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Haze - In The End CD (album) cover





3.23 | 7 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
3 stars Unlike most bands classed as neo progressive, whose sound was predetermined by pre and post Gabriel GENESIS, HAZE's influences were evenly distributed across the bigger and smaller names of the movement, including PINK FLOYD, NEKTAR, and STRAWBS. More informed by rock music of the 70s, a harder edge came more naturally to them than it did to MARILLION and PENDRAGON. This aspect tilted them to the KANSAS-STYX axis, and indeed they did sound more in-your-face American than most English bands, the best of FOREIGNER being perhaps a good reference point.. It would be unfair to suggest that they were mere recipients of influence, as I can detect some of the yet unborn MOSTLY AUTUMN and EARTHSTONE qualities in this compilation.

The group clearly has a lot of raw talent, with the raw operative reflecting sheer ability as well as a certain raggedness. Keyboards and guitars shine in their turn, with "Survive" and "The Load" providing fine examples of each respectively. Both "For Whom" and "Fallen Leaves" demonstrate a folk lineage without automatically invoking TULL - in fact Strawbs might be a better reference point circa "Bursting.." or "Hero..". These are lovely ballads that presage what Mostly Autumn would deliver a decade or so later, although the lead guitars are less distorted than those of Bryan Josh, and the interplay of the members speaks to a familial harmony that MA could never muster. "The Vice" invokes Nektar's more mellow work.

While many other high points abound, I just want to signal "Tunnel Vision" as representative of their more commercial side in a favourable rock and roll manner. For longer more developed tunes, "Ophelia" and "The Vice" take center stage and should appeal to most here. Some of the tracks are uneven and seem to run out of steam ("The Load" and "Dig Them Mushrooms"), while "The Red Room" and "Mountain" suggest that the band didn't have enough best of material to fill 80 minutes.

HAZE was obviously an engaging group whose fuzzy vision of 70s prog blended with the realities of the 80s. They represent a sunny footnote to a dark paragraph in our history, which in the end isn't a bad legacy.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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