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Jethro Tull - The Zealot Gene CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

3.34 | 190 ratings

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Owen D
4 stars This is an edited version of my review which appears on DPRP net


The Zealot Gene contains an interesting amalgam of styles that will probably please and frustrate Tull fans in equal measures. Any Tull aficionado expecting a consistent, hard rock experience will be somewhat disappointed. Any Tull fans who want a re-tread of the progressive complexity of a Passion Play might feel a bit underwhelmed.

However, Tull fans who enjoyed the light and shade of albums such as Minstrel In the Gallery, or the melodic beauty of Secret Language of Birds, might appreciate the way in which some of The Zealot Gene explores the gentler side of Anderson's compositions. If you like prog that is full of melody, but on occasions also mixes that approach with the bite and gusto of a rock act, you will probably enjoy much here.

In this respect, whilst never achieving the peaks of the best-regarded Tull albums, The Zealot Gene offers something appealing, that fans from a wide variety of Tull eras might value and enjoy. It is by turns quirky, charming, and endearingly idiosyncratic.

Anderson's vocals are surprisingly strong, although some listeners might find that his now-limited range ensures that the vocal parts have a similar tonal quality. Several techniques are used to good effect to give the vocals an extra dimension.

Anderson's flute flurries are superlative. Whilst numerous flute passages have the pureness of tone associated with players such as Bjorn Json Lindh, there are many occasions where Anderson blows his flute with snorting aggression. Some of the most exciting flute-trilling occurs during the interchange between Opahle and Anderson in the unusually structured and enigmatic Barren Beth, Wild Desert John.

Mine is the Mountain contains some of the best instrumental sections of the album. John O' Hara's measured piano introduction provides a perfect entry point for Anderson's haunting flute line. At the mid-point of the tune, the group have an opportunity to stretch out. This exciting passage ends all too soon, but the band interplay is quite brilliant.

The Zealot Gene is a fine album and is a welcome addition to Jethro Tull's catalogue.

Owen D | 4/5 |


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