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Stallion - The Hard Life CD (album) cover

THE HARD LIFE

Stallion

 

Crossover Prog

4.11 | 9 ratings

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aprusso
4 stars Stallion ? The hard life (4,5) You wanted to know where did the 'New Wave of British progressive Rock' came from, resurrecting a genre and a vibe that seemed to be lost forever after the musical demise of most of its fathers (Genesis, Yes, Gentle Giant, etc.) at the end of the seventies? There are prog bands that indeed occupied an awkward niche in that brief lapse of time between, say, the publication of Duke in 1979 and Pallas and Marillion's first albums in the early eighties: like The Enid, Saga, the German Anyone's Daughter; however if we interrogate what bands, or what moods, did IQ, Pendragon, Twelfth Night etc. draw their unique style from, it is an unsolved question ? there were hints of 'simplification' of the classic Genesis and Pink Floyd soundscapes, the theatrics went together with a punkish attitude that was so prominent in the British society around that time, new wave also had kicked in just like reggae and metal. But, in spite of the denigratory accusations of being Genesis copycats the press came up with - I distinctively remember an Italian magazine accusing 1983's IQ to 'imitate' Van der Graaf Generator (????? WTF?), the true prog fan knows that there was something different in those new bands. Those musicians must have attended hundreds of pub gigs in a watershed period in which sounds and styles were mixing up ? not exactly Yes' arena concerts. I bet some of them must have heard Stallion. This totally obscure band, unearthed by xxxx in a CD album/compilation putting together all their recorded outputs around 1976, is, if there must be one, THE dead ringer between prog in the seventies and prog in the eighties. Their in-your-face attitude, their simplified but energetic song structure, their luscious but low-cost keyboards riff arrangements, their occasional glam rock verse and chorus, stand up to releases of the infant new prog movement like Arrive Alive by Pallas, The Ember by Haze, the first Marillion demos, or obscure and mostly unreleased acts like Dagaband, Gothique, and Tamarisk. Themes like the opener If Life Were Death, The Hard Life, Open Door, the live renditions of Cobra and Skinny Kid, which scream neo-prog / The Who, set the standards for what's to come Not masterpieces by any chance; rather, collector's jewels, which satisfy my eternal quest for unexplored music. If you are one of those who, having missed the golden age of prog, would still have wanted to be around England and Scotland around 1982 (I had my short chance, at 15, attending gigs at Cambridge's The Outer Limits during a summer language school) you may want to listen to this band.
aprusso | 4/5 |

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