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Jethro Tull - The Broadsword And The Beast CD (album) cover

THE BROADSWORD AND THE BEAST

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

3.26 | 439 ratings

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daveconn
Prog Reviewer
3 stars One of the drearier isles in the great sea of TULL, or so it always seemed to me when the thin sound escaped from its gruelish grooves. Fortunately, "The Broadsword And The Beast" is far better fare on disc; it might even be a minor revelation in remastered form. Some have heard in this effort the old magic, though I bade those ghosts goodbye with "Stormwatch". TULL greeted the '80s with new players, new toys (synthesizers), and a harder edge that led to the heavy metal confusion of later years. Gone were the once rich tones of Ian's voice, lost to overuse, and what remained in its stead was a thin, tired but still familiar singer who struggled to compete with his own busy arrangements. Effects sometimes mask its miserable state, but mostly IAN writes around it. As for the album itself, "The Broadsword And The Beast" is broken into two halves: Beastie and Broadsword. The opening "Beastie" is a psychological study of our own demons, stalking the listener like a slow and heavy Rover. "Broadsword" is the worn and weary warrior setting off for what may be a last great epic adventure. (I used to play this in college on the radio station nobody listened to because we had it on those prerecorded cartridges that were easier to queue up. And because I like it.) These are the two great pillars of "The Broadsword And The Beast", in the shadow of which loom such pretty flowers as "Pussy Willow" and "Clasp".

Taken in toto, "Broadsword" is one of the band's best albums from the '80s, though the decade couldn't hold a collective candle to the '70s (in my opinion). However, compared to their next album, "Broadsword" sounds like "Songs From The Bloomin' Wood". "Watching Me Watching You" sets the stage for that album, the brain of TULL implanted in a cyborg's body (although little on Under Wraps is so clever). I may warm to "Broadsword" yet, since "Seal Driver" and "Fallen On Hard Times" have nearly won me over the last two times I've heard them, the sinew of "Heavy Horses" hidden under their modern armor. But the elegiac tone is unshakable ("Slow Marching Band", "Cheerio"), and the phenomenal feats that came so easily in youth would be hard-won from now on.

daveconn | 3/5 |

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