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Horslips - The Book Of Invasions - A Celtic Symphony CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

4.00 | 70 ratings

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Symphonic Team
4 stars The Rock remains (but the warm sweet breath of love can sometimes be a bit too sweet)!

My first exposure to Horslips was with The Tain. After having been very impressed with that album, my expectations for this one were very high indeed. The excellent two first tracks which is a kind of overture for the whole album, and the way they flow into the third track, raised these expectations even more. However, after such a highly captivating introduction, the rest of the album initially fell a bit flat on these ears. When the overly catchy choruses of some of the songs started to come into the picture, the initial disappointment was a fact. But judging this album on its own merits, independently of any previous expectations or comparisons with earlier albums, I must say that it is an excellent album after all and that my initial disappointment was unjustified. After many listens, this album has grown on me to the point that I no longer know which of the two albums I like the best!

Compared to The Tain, Book Of Invasions is a bit more polished. This can be both a good and a bad thing for me. Book Of Invasions is better recorded and produced, which is a good thing. But it is at the same time also slightly more "commercial" in its approach. Some of the choruses are, as I said already, a bit too catchy. The Power And The Glory and Sword Of Light are examples of that. These songs thus lack the kind of substance that I would have required for this to be any kind of masterpiece. The Tain too had some all-too-catchy choruses, of course, but the "roughness" of that album gave it a harder edge and a bit more Rock attitude that is slightly lacking here. Despite the Hard Rock guitar sound on most songs, some of the material here comes off as slightly more lightweight compared to some older albums of the band, particularly the first two. But, on the other hand, Book Of Invasions flows wonderfully from start to finish. The instrumental interludes Dusk and Dark (that both repeat the theme from the opening two instrumental tracks) are really excellent pieces that give the whole album a sense of unity that is very appealing. The album's subtitle, "A Celtic Symphony", might be a bit deceptive, though, since the non-instrumental tracks are mostly rather straightforward and they have conventional verse-chorus-verse structures.

The Rocks Remain and Warm Sweet Breath Of Love with their sweet melodies could easily have been Beatles songs, they would have fitted perfectly on Rubber Soul! King Of Morning, Queen Of Day, on the other hand, reminds me of the good British Pomp Prog band Magnum! This song would have fitted perfectly on their debut album Kingdom Of Madness and this is probable my favourite of the vocal tracks on this album. Fantasia - My Lagan Love is a good jig that brings diversity to the whole album.

Some of the lyrics are a little bit silly, I'm afraid; "trouble with a capitol T"!? But, again, the same applies to The Tain ("... it seems like you bit of more than you can chew", for example).

I was expecting Book Of Invasions to be as good or even better than The Tain but I was initially a bit disappointed. However, after having heard this many times over a long period of time, I have clearly come to see its beauty - it grows on you, so give it more than one chance.

Horslips is a much underrated and very good band and Book Of Invasions is a great Horslips album with some truly excellent moments. I would recommend any Prog Folk fan to get this album, but it is not the only Horslips album you need!

Highly recommended!

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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