FRED COLOMBO - Attraction

Fred Colombo - Attraction

8 songs
30:22 minutes
***** **


Two years ago I came across the first solo album by Fred Colombo, otherwise known as the keyboarder of progressive metal band Spheric Universe Experience. Memoria was maybe a little long to take it all in in one single take, so maybe thatís why the artist from Southern France decided to release this year two shorter solo efforts. Earlier this year he came with the chill ambient Red Light EP, soon to be followed by the more experimental short album Attraction.

The major advantage over the debut is the more concise length which allows you to remember the single tracks after only a couple of listening sessions. My main complaint on the other hand is that Attraction feels like two albums in one, with songs either being really mellow ballads or progressive fusion metal, without much common ground between the two camps. The album starts typically enough, with the fanfare sounding intro Bonjour, actually a fitting introduction for a French artist, before Without You is showing Fred Colombo as a very able composer of love songs. Starting with a piano intro, the rhythm section soon joins in. The vocals are shared by a man and a woman, emphasising the emotional impact of the song. Of course you have to like ballads, but this is a good example of how progressive rock can touch the heart. Will You is another ballad, with less of a metal touch, instead building on modern electro rock patterns. Not as successful as its predecessor, but still a good enough ballad.

With Shibuya Ghost we get to experience the more experimental side of Fred Colombo, and frankly: I do love it. This is a crazy mix of fusion jazz, electro, ambient soundtrack and progressive metal. This is furthermore an instrumental piece, making it easier to savour the technical abilities of the involved musicians. The Core is another more ambient piece which could work very well as the soundtrack for a moody art house film. Far-Off Grace takes us back to ballad territory, with strong nods to Dream Theater. As much as this song is good, it would have fitted better with the two preceding vocal tracks.

The albumís tour de force comes with the eight minute mammoth track Human Vortex, basically a techno song with metal soloing. Coming from Nice in France might have given Fred Colombo a certain knack for house music, and while I usually donít listen to club music, I do admire this adventurous piece of crossover music. The final a cappella ballad I Love You is a little too heavy on the pathos for me, though.

So we are left with kind of a schizophrenic effort, with three really nice ballads and two longer fusion metal excursions. Unfortunately, the half hour is over just too soon. But that doesnít change the fact that I am still awed by the varied music of Fred Colombo, who can write heart wrenching ballads and techno-proggy instrumentals. Attraction is yet another successful entry in the artistís discography which I am convinced will not be coming to an end soon.

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