When you think of Dutch progressive rock, bands like Focus, Supersister, Kayak and Earth and Fire immediately come to mind. Now with the release of their 5th CD, Dutch prog ensemble Mangrove can proudly be added to this prestigious list. Touted by as "essential listening" by Jerry Ewing of Classic Rock Presents Prog magazine, Mangrove's latest CD masterpiece Beyond Reality has been garnering international praise since its release this past June. "We are very excited about the great reviews out there," says Chirs Jonker who plays keyboards with the band. "They come from all over the world, which is truely amazing! Most reviewers are stunned and excited about the the big step forward we made in comparison with the previous albums.We are also very happy that our latest album has been nominated for the 'Italian Prog Awards', for best artwork, best recording and best foreign record. Its predessor Facing The Sunset already got the IO Pages Prog Award in 2005 for best prog album of that year in The Netherlands."
On June 27th 2009 Mangrove released the long expected and stunning new studio album Beyond Reality. The title seems to fit the great expectations of the band very well. On this album the development of a professional approach, songwriting capabilities and the moments of virtuosity are clearly showcased. Beside the epic tracks like Daydreamer’s Nightmare and the vivacious Voyager, there is the title track Beyond Reality which exhibits elements of classic rock suitable for a wide music loving audience. Together with the beautiful modesty of Love and Beyond, the 18-minute epic Time Will Tell and the instrumental powerplay of Reality Fades, an enormous variety is presented to the listener. With this new album, Mangrove intends to make a clear statement: pushing the limits in an amazing way. Driven by where it all started with: passion for the music. "All we try to say to our fans and potential fans is captured inside our music: people who like it to be carried away on a musical journey, will be satisfied from beginning to end," explains Chris Jonker. "We try to bring the sensation of seventies giants like Pink Floyd, Genesis, Yes and King Crimson back to life, even though we add our own distinctive Mangrove sound."
"Brilliant, fantastic and amazing work, highly recommendable!" - Progressive Rock BR
The recordings were made in a professional studio and a considerable amount of time was spent on mixing and mastering the album to give attention to every detail. This production process and the hard work has led to the desired result: a crystal clear top-notch sound in which a perfect balance between power and definition has been achieved. Mangrove can definitely be reckoned as one of the top bands in the progressive genre. Beyond Reality is the impressive proof. Power, emotion, virtuosity and modesty, this album has it all. Together with the superb artwork this is the ultimate masterpiece of Mangrove. "Although it's not a real concept album, the songs refer to the same kind of theme," Chris Jonker explains. "It's a bundle of observations of human behavior when dealing with time / space related issues. It's all about here and there, me and you, now and then, in short the ingredients of human pie".
"Once the album has gotten under your skin, it stays there and draws you into a wonderful and versatile sound universe that is well defined and emotional." - Power of Metal
Driven by the passion for writing exciting music and longing for the stages to show their ability to perform it with an almost touchable intensity Roland van der Horst (guitars, vocals) and Joost Hagemeijer (drums, vocals) felt in 1998 that the time was right to form a band and bring their project ‘Brainstorm’ to life. The first demo recording Massive Hollowness was the first achievement by these passionate musicians, who renamed the group Mangrove. The year 2001 secured the perfect band: some months after Pieter Drost (bass) completed the rhythm section with his distinctive bass sound, Chris Jonker (keyboards) completed the sonic palette with the keys. Writing sessions started and resulted in the rather successful release Touch Wood in 2004. The foundation for the typical Mangrove sound was built. But it was the 2005 concept album Facing The Sunset which grabbed the attention of many fans of pure progressive rock within the scene. Beside the stage favorite There Must Be Another Way, this album with four long tracks ends up with the climax of the exciting 21-minute epic Hidden Dreams.
Mangrove onstage is a synonym for emotion, passion and intensity but surely also for exploding energy. The interaction with the audience perfectly applies to the charismatic front man Roland van der Horst. His contagious stage performance gets the attention of the fans and the press. All of these elements helped to gain an excellent live reputation throughout the years. The music is characterized by the variety in tempo and dynamics, with modest passages but also heavy symphonic eruptions. The 2006 double live album Coming Back To Live summarizes a brilliant Mangrove period with a cross-section of the first three albums.
And now with Mangrove's fourth release the band has reached a new plateau in their career. "With this album Mangrove have continued to build on their past work while at the same time they have taken giant strides towards creating a unique sound that is truly their own," says Simon Hill of New Horizon's. "From a musical point of view there honestly is nothing I failed to like about this album, my only concern now is where on earth can the band go from here? I don't know the answer to that question but I sure look forward to finding out in the fullness of time!" "We built up a strong live reputation the last few years and we just love it to perform live," says Chris Jonker. "Next May we will do some great gigs in The Netherlands and Germany. We are especially excited about some special gigs: in May we will perform 'unplugged' for the first time in our 9-years existence. It will be a great experiment: what would progressive rock sound like on a grand piano, acoustic guitars, etc. in a theatre? Furthermore, we are very excited about doing our first headliner gig at 'De Boerderij', Zoetermeer (NL). This 750-capacity venue is well known for having presented many great progressive rock bands and artists from all over the world. We have performed in different countries in Europe (Germany, Belgium, Poland, UK, Switzerland) and we plan to come back more often there. Of course we would also like to let the people in the USA enjoy our performances. Nothing planned there yet. But if the demand is also there, of course we will consider this..."
For purchasing information of Mangrove's Beyond Reality CD as well as up to date information on the group check out the official website at www.mangrovemusic.nl