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Pictorial Wand - A Sleeper's Awakening CD (album) cover


Pictorial Wand


Symphonic Prog

3.53 | 41 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Do you love music with a theatric flair? Are you a fan of the occasional metal-like riffing? Do you love the combination of rock and classical instrumentation? Then this could be the album for you!

It starts off with some mood-setting music, before a narrator comes and sets the groundwork for this tale - the tale of a king who was cruel to his people, in a faraway land that has since been long forgotten. The second track starts off along similar lines, the acoustic guitar being overtaken by electric guitar and keys before the first minute is out. This is the sound of the album - delicate bits and heavier bits interwoven to create a theatric atmosphere.

But that atmosphere doesn't end there. Before the second minute, vocals appear in English that is just-so-slightly accented. The guitars and keys return, and then a second, female vocalist adds her weight to the words. Oh yes. This is why Pictorial Wand appeals to me. The multiple vocalists adding different textures to the music, the heaviness adding weightiness when it is needed, flutes, strings, and keys creating more pastoral, medieval sounding sections. The melodies oh-so-pleasant to hear.

By the end of the second track, we are introduced to one more flavour of this album. A spacey section with keyboards and a woodwind instrument, with a child (who does an excellent job) reading from a book at the instruction of a woman that I presume is his mother or his nurse. It seems that he will be accompanying us on this story too, and the way that his parts are done, I always get the feeling that he is watching what is happening from a distance, as if he is almost further away then we are, and this increases the feeling of me being a part of the story. As if I am witnessing these events that he will later read a simplified version of from his book. (Although to be fair, based on some of the passages that he reads out, it may simply be that he is reading a story that lines up well with what is happening in the rest of the music, for some of the passages don't seem at all related. Like, for example, the one about the hungry mouse and the gluttonous pig.)

The album pretty much follows this template throughout. Unfortunately, it suffers from one feature - it's length. While I enjoy the album very much, it doesn't quite reach the lofty heights that would require me to recommend it to another. It reaches nearly 2 hours of music, and in that two hours, stays pretty close to what I described above in the second track. For this reason, I can only give this album three stars, with a strong recommendation to fans of theatric rock and roll.

Otherwise, check out Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Beethoven's Last Night. Similar in style, but much easier to digest.

TheGazzardian | 3/5 |


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