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Steve Walsh - Glossolalia  CD (album) cover

GLOSSOLALIA

Steve Walsh

 

Crossover Prog

3.44 | 62 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Glossolalia" is my favorite among all Steve Walsh solo efforts, a testimony of this Kansas man's vision of eclectic rock, where power and emotion collide with conviction. This work was being recorded and produced almost in parallel with the Livgren-comeback album "Somewhere to Elsewhere" that signified a particularly strong return to the band's 70s trend. So, that moment in time can be interpreted as a confluence of old Kansas' refurbishment and Walsh's aim at an evolution as writer and performer. The album gets started with all engines on ? the namesake opener brings an intense mixture of prog metal, industrial rock (a-la NIN) and tribal ambiences, all of them converging in an amalgam that reveals itself as portraying abrasive dynamics as well as angriness? or something like it. The ethnic-oriented coda is dreamy and, well, a bit scary, too. Equally dramatic but bearing a less extroverted mood, 'Serious Wreckage' states a reflective twist about the dangers of the human psyche's dark side. The use of stylish developments in the instrumental interlude manages to capitalize the track's epic potential in an accurate fashion. 'Heart Attack' brings an industrial-driven orientation to a melodic basis that seems quite focused on your typical AOR, with added spices of dance music: interesting, not great but worth our close attention. 'Kansas' is one of the longest songs in the album. It has a very epic feel to it, but don't expect something like 'The Pinnacle' or 'Hopelessly Human' here: this is not a song based on the architecture of various motifs but the result of the expansion of a focused main motif, an expansion whose strategy intends to build up some atmospheres and generate a crescendo out of it. The spoken parts at the end sound like voices in a strange dream, in this way completing the idea of impending darkness that (at least, as I notice) stems from the aforementioned crescendo. 'Nothing' is a sweet, melancholic ballad that strays away from the preceding track's bombastic development ? with an instrumentation of piano, acoustic and slide guitars, Walsh delivers a moving meditation of solitude and nostalgia. 'Haunted Man' has to be the most notable rocker in the album: while not recapturing the effective weirdness of 'Glossolalia' (and certainly not aiming at that), it creates a more cohesive rocking force than 'Heart Attack', hence, encapsulating one of the album's main focuses with great success. 'Haunted Man' wouldn't have been out of place on the "Freaks of Nature" or "In the Spirit of Things" albums. 'Smackin' the Clowns' is the album's longest track, designed to be what it is: the progressive highlight. With lyrics based on a sad real-life story of a circus going down in flames, the song displays a tasteful set of arrangements to link main body, bridges, choruses and interludes. Both this track and 'Kansas' are sonically related to post-"Test of Wills" Magellan: definitely, collaborator Trent Gardner has had big room for his input. 'That's What Love's All About' is nice, with some appeal inherited from the 90s alternative rock standard, but all in all, I don't find it that great. 'Mascara Tears' is more appealing to me: a rock ballad set on a semi-blues mood and ornamented with solid keyboard orchestrations, it bears a cleverly constructed sensibility that may at times remind you of a Broadway play song in a particularly dramatic momentum. A great song, indeed. 'Rebecca' end the album in yet another demonstration of emotional drive Walsh- style: this second ballad in a row comes under a Gospel-like guise, being less romantic than the preceding one but retaining its evocative power. The lead guitar phrases emphasize the song's delivery quite efficiently. And so, Steve Walsh's second effort deserves to be labeled as a great addition to any art-rock collection.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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