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Episode - Starlight Tales CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.77 | 8 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars These little-known Northern California proggers hit their creative peak with their second (and last) album in 1993. They later appeared on the ProgFest '94 double-disc (performing a nicely informal cover of PINK FLOYD's "Echoes") before disappearing into undeserved obscurity.

Too bad, because this effort showed a lot of potential. The music is less piecemeal than it was on the band's 1989 debut, with longer instrumental passages displaying a greater level of confidence and ambition. The two multi-movement suites ("Edge of the Sky" and "Hesperates Rising") are by necessity more episodic in form (no pun intended), but each one flows with more organic unity than you might expect, and both pass the first test of any true epic by never sounding padded for the simple sake of length (even over the whopping 24+ minutes of "Hesperates").

There's a not-unpleasant time-capsule quality to this album. Listening to it is like re- discovering a long-lost band from Prog's mid-'70s Golden Age, which in a sense is exactly what Episode was, only twenty years too late. Dismiss them if you will as lightweight American cousins to YES (a tag they likely would have outgrown in another album or two), but they were never too derivative, except perhaps in the ersatz Roger Dean cover art and typography.

And there's certainly no excuse anymore for not being familiar with their music. Keyboardist Nick Peck has made both Episode albums freely available for downloading on his web site (accessible directly from their Prog Archives page), a selfless gesture so at odds with the usual crass demands of e-commerce that it deserves a hearty cyber-pat on the shoulder.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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