Bob Saliba – Hosts of a Vanished World (2024)

Bob Saliba - Hosts of a Vanished World (2024)
Artist: Bob Saliba
Album: Hosts of a Vanished World
Genre: Progressive Rock / Progressive Metal
Label: FTF Music
Year Of Release: 2024
Quality: FLAC (tracks)

Tracklist:
01 – Introspection (00:05:30)
02 – Excavations (00:04:57)
03 – Visions (00:05:01)
04 – Crystal Castle (00:04:53)
05 – Entropy (00:05:19)
06 – Expectations (00:05:57)
07 – Transposition (00:06:22)
08 – Into the Lab (00:04:56)
09 – Reflections (00:03:02)
10 – Rivality (00:04:25)
11 – Saphire (00:01:43)
12 – To the Zenith (00:05:02)
13 – Hosts of a Vanished World (00:09:11)

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Personnel:
Bob Saliba – Lead Vocals, Lead, Rhythm, Acoustic & Flamenco Guitars, Neapolitan Mandolin, Greek Bouzouki, Cura Turkish Saz & Percussions
Bruno Pradels – Bass
Tom Abrigan – Rhythm & Lead Guitars
John Macaluso – Drums & Percussions
Guest Musicians:
Roland Grapow, Ricky Marx, Alessandro Lotta, Jo Amore, Roberto Billi, Nicolas Leceux & Ludovic Favro.

French musician Bob Saliba is one of those players who is hugely active in Melodic, Power and Prog Metal circles in Europe whom most people have not come across directly. KingCrown remains his main ‘day job’ (an amazingly good Melo-Metal act that emerged fully formed with their debut album in 2022), but he’s a hugely active contributor to a whole bunch of other projects both as a player, composer or producer. In all capacities, he has shared stages and studios with a huge variety of names you will have heard of, which is why he’s managed to get so many of them to contribute to this project.

Musically this is a Progressive and Melodic Rock concept piece, but such is the variety of instruments here you could be forgiven for thinking it was a European Folk record. In truth it is both, and melds the styles seamlessly as the story’s protagonist, a palaeontologist conceptually wondering about life forms long gone, and perhaps hinting that we are about to join them. Bob is first and foremost an incredibly accomplished musician, and one of those people who seems to be able to play any instrument he is handed, but since his background is also as an engineer in biotechnology, this really does fuse both sides of his life.

Progressive arrangements can be tricky on the ear and too easily can be lulled into the realms that only the deep-rooted genre fan or other musos can appreciate, but while being varied and complex the writing and arrangements here remain first and foremost accessible to the more casual listener. The biggest surprise of all though comes with the vocals. I’ve been aware of Bob for a while, and presumed that he had attracted a high roller to sing here, but as I started to play this for the first time, I quickly wanted to know who he had roped into the project. The vocals on here are very strong, with a confidence, presence and range that aligns incredibly well with the smorgasbord of styles and sounds that the album throws at the listener. And the catch? Well, it’s Bob himself who delivers them, and delivers them very well indeed.

I don’t think he has any plans to tour this, but to be fair this is very much one of those albums that needs to be appreciated in its entirety and which gives up its layers with repeated listens. I always struggle to find the time to unpick the stories of these long concept pieces in the limited time windows reviewing allows, but even just at the musical level this is a rich and many layered beast that keeps on giving. And yes, I actually want to hear him sing this stuff live, because this is a voice that needs to be shared…
Review by Simon Black

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