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Pulsar - Halloween CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.03 | 184 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars

Happy Iedul Fitri 1429H

Yes, it's a holiday season in my country and all Muslim communities around the globe in many countries. Salam to all of you. And, why did I play this dark symphonic prog music by Pulsar while supposedly this is a victory day for me after a full month of fasting? First off, I was not aware that the music I was about to play was a dark one (even though from the cover it could tell me already). The reason I played was actually the CD has been with me for years I had no chance to spin. I purchased the CD from friend of mine and never did some research about the album. Pulsar? Of course I have known the band quite well from its album "The Strands of The Future" which I have reviewed here. But, that's the only album I have in my collection until I purchased "Halloween" from my friend.

Second, there was ten days period at the end of fasting month that Moslems were urged by Prophet Muhammad to stay the whole days and nights at mosque which we call it as I'tikaf. It was intended as way to approach God (Allah) much more intimately, personally, especially during night time through shalat (pray) and reading the Koran. I did that. The kind of music like Pulsar's "Halloween" suits with the nuance of dark (of course not the "horror" side as this album was categorized by many music critics). To me, the music delivered by this band creates an excellent nuance for me to stay closer to the creature, Allah The Merciful.

Dark Spacey Symphonic Prog

The music delivered by Pulsar here is significantly different than its predecessor "The Strands of The Future" even though the roots of keyboard-driven elements are similar. The overall composition is totally different because keyboard is no longer as main contributor of the music as it contains woodwind (flute), cello / violin, acoustic guitar and typically mellotron. The melody-line in the music is quite strong, as strong as its predecessor. As a concept album, like Jethro Tull's "Thick As Abrick" or "A Passion Play", this album contains only two tracks (epcs) with many movements inside the epic, consuming one side of the LP for each epic.

"Halloween part I" (20:30) starts off with mellow classical child's voice (Sylvia, aged 7) accompanied by touchy piano touch named as "a) Halloween song" (1:20) followed brilliantly by an excellent transition piece of long sustain keyboard / mellotron work. The acoustic guitar that follows the segment reminds me to ELP's "The Sage". It's then followed with a stream of nice flute work and long sustain keyboard work. This is all indicating the next movement "b) Tired answers" (9:30) which was written wonderfully. At approx minute 5 there are great keyboard work in low register notes with loud volume augmented with long sustain keyboard play that creates symphonic nuances. AT approximately minute 6:39 the drumwork enters brilliantly. The music then moves in spacey mood in the vein of Tangerine Dream or similar with the band's previous work "The Strands of The Future". There are mellotron work at background that sometimes played at the background and creating wonderful nuance of the music. I do enjoy this part. It means very deep in the process of me approaching God. It's so beautiful. The music turns to mellow just before reaching a break with male chanting. Oh my God! What follows is a beautiful piano work accompanied by guitar and long sustain keyboard work. So nice! This remarks the entrance to the next movement "c) Colours of childhood" (6:00). Under this movement, there is male vocal accompanied unplugged by acoustic guitar and piano work while sometimes mellotron provides its nice music background. At minute 14:20 the music turns spacey that reminds me to Tangerine Dream or later I knew with the music of Jean Michelle Jarre. Approaching minute 15, there is a wonderful electric guitar solo by Gilbert Gandil (bespectacled like Steve Hackett in the 70s). The end of this section is a great drum / percussion work. That remarks the entrance to the last movement "d) Sorrow in my dreams" (3:40) with great lyrical verse and vocal. This ending part of the epic is truly captivating and inspiring. Halloween Part I is really excellent!

"Halloween part II" (18:40) starts in horror mode augmented by cello work by Jean Ristori (Recording Director who also contributed as guest musicians. Jean Ristori was formerly with Patrick Moraz' MAINHORSE). The nuance created by this opening part is great and horror in nature. In my opinion, this is better than Genesis' "The Waiting Room". It's like watching a horror movie. The cello brings nicely vocal line in this first movement "a) Lone fantasy" (4:50). The acoustic guitar accompanies this movement nicely. The cello work makes the music melodic especially when piano is also contributing its work through catchy notes. "b) Dawn over darkness" (6:10) enters with great music sounds using keyboard, drums ..and stunning electric guitar work. It's then followed with vocal line augmented beautifully with flutework and acoustic guitar as well as electric. It sounds so classic and inspiring. I especially love the interjection of flutework that reminds me to King Crimson's "I Talk To The Wind". One thing that amazes me with this movement is that the fact the melody line is not that catchy but the composition proves to be very effective in creating distinctive nuance of the sounds. At approx minute 9:14 drum enters the music beautifully, brings the music in crescendo as the vocal line moves in higher notes. The electric guitar plays beautifully at background altogether with keyboard and flute. The music turns into break as a remark of next movement "c) Misty garden of passion" (2:15) which comprises nice cello work and keyboard sounds. At approx 12:55 drum / percussion provides its work brilliantly in unique signature followed with acoustic guitar work and then keyboard solo. The music turns into horror in "d) Fear of frost" (3:35). The drum work returns back to the music brilliantly and the music turns a bit complex in relatively loud volume. The concluding movement "e) Time" (1:50) brings the music in mellow dark nuance featuring long sustain keyboard work plus high pitched vocal of Sylvia EKSTROM, aged 7.

I thought it would be three, but I finally think it's four and half stars!

Yeah, it's an excellent legendary progressive rock album, my friends! My initial first spin reaction I did not think that this album would reach four stars because most segments were just simple. But with many more spins, I thought it would be just four stars. And now .. after spinning more than five times (and I want to do it again with the same LOUD VOLUME at my home stereo), I think this album deserves four and half stars. The only thing that do not make a full five star rating is on some transition pieces that the band actually can make it smoother than this album. In some movements they sound like fading out. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW (i-Rock! Music Community)

Gatot | 4/5 |


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