeed, always nice to have as an addition to ones collection. The same is, of course, true for the demo version of Remembering the Future, a track that can be found in its final form on the band's last release, 1977's Galleons of Passion.

A collection of great music by one of Holland's most influential underground prog bands. If you are not familiar with Finch it is about time you corrected this as the music absolutely stands the test of time in becoming classic music that you'll want to hear more of.

A bunch of sublime musicians and a fantastic listen indeed, this release is also available on CD as part of the Mythology 3-disc set which was reviewed on DPRP recently. Vita Dominica is a must have for all those with a liking for Dutch prog at its best.

(Gert Hulshof, DPRP)

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Vita Dominica

Mythology
(2012)

Evolving out of a last-gasp line-up of the much-loved Q65, the defiantly instrumental Finch were a Dutch quartet who took prog to unsustainable extremes. Not for them the easy route of having a sodding vocalist flouncing around centre-stage in a kaftan with puffball sleeves, oh no. This was a players’ band, and play they did: at considerable length, habitually at full chat.

Mythology compiles Finch’s entire soup-to-nuts output from their 1975-77 lifespan: Glory Of The Inner Force, Beyond Expression and the none-more-prog Galleons Of Passion – yes, really – and is rounded out with live recordings and demos. They audibly had the hots for early Yes (Exhibit A: the wiry, clattering jazz-prog rhythm section and growling Hammond of Register Magister), while Paradoxical Moods has a rolling, exultant motif à la Small Beginnings by Peter Banks’ Flash. The lordly Beyond The Bizarre recalls the ostentation of mid-period Genesis, and A Bridge To Alice is urgently gloomy – a combination we didn’t think was even possible. The latter boasts a quietly incredible passage of sullen acoustic jazz guitar, courtesy of virtuosic figurehead Joop van Nimwegen.

Soberingly, A Passion Condensed is 20 minutes long, begging the question of what the uncondensed version must be like. Probably still playing now, in a time wormhole near you

(Oregano Rathbone, Record Collector)

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