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Nektar - A Tab In The Ocean CD (album) cover

A TAB IN THE OCEAN

Nektar

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.06 | 532 ratings

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FragileKings
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I am always glad to find out about a progressive rock band whose career spanned several years during the seventies because for me those were the golden years of music and creativity. Eloy, Kaipa, and now Nektar have earned space for themselves on my CD racks. "A Tab in the Ocean" is my first Nektar purchase and will soon be joined by at least a couple more.

Nektar appeal to me for two reasons: that they are considered both a progressive rock band and a proto-metal band. I purchased this CD for the progressive rock but interestingly, after putting it aside and acquiring a stack of proto-metal CDs, I came back to this album and my ears really picked up on the proto-metal elements. As I bought the recent reissue on Purple Pyramid, I got the original 1972 release, the 1976 American re-mix, and the complete album performed live. The digipak CD comes with a booklet explaining the story behind the album, something I always really appreciate when I buy a CD of a band I know little about. I found it interesting to know that Iron Maiden covered "King of Twilight". A fan of the Maiden's earlier material, I never heard them perform this song.

I would say that on this album, Nektar play the kind of guitar-driven rock with hints of jazz now and again that was common among many proto-metal bands of the early 70's but they also include plenty of organ as was also common in many progressive heavy rock bands of the time. While there are no real head-crashing metal moments as one can find on more influential contemporaneous proto-metal bands, Nektar do know how to rock out when it suits them. Instead of going for an audio onslaught, the music of "A Tab in the Ocean" interweaves plenty of subtlety and style with moments of power and energetic finger work on both the fretboard and keyboard. When I first listened to this album it was able to appreciate the music for what it was but wasn't in the mind frame for picking up on the songs well enough to truly enjoy them. However, after my recent proto-metal excursions, I have come back to this album and given it a new ear and I find it a very enjoyable piece of work.

Perhaps like Eloy, Nektar found it easier to write concept albums early on. I am expecting "Remember the Future" in the mail any day now and "Recycle" is on standby in my Amazon shopping cart. I am looking forward to seeing where Nektar went after this well-crafted recording. The second album for a band is often the most difficult because it is usually where they must decide whether to repeat the formula of the debut or take a risk and attempt to move in a new direction. I don't know Nektar's first album but I think this might be one of the better-executed sophomore albums that I have heard. Worth checking out if you enjoy a nicely balanced blend of not-too-heavy proto-metal and not-too-over-the-top progressive rock.

FragileKings | 4/5 |

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