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Salamander - Ten Commandments CD (album) cover





3.27 | 36 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
3 stars Now here's a forgotten little obscurity from the vaults of the early 70s British prog and psych pop scene. SALAMANDER was a short- lived outfit that managed to release this one and only album originally on the Young Blood label. THE TEN COMMANDMENTS is a concept album based on, you guessed it, the Biblical teachings that have been a staple of the Christian religion since JC himself walked on water and roamed the planet. This is a strange little beast that is rooted more in the 60s than finding its place in the 70s and makes me wonder if this was some forgotten anachronistic project from 1967 that just happened to find its way onto the market in 1971. The band consisted of Alister Benson (organs, vocals), Dave Chriss (bass), John Cook (drums) and Dave Titley (lead vocals and guitar). There was basically one track that covered each COMMANDMENT and was produced by Miki Dallon who help create a "Moody Blues" effect with orchestral arrangements and production values on many of the tracks.

And indeed "Prélude Incorporing He's My God's" begins very much sounding like it could have been a rejected track from The Moody Blues' 1967 landmark album "Days Of Future Passed." However, the album doesn't totally rely on their classic sound to get their Biblical messages across. The album sounds more of a generic mix between everything late 60s psychedelic pop and rock actually with everything from Jefferson Airplane to The Doors finding small influences on board along with many of the folk and rock sounds of the era.While the tunes are all somewhat catchy, nothing on here excels at being totally memorable either. While the Hammond organ cranks out some serious melodies and the guitar and bass work well with some powerful drum workouts, in the end the whole thing feels rather contrived and lackluster as it seems woefully inadequate to tackle the entire TEN COMMANDMENTS in a mere 35 minutes and 20 seconds. The tracks do stand out from one another and although there is the inevitable "Jesus Christ Superstar" comparison, it doesn't really sound much alike and doesn't even come close to the quality of its various renditions.

After all is said and done this is a decently performed obscurity that will definitely bring a certain era to mind as it very much exudes a very dated sound but it's a rather fun and carefree type of style that made the psychedelic pop music of the era so much fun. The lyrics are fun and the vocals are pleasant. What's really lacking here is outstanding songwriting skills and the ability to create a captivating narrative that doesn't sound cliché. While i would hardly call this one an essential relic from the past, it is quite a pleasant listen and one that shouldn't be totally forgotten. It has nice pleasant melodies, decent performances and some of the orchestrated tracks can be quite catchy albeit in a late 60s cheesy sort of way. I have to give these guys credit for trying to make a major concept album that covers some pretty tall subject matter, but at the end of the day, they just didn't have the chops to pull this off and it's quite understandable why a second album never emerged.

siLLy puPPy | 3/5 |


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