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Quasar - Fire in the Sky CD (album) cover





3.59 | 44 ratings

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4 stars Back in the early 80s Quasar were one of the first of the bands that is now dubbed "neo prog", and in my view they were one of the very best. I will always cherish the memories of a special gig in Warrington when I was totally blown away by the band.

Quasar's music is very keyboard-dominated, even Cyrus Khajavi's guitar and guitar synths sound like synths!! Dillon Tonkin really was outstanding on the keys. However, what always stands out for me is that Quasar sound so original, so different. That is a real rarity and it's a terrible shame that the band had such line-up problems. It's really tough to compare them to any other band as a reference, they were so different, although the music is outright symphonic. The sound is very lush with multi-layered keyboards to the fore.

This was Quasar's debut album, and as such is of great importance given Quasar's heritage early in the neo prog movement. Unfortunately it is very difficult to get hold of nowadays. For me, it is much better than the follow-up album, The Loreli.

It has to be said that the production on the album is not good, and this does detract a little. Also, the vocals are not as good as they could have been. Paul Vigrass was a decent vocalist but the recording of the vocal tracks in particular are disappointing. However, the quality of the music is excellent and some of the compositions are really outstanding.

The opener Fanfare sets the tone, this is as typical Quasar as you will find, wonderful synth flourishes over a fast-paced beat backed by swirling synths.

Seeing Stars is a slower piece, again with nice keyboards but the vocals really suffer here.

The real ace in the pack is Mission 14, thirteen minutes of spacey atmospheric symphonic prog that is hard to beat. The piece has several themes which are all of the hiqhest quality. The fast section which closes is absolutely superb, the synth phrasing here regularly brings out the Roj goosebumps. The keyboard playing really is top notch.

UFO is the final track, a seventeen minute epic that is divided into four parts. It's quite laid- back and slow paced, with some beautiful keyboard and vocal passages. For me it's not as good as Mission 14 but still very good. If you are lucky enough to have the cd version of the album you'll get a bonus live version of part of UFO complete with the female vocalist who replaced Vigrass, Sue Robinson. Just listen to how good this is live. Much tighter and powerful. Quasar always were fantastic live, and this shows it.

Quasar still continue to this day, and a new cd is expected soon. If Keith Turner and his new bandmates can produce an album of this quality with state-of-the-art production we will really have something to look forward to.

This is a real gem of an album. You have to overlook the production and you will find an album of real originality to cherish. I appreciate that the production will be enough to put some off. However scratch below the surface of the production and you will enjoy this, if you can find a copy, they are very rare.

Such is this album's personal value to me I was tempted to give the full 5 stars. However, that taking everything into account, I would give this 4.25 stars, rounded down to 4.

Roj | 4/5 |


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