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Gabriel Bondage - Angel Dust CD (album) cover


Gabriel Bondage


Crossover Prog

2.96 | 10 ratings

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2 stars Chicago-based religious-inclined (and not necessarilly Xian) Art Rock band, formed in 1973.The core of the group was multi-instrumentalists and vocalists Rex Bundy and Tony Stram, guitarist Larry Biernacki and flutist/sax player/singer Bill Wisniewski.For their first album they were supported by drummer Tony Antinarelli, keyboardist/guitarist Conrad Green and keyboardist Ken Sadjak.''Angel dust'' was recorded at the Castle Studios in Chicago with Zaido Cruz helping out on backing vocals, while most of the material was written by Rex Bundy.It was released in 1975 on the obscure US label Dharma Records.

With a fair interest in religious themes and plenty of biblical references in the lyrics, Gabriel Bondage produced a rather soft Progressive Rock with commercial leanings, a bit similar to Canadians KLAATU.The opening ''Babylon'' has a dramatic BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST/VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR atmosphere, led by grandiose keyboard textures and melancholic sax playing by Wisniewski, followed by the folky ''Pyramid'' and its interesting flute parts combined with Bundy's acoustic guitars.''You and the Wind'' is a laid-back but rather uninteresting ballad in a STYX vein with mandolin and piano in evidence, while the acoustic workouts continue with the accesible ''Take My Eyes'', that has a Gospel approach during the chorus, led by the Christian-inspired lyrics, its orchestral arrangement and the good guitar solo.Same mood with the first track of the flipside, as ''Ladies and Gentlemen'' has a calm atmosphere, characterized by the mellow piano lines, the multi-vocal harmonies and the acoustic textures.With the long ''Bondage'' the group manages to skip into more YES/VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR-influenced territories with a nice opening instrumental part full of complex guitars and saxes, which will show up again later after an unecessary break.Good instrumental ideas, accompanied by synths and a solid rhythm section, and expressive vocals proove that this piece is one of the best ever written by the band.The folky inspirations return with the flute/mandolin-driven ''Island'' and its repetitive atmophere, while the closing ''Sing me a song'' has again a definite BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST ballad-esque approach with melodic saxes and keyboards next to a sensitive voice.

The two long tracks of ''Angel dust'' along with the nice closing ballad show that Gabriel Bondage were able to produce something really good.However the album is mainly dominated by the rural influences and the music is mostly too soft for its own good.I would recommend this to starving collectors of Progressive Rock or someone wanting to enter the prog realm in a safe mode...2.5 stars.

apps79 | 2/5 |


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