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The Decemberists - The Hazards Of Love CD (album) cover


The Decemberists


Prog Folk

4.08 | 272 ratings

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The Quiet One
Prog Reviewer
5 stars The Rock Opera of the 21st Century

Being mainly a combination of the simplicity and catchiness of alt. rock and the cleverness of 70's folk rock, this album(and band) is such a surprising and wonderful experience from the 21st Century. Having been mainly absorbed by the new wave of Symphonic Prog bands, it had never occured to me that such a tasty and unique band could exist nowadays, leaving all the ''modern'' instruments behind, the dominating instrument is the acoustic guitar, full-filled with a subtle organ, a bass, and generally a gentle drumming, in which all this acompanies the well-thought fantasy story which is ''narrated''(sang) by a wonderful couple of vocalists that suit there 'roles' very, very well.

The story is about, with Raff's own words: ''...a love story between a girl, Margaret, and William, a young man who is also a shapeshifter (he can turn into a fawn), and the adopted son of the Forest Queen - who is not happy with the thing, and tries her best (or worst?) to thwart the two lovers.'' As a whole it's very easy to understand through the lyrics, and like I said, the vocal duties, which are shared through male and female(depends on which character obviously), are magnificent and make this sort-of rock-opera album very memorable from that point of view. Having said that this is a ''rock opera''/concept album, you must expect recurring themes, however The Decemberists know perfectly how to add new and clever passages to revamp the old/main theme and make them even better than the original theme.

Also, if we are talking about a story-driven album, obviously, the music has to fit the story-line, and WOW!, it's done so majestically with the already stated mixture of alt. rock's simplicity and 70's folk rock cleverness. The band, however, does incorporate every now and then some pretty heavy sections, which are mainly the ones which feature The Queen's part/lyrics. The folkish songs are brilliant, full of fantastic melodies and harmonies, extremely worthy of mention are all the parts of the title track, specially the last one, Part 4(The Drowned) which is definitely one of the most moving songs from the last 3 decades.

To conclude, this album is something I have never expected from a modern band, the story and the music are really refreshing. It's not Prog in the way The Flower Kings or Dream Theater do it, no, The Decemberists dedicate mainly to delicate passages and to the wonderful lyrics and as a whole they create a splendid album throughout rather than focusing on creating a 20 minute explosion of all the 70's Prog bands.

This is indeed a masterpiece of an album.

The Quiet One | 5/5 |


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