A woman of many talents, Anneke Van Giersbergen, has put her hand to all manner of projects. From the likes of The Gathering, to helping longtime pal and collaborator Devin Tobwnsend, alongside the likes of Ayreon genius Arjen Lucassen and most recently The Gentle Storm, Van Giersbergen had always wanted to bring to the fore a sound that was more of a Metallic nature. Inspired to write, she quickly penned an album alongside fellow musicians that would eventually become VUUR.
Potentially one her most expansive bands that she has worked on, the sound exhibited from VUUR is like nothing Van Giersbergen has done in the past. Bringing her signature vocals on the top of riffs in the likes of the lachrymose “Time – Rotterdam” its a solemn tune that almost sees the band drop into an element of Doom Metal. Nevertheless, the theatrical nature of the album is apparent throughout. Taking inspiration from various cities Van Giersbergen has visited over the years, its concept is an interesting one. “Valley of The Diamonds – Mexico” brings probably the most classic definition of Progressive Metal to the fore.
The likes of “Days Gone By – London” describes the great fire of London giving a personality to something that otherwise is inanimate and contains some fantastic songwriting. Striving for contradiction within the music, the anchored rhythmic lines have the beautiful tones of Van Giersbergen’s iconic vocals draped over them. The band themselves fronted by guitarists Jord Otto and Ferry Duijsens, drummer Ed Warby and bassist Johan Van Stratum bring something fresh and new into the fold. Particularly in the recyclable world of modern Prog there can be an element of repetition put forward. Here however each member has an identity, making each one of the long tracks stand out for good reason. Be it the Arabian tinged leads of “Save Me – Istanbul” reminiscent of a middle eastern Carcass, the bass driven “The Fire – San Francisco” or drum heavy groove on album opener “My Champion – Berlin“.
Each track has a dynamism that most other bands would lack, yet VUUR have brought together ingredients that could be fairly underwhelming yet with their execution will make Prog fans happy, not to mention showcase each instrumentalists versatility. The ability to tell a story is easy, the ability to tell a good story, now therein lies the rub. With In This Moment We Are Free – Cities, the duality of story telling is put through a dirt ridden, groovy finish juxtaposed with Van Giersbergen‘s singing makes it for something, if slightly lengthy, very interesting to come out of the Prog scene.