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England - The Imperial Hotel CD (album) cover

THE IMPERIAL HOTEL

England

 

Symphonic Prog

3.11 | 21 ratings

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GruvanDahlman
3 stars England. This is the band that got stuck in the middle, like the novice soldier fighting the hordes of Punk all by himself, armed with a cosmic flower, a vison and died trying. (How the hell punk managed to draw all proggers to their own bosom is beyond me but that's the story. Punk slaughtered prog, if one is to believe what is said.)

England was surely an able band and one of my favorites. The were aböe to produce one marvellous album in "Garden shed", leaving an album's worth of high quality material and (as if that is not enough) managed to draw from the misty paths of time an unreleased track of 24 minutes, boasting all the characteristics of prog. On top of that it is a good one.

"Imperial Hotel" is a track to marvel at. The band wrote and recorded this nearly 25 minutes long epic AND it ended up on the shelf for 30 years. Good thing someone didn't throw it out in the bin. The first feeling I get is overwhelming amazement at the high level of musicianship and ideas put into this song. That is in itself very impressive. After a couple of listens I realize, though, that the song, no matter how enjoyable, sometimes loses some of it's momentum and drags on. It is an uneven balance between the great bits and the good ones. (There are no bad bits, actually.)

At times the music is more raw and rough than the material on "Garden shed". There is a higher degree of hard rock in this one, alongside all the symphonic parts. Though lacking the mellotron there is enough Hammond organ to make my eyes water from delight. I suppose that this is some sort of demo and that explains the rough edges, the so and so sound quality. That is something one has to accept and that really must be ignored and not be a part of the review.

When all is said and done, the fat lady has sung her anthem and someone has eaten the last piece of custard pie what remains is a great song, epic even, that really all progheads into old school progressive rock ought to lend an ear to. It is not 100% all the way through but it is a fantastic achievement worthy of (at least some) praise. The end result has to be three stars but that don't mean I do not love it. Because I honestly do.

GruvanDahlman | 3/5 |

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