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Mandalaband - Mandalaband II - The Eye of Wendor: Prophecies CD (album) cover

MANDALABAND II - THE EYE OF WENDOR: PROPHECIES

Mandalaband

 

Symphonic Prog

3.32 | 51 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars At this rate it will be at least 2038 before the final part is released

By the time of this 1978 album, the Mandalaband was more of a project than a band as such. The sticker on the front of this release gives the game away immediately by proclaiming boldly that the album features Barclay James Harvest, 10CC, Justin Hayward, Maddy Prior and Noel Redding. The project's founder, David Rohl, had been around for some time as a musician and a photographer before releasing the 1975 eponymous debut of Mandalaband. This album, "The Eye of Wendor: prophecies" was the second and to date final album released in that name.

During the intervening period between the two albums, Rohl became a studio engineer, rising to the position to chief engineer at Strawberry studios. This led to him working with a wide range of artists, many of whom he called upon to contribute to this release. The artists concerned did not seek payment for their contributions, costs also being kept down by using the studio at off-peak times.

Intended as the first part of a trilogy this album unashamedly takes its concept from a Tolkien-esque fantasy story. Unfortunately, the record company decided against sponsoring the second and third parts of the trilogy, and the story remains unfinished. If you wish to read the tale, it is told in full in the accompanying booklet for the re-released version of the CD. All the songs here are composed by Rohl, the guest artists taking on roles.

As to the music itself, we actually have a rather eclectic mix of symphonic prog, heavy prog and Celtic rock among others. The songs tend to take on the character of the principal performer, with Justin Hayward's and Maddy Prior's tracks for example sounding like extracts from their solo albums. As such, the album often has the flavour of a rock opera with grand orchestration and precise performances. It is perhaps this very precision which brings with it a lack of soul.

The best track is probably "Witch of Waldow Wood", which features the distinctive tones of Kevin Godley, together with some excellent lead guitar played by Steve Broomhead and John Lees.

In all, in terms of the power and the ambition on show here, this is a very impressive album. The compositions too are highly melodic and well arranged. Despite all this, I cannot help but feel the album seems incomplete and a little disjointed. Worth a listen all the same, chances are you'll enjoy at least some of it.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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