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Mandalaband - Mandalaband II - The Eye of Wendor: Prophecies CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.33 | 52 ratings

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3 stars Originally Mandalaband were never destined to exist since the great first album, but, while going to work at Indigo Sound in Manchester in 1976, Rohl was asked to write the soundtrack for a film version of The Lord of the Rings.This movie never appeared in the industry, but, as Rohl had already started working on its music, he finished his composing work around 1978.Without a supporting group he asked his close friends to help him out with the recordings of the so called ''The eye of Wendor'', that ended up to be a fantasy story by Rohl with a Tolkien-esque atmosphere.The result was a line-up of more than 30 musicians/singers, including Woolly Wolstenholme, John Lees, Justin Hayward to name a few, for a process that took place at Strawberry Studios in Stockport.The album was released in 1978 on Chrysalis.

While not exactly moving away from the style of the masterful debut, ''The eye of Wendor'' can be regarded better as an Orchestral Rock album, delivered as a symphony of multiple variations, somewhere in the middle of BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST smooth, melodic orchestrations and THE ENID's more grandiose and Classical-influenced style.No long epics in here, this album consists of 14 very short movements, that are tighly connected to offer a long symphonic-oriented work, where a dreamy and ethereal atmosphere is evident throughout.Plenty of string sections, wind instruments and choirs produce a trully cinematic feeling, perfect for the needs of a similar movie.A few cuts are rather close to sound effects than structured musicianship and the extreme dose of orchestral textures may annoy the traditional prog listener.On the other hand Rohl's ability to create majestic soundscapes is undoubtful with all these nice piano interludes, beautiful, romantic vocal arrangements and Classical sections.Guitars and synthesizers are really measured, used where Rohl thought they should, but definitely adding the work an excellent power.A couple of more GENTLE GIANT-like quirky passages are also present, but seem to be a bit far from an otherwise very atmospheric and at moments dramatic work.Again though, at the end remains a bittersweet taste of the sporadically used guitars of Steve Broomhead, who managed to deliver some amazing melodies.

Absolutely far from the extraordinary compositions of ''Mandalaband'', this albums is a real stunner for all fans of cinematic Art Rock or melodic semi-Symphonic Rock of the BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST school.Still among these short pieces every listener will find plenty of beautiful arrangements with a rockin' attitude.Recommended.

apps79 | 3/5 |


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