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Vuur - In this Moment we are Free - Cities Award winner

In this Moment we are Free - Cities
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 28 November 2017, 7:08 AM

I was looking forward to this release from the moment it was announced.  I absolutely love Anneke’s voice.  Personally, I think she is one of the better vocalists around, regardless of genre or gender.  However, outside her former band THE GATHERING, I have never been interested in anything she has been involved with.  Her voice is always strong but I just found everything just outside my area of taste and interests.  What I liked best about THE GATHERING was the heavy, gothic tone that was just on the edge of prog and how well it mixed with Anneke’s expressive and soulful vocals.  Does her new band VUUR and their debut “In This Moment We Are Free – Cities” deliver what I, and I’m sure many others, are looking for?

For the most part, it is a solid yes but I do have a few issues.  Although there isn’t one bad song across the album’s eleven tracks, most of them go on longer than they need to.  I wouldn’t ever want an album to be filled with three minute long verse chorus style songs but there isn’t always a need for a band to write longer songs just to write them.  They do contain a lot of good parts but I can’t help but feel they still dragged them out longer than needed. The emotions the band and Anneke play/sing are genuine but for me, the listener, I’m not as invested in the lyrics and their meanings as much.  As you could guess based on the album’s title and track names, everything has been inspired by various cities across the world.  I’ve traveled very little, even in my country of America, so all these amazing cities are unknown to me on a personal level, thus the lack of connection I feel at times to the songs.  My lack of travel isn’t VUUR’s problem and perhaps I’m being a bit picky but, still, there is a slight disconnect between the band and I.  Obviously I’m just one fan and I’m sure other fans, especially those who live in these cities or at least visited them, will probably feel different.

Musically, the album is a big chunk of distorted riffs and metal that caters to the neo prog heaviness I was looking for.  The opening track, “My Champion – Berlin,” has a good main riff and some wonderful melodic harmonies and solos built in.  Indeed, the band does find a striking balance between being melodic and heavy without being too much of either.  I think anyone who likes female fronted metal bands will be satisfied without how well done the music is.  This opening track really rides high when Anneke throws her voice up high and then goes down to a softer tone.  The riffs ride up and down along with her voice and it is clear to me the band is very comfortable with each other.

Freedom – Rio,” offers several twist and turns.  It begins very melodic and builds up nicely as it moves along.  This is due in no small part to Ed Warby’s stellar drumming and his uncanny sense of timing. He really knows these songs inside and out, playing to every members’ strength while asserting his own skills.   The middle of the song has a beautiful melodic guitar section before doing a 360 and turning up the metal riffs and a slick guitar solo.  Ferry Duijsens and Jord Otto are a really dynamic duo, equally comfortable playing balls out as they are going clean and melodic or including some prog passages here and there.  Their playing never gets too technical but they definitely don’t play anything bland or boring.

Your Glorious Light Will Shine – Helsinki,” is a highlight with the tight, finely tuned riffs and catchy pre chorus riffs.  Anneke’s vocals are especially heartfelt here and she shines like the light she speaks of in the lyrics. Ultimately this album is a well done showcase for the talent of all involved and I’m really happy that Anneke has found a new found focus for her heavier tastes.  The album has a undeniable energy and charm; this is music that the members had to write and we should all be thankful for it.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

1. My Champion – Berlin
2. Time – Rotterdam
3. The Martyr and the Saint – Beirut
4. The Fire – San Francisco
5. Freedom – Rio
6. Days Go By – London
7. Sail Away – Santiago
8. Valley of Diamonds – Mexico City
9. Your Glorious Light Will Shine – Helsinki
10. Save Me – Istanbul
11. Reunite! - Paris
Johan van Stratum – Bass
Ed Warby – Drums
Ferry Duijsens – Guitars
Jord Otto – Guitars
Anneke van Giersbergen – Vocals
Record Label: InsideOut Music


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