During its existence which started in 1987 in Rotterdam, the band For Absent Friends has always been able to rely on the support of media and fans. I was able to see it myself during one of their many concerts. Ofcourse, they had acquired that fanatical fan base for a reason.
This all started with their strong debut ep “Illusions”, a first effort hard to neglect. The disc contains only three songs and lasts less than twenty minutes but what an eagerness is coming your way.
The sound of the band is somewhere between the 80s Rush, the old Marillion and a bit of Mike And The Mechanics. Living up to the term “a band is as good as their drummer”, there is Ed Wernke. His playful and creative approach to the compositions, in which he frequently gives away a roll on his snare, creates the perfect surrounding for everyone. For example, he plays with a nice groove in opener Nurd Illusion. It’s just an example. Everything runs like clockwork. Add the flashy bass playing of René Bacchus to it and you have a great foundation. In that respect, listen to the end of Snow.
This drive greatly benefits the lyrical guitar playing of Edwin Roes and the symphonic interpretations of keyboardist Peter de Jong also get more cachet. It’s an open door, the emotional vocals of Alex Toonen makes the picture complete. Especially in The Stone, last track on the ep, he makes an extraordinarily professional impression, just like his bandmates do.
For Absent Friends had achieved great success after this ep and rightly so. Five more studio albums and a few other things were made. A good beginning is a job half done.
© Dick van der Heijde 2022