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Camel - Mirage CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.40 | 2778 ratings

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Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Camel's second album was my introduction to the band. My initial response was to question whether this band was in fact symphonic rock- their early style tends to lead more toward jazz, even with the heavy synthesizer use. I think the drumming of Andy Ward is largely responsible for this, but there are so many times, on this album and on others, that I can just focus on his highly pleasing skill and ignore everything else going on. Overall, the album is a testament to the band's ability to produce great music. Even though it is not my personal favorite Camel album, it is highly proclaimed for a reason. Variety abounds on this album, as each song is very different from one another, and for that reason, there is no reason for a lover of progressive rock music to pass this one up.

"Freefall" The album kicks off with pulsing bass and drums, with a crunchy electric guitar interjecting at various times. Keyboardist Peter Bardens, who wrote the song, takes the lead vocals here, and he does such a great job, it's a wonder we don't hear much more of him on other Camel songs. To be frank, much of the instrumental section of this song sounds like something The Allman Brothers would have played, which is by no means a bad thing (I happen to really enjoy The Allman Brothers). That bluesy sound of the guitar, paired with the keys, and the manner in which the drums and bass are played, give them that resemblance. It's a killer song, and one of their most energetic.

"Supertwister" A brief instrumental (on the next album, Camel will demonstrate that this is one of their strong suits) follows the opening track. After a lovely introduction, there is a pretty cool section in 10/8 time signature. The song relies heavily on the flute, and Doug Ferguson plays a bass run (doubled by organ) that just makes the song even more interesting. The piece ends with the sound of a canned beverage being cracked open and poured out.

"Nimrodel / The Procession / The White Rider" Inspired by The Lord of the Rings chronicles (and more specifically, the wizard Gandalf the White), this is a song with multiple stages, each with very distinctive sounds. It begins with a sad, murky guitar and a mournful lead. What follows after is the sound of a regal procession, complete with cheering masses. After that, there is one of the best compositions on the album. The various instruments are stellar, even though the composition is not very complicated. Following two verses, there is quite a bit of energetic soloing going on, mainly on the synthesizer, after which is a cool acoustic guitar and a singer chronicling the fall and rise of the wizard in question, Finally, there is a synthesizer-sounding bass riff and a heavily-delayed slide guitar section. Despite several dissimilar segments, the song flows smoothly.

"Earthrise" Quiet at first, the song has an organ build up that jumps into its main theme just under a minute in. It is the second instrumental on the album, and does a fantastic job of characterizing this entire album, providing us with some great melodies. Ward even gets a short opportunity to show off his skill behind the kit. The guitar solo midway through exemplifies what Latimer is capable of as such a refined player. While it is a great instrumental, it is not even close to being one of Camel's finest.

"Lady Fantasy" Incidentally, Camel's most celebrated song is the one I like least of all here. All the same, it is a great song with many memorable parts. The keyboard riff in the beginning is a little annoying, but Latimer's guitar work throughout completely makes up for it. The basic chords during the verse are standard jazz fare, but work well throughout this song. The piece suddenly stops to bring in the next part, consisting of a bass riff and fiery guitar solo. Much of the middle section is quiet, relying on Latimer for variety, particularly with his guitar. There is a wild organ solo toward the end before reprising the main theme. Not their best, but great anyway.

Epignosis | 4/5 |


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