Flag – Across The Stars [1997]

Flag - Across The Stars

American vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Arthur Offen was the leader of Air Raid, a great Pompy / Proggy act who released in 1981 their sole self titled album much praised in Europe but ignored in the U.S. Due the lack of support, Air Raid disbanded soon and Offen disappeared without a trace. But the man never stopped to compose and record home demos. At the beginning of the nineties Arthur met the young Berklee student named Jon Sherman and started to work together.

The fruit of their collaboration is “Across The Stars”, completed in 1994, calling themselves FLAG after the title of one of the songs. Despite 13 years passed since Offen’s Air Raid and the musical trend prevailing in the mid-nineties, the music in this album is pure Pomp AOR of the first degree. Musically and lirically, this is a marvelous collection of tunes plenty of classic late ’70s / early ’80s sounds, of course, with modern production values.

Offen & Sherman are both stupendous musicians and have meticulously crafted each of these songs. I can’t recommend a track over the others, all are terrific pieces of pure melodic Pomptastic grandeur. This is a keyboard driven festival, adorned with sumptuous huge choruses and harmony vocals. Both sing, but Arthur Offen crystal clear leads take the center of the scene, delivering a passionate yet sometimes warm and rich performance. The orchestrations are incredible, complemented with some killer guitar parts and a dynamic rhythm section, all played only by these talented guys.

I am posting this little gem ‘cos “Across The Stars” (which was released three years later in 1997) is one of my favorite Pomp AOR albums ever, besides, Flag is criminally unknown and deserves to be listened. The duo remains active and have released a couple of following albums completing some kind of trilogy, but aren’t easy to find. E.g. “Across The Stars” fetched $500 in eBay. Highly Recommended.

Band Members
Arthur Offen – Lead/backinmg vocals, acoustic/electric guitars, bass, keyboards
Jon Sherman – Lead/backinmg vocals, keyboards

Additional Musicians
Conan Hom – Violin
Lee Roi, Bill Ward, Cindy Chen – Backing vocals

Tracks
01. Flag
02. Starider
03. Shadowland
04. Counting Days
05. I Have A Secret Dream
06. Battle Songs
07. Tigerhead
08. My Fathers’ House
09. A Million Miles
10. A Journey Long

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