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Return To Forever - Romantic Warrior CD (album) cover

ROMANTIC WARRIOR

Return To Forever

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.24 | 406 ratings

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Rune2000
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Romantic Warrior is one of those handful of Jazz Rock/Fusion albums that have crossed the barrier of genre fans only material and is considered one of the masterpieces of progressive rock.

It's true that, with this release, Return To Forever have moved even further into prog domain. Unfortunately this transition wasn't without its flaws and made the band remove most of their magnificent Latin music influences that made them stand out among their competition. What we get here sounds more like a Symphonic Prog band trying to play Jazz Rock/Fusion than the other way around, which is quite an accomplishment from a band of their caliber. Still, the biggest question here is whether Romantic Warrior actually deserves the reputation that it has accumulated over all these years. My answerer is a definite no, but that doesn't mean that the record doesn't have its share of highlights.

The album begins with Chick Corea hitting a pretty excellent groove with his keyboards and we see immediately a huge change in the band's style. But this is only the beginning and only a few minutes into Medieval Overture the music transforms into ELP type of jam (+guitar) that should appeal to all prog fans. The next part of the album, including the title track, is in my opinion the weakest. Return To Forever just goes through their usual routines by creating a great lead melody that later moves over to the band's rhythmic section in order to give Al DiMeola and Chick Corea room to jam away for a few minutes. Nothing too spectacular, if you ask me, but thankfully they create enough momentum to keep me entertained for the time being.

The albums side two is where things finally return to the level that was displayed on the opening track. Majestic Dance and The Magician are another two Symphonic Prog-influenced compositions that keep the jam and soloing-work at just the right level without detaching me from the main lead sections. Duel Of The Jester And The Tyrant is where Return To Forever finally finds their own domain in this interesting new direction that they craved out for themselves. The music progresses much slower creating an atmosphere like I've never heard before and once Chick Corea plays the lead melody I completely bow down into submission. This is exactly what the band needed to play throughout the album in order to hit it off with me. This was unfortunately not the case and what I get instead from Romantic Warrior is another excellent Jazz Rock/Fusion record that just doesn't reach the level that its reputation might imply.

If you're a fan of progressive music and have never heard a Return To Forever-record then this is definitely the place to start. Just make sure to keep your expectations at a reasonable level and Romantic Warrior just might become an essential part of your music collection!

***** star songs: Duel Of The Jester And The Tyrant (11:26)

**** star songs: Medieval Overture (5:14) Sorceress (7:34) The Romantic Warrior (10:52) Majestic Dance (5:01) The Magician (5:29)

Rune2000 | 4/5 |

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