|......................................THE BAND AND RECORD OF THE MONTH|
Sean Filkins, a talented musician and ex-member from acclaimed progressive rock band "Big Big Train" has released, some months ago, his debut album titled as "War and Peace and Other Short Stories". In my opinon, Sean Filkins was the fuel which boosted some bands in the recent past, of course, including the "Big Big Train". His vocal performance fits perfectly with any symphonic composition, showing a stunning balance between the melodic and the symphonic without aggressiveness, however, including some tones of traditional hard rock, giving the music a special vibration. "War and Peace and Other Short Stories" is stuffed with many incredible compositions, totally composed into the symphonic progressive rock genre, combining few elements of melodic hard rock, closing in the style from master bands of the 70s. This album revels a high involvement of the musicians in the art of creating richly symphonic orchestratio, the arrangements feature abundant instrumental interplay, making extensive use of electric guitar solos, full of atmospheric keyboards, energetic drumming which is combined with a vibrant bass guitar sound, complementing with great lyricism, everything managed by the vocals, guitar, ebow guitar, additional keyboards, didgeridoo from the magician and musician master Sean Filkins. Sean Filkins and his highly professional cast, starry by renowned and famous musicians, such as Lee Abraham (ex-"Galahad"), Karl Groom ("Threshold"), Gary Chandler ("Jadis"), Dave Meros ("Spock’s Beard"), John Mitchell ("Arena") and also Darren Newitt, together other amazing musicians, playing a dreaming music, it's great to see an integrated group in the deep sense of music, involving the listener in a delirious atmosphere. "War and Peace and Other Short Stories" is divided into 6 tracks, open with a special introduction, but the album is brought to a epic climax right at the second song titled as"The English Eccentric", with eight minute of pure emotion in the style of bands such as "Arena", "Big Big Train", "Marillion", "IQ". But, the masterpiece of progressive rock music on this album is the third track called "Prisioner Of Consciense", with a beautiful 30-minute symphonic suite, which is in turn performed in two parts, actually, on this track, we can find all the Progressive Rock ingredients, in a very pleasant experience and very rewarding for any progressive rock listener. The following song is "Epitaph For A Mariner", also another incredible track with almost 21 minute, divided into 5 parts, this song is so beautiful, with a clean recording, musically this song is very well crafted and diverse in tempo and structure, with many keyboards arrangements, where beautiful vocals played by Sean Filkins adds a strong power to the arrangements, also guitar solos are very impressive, a track of symphonic epic proportions, filled with emotional intensity, I am sure that, this is the best song on the album. Finally the last song is called "Learn How To Learn", closing with a melodic song dominated by a soft instrumental, once more driven by a nice vocal performance of Sean Filkins. Everything on this album was done to take you through an universe full of epic and atmospheric orchestration, rich and sensual, with strong melodies, some times very delicate. It is true that every time you hear the music, you will have strong reasons to like more and more that the first time you've heard. Sean Filkins and "War and Peace and Other Short Stories" are for all those who love bands such as "Yes", "Genesis", "Pink Floyd", "Van der Graaf Generator", "King Crimson", "Premiata Forneria Marconi", "Marillion", "IQ", "Big Big Train", "Jadis", Frost*, "Porcupine Tree", "Maze of Time", "RPWL", "Parzivals Eye", "Arena", "Karmakanic", "The Tangent", "Quorum", "Beardfish", "Blind Ego" and so on. This is my feeling to tell in words, how I felt surprised and happy to know and hear this album, Sean Filkins and his guests, as this production, deserves our special attention. In closing, I recommend this album to all progressive rock listeners who need to find a pleasure in hearing songs, with a strong emotion and feeling where everything was very well done, through the sounds created by the high quality of musicians involved in this album. Brilliant, fantastic, and an amazing album and band, highly recommendable...
line-up on Sean Filkins album are:
musicians on the album:
Born & raised in Rochester, England. He grew up listening to my parent’s albums. They always had music playing in the house, Jazz & Classical music plus "Simon & Garfunkel", "The Beatles" and "The Hollies", then bands like "Yes", "Uriah Heep" and "Blodwyn Pig". He really got into progressive rock music in a big way, buying albums by "Yes", "Genesis", "Pink Floyd", "Rush", "Hawkwind" and "Gentle Giant" plus electronic music by "Tangerine Dream", "Klaus Schulze", "Jean Michel Jarre" and "Robert Schroeder".
Sean Filkins initially started singing in a Contemporary Folk duo, playing songs by "Dan Fogelberg", "Simon & Garfunkel" and even "Yes", where he used to sing close harmonies & play guitar. He then played in local covers bands & first started writing his own material in Hounslow based Rock band "Vigilante", until he joined "Soma", a Space Rock band.
They had one album, "Dreamtime" and did two tours of what was the old East Germany. He left them in 1992 & joined Neo-Prog Rock Band "Lorien", formed by Darren Newitt and Mark Mcleod. They had one album released, "Children’s Games" in 1995 and did one tour, again, in Germany and also played in Prague. He left "Lorien" and moved to the South Coast of England, but still stayed friends with Darren Newitt, Who has added two great guitar solos to "War and Peace & Other Short Stories". He joined a "Whitesnake" Tribute band in 1998 & then formed his own band, The "Indigo Pilots" in 1999, with my great friend Stevie Roberts, playing Rock and Progressive Rock covers, later becoming a full on Progressive Rock Tribute Band.
In 2003 he joined "Bournemouth" based Progressive rock band, "Big Big Train" as their main vocalist, who were recording a new album, "Gathering Speed". They were going to call it a day and stop writing after their previous album Bard due to poor sales and indifferent reviews, but began to see new life in their music on "Gathering Speed".
He enjoyed some influence on this album even though he was the new kid on the block, adding effects to help with the concept & also adding ideas for music & vocal arrangements. "Gathering Speed" was released in 2004, to some critical acclaim including favourable reviews in Classic Rock magazines.
In 2007 he sang on his second "Big Big Train" album, "The Difference Machine", which included some guest musicians, Dave Meros, Nick D’Virgilio and Pete Trewavas, who had worked with our producer, Rob Aubrey. "The Difference Machine" again had great reviews.
In 2008 "Big Big Train" began writing for their next album & he recorded demos for this album. He wasn't happy with the way things were sounding & he knew "Big Big Train" had other ideas. In Feb 2009, he heard he was no longer in the band. This was the best thing that happened to hin musically, as Lee Abraham (Ex-Galahad bassist) who was with him in "The Indigo Pilots", was recording his fourth solo album, "Black & White" & he asked him if he would like to sing on it for him, which he duly did. He sang two tracks, "Face The Crowd" and "Black & also added harmonies to White", sung by Steve Thorne.
Lee then wanted to take the album out on the road and asked if he would sing all the songs from the album live with The Lee Abraham Band, which he did, including two major gigs, "The Winters End Progressive Rock Festival & The Peel", Kingston. During this time, he asked Lee about recording his own music and he said that if he had material he would help produce it. He wanted to write a progressive rock album, not necessarily a concept album, but one that encompassed things close to my heart. He went away & wrote some new material & worked on older material that he had written from my past.
He then worked with his Indigo Pilots keyboard player John Sammes on pre-production, sorting out which songs worked, sorting out sounds and getting ready the six tracks that would finally make the album. Those six Tracks being. "Are You Sitting Comfortably?", "The English Eccentric", "Prisoner Of Conscience Part1", The Soldier", "Prisoner Of Conscience Part2, The Ordinary Man", "Epitaph For A Mariner" and "Learn How To Learn". He then took these to Lee Abraham and in his Dockside studio, started to record “War and Peace & Other Short Stories”, the title of which he had had since 1992, but had never had the chance to use until now.
During these sessions the core musicians were Lee Abraham, Bass & rhythm guitar, Gerald Mulligan on Drums & John Sammes on Keyboards. He wrote and arranged all the material, music and lyrics, except "Learn How To Learn", which was originally written as an acoustic instrumental track by my good friend Geoff Webb, then called Pastoral, which he re-arranged & added lyrics and music to. John Sammes added some extra musical arrangements to the album mix.
Some great musicians helped Sean tell the stories of each track, with their individual styles of playing. These included Dave Meros from "Spocks Beard", Gary Chandler from "Jadis", John Mitchell from "Frost", "Arena" and "It Bites" and my old Lorien friend Darren Newitt, plus many others. The album was Produced & mixed by Lee Abraham & himself and engineered by Lee. Mastering was done by Karl Groom of Threshold fame. He sent the album out to different labels & was luckily enough to be taken on by "F2 Records", who released “War and Peace & Other Short stories” through their online distribution www.progrock.co.uk on 11/04/11.
So far the album has been well received & favourable reviews have been coming in from Fans & media alike including a good review in Classic Rock Presents Prog magazine.
Sean originally hails from Rochester in Kent, England. Prior to joining "Big Big Train", his three most notable bands have been "Lazy Jane", Soma, a psychedelic space rock band, and "Lorien", a progressive rock outfit. Sean recorded two CD's with Soma: "Warped", an EP, and "Dreamtime", which is still available. With "Lorien", he recorded the "Children's Games" album which can also still be tracked down.
His musical influences are too numerous to mention, lets just say from classic rock to classical, reggae to raga and progressive rock to synthesizers and spacy psychedelic. Sean now lives in Alverstoke, Hampshire with his wife, Amanda and four year old daughter, Abigail.
"War and Peace and Other Short Stories"
Are You Sitting
The album was recorded at Lee Abraham’s Dockside Studio. Produced and mixed by Lee Abraham and Sean Filkins. Engineered by Lee Abraham. The drums were recorded and engineered by Karl Groom at Thin Ice Studios. All songs are original compositions.
Along with song writing duties, Sean have done 99% of the vocals. He had also added acoustic and electric rhythm guitars, ebow guitar, additional keyboards, percussion, blues harp and even some didgeridoo."
Well, to get in contact and any other information about the band and musician, or, if you want to order a signed copy of the album, you must visit and contact Sean Filkins at his website.
Check back Sean Filkins at Youtube.
Also you can order the album from Prog Rock UK.
For more information and every thing about the musician, please visit SEAN FILKINS HOME PAGEN
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