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Jade Warrior - Way Of The Sun CD (album) cover

WAY OF THE SUN

Jade Warrior

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.49 | 61 ratings

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hdfisch
Prog Reviewer
4 stars This album had been the last one by JW on the Island label and their last release in the 70's and as well their last great work. JW's music always has been hard to be categorized and this fact might be one of the reasons why this exceptional band has been usually ignored by Prog fans (admittedly including the writer of this review here). WOTS actually has been the album which opened my ears and mind for the rest of their Island catalogue of which "Floating World" was for a long time the only one I knew. Meanwhile I just love all four of them although I've to say that the music on here is quite different from the one on its three predecessors. Unlike there tunes aren't developing here slowly out of silence but starting with "Sun Ra" immediately in a rather energetic manner. Instead of sharply contrasted soundscapes with strong Far Eastern influences we hear rather upbeat and highly melodic Latin-American and African inspired music. This album is clearly the easiest listen from their Island discography but nonetheless far from being shallow "easy listening" new age music. The music floats very nicely almost seamlessly from track to track and offers as well their probably most orchestral sound accomplished by several overdubs. It's also their most cinematographic work and if you close your eyes during listening you can imagine colourful pictures of rising sun and floating rivers as an example. Due to the Latin rhythms they used Santana might come to one's mind at some moments but as well some of Oldfield's works at others though comparisons are very hard to draw since their sound has been quite unique. The concept is based on a mixture of Egyptian and Aztec mythology around the god of sun (Ra) and the music describes in some way a day in his life but on the other hand as well the life of native people in Latin-America during the era of conquest by the Spaniards. In both of the original vinyl edition and the Eclectic CD-reissue from 2006 (which I own) we can read an interview with the band members explaining the meaning of each individual track in detail. For a rough overview I'll just give the sub-titles for each one in the following:

"Sun Ra" - The great face of the sun climbs up to take the sky. Majestically the sun god Ra rides his chariot, banishing night, calling the land of life.

"Sun Child" - As the land accustoms itself to the new brilliance life warms. Ra smiles at a dancing child.

"Moontears" - In the heart of the jungle the indians search for silver, to them the tears of the moon. Then come the Spaniards who might themselves be the pale gods from the east.

"Heaven Stone" - In the distance is seen the great pyramid of the temple of the sun.

"Way Of The Sun" - An extravagant procession to the temple. The sun flashes off the priest's gold.

"River Song" - The River, too, is a good carrying life across the land.

"Carnival" - With the sun now at its peak, the celebrations begin.

"Dance of the sun" - The sun revels in its strength. Boasts of its force and dominance.

"Death of Ra" - Coldly darkness drifts over the land. The waning sun recalls the glory. The dancers become ghosts. But the sun never really dies. The arrival of our darkness is the beginning of someone else's dawn.

As a conclusion I can just highly recommend this album to anyone looking for some easily approachable Prog which nonetheless sounds quite unique and outstanding. This one stands for some timeless great music which is well suited for many repeated spins. Though it might be not considered an essential one in Prog in a general sense I'd still like to rate it with 4 stars! Of course if you can manage to find a copy of their Elements-compilation combining all their four Island records I'd prefer that one instead!

hdfisch | 4/5 |

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