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Druid - Fluid Druid CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.07 | 90 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Review Nš 275

Druid was a 70's progressive rock band from England. The career of the band began very promising, after they had won a young talent competition of the magazine Melody Maker. Shortly thereafter, they were on the front page of that music magazine. In addition to the prize money of 500 pounds, this sense of achievement helped the band to a record deal with EMI. Thus, formally the starting position for Druid as a young band from the field of progressive rock was very favourable indeed. In 1975, their debut studio album 'Toward The Sun' was presented to the public in a release party. But, unfortunately, the fact that Druid won the competition was curiously almost a drawback, as the rest of the music press and some radio stations considered the band more or less as a pupil of a large magazine and a large record label.

Musically, Druid is comparable to their compatriots Yes, and sometimes is even charged as a pure clone. Guitarist and singer Dane has a distinctive falsetto voice. For the most part, he sings even higher than Jon Anderson, whose vocal qualities he doesn't achieve. The striking bass by Neil Brewer is obviously inspired by Chris Squire. With the release of their second studio album 'Fluid Druid' in 1976, the band distanced themselves from their first production and Melody Maker connections. As it couldn't make up for the weaker material on their sophomore effort, the band finally gave up.

The songwriting on 'Fluid Druid' is more varied than on 'Toward The Sun' and less Yes oriented, as if they wanted to find their own way. Druid had developed stylistically in search of more autonomy. It was apparently the concern of the band to bring their compositions to the point, without neglecting the symphonic note. This endeavor is partially exemplary succeeded. Still, they managed to keep the warmth and atmosphere in their sound. The use of the Mellotron was withdrawn compared to their debut. The guitar playing has become more variable and expresses its own stamp on the more compact compositions. It harmonizes well with the again crisp bass runs. With a few exceptions, the vocals no longer move in the dizzying heights of the first work. There's less falsetto-vocals on the arrangements in this time.

'Fluid druid' is the second album of Druid and was released in 1976. The line up on the album is Dane Stevens (vocals and guitars), Andrew McCrorie-Shand (keyboards), Neil Brewer (bass) and Cedric Sharpley (drums and percussion).

'Fluid Druid' has nine tracks. The first track 'Razor Truth' is a melancholic opener to the album. Yes' influence is easy to recognize. This is a good rocking track with a strange quiet interlude in the middle and with some pretty good lyrics as well. On the second track 'Painters Clouds' reins the acoustic presence, the bass heavily heavy and present, a true 'stone'. The Mellotron holds down the background here. Dane's romantic voice brings life and a nice guitar solo ends it gracefully. The third track 'FM 145' is an energetic instrumental track. It shows the first break from the Druid sound to date with a decidedly synthesized sound. The tone that Neil takes from the bass is great, but Cedric's drums, Andrew's keyboards and Dani's guitar are also great. The fourth track 'Crusade' has a song structure quite interesting. It starts with a fast track and a vocal with a heavy accent. The following melody is beautiful and carries peace in your notes. The second part of the song is instrumental and carries the 'weight' of classical training, including organ and chorus. The fifth track 'Nothing But Morning' is basically a harmless ballad, giving to Dane the chance to dizzy heights. In the dynamic middle a part of Yes let greet again. Packed by a melody on the piano the voice carries beauty and the sequence in any theme is carried by a strong atmosphere. The sixth track 'Barnaby' is considered the most unusual composition of Druid. It's a quite funny surprise with its ska/funk influences and differs completely from everything else they did before. The seventh track 'Kestrel' is a short and nice song, with the synth play briefly reminiscent of 'Gates Of Delirium', but not at all so fits into the overall concept of this short song. It's a more acoustic and Renaissance side of the band. The eighth track 'Left To Find' presents a dreamy facet of the band. A romantic piano playing in combination with a majestic guitar, determine the mainly instrumental character of this song. After quiet vocal lines in the middle section, romantic flute play brings the title to a close. The ninth track 'The Fisherman's Friend' is nothing more than a joke with a fast keyboard theme and vocals throughout the short song. It closes the album in a nice way.

Conclusion: For me, the last tracks on 'Fluid Druid' give me the impression that Druid was desperately searching for their own identity. Thus, the second side of the former LP it seems to me a bit inexperienced. And because of that, despite the album contains some really great tracks the final result isn't very well balanced, really. Although despite some changes on this album, they weren't so terribly drastic. It represents a decent symphonic prog album. If you like the first album, you'll probably like the second one too, but maybe a little less. If you're a devoted fan of symphonic progressive rock fan, I'd suggest starting with 'Toward The Sun' and then proceeding to this album if you're eager for more. But if you buy the double CD of the two albums in only one package, it represents an excellent value certainly.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 3/5 |


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