Returning to the glory of obscure 70s instrumental prog! I mentioned when I wrote up Beyond Expression, the sophomore album from Dutch prog band Finch that the scuttlebutt was their debut was more jazz-influenced, and bore some comparison to bands like the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Thanks to the mighty Discogs I was able to track down a US pressing of Glory Of The Inner Force and I’m here to tell you that yes: it IS more jazz influenced, and their ARE some comparisons to be made to the fusion giants, mainly in some of the electrifying leads of Joop Van Nimwegen (though he’s a far cry from John McLaughlin). Whatever your take, on the whole this is a rocking debut that leans on the shoulders of the giants of the day to create an enjoyable record that isn’t afraid to go bold.
It kicks off with “Register Magister” and rather than McLaughlin and co., my first thought was a guitar heavy Emerson Lake and Palmer. Which sure – makes no sense since there’s no guitar in ELP, but there you go. The keyboard work of Cleem Determeijer is again front and center, but since the album as a whole isn’t as tightly composed and arranged it rocks a lot more. Everything on this track feels like a vamp to allow the players to soar, and I’m immediately hooked. There’s a distinct Yes vibe to the track and these guys can play their asses off.
“Paradoxical Moods” starts off with a nice, mellow funky riff, and again the keyboard is front and center taking the melody and running with it. Van Nimwegen doubles him before returning to the funky strum, and the sense I’m getting here is some vintage Return to Forever before something snaps with the solo from Van Nimwegen and the whole band shifts into Pink Floyd mode for a few moments before heading firmly back to prog – I swear there’s a moment here that recalls Jethro Tull’s A Passion Play so much I thought Ian Anderson was about to shout “This is the story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles!” Again, the overall tone here is one of wicked solos and breaks more than seriously composed songs – something I think Beyond Expression had but lacked some of the more explosive moments here on the debut.
The second side moves in proggier waters, with “Pisces” offering an off-kilter riff before moving into a dark vamp where the bass work of Peter Vink is on prominent display. The syncopation is much heavier, and it’s the first time listening that I get a real sense of the rhythm and percussive work of Vink and drummer Beer Klaasse, who not has one of the best names in all of rock but is a great presence behind the kit. The track ends on a triumphant note that I particularly like, as if the album is over.
BUT IT ISN’T! We still have the similarly murky opening of “A Bridge to Alice” to go through. Klaasse brings the toms in to set the stage for what feels like their most orchestrated song on the album. It’s also the longest, clocking in at over 13 minutes (not that the others were slouches, being between 9-10 minutes each). As the track winds through its Yes meets Tull (I think that’s where I’m landing) sections I’m almost filled to the brim with solos breaks, but the more lively atmosphere and rock leaning puts Glory To The Inner Force above Beyond Expression for me. The band would go on to release more album, 1977’s Galleons of Passion before breaking apart, and let’s just assume that sooner or later I’ll grab a copy and report back.