FINAL CONFLICT – Rise Of The Artisan (2020)

FINAL CONFLICT - Rise Of The Artisan (2020) full

Few prog rock albums caught our attention this year, but FINAL CONFLICT‘s “Rise Of The Artisan” is one of them for sure. With a history dating back 35 years, this British band has built a solid, if low-key reputation on its foundation sound of twin vocals / guitar work, and neo-progressive melodic keyboards.
What we have here is a concept album, but what truly captivates is the fantastic music this combo is capable to deliver with taste and appeal to a wider audience.
Combining the neo progressive melody of early MARILLION, SAGA, late 80s PINK FLOYD, ARENA with the rock pulse and AORish feel of ASIA, SAGA, TREVOR RABIN and more, “Rise Of The Artisan” is a pure delight from beginning to end.

The band’s line up of experienced musicians features the dual guitar and vocals of Andy Lawton and Brian Donkin, and the magical keyboard skills of Steve Lipiec.
There’s a story to follow all over this disc, however we are in love with the extremely melodic and accessible prog music on offer, always attractive and with unexpected elements.

There’s great interaction between both lead vocalists/guitarists (Andy & Brian) and the rest of the band throughout these elaborated compositions. The harmony vocals arrangements makes wonders, creating a sweet sound and atmospheres.

We hear some early MARILLION on opener ‘Rise of the Artisan’, where the twin vocals, some pianos, synths and the melodic guitars bring to mind GTR as well. The AORish epicness akin ASIA appears on the quite rocking ‘Life #1’, and if you need some PINK FLOYD / Gilmour era circa 1987 then check ‘A Clockwork Echo’.

‘Stop & Stare’ is a pearl, combining the musicality of SAGA with an ALAN PARSONS PROJECT melodic lite prog / pop chorus, the expansive ‘A River of Dreams’ has some TREVOR RABIN solo touch, then
‘4 Domains’ add delicious synth landscapes akin ’80s WORLD TRADE and PENDRAGON.

‘This Pulse’ mix the adventurous side of CAMEL and the rock SAGA appeal, followed by the upbeat ‘Lights’, a favorite, almost a melodic rock song with its strong guitars and solo.
‘The Door’ also offers a little AOR in proggy style in the vein of MAGNUM or GARY HUGHES.

The guys IN FINAL CONFLICT ooze class and talent, and this is evident over this melodic, intriguing and all the time entertaining recording. Production is excellent with a pristine clear mix, highlighting the vocals harmonies and the rocking guitar when needed.
HIGHLY Recommended


1. Rise of the Artisan
2. Life #1
3. A Clockwork Echo
4. Stop & Stare
5. A River of Dreams
6. 4 Domains
7. This Pulse
8. Lights
9. The Door
10. Breaking the Cycle

Andy Lawton – Guitars, Vocals
Brian Donkin – Guitars, Vocals
Steve Lipiec – Keyboards
Barry Elwood – Bass



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