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

THE BROADSWORD AND THE BEAST

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

3.27 | 450 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Taking a stab

By 1982 the musical world that had let an album like Thick As A Brick flourish had long disappeared. Audiences, press, labels and bands had all changed by the turn of the decade. So how about this classic band? After a turbulent second half of the 70s and already having entered the 80s with album album that met with mixed reviews this was going to be an album to watch if only to see what was going to happen.

Style wise, this is almost the Tull we know and love. Less progressive and less bluesy, Tull seems to have taken a turn for the heavy here. This album comes off almost as hard rock or some kind of metal with it's rocky riffs and heavy hooks. The 80s have also brought about the use of that new wave synth, with Tull employs carefully and well, many songs using it as a backing instrument that enforces (but doesn't take over) as the spine of the song. The tracks are all shorter and there's no epics or huge concepts to be found here. The music has been made more accessible, but it still keeps it's charm. The choruses are catchier and the hooks are more. The flutes still exist but are made a bit more sparse. A lot of things changed here - but not for the worse.

The tracks are still played with a degree of excellency. They may be shorter, but they're not bad. The solos are winding and the vocals keep their emotion. As evident in the opening track Beastie the band has made a move towards the heavy. The trudging track with it's repetition of the chorus is more typical than Tull is used to, but it's good none the less. Other very worth while tracks on the Beastie side of the record include the heavy and rocking Clasp and the mid paced powerhouse Fallen On Hard Times which makes excellent use of the backing vocals to make for a very pleasant track.

The Broadsword half of the album is the same yet different. Somewhat more expectant of the 80s sound, tracks like Watching Me, Watching You make greater use of the synths as they actually become a pressing point in the song. Still, there's hard rock moments in songs like the (often overlooked) single Pussy Willow and the impressive Seal Driver. The opener to the side, Broadsword shows a vocal style familiar to Tull fans but with a more distorted guitar and a sharper synth than many may be used to.

In the end this is an interesting transition album for the band. We all know what came after this one after all. 1984 would see the birth of their album Under Wraps which is one not usually met with praise. This is a very good album, reminiscent of their older works (but not at all similar) thanks to some of the musical pieces and the very nice sleeve. Not recommended for those looking to get into the more Progressive Tull, this one is certainly recommended for fans of the band. 3.5 stars! A very good album which may have trouble finding friends outside the circle of Tull fans, but Tull fans will find a forgotten gem with this album. Recommended, but not as your first foray into the Tull canon.

Queen By-Tor | 3/5 |

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