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Druid - Toward the Sun CD (album) cover

TOWARD THE SUN

Druid

 

Symphonic Prog

3.43 | 78 ratings

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Hercules
4 stars *And someday I'll return - when the world has changed.*

Criminally ignored and too often dismissed as Yes clones, this band only released 2 albums, of which this is marginally the better. Their playing is simpler and less virtuoso-obsessed than Yes, but more melodic and very relaxing. They make excellent use of soaring mellotron to back the tracks and there are some fine guitar and keyboard solos, always well planned and executed. The big question is whether you can cope with Dane's vocals, which are even higher pitched than Anderson's, and the lyrics, which are often as pretentious and nonsensical as those of Yes and are the main reason for the Yes comparisons. However, the words fit the music perfectly.

Voices starts with a lively and dynamic intro before morphing into a drifting, gentle vocal section which is delightful, culminating in some extremely high-pitched vocalisations before a slow and melodic guitar solo fades out the track. Remembering is slow paced and has some more of their trademark high vocals and mellotron drenched keys. Theme is instrumental, driven along by Neil Brewer's Rickenbacker and with a fine sax solo (which may in fact be a synth) alternating with some fine guitar and organ/synth solos. Utterly delightful. Toward the Sun again features Brewer's Rickenbacker prominently in a drifting and soporific track with some fine vocal harmonies and synth runs.

The second side is one of the truly great sides of prog. Red Carpet is slow and features some fine piano work from Andy McCrorie-Shand before the drifting mellotrons enter behind a Dane vocal. Dawn of Evening is again a slow and gentle instrumental at first, gradually building up pace and dynamics. I love the single tubular bells notes which occur at key points. Dane than launches another melodic slow solo with Brewer's bass and Cedric Sharpley's tight drumming pushing the track along until the vocals enter. Dane shows what a fine melodic and tuneful voice he has as the song proceeds its gentle way before a much livelier and dynamic finish with all members in full flow. Shangri La is the album's highlight. Fine lyrics (which sometimes actually make sense for once), driving bass/drums, great interplay between bass, keyboards and guitar - this has it all.

If Yes had never existed, Druid would have been held in very high esteem but then they themselves may never have existed, so obvious is the influence of Yes. They do make music which is full of melody, fine playing and emotion. The second side in particular is perfect to put on late at night to purge the day's stresses, relax the mind and prepare for sleep.

Druid will not return because the world hasn't changed enough to appreciate them. But their fine legacy should be heard by anyone who likes the more melodic side of prog. A very good 4 star album; it nearly makes the masterpiece category in terms of simple aural experience.

Hercules | 4/5 |

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