Drifting Sun – Forsaken Innocence (2021)


The driving force behind Drifting Sun is keyboardist extraordinaire Pat Ganger Sanders. Despite the fact that the line-up of the band changed quite a few times, he managed to produce a whole series of excellent albums. After some early work and a long break, the come back album Trip The Life Fantastic was released in 2013 and it became clear that a serious top band was forming. With Safe Asylum (2015) the bar was raised even higher and we just had to wait for an absolute hit. That came through the album Twilight (2017). Guitarist Mathieu Spaeter played an important role on this for the first time and this was really an excellent choice. Sanders' whirling keyboard playing now had a nice counterpart in the mighty solos of this great guitarist. Beautiful tracks with a lot of variety and virtuosity and with excellent vocals and lyrics by Peter Falconer. My number 1 choice of that year. But as so often things went wrong and the collaboration between Sanders and Falconer came to an end. On Planet Junkie from 2019 we hear three different singers, all three of whom are good, but it is still a somewhat mixed album and Sanders is clearly looking for the right mix of all talents present. Well, now he certainly found it!

Forsaken Innocence is without a doubt one of the best albums Drifting Sun has ever made and is bursting with beautiful songs with everything a lover of well-made, well-played and well-sung prog rock could wish for. As a singer, Jargon from the Greek band Verbal Delerium has been recruited and this man has a great voice with a lot of expression and he brings the lyrics, which are also excellent, all the way to life in fluent English. As the albumtitle suggests the lyrics deal with the loss of our unbiased and open minded look at the world and the things happening all around us. From opener King of the Country the party is on. Thanks in part to the great rhythm tandem John Jowitt (yes the one!) and Jimmy Pallagrosi, the music blasts out of the speakers, or if you prefer, the headphones. The swirling keyboard parts and the great guitar solos give you goosebumps and there is so much variety in the songs that there is not a moment of slack. Even when the tempo slows down, as in Insidious, it remains exciting and sweltering. Delicious. Also involved are Ben Bell with a very  distinct Hammond solo in Dementium and Eric Bouillette who plays the violin in several tracks and guitar in Time to Go. On New Dawn we hear guest guitarist Gareth Cole and he also plays a wonderful solo in this nicely lingering song. But we're not done yet, in fact, the best is yet to come. The two-part title track Forsaken Innocence is finger-licking good and together clocks in at about twenty-four minutes. Part 1 is a beautifully layered song with a tear-jerking beautiful solo by Spaeter and bombastic keyboard work, and part two really tops it off. This part is entirely instrumental and all band members show once again how to make catchy, roaring and steamy prog rock with room for finesse. It is heavy at times but has nothing to do with metal at all.

With Forsaken Innocence, Sanders and associates have managed to find the perfect balance between floating, carried pieces and tasty bombastic prog rock. References are always difficult but I would say that fans of Arena, IQ or the old Marillion will certainly enjoy themselves with this classy album.