Album Reviews

The Barstool Philosophers – Sparrows

Released by: Independent Label

Release Date: Out Now!!!

Genre: Progressive Rock


Line Up:

Martin Kuipers – Drums

Rene kroon – Keys

Bas Hoebink – Bass

Leon Brouwer – Vocals

Ivo Poelman – Guitars


1. Afterglow

2. Silence

3. Lies

4. Dreamscape

5. Eyes show the Heart

6. Descendents of the Fall

7. Fallen Angels

8. Endless Seasons

9. Away from Here

The Netherlands and Progressive Rock have always been connected to each other, going back to the 1970s when bands like FOCUS, KAYAK and EKSEPTION paved the way for the future generation.

Progrock is one of the most popular rockgenres in The Netherlands, with a very strong community that is quite consistent and follows the genre closely. Many Dutch progbands have been active the past 30 years and even the 2000s brought us many new bands.

Although the Eastern Holland (the city of Almelo) based band THE BARSTOOL PHILOSOPHERS was formed way back in 1997, their debut CD ‘Sparrows’ was released only 2 years ago and now a few years later I get to hear and review it for the first time. I am very glad to hear this band now after all those years, because what we get to hear on this disc is of a very high level.

The band’s musicians are highly skilled and the song structures are all sounding the way it should in a Progrockband. However, many Dutch progbands suffer from a weaker vocal department, but let me get things straight here, as THE BARSTOOL PHILOSOPHERS features an excellent high-pitched lead vocalist called LEON BROUWER. This guy has an incredible high octave falsetto range that comes pretty close to GEOFF TATE of QUEENSRYCHE, in fact, he sounds like he is his brother, even in the lower registers.

This guy completely puts this band’s sound way above most progbands out there and that surely is something to be proud of. The music is also quite close to QUEENSRYCHE, although a little calmer and more pure Progressive Rock based, but it is remarkable that the progworld has not praised this band yet, because the CD ‘Sparrows’ is an exceptionally great Progalbum that combines the best of old school MARILLION, a little RUSH and early GENESIS with a less heavy QUEENSRYCHE. Easily a MUST-HAVE for any dedicated Progfan out there and for a Dutch product an outstanding performance is delivered here!

If GEOFF TATE ever quits singing for QUEENSRYCHE, well here is his replacement, but on the other hand I do hope that we can enjoy a lot more from THE BARSTOOL PHILOSOPHERS in the future, because when listening to a song like “Dreamscape” one hears an incredibly gifted band that should get much more attention from all over the world, because this is major label stuff for sure!

Written by Gabor

Ratings Gabor    8/10

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