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The Alan Parsons Project - Tales Of Mystery And Imagination CD (album) cover


The Alan Parsons Project


Crossover Prog

4.03 | 619 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars Edgar Allen Poe is a figure that divides opinion, in spite of his influence many feel his neo-gothic poetry and prose is too ugly, too cold, too unpalatable. It is strange then, to find that Alan Parson's album inspired entirely by the works of the man, tries so hard to cover all bases. It would have been very easy to dip into the Hammer Horror sounds catalogue and create a monochrome work that of generic creepy nonsense. Instead the album tries to shoehorn as many styles as possible into the musical re-imaginings of Poe's work.

It certainly leans towards the chilling at times, but the gothic edges always remain in the background, adding depth rather than dominating the tone, allowing sweeping strings and harsh blues guitar to bring variety and colour into the songs. This variety is further enhanced by the use of many different vocalists, giving each story it's own character. It should all sound like a terrible mess, but somehow it does work, the mad-scientist experimentation tied together by Alan Parsons' keen ear for a catchy, dare I say it, poppy hook.

Of course, it has some decidedly weaker moments. The high-camp glory of the doomily contemplative Orson Welles voiced introduction that segues directly into the high energy funk-rock of 'The Raven' is somewhat spoiled by 'The Tell Tale Heart' that follows, featuring an Arthur Brown vocal more over the top than an international comb-over convention. The mostly excellent haunting orchestral epic, 'Fall in the House of Usher', which takes up most of the second side, has it's effect dampened both by an irritatingly ponderous spoken introduction and 'To One in Paradise', the slightly limp closer that follows it.

Overall, though, this is a strong and entertaining album, well worth a listen despite, and because of, its idiosyncrasies.

Witch | 3/5 |


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