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Gnidrolog - In Spite Of Harry's Toenail CD (album) cover

IN SPITE OF HARRY'S TOENAIL

Gnidrolog

 

Eclectic Prog

4.02 | 127 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The Runaway
4 stars Penultimate album, but does not match their second album.

In Spite of Harry's Toenail was actually one of my first prog albums, and I was hooked straight away. Gnidrolog's power on this album has yet to unfold, and this can be considered as sort of a hard rock album, with many progressive tendencies. This album consists of medleys, medleys, medleys, and songs. Songs fading into one another gives this album the heavy "progressive debut album" feel.

The album begins with Long Live Man Dead, the first of a two part piece of the same name. It starts with a feedbacked guitar note, a smart move played by Stewart Goldring. This is an adventurous move, especially for a new-coming prog band from WALES. The song then recieves the first impression of Gnidrolog's sound, which is Van der Graaf Generator-styled powerful, melodramatic vocals and all-band synchronicity. The song then transforms into one of Gnidrolog's soft-yet-spooky parts, with a recorder solo played by lead singer Colin Goldring. As Colin opens his mouth the song recieves a much more epic feel to it, with brother Stewart's epic vocals. The song then fades unnoticeably into Skull, a mellower song, with an opening flute song played by drummer Nigel Pegrum, and transforming into a loud part with Colin chanting Long Live Man Dead with the whole band backing him up with their amazing power. The song ends with Peter Cowling's bassline, which is a very weird ending to a duology like so.

Peter is a mellow, Caravan-styled (in terms of instrumentation and such) song, about the tales of a certain Peter, which is referenced later during the album. Starting with a cello and a couple of flutes, and fading into a guitar-flute-vocal part, continuing throughout the entire song.

Snails begins as a soft song with a flute and a barely audible guitar line played by Stewart, but then transforms into an enormous part, with the barely audible guitar part taking the lead, joined by Peter and Nigel. It then goes to a drum/vocal part with Colin singing in an opera-like voice, continued by the band's barely audible riff, followed by 7th chords and amazing sycnhronicity. It then goes back to the opera-like part, back to the 7ths, and then into a wah-wah guitar part which follows Colin's vocal phrasing exactly, creating a funny, brotherly feel, like they've been palying together for years. The song goes back to the riff but with Colin's opera vocals on top, and repeats. It then goes back to the wah-wah part, and then to a chord-based part, with Colin's vocals screaming, yet they are barely audible, and then into an enormous breakdown which is just guitar banging and drum mashing. The song then goes into this soft part with 2 trumpet solos dubbed on top of each other, and to an abrupt ending.

Time and Space is a soft, mellow, "nice" song, with vocals, guitar and a trumpet in the background, then going to a Rush-like part, this song is very heavy in terms of composition, yet as I said earlier, soft and mellow. I'd have to say, this song is a soft-loud switcheroo in many ways, so if you like that kind of songs you might find yourself looking this song over and over again. This song ends with a bang, and is fantastic.

Who Spoke is an odd kind of song, which is for people who would admire the music of Hatfield and the North if they would let Ian Anderson into the band. This song has Colin giving us a feel of the Wales accent, which was not very well used in soft songs like previous ones. Maybe one of the lyrics is the word "crimson", but it does not sound like them.

Then starts Goodbye-Farewell-Adieu, part I of the Harry's Toenail duology, and the one- before-final track on the album. Opening with a flute solo by Nigel Pegrum with rhythm guitar provided by Stewart Goldring, the song then progresses when Colin starts singing. His voice gives me the shivers on this one, and when the rest of the band provides backing vocals, it is absolutely mind-breaking. Then starts an epic guitar solo by Stewart, which also, gives me the shivers whenever I hear it. The solo will be for Clapton fans, as Stewart sort of follows the Slow Hand technique, of playing heart-warming solos, but with nothing regarding technicality and virtuosoness. Ending with Bonham-like triplets, the song progresses into part II of the Harry's Toenail duology, Harry's Toenail!

This is the final track on the album, which is based on a shuffle beat, and will remind a lot of you of Wishbone Ash themed songs, and even Jethro Tull on certain parts. This song has many blues influences, including a few harmonica solos played by Colin, but also Fusion influences which include a mini-solo by Peter Cowling on bass, and others. This song is instrumental, showcase track. It bookends the album in a fantastic way, I must say.

4/5, as it is great, but does not match the epic epicness of the second album Lady Lake. Still a very, very, very good album! Must buy for fans of Jethro Tull and Van der Graaf Generator.

The Runaway | 4/5 |

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