Exposé Online banner

Exposé Online

Not just outside the box, but denying the existence of boxes.
Covering music from the fringes since 1993.


Flame Drop — Flow
(Bandcamp no#, 2023, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-12-28

Flow Cover art

In late 2022, Roland Hegi and Felix Waldispuehl, both multi-instrumentalists who had previously played together in an instrumental prog rock band called Fors, decided to pool their skills and talents in a new project centered around Roland’s recording studio in Zurich. Flow is the duo’s debut album, an all-instrumental (save a very few spoken English words on “In Heaven”) project where Hegi plays guitars, bass, keyboards, and programming, as well as handling the production, recording, mixing, and mastering, and Waldispuehl plays drums, piano, djembe, keyboards, and trombone, with both members contributing to the compositions and arrangements. Flame Drop’s sound pulls influences from across the progressive rock spectrum, though probably a bit more from the fusion side, though a cornucopia of ideas can be heard as each piece plays through; they have a propensity for epic length cuts that are constanly changing around and shifting gears — in fact the album only features six cuts and four of them easily break the ten-minute mark. The twelve-minute opener “Without Brakes” sets the stage for all those that follow, a fast paced flash of groove-driven fusionesque power that makes a strong instant melodic statement within its first two minutes, then starts wandering through a complex whirlwind of proggy ideas that never really let up for the duration, with amazing solos on guitars, synths, and more, the busy drum figures all providing a powerful groove base. Next up is the fifteen-minute “Ambient Emotions,” sporting a bit more rock power in its three-minute initial phase, followed by some searing guitar and synth melodies cutting through the night sky, perhaps just slightly reminiscent of Animals era Floyd, but as on the opener, everything changes up regularly enough to keep it interesting for the long haul. At just a little over five minutes, “Divided Ocean” is one of the album’s two shorter cuts, driven by piano and drums with some seemingly gentle voices scaling up and down the background, with a beautiful guitar solo coming in midway through. “In Heaven” bears some superficial similarity to the early 80s work of Saga, maily in the crunchy guitar tones and synths that follow. The eleven-plus minute epic “Out of Balance” closes the album nicely with powerful gliding melodies atop driving punctuation and intense grooves, and like all of these epic length pieces the listener never knows what’s coming next. Flame Drop’s debut has much to recommend for fans of instrumental prog and fusion alike.

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): Flame Drop

More info


What's new

These are the most recent changes made to artists, releases, and articles.