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Island - Pictures CD (album) cover

PICTURES

Island

 

Eclectic Prog

4.23 | 207 ratings

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Sheep
5 stars For my first ever review on prog archives I have chosen one of my favorite progressive rock albums of all time, namely "Pictures" by Swiss Eclectic Prog band "Island". Since I first heard this album a little over a year ago I have been hooked on it and listen to it once a month or so. I was recently able to get a almost un-played copy of it on vinyl which is now one of the records in my collection that I cherish the most of everything I own. I can hardly think of a progressive rock record that fits the sub-genre Eclectic Prog better than this. This album is an album from one of those bands that could have been one of the greats if only it were released a half a decade earlier. This still stands as one of the greatest debut albums of all time and possibly my favorite "one and done" band.

Now lets take a look at each individual song:

1. Introduction: This is hardly a song and is around one and a half minutes long but it does exactly what it's supposed to do which is to set the mood for the rest of the album. It is a haunting piece that opens up the album perfectly, similarly to something like "Speak to Me" from Dark Side of the Moon. 5/5

2. Zero: What a fantastic instrumental. This song shows Peter Scherer's incredible keyboard work and has some quite catchy parts too! It is just the right length and is overall a very nice prelude to the legendary epic that follows it. 9/10

3. Pictures: To close off the first side of the vinyl LP we have the almost 17 minute title track "Pictures". Wow! This is one of my favorite epic length tracks of all time. This track is filled with so many goodies and it gets better and better for every listen. The opening lyrics "Sounds of the air-creatures... ...It's a well known voice!" are so catchy and are one of the sections that stays in my head for days after listening to this song. Not to mention when Benjamin Jager sings: "Persist like the golden bow that gives the freedom to the arrow". Fantastic! Around halfway through there is a long instrumental section where once again Scherer gets to show off his skills but also has some fantastic instrumentation from René Fisch. All in all a perfect epic. 16/16

4. Herold and King / Dloreh: We open up the second side of the vinyl record with a very obscure piece, namely "Herold and King" The final word in the title is simply Herold spelled backwards because they do indeed sing backwards on this song. Sdrawkcab yllaretil. The track opens up with some gorgeous classical piano before all the madness kicks in though. Overall a fantastic piece that also gets better with every listen. 11/12

5. Here and Now: And already we arrive to the closer of this fantastic album and it is yet another (almost) perfect song. This track is a three part suite and is in some ways the most progressive song on the record (despite the craziness of "Herold and King" and the sheer length of "Pictures".) Each part of the suite has its highlights but I think my favorite part might be the final section of the second section "My heart calls for freedom... ...But where do I go?" This whole section is phenomenal and has some of the best vocals on the record. 11/12

This is one of those rare cases of what I would consider a perfect record. I do realize that not all the songs have a perfect score but I only have a handful of songs that I would give a perfect score (I am more lenient with shorter pieces such as "Introduction" that aren't proper songs), one of which is the title track to this album. This album is a must have! One of the easiest 5 star ratings I will ever give.

Sheep | 5/5 |

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