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Clive Nolan - Song of the Wildlands CD (album) cover


Clive Nolan



4.10 | 35 ratings

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3 stars Autumn 1982. The young Clive Nolan (he was then 21) attended a Marillion concert in London. Impressed by the epic song 'Grendel, he declares: "One day, these guys are going to work with me", and he was partly right - Arena was created 13 years later with the drummer of the time, Mick Pointer. Grendel inspired him to write the track Loki, as soon as he returned from the gig. In spring 2021, the same Clive Nolan, after many projects, published Song Of The Wildlands, an adaptation of a major epic poem of the Anglo-Saxon literature (VIIth century), which puts in scene a warrior become king after having overcome a formidable monster: Grendel. The circle is closed.

Most of the 15 tracks contain bombastic atmospheres featuring majestic orchestral keyboards, a 200-voice choir singing in Anglo-Saxon (old English) and propulsive drums, blended with narration (Ross Andrews), several pleasant female vocals (including Christina Booth from Magenta) and the voice of Beowolf (Ryan Morgan). To me it sounds like a bridge between a solo album by Rick Wakeman and the soundtrack of fantasy movies like Lord Of The Rings. Some compositions sound more mellow, often with strong folky hints, due to the distinctive instrumentation, like harp and flute. Clive Nolan has succeeded to create Medieval-like moods that matches with the story, but during this album the atmospheres tend to sound too similar, my attentions slips away at some moments. It's a pity that Clive Nolan has not created more variety, for instance by writing parts with classical guitar, lute, or a typical sounding vintage keyboard like the harpsichord. Or simply by adding more soli on the electric guitar and synthesizer.

I wish Clive Nolan had been a bit more the 'Rick Wakeman Of The Neo Progressive Rock Movement' on this album, a bit more extravaganza or self-indulgence would have contributed to more variety and excitement, now it all sounds a bit too similar.

My rating: 2,5 star.

TenYearsAfter | 3/5 |


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