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Gandalf's Fist - The Clockwork Prologue CD (album) cover

THE CLOCKWORK PROLOGUE

Gandalf's Fist

 

Neo-Prog

4.04 | 15 ratings

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Rivertree
Special Collaborator
PSIKE Team & Band Submissions
3 stars Okay, I'm already aware of the predecessor album, that would be 'The Clockwork Fable', which was released in 2016. Though yet, finally, I've managed to schedule enough time, definitely required when trying to delve into their approach. Led by Luke Severn (vocals) and multi-instrumentalist Dean Marsh right from the beginning, GANDALF'S FIST saw diverse musicians participating during recent years. When it comes to the core nowadays, besides newcomer Ben Bell (keyboards), drummer Stefan Hepe and Chris Ewen (bass) are involved again. The strategy is similar to bands like, let's say Seven Steps To The Green Door, RPWL or Oscillazioni Alchemico Kreative for example. That means, broadly speaking, to compose well-elaborated rock songs based on an ambitious storytelling. And so the result can be seen as a rock opera in some way, visually appropriately expressed of course when taking action live on the stage. This will feature diverse theater sceneries, masks, costumes, and additional actors.

The new album ties on the forerunner, quasi as an extension, or a new level if you will, which finally augments the 'Clockwork' saga to an epic piece of five parts in total. The whole issue takes place somewhere in the underground, beneath the surface, the city of Cogtopolis, made of caverns and tunnels. A conceptual rollercoaster, one can say. The band have installed an extra story page, if you are interested in getting closer. That also includes an alternative alphabet(!), important to know, if you should wonder about that conglomeration of mysterious letters or symbols within the booklet. As for the protagonists, the Clokkemaker is new to the fold here, represented by singer Keri Farish. And so, quite naturally, the band must be focussed on the vocals, respectively spoken word duties. Hence this album is preferably dedicated to prog fans who are feeling safe overall when it comes to the English language.

Technically seen there's nothing left to be desired. The music is made of accessible charming neo prog and folk tinged impressions, here and there it's even touching mainstream territories. Oftenly alternating with narrative interludes, partially extended, though really sublime anyhow. When it comes to the album's Part I (The Thaw) I would emphasize the song Blackening first and foremost, which sees them underway on heavier paths. An exceptional track, including various moods and a chorus which definitely is inviting to sing-along. Part II (The Pieces Of Our Time) then shines with the expanded The Lamplighter as the grand finale. This album matters a proper work again, they certainly will have invested hundreds of hours. For one or two it may drag on at times, a designated progressive rock opera fan though will disagree immediately, I'm sure. 3.5 stars on the PA scale.

Rivertree | 3/5 |

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