There is very few times that I will buy an album without first hearing something off it. This was one of the few exceptions. I bought this album on the recommendation of a good friend who knew that I loved the music of Yes.
This album is remarkable in it's ability to mimic the style of Yes without going to far. The lead singer, Terry Luttrell is a duplicate of Jon Anderson. His voice is almost indistinguishable from Andersons. That and the fact that this band is very keyboard oriented, there is very little doubt who their main influence is.
The album starts with the mystical song "Lady of the Lake." This song starts with a swirl of synthesizers and then a chunky bass kicks in then all of a sudden this vocal pushes through that is so dreamy in it's shrillness that you can envision the lady rising from the water in the early morn, the dew still on the grass, the sun just peaking over the horizon, this is the way to make you dream and think with just a song! The harmonies are perfect. Listen to any of the early Yes albums and you will get the same type of effect. As the first chorus finishes, there is a great interlude where the two guitarist in the band, do a musical duel and the keyboards provide the setting for this battle. Then after the second verse it is time for the keyboards to kick in and provide you with a right on bit of fantasia! After which the guitars again trade lead and rhythm before bringing you back to the third verse where you again are greeted by the lady of the lake! This is a great piece of art rock. It will carry you away to the land of Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Where the Lady of the Lake is as real as you and me!!
From there, this band takes us on a journey through the "Elliptical Seasons." This song starts with an acoustic guitar that provides the feeling of a fall day. Then a slowly building bass starts in and we are thrown into the fury of winter. The vocals start in and take us through all the changing seasons. The lyrics are very mystical and compelling even though they are at the same time cryptic and unsettling. In other words...they make you think! This is a very good piece of music that again takes the combination of classical and rock and turn it into a very special treat!
"Forces" is a song that has so much going on musically speaking that it will take many listenings to pick up on the intricacies of this composition. The keyboard work is exceptional. The percussion on this piece is a standout. There is some very fiery guitar work also. This piece speaks of all the forces of nature. The instruments and vocals provide the understanding to all these forces at work! A most intriguing and well done song. Just sit back and enjoy!
"Stargate" is an instrumental piece that is designed to highlight the keyboardist, Herb Schildt. It is a very engaging and uplifting work. The music is strong and powerful. It also has that magical feel that works well as this piece is the intro to the next song...
"Sunfield." This song is a furious piece that takes you on a journey far above our planet to take a look back at our dying world. This piece of music is what I would expect if Tolkien wrote music instead of books! For the art rock lover, this is pure heaven. The musicians paint a grand picture with the melody and it carries you away on their mystical journey! This is a very fine piece.
The next song is called "To The Fire Wind." This song is more guitar oriented than anything else on the album. For the first half of the song anyway. Then once again as we go on a trip through the world of the Glowing Fire Child, the keyboards become the vehicle. Then as this journey becomes a furious ride, the guitars slash us a path on which we can pass through this majestic work! What a great ride!!
The last song on the album is another instrumental called "Nova." This song is one in which the music starts out on a very high energy level and maintains this pace throughout as we finally reach the ending of this unheard of work by a most talented band.
This album is one that I have repeatedly listened to throughout the years. It is one which will draw you in the way that only good music can. If you want to be swept away for a little while, take a trip with these six guys and hold on...They do not provide seat belts!!
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About the reviewer
I am an avid music buff and write reviews for many sites. I have managed bands and frequent concerts in Michigan and photograph them. If it is good music, I will be there!
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Personnel: Matthew Stewart (vocals, guitars); Gary Strater (vocals, bass); Stephen Tassler (vocals, drums, percussion); Terry Luttrell (vocals); Stephen Hagler, Herb Schildt (piano, organ, synthesizers); Song List: Disc 1 1. Lady of the Lake 2. Elliptical Seasons 3. Forces 4. Stargate 5. Sunfield 6. To the Fire Wind 7. Nova