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Galahad - Empires Never Last CD (album) cover





4.12 | 438 ratings

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4 stars Bought this one directly from the merchandising desk after I could enjoy a GALAHAD concert at pROCKfest 2007. I was simply impressed by their performance and especially Stuart Nicholson's presence. Not a surprise really - the studio version of 'Empires Never Last' met my expectation later on and - well - two years later now it's about time to write this down. The album holds seven songs, pretty much dominated by a neo prog style provided with a heavier touch - obviously because Threshold's Karl Groom is responsible for the production here. However - Nicholson is the band's figurehead - absolutely deserved.

Lyrics are provided by him - don't know how much more he was involved in the essential song-writing procedure because the complete band is continuously credited. At least, when he sings, his vocal appearance is dominant. I can only recommend to reach for one of their concerts (if you have the chance) to get an impression about his inspiration and form of expression. On the other hand this does not mean that GALAHAD is a one-man show of course. The album opener De-Fi-Ance makes this clear immediately - pastoral female vocals establish some tension first until the band suddenly destroys this peaceful mood with a heavy wall of sounds - speaking of bombastic keyboards by Dean Baker, Roy Keyworth's heavy riffing guitar and a high-pressure rhythm branch. This is refined by Nicholson's nightmarish sprechgesang.

Just a short remark concerning the album cover. The band utilises a prominent picture showing a Russian soldier setting up a red flag on the Berlin Reichstag - THE symbol for the defeat of the fascist aggression. I like it as for the historical importance although some rumours came up later about slight modifications which were made. And GALAHAD carries on here when putting a 'G' on the flag replacing hammer and sickle. But obviously this does not suit for the whole production - only for a special edition or so. And this is definetely confusing - only a little bit though because the music stays as it is - promised.

Termination is showing Nicholson's vocal range for the first time really - Tina Booth is backing here partially. Again you will detect significant prog metal ingredients like the dramatic heavy bass drum. Probably the album's highlight I Could Be God is something for singing along. A fantastic piece of work especially because holding a melancholic ambient/psychedelic interlude mixed up with Martin Luther King's prominent 'I Have A Dream' speech. This is followed soon by an impressing jamming part presented in a typical neo prog outfit.

Some George Bush quotes are to find on Sidewinder - a more standard genre track with symphonic key/synth work, a catchy chorus but first of all impressing guitar appearance - Karl Groom is involved with a solo. The short Memories From An African Twin surprises off the beaten path - classic flavoured with acoustic guitar, harpsichord and pipe organ here but also jazzy tinged there at the end. The entertaining title track Empires Never Last is corresponding to the album cover contentwise. They excellently switch between heavy and mellow impressions here and integrate some shouting refrains.

Normally I should avoid to emphasize someone especially. Okay - I already did it with the singer - what's the point? The more I listen the more I'm also impressed by Dean Baker's tricky keyboard/synth contributions. 'Empires Never Last' is an absolutely recommended album if you're reaching for a representative progressive rock collection. Memorable catchy melodies and a powerful production - no filler. Congrats pals - 4.5 stars!

Rivertree | 4/5 |


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