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Hans Ravensbergen

"Musically, the album is one big warm bath of authentic symphonic rock with a modern touch. Food for true symphomaniacs, I say. Influences of Pendragon, Arena, Pallas, Marillion, Knight Area and Abel Ganz are audible. How impressive and beautiful something can sound without being truly innovative. Everything that characterises (neo-)symphonic rock passes by in fifty minutes."

"I don't often use the word masterpiece, but do so now."

"Muzikaal gezien is het album één groot warm bad van authentieke symfonische rock met een moderne touch. Voer voor de echte symfomanen, zeg ik maar. Invloeden van Pendragon, Arena, Pallas, Marillion, Knight Area en Abel Ganz zijn hoorbaar. Hoe indrukwekkend en mooi kan iets klinken zonder écht vernieuwend te zijn. Alles wat kenmerkend is voor (neo-)symfonische rock komt in vijftig minuten voorbij."

"Ik gebruik het woord meesterwerk niet vaak, maar doe dat nu toch."

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iO Pages
Tim Meewezen

"The result is a beautiful album on which original compositions draw the mood of the life stages in the story,"

"All the songs are lovely to listen to, with the highlight being the title track Mask. In it, the opening, played by keyboards and guitar, is given vocals with a great sense of melody and complemented by alternating synth patterns, atmospheric guitar solos and piano loops over those ever-persistent, deep bass and Taurus tones. The Foundation at its best, puffy record!"

"Het resultaat is een prachtig album waarop originele composities de sfeer tekenen van
de levensfasen in het verhaal."

"Alle nummers zijn heerlijk om naar te luisteren, met als hoogtepunt het titelnummer Mask. Hierin wordt de door keyboards en gitaar gespeelde opening met veel gevoel voor melodie van zang voorzien en aangevuld met afwisselende synthpatronen, sfeervolle gitaarsolo’s en pianoloopjes over die immer doorgaande, diepe bas- en Taurus-tonen. The Foundation op zijn best, puike plaat!"

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Empire Magazine
Renald Mienert

"The mastermind behind the Dutch project The Foundation is keyboardist Ron Lammers."

"The following title track lasts over twelve minutes, simply beautiful melodic-symphonic neo-prog, not least due to, let's say, genre-typical keyboard interludes. A song that reminds me of the early Clepsydra albums. The last three songs, Renewal (again with flute solo), Unconditional and Future, play musically in the same league, whereby the vocals are generally convincing on all the sung tracks. All in all, a very melodic concept album that gets by without much fiddling. The elaborate artwork fits the concept perfectly, and so I can only recommend Mask to all friends of good neo-prog."

"Mastermind hinter dem holländischen Projekt The Foundation ist der Keyboarder Ron Lammers."

"Der folgende Titelsong bringt es auf über zwölf Minuten, einfach wunderschöner melodisch-symphonischer Neo-Prog, nicht zuletzt durch sagen wir mal genretypische
Keyboard-Einlagen. Ein Song, der mich an die frühen Alben von Clepsydra erinnert. Die letzten drei Songs, Renewal (wieder mit Flötensolo), Unconditional und Future, spielen musikalisch in der gleichen Liga, wobei generell bei allen gesungenen Tracks auch die Vocals überzeugen. Unterm Strich ein sehr melodisches Konzeptalbum, das ohne großes Gefrickel auskommt. Das aufwändige Artwork passt perfekt zu dem Konzept, und somit kann ich Mask allen Freunden von gutem Neo-Prog nur ans Herz legen."

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Babyblaue Seiten
Siggy Zielinski

"The very harmonious two-part keyboard work of Lammers and Jan Munnik is one of the most outstanding features of the arrangements on Mask. Second in the arrangements for me are the creative contributions of Gijs Koopman on bass guitar and Taurus pedals. Also worth mentioning are several symphonic-oriented instrumentals. Such as the soaring Before The Dawn starring Keys and Birth with melodic guitars and rhythm section. The not at all underestimated splashes of colour are added to some tracks by the romantic flute contributions. The polyphonic vocals and the hymn-like melodies might appeal to some Yes fans. And which Genesis and neoprog fan won't be charmed by the sound of the Taurus Pedals?"

"Die sehr harmonische zweistimmige Keyboardarbeit von Lammers und Jan Munnik gehört zu den herausragendsten Merkmalen der Arrangements auf Mask. An zweiter Stelle in den Arrangements kommen für mich die kreativen Beiträge von Gijs Koopman an der Bassgitarre und den Taurus Pedals. Ebenso erwähnenswert sind mehrere symphonisch orientierte Instrumentals. Wie zum Beispiel das schwebende Before The Dawn mit Keys in der Hauptrolle und Birth mit melodischen Gitarren und der Rhythmussektion. Die gar nicht zu unterschätzenden Farbtupfer werden einigen Stücken durch die romantischen Flötenbeiträge zuteil. Die mehrstimmigen Gesänge und die hymnischen Melodien könnten vielleicht einigen Yes-Fans gefallen. Und welcher Genesis- und Neoprog-Fan lässt sich nicht von dem Klang der Taurus Pedals bezirzen?"

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Stone Prog
Holger Stöckel

“Mask” is an impressive, fascinating and highly entertaining debut album from Ron Lammers and his melodic-symphonic prog project “The Foundation”.

“Mask” by “The Foundation” has become a great, deeply personal concept album, with captivating melodies, which convinces with its great and exuberant guitars, lively keyboards and a high-quality and expressive rhythm section, whereby new things can always be discovered and absolutely entertains. Clear recommendation for friends of the melodic faction. The album comes in a beautifully designed media book, with all the text and pictures related to the story. Designed by Ron's friend, Douwe Fledderus, who is also not entirely unknown in the scene."

“Mask” ist ein beeindruckendes, faszinierendes und höchst unterhaltsames Debütalbum von Ron Lammers und seinem melodisch-symphonischen Prog-Projekt “The Foundation”.

“Mask” von “The Foundation” ist ein großartiges, zutiefst persönliches Konzeptalbum geworden, mit fesselnden Melodien, welches, mit seinen großartigen und überschwänglichen Gitarren, lebendigen Keyboards und einer hochwertigen und ausdrucksstarken Rhythmusgruppe überzeugt, wobei sich immer wieder neues entdecken lässt und dabei absolut unterhält. Ganz klare Empfehlung für Freunde der melodischen Fraktion. Das Album kommt in einem sehr schön gestalteten Mediabook, mit allen Texten und Bildern zur Story. Gestaltet von Ron´s Freund, Douwe Fledderus, übrigens auch kein ganz Unbekannter in der Szene."

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Prog Archives
Various reviewers

"A very nice surprise that this foundation straddles between the first and second half of 2023, looking forward to a brilliant."

"We can hear in the quality and the excellent production of this album that it can only come from someone with experience in the record business. Recommended!"

"One of the strengths of this album is that it is recognizable as melodic Symphonic Rock but musically it has its own style."

"A highly recommended suggestion, with ace musicianship, stunning vocals and great melodies, certainly well- placed among the top contenders for top 2023 prog albums. This is a project that begs to be continued and offer us more future thrills."

"The more the album is played the more the listener gets out of it, and with the title cut more than twelve minutes in length we have music which has room to develop and breathe."

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Douwe Fledderus

One of the strengths of this album is that it is recognizable as melodic Symphonic Rock but musically it has its own style. That's why I was only able to give one reference and that for an intro of a song. Of course you have to think of Knight Area when you hear the vocals of Mark Smit. But this was the mark he pressed on their music. It is a consistent and varied album with no weaknesses. Highlights for me are of course the long title track "Mask"  but also songs like "Climbing Mountains", "Blind To Reality", "Unconditional" and "Future" score high. I would like to give Jan Munnik an extra compliment on this one. Besides playing (together with Ron) the keys on songs like "Blind To Reality", "Mask", "Renewal" and "Unconditional" and some additional keys on other songs, he also took care of the mix and mastering of the album. Especially when you know that this is actually his first symphonic rock album (Autumn's music is more in the heavy segment of (Prog)Rock), he has done a fantastic job in his own M4-Studio. "Mask" sounds fantastic. In addition to all those beautiful contributions from all musicians, the violin and flute expand the sound palette even further, you would almost forget the main composer and creator (Ron Lammers) of this concept. But I am really impressed with his compositions and skills on the keyboards. With this fantastic album he makes his childhood dream come true. "Mask" is a highlight in the rich history of Dutch Symphonic Rock. Highly recommended by progVisions.

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The Progressive Aspect (TPA)
David Edwards

"Mask is the very impressive, intriguing and highly enjoyable debut album from Ron Lammers and his melodic symphonic prog project The Foundation. It is a concept album looking chronologically at the human experience, with a highly personal and autobiographical journey taking us from birth, through life’s many ups and downs, and finally to a positive future path, mirroring the one Ron and his wife, Betty, currently find themselves on."

"Mask by The Foundation is an excellent, deeply personal concept album of enthralling melodic, symphonic, and neo-prog which never ceases to entertain with its stunning and exuberant guitars, vibrant keyboards and a quality and expressive rhythm section. The synergy between the musicians is wonderful and there is both complexity and accessibility on show. The expressive and appealing vocals and lyrics reveal a thoughtful and relatable narrative and a spiritually uplifting message. Another modern prog discovery, this time from the Netherlands, that I heartedly recommend you explore further. I look forward to Ron Lammers’ future work if it matches the quality of this debut release (a sequel is already being considered). Check them out on Bandcamp now!"

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Artur Chachlowski

"... and the epic passages floating all over the place make this album a true masterpiece of symphonic rock."

"The synergy between the musicians is downright fantastic and contains a perfectly tailored package: both epic complexity and lyrical accessibility.
All in all, 'Mask' is a successful debut and, above all, a very melodic concept album that I can confidently recommend to all fans of good neo-prog rock. It is a thoughtful and very personal album with fascinating melodies, symphonic sounds intricately intertwining with neo-prog rock atmospheres. This is another great discovery of contemporary progressive rock from the Netherlands. A new beginning. Let's hope there will be a sequel..."

"... a epickie pasaże, które przez cały czas unoszą się w powietrzu, czynią tę płytę prawdziwym arcydziełem symfonicznego rocka."

"Podsumowując, w przypadku albumu 'Mask' mamy do czynienia z udanym debiutem, a przede wszystkim z bardzo melodyjnym albumem koncepcyjnym, który mogę śmiało polecić wszystkim sympatykom dobrego neoprogresu. To przemyślany i bardzo osobisty album z fascynującymi melodiami, symfonicznymi brzmieniami, które misternie przeplatają się z neoprogrockowymi klimatami. To kolejne wspaniałe odkrycie współczesnego progresywnego rocka z Holandii. Nowy początek. Oby nastąpił ciąg dalszy…"

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Horst-Werner Riedel

"With "Mask", The Foundation impressively confirms that in our neighbouring country with its numerous and renowned progressive rock bands, further formations are just waiting to follow in the footsteps of the veterans as well as to keep the tradition of melodic, symphonic prog alive."

"Especially among lovers of catchy, melodic progressive rock, the Dutch formation The Foundation should succeed in generating interest with their debut album "Mask"."

"Mit “Mask” bestätigt The Foundation auf eindrucksvolle Weise, dass in unserem Nachbarland mit seinen zahlreichen und namhaften Progressive Rock Bands weitere Formationen nur darauf warten, in die Fußstapfen der Altgedienten zu treten sowie die Tradition des melodischen, symphonischen Progs weiter am Leben zu erhalten."

"Besonders bei Freunden des eingängigen, melodischen Progressive Rock sollte es der niederländischen Formation The Foundation gelingen, mit ihrem Debüt-Album “Mask” das Interesse zu wecken."

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Martin Burns

"The best tracks are the two longer ones, the closer Future with a cracking solo guitar (Rinie Huigen). While Mask starts with epic Vangelis keys soon joined by the full band. Changes in volume, a lovely synth solo and melancholy violin at the coda, makes this one a track many bands would be proud of."

"The Foundation's Mask is a debut that ticks all the neo-prog and symphonic boxes. It may not be bringing anything new to the neo-prog party but with its sheer tune-smithery it is eminently listenable. If you have a liking for IQArena or Pendragon then get in on the ground floor with The Foundation as they will produce something special in the future."

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Par Gabriel

"The title track of the album, the eponymous Mask, is over 12 minutes long and takes us on a journey through timeless musical textures, the melodies are convincing and the orchestrated themes overlap and develop intelligently in the great prog tradition. Those who love well-crafted progressive rock will be delighted with Mask. Discover it on bandcamp!"

"La pièce maîtresse de l’album, l’éponyme Mask, long de plus de 12 minutes, nous fait voyager dans des textures musicales intemporelles, les mélodies sont convaincantes, les thèmes orchestrés se superposent et se développent intelligemment dans la grande tradition prog. Ceux qui aiment le rock progressif bien fait trouverons leur bonheur avec Mask. A découvrit sur bandcamp !"

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Background Magazine
Henri Strik

"After hearing all of the tracks I can only do one thing. Putting both of my thumbs up for all of them for what they have achieved together here on this amazing sounding album."

"Highly recommended to fans of Knight Area and retro prog rockers in general!"

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Prog & Rock
Dick van der Heijde

"Ron Lammers heeft met “Mask”  een album gemaakt dat van A tot Z professionaliteit uitstraalt. Het artwork en de geluidskwaliteit zijn subliem maar het is toch echt de muziek zelf die next level is. Luisterend naar “Mask”  hoor je tien muzikanten die het beste in elkaar naar boven halen en dat is heel wat."

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Philippe André

"Then comes the eponymous "Mask" and its magnificent twelve minutes, symphonic progressive at its best, nothing more, a heady main melody, punctuated by Mark SMIT's velvety voice, "masterpiece" you said "masterpiece"? The violin in "Reneawal" saves it from the crowd and "Unconditional" is very easy to listen to, very radio friendly, a song written by Ron LAMMERS for his wife Betty... The closing track "Future" takes us up several flights of stairs with its heady, enterprising keyboards (Gijs KOOPMAN on the Taurus pedal) and where vocalist Mark SMIT once again takes centre stage, the second essential track of the work."

"This foundation, straddling the first and second halves of 2023, is a wonderful surprise, and we look forward to an equally brilliant sequel......."

"Arrive la pièce éponyme "Mask" et ses douze minutes magnifiques, le progressif symphonique à son sommet, rien de plus, une mélodie principale entêtante, ponctuée par la voix de velours de Mark SMIT, "chef d'œuvre" vous avez dit "chef d'œuvre" ? Le violon qui traverse "Renewal" le sauve du tout-venant et "Unconditional" est quant à lui très facile à écouter, très typé radio, un morceau composé par Ron LAMMERS pour son épouse Betty...La pièce terminale "Future" nous fait remonter de plusieurs étages avec des claviers entêtants et entreprenants (Gijs KOOPMAN à la pédale Taurus) et où le vocaliste Mark SMIT se met de nouveau en vedette, la deuxième plage essentielle de l'œuvre."

"Une bien belle surprise que cette fondation à cheval entre le premier et le second semestre 2023, vivement une suite......aussi brillante."

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Thoralf Koß

"Now the album picks up speed, sets beside a combination of symphonic retro- and neo-prog as well as fat basses and extensive instrumental excursions, which move between MARILLION and IQ or CAMEL and PENDRAGON as well as KNIGHT AREA of course, at the same time on the concept, which after a long title track of more than 12 minutes moves towards the future ("Future") and ends there with a lot of keyboard bombast and Floydian guitar experiments, similar to the beginning of the album. "Mask" thus becomes a prog rock album that is oriented towards the traditions of this genre, sometimes shimmying along them a bit excessively, and in the end leaves a musically good impression and a very good one in terms of the design of the media book."

" ... beautifully designed, 24-page digi- or mediabook ... "

"Nun nimmt das Album an Fahrt auf, setzt neben einer Kombination aus symphonischem Retro- und Neo-Prog sowie fetten Bässen und ausgiebigen instrumentalen Ausflügen, die sich zwischen MARILLION und IQ oder CAMEL und PENDRAGON sowie selbstredend KNIGHT AREA bewegen, zugleich auf das Konzept, welches sich nach einem über 12 Minuten langen Long-Titeltrack Richtung Zukunft („Future“) bewegt und dort mit viel Keyboard-Bombast und floydianischen Gitarren-Experimenten, ähnlich wie am Anfang des Albums, ausklingt. „Mask“ wird so zu einem Prog-Rock-Album, das sich an den Traditionen dieses Genres orientiert, manchmal etwas übertrieben daran entlanghangelt und am Ende einen musikalisch guten und von der Gestaltung des Mediabooks her sehr guten Eindruck hinterlässt."

" ... wunderschön gestaltete, 24 Seiten starke Digi- bzw. Mediabook ... "

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Power Metal
Frank Jaeger

"I would particularly like to emphasize that "Mask" was published as a digibook, with beautiful images that go well with the music in their open symbolic clarity. Almost fifty minutes of relaxed and relaxing music for the prog fan with good musicians and a positive message in a very successful package should be enjoyed by anyone who wants to take it easy."

"Besonders hervorheben möchte ich, dass "Mask" als Digibook erschienen ist, mit schönen Bildern, die in ihrer offenen symbolischen Klarheit gut zur Musik passen. Beinahe fünfzig Minuten entspannte und entspannende Musik für den Progfan mit guten Musikern und einer positiven Message in sehr gelungener Verpackung sollten jedem, der es auch mal ruhiger angehen lassen möchte, gut munden."

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De Muziekexpress (AFM)
Marco van Lochem

"Ron Lammers composed the nine songs on a keyboard, and they were mastered by several musicians. Knight Area's well-known singer Mark Smit was found willing to take care of the lead vocals. Graphic designer Douwe Fledderus is responsible for the truly stunning artwork, which ensures that the product is a feast for the eyes and ears."

"Top, top, top album!"

"Ron Lammers heeft de negen songs op een keyboard gecomponeerd en ze zijn door verschillende muzikanten onder handen genomen. De van Knight Area bekende zanger Mark Smit werd bereid gevonden de leadzang voor zijn rekening te nemen. Grafisch ontwerper Douwe Fledderus is verantwoordelijk voor het werkelijk schitterend artwork, dat ervoor zorgt dat het product een lust voor oog én oor is."

"Top, top, topalbum!"

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Highlands Magazine
Marie Mesmer

"Refined album, born in the cradle of a beautiful booklet made by Ron Lammers' friend, Douwe Fledderus from Blissy Design with a creative design. The arrangements will be well received. A CD that will please fans of symphonic rock."

"Album raffiné, né dans un berceau fait d’un joli livre dû à l’ami de Ron Lammers, Douwe Fledderus de Blissy Design au design créatif. Les arrangements sont à saluer. Album qui plaira aux amateurs de rock symphonique."

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PROG Magazine
Grant Moon

"... an assured, highly melodic symphonic/neo set of musical scope and philosophical heft. Vocalist-lyricist Mark Smit is a likeable, tuneful presence throughout."

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Metal Temple
Dave Campbell

"Overall, this album was a rich, smooth, and rousing blending of 1970’s Prog with modern Rock elements. The concept and message were not lost on me either. In a musical world filled with a lot of darkness and cathartic releases, it was nice to just put in the headphones and listen to an album focused on positivity, and renewal."

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Erik's Progtracks
Erik Fraanje

"First of all, I have to mention the really beautiful execution of the media book with beautiful artwork by Douwe Fledderus. A feast for the eyes."

"The clear starting point of this journey and the absolute centrepiece of this album is the song Mask and this is a prog rock gem of more than twelve minutes with everything you wish for. Beautiful melodies, deep layers and a variety of solos and of course the clear voice of Mark Smit. Wonderful singer that is. This is really of a high level and tastes like more."

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Michael Haifl

"Keyboard landscapes and beguiling guitar solos will beguile the musicologists of CAMEL and MARILLION, YES and SAGA. Dutchmen are of course known for such sounds, not only since KNIGHT AREA or now THE FOUNDATION."

"Keyboard-Landschaften und betörende Gitarren-Soli werden die Musikkundler von CAMEL und MARILLION, YES und SAGA betören. Für solche Klänge sind Niederländer natürlich bekannt, nicht erst seit KNIGHT AREA oder nunmehr THE FOUNDATION."

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"Con Opus"

"Sometimes the covers of albums are authentic (and skilful) callers so that our attention will be fixed on those albums. And that's what happened to me with this album by The Foundation."

"Containing 9 tracks, all very similar in terms of quality, it pleasantly surprises us with a work of exquisite good taste. Highly recommended."

"A veces las portadas de los discos son auténticos (y hábiles) llamadores para que nuestra atención pueda fijarse en el ejemplar. Y es lo que me sucedió con este disco de The Foundation."

"Conteniendo 9 temas, todos muy parejos en cuanto a calidad, nos sorprende gratamente con una obra de exquisito buen gustoMuy recomendable."

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