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Corvus Stone - Corvus Stone II CD (album) cover


Corvus Stone


Crossover Prog

4.03 | 332 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Corvus Stone II. What is one to make of this lot, eh? If the Prog Archives reviews are to be believed, they have come up with a true masterpiece, one of the finest Prog albums ever to be set to record. Actually, some of the rather more obvious fan and family tributes made me swear not to have any part of the whole business, until guitarist Colin Tench (someone who I admire a great deal, and would love to meet and have a drink with) contacted me, and kindly posted a cd for me to review.

So, a masterpiece? No, but it is a mighty fine piece of work, which deserves to sit up there with the Premier League of modern Progressive Rock artists, and that is no small praise at all.

The album is such a massive contrast of styles that it is really difficult to pin it all down, and that, of course, is clearly the point. It is eclectic wrought fine. We begin with lovely late 60's type psych/pop on openers The Simple Life and the sunny Early Morning Call, two of the brightest and most cheerful album openers in many a year.

What to make of Boots For Hire? Some delicious guitar work, especially, with lyrics from a dystopian screenplay chucked in for good measure. Here, the music moves in a huge contrast from the opening sunshine. Far darker, and heavier, in tone and scope. It's good (very good, actually, especially for fans of classic rock), but the Iistener is somewhat unprepared for such a contrast.

So, now, your reviewer is at a similar stage to when he was preparing to write his review about the debut album. Do you (politely) mention, and imply criticism of, the lack of "consistency", or style, or do you just go with the flow, and merely accept what this band are, and are about, and sit back, listen, and enjoy, soaking it all in. I am glad to say I have opted for the latter course this time around.

Because, when this lot are good, they are very good. Take the closing two tracks, which are the stunning Moaning Lisa (featuring a true star on vocals in Sean Filkins, and a marvellous South American, German Vergara, who should be), the longest track here, and a true prog fan's delight, and the much needed come down track, Campfire. They are two of the finest pieces of music I have heard all year and are, in truth, worth the admission price alone. Pure excellence in modern prog. For good measure, we also have a huge nod to classic Prog, flutes an' all, in Eternal Universe.

Blake Carpenter, one of my favourite modern era artists, features strongly on vocals (maintaining a positive link with the Corvus Stone regulars, and strong enough to make me look forward more to the planned Minstrel's Ghost album), although I could well have done without the silly Purple Stone, a Deep Purple "tribute", even including original lyrics, which is just, to my mind, "different" for the sake of being different. It certainly adds nothing to some of the beauty which surrounds it. Contrast this with the far too short Dark Tower, which is thoughtful, intelligent, and could have been an album story in itself. I just love Blake's contribution on this, and his final effort, the lovely prog ballad, Mystery Man.

We have some almost stoner meanderings in the heavily classic rock influenced A Stoned Crow Meets The Rusty Wolff Rat (no contest, chaps, song title of the decade is yours), Lisa Has a Cigar, and Mr Cha Cha (just love those Jon Lord Hammond keys on the latter). The meanderings do, though, grate somewhat on the disappointing chants of Scandinavians In Mexico.

And, as if all of the above were not enough for you all to be getting on with, we have a fantastic Finnish contribution on vocals from Timo Rautianen, in his native language. I don't understand a word of Camelus Bactrianus, but I sure do appreciate the darkness contained within. Did I say darkness? It could, I feel, be easily compared with the inside of a duck's anus, but, by God, it is damned good stuff with its rhythmic drums, swirling keys, and brooding atmosphere.

So, pop psych, to classic rock, to stoner meanderings, to classic Prog rock. Confused? Well, you will be, but don't worry about it. This is a band for whom it is impossible to categorise, and I finally get it. They don't want to be categorised. They just want to play, go where the music takes them, and invite you, the listener, to share a fun, if strange, journey. Join them. You will, I promise, enjoy.

Lastly, here, a mention for the lovely Sonia Mota's (Kati of this parish's forum) staggering artwork, which is standout incredible. Hugs, indeed!

Four stars. An excellent album which comes highly recommended.

lazland | 4/5 |


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