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White Willow - Ignis Fatuus CD (album) cover


White Willow


Symphonic Prog

3.76 | 141 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
3 stars Every so often a band comes around that sounds great on paper. Like for instance, Scandinavian progressive rock with folk influences, a female singer, and lots of analog keyboards. Just as often, something is lost in the translation to the dimension of sound, with White Willow a case in point. Atmospheric yes, interesting surely, captivating.....not so much.

Take the longest song on this White Willow debut album, the epic "Cryptomenysis". It consists of 11 minutes of droning overly long poorly developed riffs and themes. It shares a similar approach to the lengthy closer, "John Dees Lament". The band seems to want to be heavy metalish at one moment, pastoral folk the next, but end up overly restrained and unconvincing in both departments. Like a flirtatious lover, it abandons me just when I think we are getting somewhere. Two opportunities to produce something substantial both meet with middling success, or worse.

The array of instruments is impressive, from stringed to woodwind to the aforementioned keys, and the mellotron works wonderfully in the brilliant "The Withering of the Boughs", which features male vocals. The moogs are much less appealing, seeming more trance like than thematic. The vocals, while technically fine, sound like a person in a semi awake state, that is to say, not expressive at all. Several of the shorter tracks manage to stick, as they stay with a motif for 2 or 3 minutes no problem. These include "Song" , ""Lines on an Autumnal Evening", "Now in these Fairy Lands" and "Signs", and they steer clear of the incongruous hard rock.

This White Willow is a bit shady for me, but if you like a less well developed "I Talk to the Wind" mingled with a more subdued "Larks Tongues in Aspic", then feel free to branch out here. A weak 3 stars.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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