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Gandalf's Fist - The Clockwork Fable CD (album) cover


Gandalf's Fist



4.05 | 216 ratings

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4 stars When I first discovered that Gandalf's Fist were releasing a 3cd album, I was expecting it to be like a pint of watered down beer at a cheap all-inclusive hotel. Then I read on their website that it will be a whole concept piece with established actors lending their skills to turn it into a whole story piece. I didn't know what to think of this. I enjoy their music and do not want to be distracted from it, but on the other hand it sounds like such a bold and potentially career-forming decision. If it's done well it could catapult the Fist into the limelight just by extravagance and intrigue alone. Prog fans often bang on about length of songs and progressive ideas, so this should be almost 'prog porn' to some. So I have listened to the album three times now from start to finish, and admit that on first listen the spoken passages were nothing but an irritant. That was a mixture of the initial realisation that I might have to spend my time repeatedly skipping tracks, and the fact that I was sitting in my lounge with headphones on, the tv on, and midway through playing Guild Wars 2 on the laptop.

My second attempt was in the correct environment. Me, the car, and a 4hr round trip on a business trip to Oxford. What a difference it made, as this is an album that you need to concentrate on. You would not watch tv with the radio on right? (Ok so I did once to get better match commentry on Talksport!). I will not go into a track by track review because others will do it and quite frankly I can't be bothered - but overall I found this album addictive, enjoyable, and a real pleasure to listen to from start to finish. Ok so there are some parts that I would consider weaker, but I will not say what bits because I believe that is purely down to my personal tastes rather than the quality of the music. The story is mostly very engaging, and takes turns with the music. In stark contrast to my first hearing, I found myself looking forward to the next installment as it progressed! Let's face it, when you get fed up with the storyline it is easy these days to de-select the spoken tracks.

Musically it is very Gandalf's Fist. It does not move away from their previous albums in any major way, and I still find myself wondering what these guys would achieve if they had money to throw at a top producer. The songwriting skills and musicianship is clear to see, yet there are still plenty of rough edges. The strange thing is, I think I like them just as they are. None of their albums are likely to go platinum any time soon, but there is something about this band that really is unique. They use familiar prog sounds, but somehow sound so different to anything else and are instantly recognisable.

Great album. Great packaging. Massive idea. I bet they had fun writing and recording it and that's where the real artistry shines through. What will they release next? A 4cd album? A 1 track EP containing a 78 minute song? Who knows, but it is sure to be excellently executed.

Kevman28 | 4/5 |


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