Vuur (Dutch meaning both fire, and drive/passion) is Anneke Van Giersbergen’s (Ex- The Gathering, The Gentle Storm) up and coming debut prog power band. In this Moment We Are Free-Cities, to be Vuur’s debut album, follows a clearly structured emotional pilgrimage detailing a very feminine human longing and desire for love. It’s a heavy album, both musically, and lyrically. Anneke’s voice adds her signature soprano, higher pitched timbre to the darker underbelly of progressive consistency with an even-handed sprinkling of instrumental sweetening. In This Moment We Are Free-Cities, is a straight forward, one foot in front of the other boot march through the human condition, with an intelligent ethnic touch to match each song’s title city. It’s worldly and yet remains safe within its expectations.
The heaviness of this album comes not from compression, though the dynamic range is relatively low, sitting at a solid 5, but the lyrical content. There is a common thread that the listener can hang onto and follow throughout each song with a repetition of in this moment appearing in each song’s lyrics. In This Moment We Are Free- Cities tells us a tale of love and loss, longing and feminine yearning. Anneke’s voice lends a particularly womanly vulnerability to the music that is all too rarely heard in the prog scene. The album takes us on a journey around the world with each song following a theme of travelling to a location and experiencing and sharing of human longing , and ending with Reunite! Paris. It’s emotive, and full of longing and tender romance. Each song has a sound influenced by where it takes place. Save Me! -Istanbul is a heavy middle eastern chug. Anneke’s emotional openness makes her easy to fall in love with.
In This Moment We Are Free-Cities starts out relatively slow but hits its stride by the time it reaches its fourth song, The Fire– San Francisco. With a ghostly vocal intro, and incredibly morose instrumentation, this was the first song to stand out on its own. Interestingly, the song’s lead instrument are the drums rather than guitar.
Sail Away -Santiago was another song that caught my ear, lyrically more than anything (I’ll find you, love you, hold you, somehow) . I found myself much more able to relate to Anneke’s writing and evocative emotional tenderness than I am to many male-driven prog lyrics.
Save Me! -Istanbul is a live-wire. The main thread is a chunky middle-eastern inspired riff and it’s pure heavy metal.
It’s a fairly solid record to be sure. If you’ve been following Anneke, you’re sure to be a fan of In This Moment We Are Free, but it seemed almost too safe. The clear structuring of songs, while level-headed, was almost formulaic to a fault. It was very much a case of Ikea-Prog. Follow the instructions, and build it up. What really rescues these songs is the refreshing timbre and vulnerability of Anneke. Her voice is unique and I was glad to see this kind of emotional clarity coming from a woman. We could definitely use more of that in metal.
Vuur – In this Moment We Are Free-Cities Album Info
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
20th October 2017