Broers + Klazinga – Burdens Of The Mind

2021 (Red Icon Recordings)

1: Forever Alone (5:06)
2: Now That You’re Gone (4:49)
3: Emerald Eyes (5:02)
4: Who Do We Think We Are (5:02)
5: Angels’ Share (6:26)
6: Year Without A Summer (5:39)
7: Back To The Wall (4:16)
8: Fly Into The Night (4:27)
9: Hold On (5:11)
10: Burdens Of The Mind (10:49)
11: Karakas (5:57)
12: The End Of The Beginning (1:39)

Broers + Klazinga = goosebumps2.

Responsible for these irrepressible emotional expressions are the keyboardists Jacob Broers and Gerben Klazinga. In twelve songs you can hear how they, together with a list of guest musicians, express their passion for progressive rock.

The origins of this project go back to 2014 when the unknown Jacob Broers is offered a piano lesson with Knight Area keyboardist Gerben Klazinga. There is not much of teaching that day and both decide that it is more fun to just make music together. From that day on, the click is a fact and the gentlemen work weekly on a joint repertoire. The result is that on March 26, 2021, the album discussed here sees the light of day.

And then the CD goes into the CD player and a torrent of symphonic splendor comes over you. This puckered listener will peel it off for you, layer by layer, with the greatest possible precision.

Every run, every harmony, every theme: everything has its class. Although the booklet does not indicate which keyboard artist plays which part, that does not matter at all. Whether the inspiration comes from Bach, Keith Emerson, Tony Banks or, for example, Mark Kelly: the vision of both men is clearly theirs. The music that Broers and Klazinga present here is very similar to the work of the first incarnation of Knight Area or it is bombastic neoprog on the square centimeter. Full mellotron sounds, fat Moog runs, melodic themes and stately piano touches are the core business here and you want to be immersed in that.

Very nice is the way Klazinga has played rhythm guitar, bass guitar and drums himself. Everywhere it sounds extremely functional while it always gives the drive of the music an extra boost. Only in one song does he leave the drumming and bass to guest musicians, that doesn’t really make much of a difference.

Talk about guest musicians. There is an attractive mix of well-known musicians and young talent. There is the ex-Knight Area frontman Mark Smit who provides all lead vocals with his intense voice. In addition, the guitar virtuosity of Mark Bogert can be heard in four songs. Furthermore, all guest roles are played by young talent and it is to Broers and Klazinga’s credit that they have offered these musicians a platform. 

Albums like this, on which a different kind of team spirit circulates than is the case with bands, often want to be excessive. Thanks to Klazinga’s experience and Broers’ skills, “Burdens Of The Mind” is compositionally beautiful streamlined. The variation in themes and tempo leaves nothing to be desired. It’s supposedly 12 shades of neoprog. Opener Forever Alone immediately puts you on edge with its bombast and its harmony vocals. Mark Bogert’s masterful guitar solo that emerges here makes you curious about the rest of the album. The subsequent Now That You’re Gone is a magnificent power ballad, beautifully driven and again with sublime guitar playing, this time by Slava Syurin.

In Emerald Eyes you can hear how grand piano, cello, vocals and later electric guitar together create an idiosyncratic piece of classical music. That everything is well put together is evident from the Kaipa-like Who Do We Think We Are where the baroque organ works overtime. Meanwhile, a nice melody sounds constantly and they never let it down.

A very strong composition is Year Without A Summer where Mark Smit sings about a volcanic eruption in Indonesia in the year 1815. The song has a very emotional text in which Smit has to stand on the tip of his toes to hit all the high notes. In the context of the variation, the smooth Hold On is just acceptable. A very cool keyboard and guitar solo are the saving grace here.

The ten-minute title track has a bit of lounge at the beginning and at the end. That’s nice, but what really makes the prog heart beat faster is that long instrumental interlude. While your emotional center has already been softened, the instrumental Karakas presents itself. This song is a tribute to Johan Sebastiaan Bach and Keith Emerson. There is a lot of lush keyboard playing and in the meantime, just like in Year Without A Summer, a nice piece of Bach passes by.

The album closes with the moody The End Of The Beginning in which a voice fragment of Winston Churchill actually closes the door.

“Burdens Of The Mind” is a great album, full of musicality and love for the note. Mathematicians who listen to the disc have their hands in their pockets. 1 + 1 = much more than 2.

Jacob Broers: keyboards, backing vocals
Gerben Klazinga: keyboards, bass, drums, guitar, backing vocals
Ronald Blok: guitar (4,8,12)
Mark Bogert: guitar (1,3,9,11)
Vincent van den Bosch: guitar (7,8)
Jeremy van Haastert: guitar (6,10)
Rata Kloppenburg: cello (2,3)
Roel van Moll: drums (6)
Koen Oostendorp: guitar (6)
Eke Simons: grand piano (3)
Mark Smit: vocals
Slava Syurin: guitar (2,5)

© Dick van der Heijde 2022