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Jasper Wrath - Jasper Wrath CD (album) cover


Jasper Wrath


Crossover Prog

3.18 | 17 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars Jasper Wrath hailed from Connecticut. In 1971 they released their debut album on Sunflower, an MGM subsidiary (who had a few artists I'm unaware of, plus that label did release very early archival material from the Grateful Dead from 1966). Sunflower never lasted, so it comes as no surprise the Jasper Wrath LP went out of print, and while hard to find, seems quite a bit harder to find without the punch hole. This band later fell victim to a scam on the tax dodge label Dellwood (a label that originally started as a legit label back in the mid '60s, but by '77 was resurrected, this time with that dubious reputation), with two albums released under phony names: Arden House and Zoldar & Clark. In the late '70s there was a brief glut of tax dodge labels (from about 1976 to about 1978), but apparently these labels were caught, and shut down. "Did You Know That" has strangely almost- Santana-like feel, especially parts that reminds me of "Evil Ways". There's also a nice jazzy guitar break without a doubt inspired by Wes Montgomery.

Anyways, Jasper Wrath's actual authorized album from 1971 didn't exactly set my world on fire. There's potential for a totally mindblowing album, but there's some filler. The band combined psychedelic with a bit of an AM rock feel, some folk, and early prog (nothing complex or challenging, hence "crossover prog"). It's the kind of music that you could tell the band had that potential to score an AM hit, but the music was frequently "too weird and trippy" for AM radio. Fantastic example: "Odyssey". I totally dig this song, especially the chorus, and wonderful creative passages. As I said, a potential for AM radio airplay if it didn't have that trippy spacy atmosphere. Many other songs are of varying quality, but has a lot of creative passages to keep my interests, but "Autumn" seems a bit repetitive and lacking in the creative department. "Roland of Montever" is the lengthiest piece on the album and the closest to full-on prog the album got (in fact more eclectic prog in this piece than crossover). "Drift Through Our Cloud" features some really interesting use of an early drum machine.

What prevent me from thinking more highly of this album is it's a bit uneven. The best stuff is simply amazing, "Odyssey", for example, but then you have stuff like "Autumn". "Mysteries (You Can Find Out)" has some nice ideas, but a couple of cheesy vocal parts I can do without. Given this was 1971, don't expect symphonic prog from an American band (Kansas wouldn't see their debut until three years later, and even that album was a strange combination of boogie/southern rock and symphonic prog, as the band in general before going full-on AOR by the end of the '70s). This is more in tune with the psychedelia of the late '60s, and AM rock of the early '70s (strangely). Maybe not priority number one, but if you need more obscurities, it's worth having because it does has some great material, but some so-so stuff as well. Three and a half stars is what I can honestly give it.

Progfan97402 | 3/5 |


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