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Old 01-16-2021, 10:10 AM   #81 (permalink)
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Hypothetical is the best Threshold album overall in my opinion. followed by Subsurface and March Of Progress.
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Old 01-16-2021, 10:24 AM   #82 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anteater View Post
Hypothetical is the best Threshold album overall in my opinion. followed by Subsurface and March Of Progress.
Hey Ant. Glad you're following the thread.
I think it's always going to be Subsurface for me, as it was my first Threshold album, but yes, Hypothetical for "Narcissus" alone. I'm not sure how I'd rate them, in fact choosing only six to feature was pretty traumatic for me.
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Old 01-17-2021, 05:29 AM   #83 (permalink)
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Originally Posted in Trollheart's Listening List, December 15 2015 (Some slight edits)


Title: Transitions
Artist: Time Horizon
Year 2015
Nationality:
Familiarity: 0%

Expectations: Ant has already declared this a “meh” album, so I may not have too high expectations of it, but then, I'm never led by anyone else's opinion of an album, so I'll make my own mind up. I do however wonder at the wisdom of having three tracks opening the album that all have the word “only” beginning their title, though I do note Yes's Tony Kaye and Fleetwood Mac's Billy Sherwood are involved, so perhaps it won't be that bad.

1. Only One Way: Get very much more an AOR feel from this from the beginning. Vocal is excellent, but I'm hearing Asia so much in this, particularly in the chorus, and now we have trumpeting Downes-like keys. Hmm. Great vocal harmonies certainly. A little derivative? Let's reserve judgement at this early stage, but hold that thought.
2. Only Through Faith: Very nice soft synth line with twinkly effects, choral vocals, very short so I'm going to assume it's an instrumental. Sort of church organ coming in now, to tie in perhaps with the title and yes, it gives off quite a spiritual ambience.
3. Only Today: Ah no, again I hear the ghost of Asia so clearly in this. It's like something off Astra, and that's thirty years old. Vocalist though is emulating John Payne. Some good guitar work from Dave Miller, but now we're getting a very Yes-style keyboard from Ralph Otteson, who's also responsible for the vocals, or most of them at least (seems they have something of an Alan Parsons Project thing going on, and the first track was sung by drummer Bruce Gaetke).
4. Prisoner: There's nothing wrong with these songs, it's just they don't sound anything original and there are so many bands I can compare the musical style to it makes it a little boring. This even has the basic melody of a Yes song, just can't recall which one. Something off Big Generator I think. Or maybe Union. Nice work by Tony Kaye, guesting on the Hammond. Which I guess reinforces the Yes comparisons.
5. The Moment is Here: We're back with the drummer singing, but despite the somewhat portentous announcement in the title I don't quite feel the excit --- oh wait a minute. This is rather nice. The first song of theirs I've heard that sounds like maybe they actually turned off Asia: the Complete Box Set while writing it, and paused the Yes documentary. I must admit I don't see a huge difference in the vocals, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, ie they can both sing well. Great hook here, first I've been able to grasp. Much of this is down to the superb work from Sherwood.
6. About Time: This is a very impressive instrumental, quite appropriate in title to the rest of the album, the previous track excepted.
7. You're All I Need: I'm not quite sure if this is getting better as it goes along, or I'm just getting more tolerant. This is still very Asia/Yes hybrid, but there's something intriguing about the tune. Chorus ruins it totally though. Pity. Damn crappy formulaic chorus! Couldn't they come up with anything better? Not even that smoking guitar outro can lift this above the level of mediocre. Boo.
8. River of Sorrows: I think everyone would expect this to be a ballad. And it is. Sort of a vaguely oriental feel merges with blues, with the very slightest whisper of eighties Dio.
9. Water Girl: Seemed like it slipped directly in from the last track, and may very well be another instrumental, with some lovely piano from Otteson and some very expressive guitar from Miller. Another one where they throw off the shackles of Asia comparisons. Nice.
10. Love is Here: Gorgeous violin thanks to Mike Mullen, and it would seem we have one more vocalist, though Jake Livgren (nephew of Kansas' famous Kerry) sounds again quite similar to the other two, making me wonder if where “vocals” are credited on the album they mean backing vocals? Anyhow, this is a lovely ballad, a strong ending to a not overall strong album, but one that may reward repeated listenings.

Final result: I certainly wouldn't go so far as to call this a meh album, as Ant did, but the overreliance on tropes used by the bands mentioned, and others, is a little unsettling. Nevertheless, while this is by no means an amazing album, when Time Horizon settle down and stop just copying their heroes they can write and play some pretty fine music. Maybe they'll get it right on their third album, which I wouldn't be averse to listening to.


(Sorry; not a single YouTube exists.)
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Old 01-17-2021, 12:53 PM   #84 (permalink)
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"Ant has already declared this a “meh” album"


King Ping Meh????
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Old 01-17-2021, 03:07 PM   #85 (permalink)
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Originally Posted in The Playlist of Life, November 25 2012 (Some slight edits)

On the Thirteenth Day --- Magnum --- 2012 (SPV/Steamhammer)


What a joy it is to hear an album like this! Yeah, so prepare for a real nasty review, picking apart this sub-par load of ... no, seriously, this is one excellent album. I can't pick out a single track I don't like, and even then it's hard to tie down just one standout. It's a real triumph, and shows that the boys from Brum are still going as strong as ever, almost thirty-five years later. How bands who have been in the business that long can still manage to churn out releases of this quality is both amazing and uplifting. There's no sign of weariness, tension or even complacency as Magnum launch into what is now their sixteenth album, and their sixth since the reformation of the band in 2002.

It opens with the sound of synth and thunder, building slowly under the familiar humming vocal of Bob Catley until it all explodes into life and “All the Dreamers” gets us underway with the screaming guitar of Tony Clarkin and the pounding drumbeats of Harry James, augmented by the instantly recognisable keys of Mark Stanway. I hear elements of the title track to Brand New Morning in parts of the melody, and it strides along on cocky, confident lines showing a band with nothing to prove, just in it for the pure joy of making music. A great guitar section by Clarkin in the final minute really ramps up the power and tension before the end, then “Blood Red Laughter” is a punch to the face with a big churning guitar opening but dropping back quickly into an AOR-style melody, Catley's vocals less raw and gruff and Stanway's piano keeping a nice line behind him, the whole song possessing that progressive rock vibe.

A violin-like keyboard melody opens “Didn't Like You Anyway”, stop-start with guitar backing it up, and it rides along a bouncing beat with Catley's vocals again dark and rough, the song ending as it began on those stabbing strings keyboards of Stanway's and then segueing directly into the title track, a big heavy AOR monster with driving guitar and that familiar Magnum sound, some great vocal harmonies between Catley and Clarkin, and a great guitar solo from the latter which shows he is certainly one of the most underappreciated guitarists in rock today. Nice piano intro into “So Let it Rain”, then it becomes a real anthemic pounder with a great hook and surely must be a contender for one of the singles from the album?

Much heavier, with grinding guitar and bassy piano, almost metal is “Dance of the Black Tattoo”, with another excellent hook delivered by Bob Catley's powerful drawl alongside Tony Clarkin's machine-gun guitar attack. This is a song that sticks in your head long after it's over, with elements of Ten and Dio in it, and a heavy enough effect to satisfy even the most discerning of headbangers. A rippling, jaunty piano line drives “Shadow Town” in the finest of AOR melodies, with Catley's vocal pulled right back in just the way he knows how to do, toning down the growl but without losing the passion and power that characterises his singing. There are enough hooks in this album to outfit a tackle shop, and “Shadow Town” is no exception as it drives along on a rollicking drumbeat and the bright, happy piano of Mark Stanway.

A big strings-heavy synth opens “Putting Things in Place”, the ballad on the album and again Catley is able to reduce the power in his voice to deliver a tender, passionate vocal as Stanway's piano takes the lead, some more great vocal harmonies courtesy of Clarkin and indeed Al Barrow on bass. It's another of Magnum's special power ballads, and really would be worth the price of purchase on its own, but there's so much on this album that you almost feel like you should be paying more for it. If you paid for it, that is. Quite country-influenced piano, reminds me of the best of Bob Seger, very emotional and very dramatic, then we're into “Broken Promises”, with a big expansive guitar opening, leading into a real rocker riding on the twin rails of Clarkin's guitar and Stanway's organ work. Another big rocker then in “See How They Fall”, very anthemic, lots of energy and the album then ends on a slower but no less heavy “From Within”, a very worthy closer.

TRACK LISTING

1. All the Dreamers
2. Blood Red Laughter
3. Didn't Like You Anyway
4. On the Thirteenth Day
5. So Let it Rain
6. Dance of the Black Tattoo
7. Shadow Town
8. Putting Things in Place
9. Broken Promises
10. See How They Fall
11. From Within

As I said at the beginning, a great album from a great band who have been going for almost three and a half decades now, and every time seem to pull a rabbit out of the hat. Since they reformed in 2002 Magnum seem to have found a new purpose, a new energy and a new determination to produce the very best music they're capable of. They've certainly succeeded in creating here an album that will go down on the shortlist for my best of 2012. Who'd bet against their fortieth anniversary concert?
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Old 01-17-2021, 03:09 PM   #86 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onslow View Post
"Ant has already declared this a “meh” album"


King Ping Meh????
Translation: Anteater (Ant) one of our prog rock supremos, did, at the time this was originally posted, describe the album as "meh", a verbal shrug, as in meh from The Simpsons?
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Old 01-18-2021, 02:46 PM   #87 (permalink)
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Originally Posted in The Playlist of Life, December 23 2014

All right, it might be a little hard to consider this a prog rock album, as it's really more in the classical line, but give it a chance and you might be surprised. If not, feel free to **** off. This is, after all, my thread, and I am lord and master of my realm - what's that? Yes dear. No, no I'm just talking to my - ah. Can't it wait till... no? Bit busy, you see and... yes, yes I understand my treasure. Not sure why you married me either. Sigh. Excuse me one moment.


Ahem! Where was I? Oh yes, that's right. Well, the fact that the Scrooge mentioned in the title of the album is not Dickens' Ebenezer but rather Disney's Scrooge McDuck does change my attitude towards the album, but only slightly. Nevertheless, as someone probably said, what the duck? Let's go for it.

What? You thought I wasn't married? Well no I'm not, not really... you don't have a robot wife? Probably just as well. More trouble than they're... yes dear? Can't I do it tomorrow? What difference is it going to... yes dear, you're right as usual. I know. I'll be right there.

Sigh. Just listen to the album, huh? I'll be back... later.
YES dear! Right away!


Music inspired by “The Life and Times of Scrooge” --- Tuomas Holopainen --- 2014 (Nuclear Blast)

For those of you who don't recognise the name, Holopainen plays his music with Nightwish, for which he plays the keys, and this is his first solo album, despite the fact that he has played on other projects and with other bands. The album is, not surprisingly, a concept, and is as I say based on “The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck”, a graphic novel centred on the mean old mallard of Disney fame. I assume he dropped the last word in fear that maybe people would think it was an album for kids, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, if you erase from your mind that it is about a duck, and convince yourself (as I believed originally) that it is in fact the story of the old miser in “A Christmas Carol”, then you really can get into it.

Unlike his “day job”, Holopainen features a lot of classical, cinematic style music here, and there's very little you could call heavy or even at times rock, but the album does not suffer from that lack. We start with a narrated piece in “Glasgow 1877”, as Alan Reid, taking the role of Scrooge describes visiting his ancestral home in Scotland, while behind him soft synth, booming percussion --- which I think may be bodhran (bough-rawn), the ancient traditional Irish hand-played drum, as no drummer is noted, and this is played by Holopainen's Nightwish bandmate Troy Donockley - and pipes fade in, a soprano vocal from Johanna Kurkela, who takes the role of “Glittering” Goldie O'Gilt - who apparently is Scrooge's secret lover in the comic - singing in Gaelic (don't ask me what is being sung: Irish is hard enough without my trying to translate Scottish!) as the music swells into something of a crescendo.

It's to Holopainen's credit that he recognises where his own talents lie, and does not try to take the vocals himself. He writes and composes all the music and plays the piano and keyboards, but has drafted in some friends to help out, such as Donockley and Tony Kakko from Sonata Arctica. In addition to his work on the bodhran, the former does a wonderful job on uileann pipes and whistles here, while Holopainen himself lays down the most beautiful piano lines as the song nears its end. “Into the West” begins with a vocalise from Kurkela, deep synth and then a really nice picked acoustic guitar, a sense of longing and even trepidation in the music. Great backing vocals and Donockley is back in with the whistles. Now we get harder orchestral hits on the keys from Holopainen, punchy percussion and what sounds like banjo. And is. It gives the song a very Country feel, almost like something out of a western. Other than the opening vocal piece this is an instrumental, and quite long at over five minutes. Touches of the Alan Parsons Project in there too near the end.

A sweet and lonely harmonica from Jon Burr finishes off the song and cements the western feel before we move into “Duels and Cloudscapes”, where things ramp up considerably, with swirling keys, skirling pipes and thumping drumwork on, I guess, the bodhran. A marching beat suffuses the tune as Holopainen takes over on the keys, a sort of victory march with some truly effective violin from Dermot Crehan. It all slows down then to a single whistle backed by sombre keys, then what sounds like harp and pizzicato strings, in a passage that does indeed evoke the old Disney soundtracks. A rolling, ponderous drumbeat then ushers in a heavy vocal chorus as Crehan slips and slides all over the track, violin cradled under his chin, fire in his eyes. A big powerful finish then takes us into “Dreamtime”.

As you might expect, this slows everything down and features that most Australian of instruments, the didgeridoo, expertly wielded in the hands of Teho Majamäki with little sprinkles of keyboard thrown over the tune by Holopainen like fairy dust, and we are certainly off on a trip. Powerful synth underpins the track as almost slave-ship-style drums pound out the rhythm. Again it's an instrumental, and certainly conjures up the vision of aborigines dancing under the hard southern sun in the outback. There's something very hypnotic about it, and that's due in no small part to the didgeridoo, which you could never mistake for any other instrument nor associate with any other country. The cinematic feel prevails through this piece too, and though there are some chanted vocals they are pretty low in the mix so I still really consider this an instrumental.

“Cold Heart of the Klondike” describes, I assume, Scrooge's hitting the big time when he goes gold mining and how he made his fortune. It rides on sweet rippling piano and a thick little bassline before choral vocals join in, then violin before the first proper vocal in English comes courtesy of Tony Kakko as The Storyteller, and we all know what a powerful voice he has. The Celtic element returns as the song swirls in a kind of reel, mostly thanks to Crehan's inspired violin work and some beautiful, sad and lonely uileann pipes. This is the longest song on the album, almost seven minutes, and something of a centrepiece in music as well as story, as Scrooge makes his fortune and changes forever as a person.

The next track features vocals from Kurkela again, with an introduction from Alan Reid as the eponymous character; it's not a ballad but it is slower and somewhat more gentle than the tracks that have gone before, with a really nice dual vocal halfway through “The Last Sled” and superb violin playing from Crehan, as well as some gentle and effective piano from Holopainen. Again the APP influence leaks in, so much so that I wondered Eric Woolfson wasn't involved, till I remembered he's no longer with us. Engineered by Parsons? No, there's no credit there, so maybe it's coincidence or maybe Tuomas Holopainen is a fan of the band. Either way, the fingerprints of Alan Parsons are all over this in places, and hard to ignore. Lovely vocal ending takes us into “Goodbye Papa”, with a sprightly piano belying the song's theme and indeed title, the whole melody riding on Holopainen's piano before uileann pipes join in and then that Parsons theme is back, driving the tune onwards, pipes and violin meshing beautifully.

The choir comes in here strongly too, before the whole thing falls right back to the single piano line, accompanied only by the violin. Heavy bodhran cuts in, racking up the rhythm in a very rolling manner, as the song moves into its final minute. Low whistles attend its end, the choir coming in again, then that sound that could be harp (though none is credited; maybe it's Holopainen on the synth) and we fade out on the choral vocals and a few piano notes with attendant violin. What many would take to be Scrooge's mantra and raison d'etre, “To Be Rich” opens with lush organ and violin, a slow, stately piece that is almost funereal in pace. Kurkela is back with a vocal performance to rival any on the album, giving it everything as she laments the loss of her lover's innocence. The pain in her voice is almost palpable. Crehan backs her sadly, as notes drip like tears from Holopainen's piano keyboard, the choir adding their own melancholy tone to the song.

“A Lifetime of Adventure” opens on a balladic piano line, with choral backing swelling behind it, Kurkela remaining at the mike for her final solo performance on the album. Donockley's bodhran cuts in, taking the rhythm but not destroying it as Kurkela sings like a wounded angel on what I guess is the only real ballad on the album. Holopainen again sprinkles his piano notes through the song like magic powder, then Crehan joins in with some heartbreaking violin as the intensity of the song powers up. This gives way to the first guitar solo, all the more breathtaking for its absence up to now, as Mikko Iivanaine, whom we heard earlier on the banjo, really makes his presence felt, finishing the song off with a heartfelt performance, and taking us to the closer.

Acoustic guitar begins “Go Slowly Now, Sands of Time”, with the voice of Reid again as Scrooge reflecting on his life and wondering about the decisions he has made. Uileann pipe comes softly in, as does gentle violin, and I think the theme of the opener is revisited in the melody here. A beautiful solo on the pipes from Donockley adds to the haunting, haunted air of this finale, as Kurkela joins Reid in the last chorus. It winds down then on fading acoustic and vocal, leaving us with a definite feeling of loss and sorrow.

TRACK LISTING

1. Glasgow 1877
2. Into the West
3. Duel and Cloudscapes
4. Dreamtime
5. Cold Heart of the Klondike
6. The Last Sled
7. Goodbye Papa
8. To Be Rich
9. A Lifetime of Adventure
10. Go Slowly Now, Sands of Time

I've read through the lyrics but I think to get any real sense of what this is truly about, you need to be familiar with the comic book, and I'm not. Nevertheless, the breadth of the musical landscape is enough to take you on a wild and often bitter trip into what turned a young man (or duck) into a miserly old skinflint who had, at the end, nobody left to love him. I always thought of Scrooge McDuck as a cartoon character who was just a parody of Dickens' famous miser, but it would appear this comic expands on that and takes him more seriously. If you've read it you probably understand.

But for a solo project, this is pretty breathtaking. Even those who pooh-pooh the notion of Nightwish may find something in the sweep of its beauteous grandeur, from the stunning cinematic instrumentals to the angelic vocals from Johanna Kurkela and the vocal contributions from others. To say nothing of the superb violin, uileann pipes and bodhran, and of course the piano and keyboard splendour of Tuomas Holopainen himself, which unlike many solo keyboardist's work, do not swamp or drown the other music but complement it perfectly.

A symphony, occasionally set to words, and a fitting soundtrack for the life of one of the characters who has gone down in the collective consciousness of humanity as a byword for stinginess and meanness, the archetypal miser.

Even if, as in this case, he happens to have webbed feet.
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Old 01-19-2021, 01:07 PM   #88 (permalink)
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Let’s travel through the Five Decades of Prog again, and go all the way back to the seventies.

Album title: Still Life
Artist: Van der Graaf Generator
Nationality: English
Year: 1976
Chronology: 6
The Trollheart Factor: 3

Track Listing: Pilgrims/Still Life/La Rossa/My Room (Waiting for Wonderland)/Childlike Faith in Childhood’s End

Comments: Well as ever you could be listening to Trespass - though of course VDGG were the originals - with a pastoral, soft tune until it breaks out and shows it certainly is not Genesis, Hammill performing those vocal acrobatics he’s so famous for. Track gets pretty intense and powerful, a good bit of brass but not too overpowering, quite effective in fact. The title track starts off with what I think is acapella vocal though it’s so low it’s hard to hear it; think there’s an organ or something running very quietly underneath it. Now it picks up and actually has a kind of funk feel to it. As always, Hammill holds the attention with his spectacular, at times disturbing singing. “La Rossa” is a pretty long song, nearly ten minutes, and for what’s in it I kind of don’t see the need. Good sort of medieval atmosphere in parts, carnival organ, gets quite frenetic. Good sax solo.

The problem here is nothing is really sticking. I’ve heard a few of their songs that I really like and can remember, but nothing on this album, at least so far, is making that sort of impression on me, and it’s a common failing for me with VDGG. Just two tracks left, and “My Room (Waiting for Wonderland)” has an almost blues feel to it, slow and measured, but again it goes by without making any sort of impression, and again the closer begins with that intolerably low, almost muttered vocal, which makes it hard to hear what he’s singing. Yeah I’m just bored with this now.



Track(s) I liked: Not really anything stood out

Track(s) I didn't like: didn’t NOT like anything, but all kind of passed in a blur

One standout: n/a

One rotten apple: n/a

Overall impression:


Rating: 5/10

Future Plan: This has actually made me LESS likely to listen to VDGG again... sigh. Still Life? Still bored...

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Old 01-21-2021, 05:19 AM   #89 (permalink)
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Time to get this thing organised in an, um, organised way. Last time I just dove in to my record collection, this time I want to make it, oh what’s that word again? Oh yeah. Organised. So here’s what I’m a-gonna do. Going alphabetically through my collection I’ll stop at each prog arist (cos, you know, I have other music too) and if I haven’t heard anything/all by them I’ll choose one album, see what it’s like and move on.

If you dare then,

So let’s see where our journey takes us first.
Just watch out for the sentinels! Don’t worry: we’re safe inside this craft.

Okay, so that’s A Flock of Seagulls. They’re not prog. No, no they’re not, let’s move on.

A Forest of Stars? Post-rock, my son.

What’s this coming up on the right? Ah, yes. A Sound of Thunder. Great band, but not prog in any way, shape or form.

Ah, here we go! First stop. Do NOT exit the shuttle. Remember those guardians?. What? Oh yeah. Sentinels. Whatever. You don’t want to go messing with them. Help yourself to industry grade headphones, grab a beer and put your feet up while we check these guys out.


Artist: A.C.T
Nationality: Swedish
Sub-genre: Eclectic Prog
Formed: 1994
Number of albums: 5
Owned by me: 5
Listened to: 1
Album selected: Last Epic
Position in discography: 3rd

Comments: Starts out very orchestral, very short intro and then into an uptempo keyboard-driven “Wailings From a Building”, courtesy of Jerry Sahlin, great hook and I like the vocal harmonies. Is that a female singer? No. No it isn’t, Herman Saming is definitely male but his voice certainly sounds a little feminine. Interestingly, despite the album title there are in fact no epics on this album, in fact the longest track is a mere six minutes. Quite a sense of both Queen and ELO here, touches of It Bites too. I very much like this, and we’re only on track one. Not including the intro. “Mr.Landlord” has a lot of Saga about it, kind of a carnival atmosphere to it. The It Bites comparisons keep coming. More string arrangements for a moment before we head into another uptempo and upbeat track on “Torn By a Phrase”, dropping back to a simple acoustic guitar from Ola Andersson for the verse before taking off on swirling keys for the choruses. Very much a sense of Manfred Mann’s “Davy’s On the Road Again” in the melody.

Absolutely gorgeous combination of violin, cello and vocoder (!) makes “Ted’s Ballad” something very special, driven on soft piano with some fine ELO-style backing vocals, then other than the intro and the outro the shortest track is “Dance of Mr. Gumble”, which allows the guitarist to really have his head and go wild, some fine orchestral hits helping the melody out here, and I assume given the fact that it runs for barely over two minutes it’s an instrumental. Yes it is. “Wake Up” has an almost reggae feel to it, strutting along arrogantly, then turns into a sort of Beatles pastiche. Again some sumptuous violin and cello is added here. The tempo remains high but returns to a more rocky, slightly harder tone with the longest track, “Manipulator”, showcasing another fine hook in the chorus, that carnival sound coming back in about halfway, while “A Loaded Situation” brings a more dramatic feel to the album, with grinding guitar and a very Yes-style keyboard run from Sahlin, who also handles the strings arrangements and vocoder, the latter put to good use here in what I feel may be another instrumental.

And so it is, and on we go into “The Observer”, strident piano driving the tune along, Anderson’s powerful guitar riffs adding their voice too - though here the melody seems a little fractured and confused for me, hard to follow. Vocoder in a very ELO style takes us into the far superior “The Cause” with the welcome return of the hook and an almost ABBA feel to it (not kidding) while “The Effect” seems to more or less maintain the same basic melody, lots of orchestral strings here, mostly cello I think, guest female vocals from Sara Svensson and we end (more or less) on “The Summary” which bops along with almost a new-wave idea allied to the most lush keyboard lines, bouncing guitar and a lovely slow section in the middle which gives both the orchestra and the backing vocalists a chance to shine once more, and then the outro bookends the album, one minute of cello violin and viola but with added vocal harmonies. Superb.

Track Listing and Ratings*

1. Intro (7)
2. Wailings From A Building (9)
3. Mr. Landlord (9)
4. Torn By A Phrase (8)
5. Ted's Ballad (10)
6. Dance Of Mr. Gumble (8)
7. Wake Up (8)
8. Manipulator (8)
9. A Loaded Situation (7)
10. The Observer (6)
11. The Cause (8)
12. The Effect (7)
13. Summary (9)
14. Outro (10)

* I’ll be rating each track on a scale from 1 to 10

What did I like about this album? Absolutely everything. Many prog bands tend to be very stiff, serious, up themselves about their music. A.C.T. are different; they have fun playing their music, and while it may not be the case that all their lyrics are upbeat (I haven’t looked into the lyrics) they certainly come across that way. All musicians are top notch here, singer is great and the usage of orchestra and vocoder really adds to the compositions, but is not overused or pushed in your face too much. Again, breaking with the majority of prog bands (though in fairness they are described as eclectic prog) there are no really long songs here, no suites or anything. Nothing overstays its welcome, and the album is well bookended by the intro and outro.

What did I not like about this album? Hardly anything. The only track I was a little lukewarm on was “The Observer”, but I liked even that. Otherwise, nothing to complain about.

Will I be listening to more? Hell yes.

Album rating
(Here I’m going to use an old system I used to employ, showing a speedometer. The “faster” the speedometer goes, the better the album. I have no hesitation in awarding this the highest rating right out of the box).




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Old 01-21-2021, 06:46 AM   #90 (permalink)
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