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Mostly Autumn - Music Inspired By The Lord Of The Rings CD (album) cover

MUSIC INSPIRED BY THE LORD OF THE RINGS

Mostly Autumn

 

Prog Folk

3.08 | 65 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
2 stars 2.5 starts really!!!

Well, not being a fan of the band for their propensity of sticking (like bloodsuckers) their names alongside their 70's heroes (the vile/crass-exploitation Inside Of series), one of my other dislike of MA is their other propensity to use and abuse the whole range of clichés (prog or not) and because of the high profile they seek with their obsession, it is clear that the general negative image of prog only grows bigger when hearing of MA. In their introduction, they thought it was a good idea to do a LOTR themed album as it was never done before them. Typical Anglo-Saxons completely oblivious of what goes out of their closed spheres of their private interest: had they searched a bit, they would've found Bo Hansson in the 70's and the Lindh/Johansson collab in the 90's, and this is just at first glance, as I am certainly not versed into the Hobbit/elf fantasy wonder-world. So now that we know their talk is bullcrap, it is also clear that when you have nothing interesting to say, you plunder the clichés and pull out the biggest ones, hoping it will sell. (this was when the first movie hype was building too) Yes, Mostly Autumn is very close to being fakes, IMHO. Or at the very least they were ready at the vilest forms of blatant exploitation to get where they wanted. Rant over!!! ..... I hope ;-)

So how does one attack a fair review knowing what is mentioned above, fearing that a good deal of ridicule cheeeeeeesy clichés will be subjected at his warned ears? Well sincerely, I will not even try to be fair and just be honest with myself (and you my dear avid readers ;-), hoping it turns out still correct. Actually I'd really love their albums to stink and suck the bone, so I could really rip them apart (not necessarily MA's, did find Vulgar Unicorn for that, but I will have to re-write them to get rid of built-up tensions ;- ), but find a real horrible clichéed prog album and really tear it apart unloading my excrement and spewing my bile all over it. Write some real offensive and useless review like that idiot Brad in his worthless reviewing site. That should be fun and would probably fill my fantasy for public execution.

And somehow it doesn't happen with MA albums, because there are some undeniable qualities that even the most visceral musical cheese-hater is unable to ignore to close in for the kill. One of the thing that is saving most MA albums is their evident talent for writing honest catchy hook-full melodies that don't sound that derivative. Yes, beside their cheese fondue recipes is standing some really sweet sounding prog melodies that do take after their Floyd idols, but I wouldn't really call it derivative, just inspired by their heroes.

Brian and Ian have indeed studied and integrated Floyd so well, that it is almost a second nature to them; that in some ways they come close to their heroes' genius (without reaching these lofty heights, though) even if it lasts usually no more than a few minutes at a time. Where Floyd's genius could pull whole albums at a time. One thing though, they apparently forget /avoid the only cool LOTR character (just like the movie did, what a coincidence), Tom Bombadil; Just as well though, as this would've likely turned into one of their cheesy jigs. Well the jig comes a bit later in the form of the flute-led Out Of The Inn track. (Well they weren't about to miss that occasion, right? ;-). Among their weaker track are the villain Caradhras metal-like track (where they like a bit of credibility) and the boring uninspired Rohan track and the insufferable Lothlorien and the clichéd outro. It is also clear that the succession of violent passages in the third volume of the trilogy is forcing the band into harder tracks (Return after Caradhas) and this is a terrain where they are less at ease. But this album ends in a much lesser manner than it started really.

So there are some real great moments and there are some real Gilmour-esque guitar heroics, that does come close to raising the hair of your back (too bad it usually ends up in a fade out, though) and it clear that their melodies are almost impossible to not fall into, when you are seeing them in concert. You actually wonder why they need to do all of this soul-selling (see the first paragraph), because theoretically they have enough talents and qualities, so that those vile practices are not needed for their niche- carving.

So, this review probably didn't turn out so bad, right? Did they need such a cheesy, predictable subject to pull this album? I think not!! And after last week's review of their second album, I will repeat my compliment and think about taking every word back (even sell my soul?) for a night shared with those two absolutely superb fairies (Angela and Heather, not the males you wise arses ;-) in the group. I suppose I will not be forgiven that easily (should they ever stumble on my review), but then again, I will survive without fulfilling some of my fantasies. Something that the group seems quite opposite to me after fulfilling their LOTR obsession. All the more power to them, really!! Although I must recognize the inherent qualities of this album, I am still not able to like it. But I don't loathe it either!!!

Btw, the PC-only video track is unfortunately reinforcing the clichés that prog has so much trouble shaking.

Sean Trane | 2/5 |

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