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Jeff Wayne - The War Of The Worlds CD (album) cover


Jeff Wayne


Crossover Prog

3.95 | 189 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars If you're looking for a megalomanically overblown musical drama, this is right for you! The famous early scifi novel (in which the beastly Martians attack the Earth with their war machines) transferred into an orchestral suite, featuring Richard Burton as the protagonist (a narrator of sorts, NOT singing) and several rock singers doing the singing part. The album was very popular at the time, and now it was just re-released as a lavishly illustrated digipak 2CD set.

Well, it certainly was too much for me at the first listening: I frankly had no energy to listen even the first disc till the end. The orchestral score - and Burton's narration, plus some repeating of the chorus by Justin Hayward) seemed to be going on and on in the painfully overblown manner, especially so with the very first track. Only much later I listened the second disc, and either I was in a much more suitable mood or the second disc is better. In that sense it is better that the story has evolved from the attack terror to the devastating situation after the destruction (the struggle between hopelessness and the ray of hope) and the music therefor isn't overdramatic all the time but instead has more various moods. Also the guest vocalists have more appearances at this point. Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy) and Julie Covington are very good as the churchman and his wife, as well as Chris Thompson (Manfred Mann's Earth Band) earlier, on the final track of the first disc.

Of course I need to mention 'Forever Autumn', also known as a tight single version that has foolishly appeared also in Moody Blues compilations. Though it's maybe a bit too long here, it is easily a highlight of the first disc.

So, as put off as you may be at first, this magnum opus does have its merits and you may even start liking it more and more (I'm not sure of myself yet). The subject, War of the Worlds, simply demands a lot of drama, and after all it's all done skillfully and the production is top-notch (which naturally can be its fault too, the score being overworked, overblown). From the progressive rock point of view this is not a superb album however. The less orchestral and more rock oriented moments are all too few (and when it rocks, it often does so in a rather disco-ish manner), and the narration certainly could have been notably shorter, giving more room to SONGS. 2,5 stars, rounded upwards.

Matti | 3/5 |


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