Concept-album, Epic, Groovy
"With this "Farewell", Toxic Smile proposes an elaborate progressive album with a creative and intelligent concept."
PROGRACER (14.01.2016)  
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In seven albums, Toxic Smile has forged a reputation as an aesthete in all the fields the German band tackles. Above all, it has acquired a strong musical identity based on a licked and melodic progressive rock/metal. Following the example of Vanden Plas, whose nationality he shares more than his own, Toxic Smile is one of the spearheads of the progressive rock and metal movement across the Rhine.  

For this eagerly awaited eighth opus, the Germans embark on an exercise that demonstrates their audacity and creativity, a concept album of a single 42-minute track. The figure of speech is risky and many have lost their way in the past. But with Toxic Smile, curiosity and experience let us predict the best. And bingo! 

 " ... When I listen to the world and close my eyes, I see reality ... ". What would our perception of the world be without sight, superficial and biased? Such is the concept of this "Farewell", which places hearing as the sense best suited to this perception of our world. And the music portrays this concept perfectly, with an aggressively poignant darkness of the phases when the narrator sees, and with a luminous melodic harmony when listening to the other senses. As a result, breaks in rhythm and changes in mood are frequent and follow naturally throughout the story.

Each member of the group strives to convey emotions throughout the plot. Larry B., whose organ has become the trademark of the sound made in Toxic Smile, modulates his very expressive voice between melodic softness and aggressiveness, expressing what he feels when he sees and then listens to his environment. On the six-string, Uwe Reinholz distils a very wide range of playing, from big heavy riffs to soft arpeggios and light, airy solos. The bravura track between the eleventh and fourteenth minute where, after an electro break on the keyboard, he alternates a high-pitched solo and a big riff supported by traditional percussion before ending in crystalline arpeggios, is the perfect illustration of this.  

The rhythm section also does a remarkable job. The groovy bass with its round sound, very present on the melodic breaks phases contributes greatly to the luminous musical atmosphere. As well as the use of traditional percussion, which further enhances the wide range of sounds on this album. The Germans have also added the talents of a string quartet, Concerto Bellotto, from Dresden, giving the ensemble a symphonic relief with an authentic sound. It is this quartet that launches the title with a melancholic and deep opening preceding the progressive arrival of the other instruments. The four violinists then bring a dramatic dimension to the most disturbing passages. 

The variations in moods are underlined by the numerous effects of keyboards in voluptuous layers or in the form of a jazzy piano, or sometimes with more electronic sounds. Marek Arnold is also the master thinker and writer of Toxic Smile, and the saxophone solo around the twenty-fourth minute shows us the full extent of the talent of the man who is also known for his participations in projects such as United Progressive Fraternity or Seven Steps To The Green Door to name but a few. Despite the diversity of the rhythmic phases, everything flows smoothly and the transitions are skillful, thanks to elaborate arrangements and the main melodic theme that recurs several times, allowing the listener to relate to familiar melodies. 

Although 'Farewell' is a single track, it is made up of seven or eight distinct progressive parts alternating rock and metal with a skillful balance. Never too aggressive or too smooth, the whole can be listened to in one go with happiness. And with your eyes closed, it's even better. Indeed, the concept is not only narrative. It's part of the music itself and it's the best way to feel the album and what the band wanted to express on it. 

With this "Farewell", Toxic Smile proposes an elaborate progressive album with a creative and intelligent concept, moreover, in a risky style exercise. Everything in this production is successful, even the artwork painted by the hand of Robert Brenner, the band's bassist. So close your eyes and discover this "farewell" to the world as you knew it.

More informations on

01. Farewell - 42'12"

Larry B.: Chant
Marek Arnold: Claviers / Saxophone
Robert Brenner: Basse
Robert Eisfeld: Batterie
Uwe Reinholz: Guitares
Angelika Grünert: Invité / Violon
Cornelia Pfeil: Invité / Violon
Martin Schnella: Invité / Chœurs
Susanne Goerlich: Invité / Alto
Uta Schröder: Invité / Violoncelle
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