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Easter Island - Now and Then CD (album) cover

NOW AND THEN

Easter Island

 

Heavy Prog

3.00 | 35 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

ZNR
4 stars "Nowandthen" is the CD reissue of one of the most symphonic albums ever recorded by an American progressive rock group. Ranking, by most people's estimation, right up there with other great releases by Cathedral, Lift & Pentwater (to name but three), Easter Island's opus is rightly called a masterpiece of American progressive rock. Nimble synth and guitar lines, fat Rickenbacher bass, and beautiful mellotron passages plus Hammond & Yamaha CP70 electric grand (a brand new instrument at the time) give it that classic symphonic progressive sound. The great thing about this album is that, although you can point to their influences as being Yes, King Crimson & ELP, in very few places does the music actually sound like the things it is influenced by. There is a piece that has a very ELP-ish slant but keyboardist Ray Vogel actually managed to put his own little stamp on it so that you don't really find yourself cringing as when listening to a Triumvirat record! They were listening to those groups and were very influenced by them but they were also hearing alot of fusion at the time, too. The most audible influence from that camp would surely be "Apocalypse"/"Visions of the Emerald Beyond"-era Mahavishnu Orchestra. This influence is perhaps most evident in the track "Summerland" with its fluid guitar lines & busy drumming.

Another thing that made Easter Island stand out from their contemporaries, and even from their mentors, was the lead singer Rick Bartlett. Rick was attending the University of Louisville School of Music at the time studying opera! His classical training is most evident on the track "The Alchemist's Suite" where he shows off his impressive three octave range! Then, being the only African-American member of the band, Rick also brought along a little bit of his interest in funk music. This influence can be seen, if one is looking for it, in the track "Life Celebration".

This album has everything a prog fan could want. Beautiful melodies & themes, lush symphonic arrangements (with lots of mellotron),keyboard pyro-technics ala Emerson & Wakeman, nimble and inventive guitar parts, strong and distinctive singing and a tight rhythm section built on Rickenbacher bass & fluid, agile drumming. Highly recommended!

ZNR | 4/5 |

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