Vuur is the new project from cult prog artist Anneke van Giersbergen, well-known for being the frontwoman of The Gathering and latterly for collaborating with Devin Townsend. Across a suite of tracks thematically, dedicated to different world cities, the band – not only Giersbergen herself, but luminaries like Esa Holopainen, Daniel Cardoso and Mark Holcomb, of Amorphis, Anathema and Periphery respectively – deliver a punchy and upbeat take on modern progressive metal, channelling the spirit of various cities. Highlights are the rolling arpeggios of The Martyr And The Saint – Beirut and the melodramatic strokes of Your Glorious Light Will Shine – Helsinki. Unfortunately, for all the talent here, ultimately the record drags. Several album tracks are overlong and similar, and despite the vocal hooks and deft musicianship, there’s a lack of ‘wow’ moments. The LP is at its best when it veers closest to the kind of cinematic metal that the Devin Townsend Project ply their trade in: The Fire – San Francisco and Freedom – Rio. Overall, this is a promising start, but one that hopefully will see the band developing in a unique direction on future releases.