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The Alan Parsons Project - Tales Of Mystery And Imagination CD (album) cover


The Alan Parsons Project


Crossover Prog

4.03 | 616 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars This album is as enigmatic as its subject matter, as some days I can get into it, and other days this seems just another overblown and cheesy concept album that probably shouldn't have been made. I suppose that I'm glad to have it, but I rarely find the motivation to listen to it all the way through. The music is decent, and of course there are plenty of sound effects and lead-ins, as well as the now recognizeable plodding Parson's rhythm, but most of the time Tales of Mystery and Imagination is fairly boring.

Side 1. The opener, A Dream Within a Dream, sets a nice atmosphere, with some engaging narration followed by a dreamy crescendo. Then things become a bit cheesy, whether it's the computerized vocals on the Raven the rediculously throaty wails of The Tell-Tale Heart. There are also many high points, as most of the songs feature climactic endings--espcially The Cask of Amontillado and Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether. And of course there are the Project trademarks that we've come to expect: lush synth arrangements (and variety), a few nice guitar licks, and huge choirs.

The Fall of the House of Usher. The centerpiece of the album, at nearly 15 minutes, is unfortunately uninspiring and strangely not cohesive. The first and longest section features brooding and relatively boring orchestral noodlings until finally builiding nicely into Arrival, which is the highlight of the piece, capped by the intense knocking bit. Then things take a turn for the worst the rest of the way, with two sections of cheesy haunted house effects and a generic instrumental. Definitely creative, but not especially memorable musically. The album ends with the dreamy, yet simplistic To One in Paradise.

All in all, you have to at least respect the Project for trying. My personal opinion is that so many people were involved, and these songs have been so tightly produced, that any of the raw emotion from Poe's work has been slowly but surely drained from the album. The result is solid music that is mostly entertaining but really fails to engage on more than a superficial level. Also, the vocals aren't bad, but they really don't fit my expectations for Poe. Too bad we couldn't have someone like Jim Morrison's interpretation--I think a powerful, bassy voice might have given these songs the punch that's lacking. That and maybe at least some up-tempo tunes.

Flucktrot | 3/5 |


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