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Gandalf - The Universal Play CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

2.78 | 17 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars While the best part of the previous Gandalf release 'Tale From A Long Forgotten Kingdom' still falls the same category as his earlier albums, starting with 'The Universal Play' Gandalf completly arrives to the second period of his musical carrier. This period (which lasts to the early '90s) consist of series of albums with music based on mostly electronic instruments rather than accustics.

'The Unversal Play' is still a concept album though; but now with longer mellow, meditative parts than before, especially in tracks like 'World Within' (5/10) and 'Ocean Of Time' (5/10). Fortunately this isn't true for the majority of the album. The opener 'Earthbound' (8/10) is a pretty nice ambient styled one with various great percussions. It's an interesting track and a different new sound ,one of my favorites. 'Cosmic Circle Dance' (5/10) is a rythmic one - what else would you expect from the title - a bit repetitive really but it fits here after the slowly floating second track.

The best moment of the album is definitely 'Gate To Infinity' (10/10) - the grand piano gets the lead role here and is simply a masterpiece; not only the highlight of this album, this song should be among the top 5 compostions of Gandalf's 30 year long musical carreer.

The last phase, 'Pure Love' (6/10) is an accustic guitar melody that finishes the album nicely.

This new period of Gandalf's starts well with this album - but later almost complete stuctures were reused from this material in the forthcoming 2-3 releases - which is a bit dissapointing.

Anyway, this is a nice production overall, sounds professional as always and gives a great listening experience. As I stated in my reviews of other Gandalf albums: newcomers to this artist should better start with albums like 'Visions' or 'Magic Theater' to get the the best impressions from the works of Austria's magician of sounds.

3,5 stars.

eMTee | 3/5 |


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