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Galadriel - Muttered Promises From An Ageless Pond CD (album) cover





3.49 | 46 ratings

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4 stars This debut album from the spanish Galadriel has flaws and I can understand reviewers who will not give it more than 3 stars. I will be generous with 4, by virtue of its good ideas and some competent playing, because I can sense a lot of goodwill put in it, because it features a musical style which I really like, and finally to record some difference with it's follower "Chasing The Dragonfly" which I find worse and yet not so bad as to deserve 2 stars. So if I give 3 to "CTD" I feel like I have to give 4 to this "MPFAAP".

Although tagged in PA as Neo-Prog this album is clearly symphonic, a blend of early Genesis soft Hackettian passages, soft classic Yes and some Emersonian grand piano fragments. By extension from all these it can also remind of some PFM or some of the works by Citizen Cain. Clearly retro-symphonic as you see, mostly soft, ethereal, lyrical, fantastic and mythical, you will not find hard rockers like "The Return of the Giant Hogweed" or "Get'Em Out by Friday" here. I think they blend enough influences as not to sound a clone of any in particular. And certainly this is not standard Neo-Prog.

The worst with this album is the production. It was recorded in several sessions spanning a period of nearly 2 years, in different studios with different engineers and 2 different bassists (one of the two guitar players had to take over the bass for some tracks after the original bassist quit), and most likely with very limited resources. The result is that the sound is muddy and dark, more like a decent demo than like a proper official album. I think it was originally released by a spanish label and later on reissued by Musea adding the last 2 tracks, and it's a shame that they could not take the occasion of the Musea deal to re- record the whole thing with better means. Although some might say that the positive side of it is that is sounds like a real vintage obscure record from the early 70's!

Other possible criticisms are that in the long songs the different fragments do not always flow naturally enough into each other, and although sparkled with good stuff, the compositions lack that final leap from "promising" to "great".

Perhaps the most distinctive element is the voice of Jesus Filardi whose high pitch combined with the reverb applied may remind slightly of Jon Anderson, although the intonation is a mix of Jon's lyrical approach with the more theatrical style of Fish or Gabriel. The guitars are mostly Hackett-like but include some Howe-like flavours especially in some solos, while the keyboards are more in the PFM school. The bass and drums are average- low, not helped by the mentioned poor recording quality.

The lyrics are in english except for the last track and unlike in many other spanish bands, they are really well written and Filardi's pronounciation is good. An example of the goodwill put in this record despite the limited budget is that although the booklet does not include the lyrics, the CD came with a piece of photocopied paper with not only all the english lyrics but also spanish versions of each, which are not literal translations of the english ones, they tell the same underlying story but written in a totally different way, as proper lyrics written from scratch in spanish and not simple translations. It was clearly made by typewriter, cutting with scissors, glueing and photocopying.

The first 3 songs are collectivelly grouped as "The Day Before the Harvest". "Lagada" shows from the start what are we are going to find here: Hackettian soft Genesis from period "Trespass" to "Selling England" with some Yes and other early 70's influences. It features some guest violin fills which give it a welcome distinctive element.

"Virginal" is instrumental, a beautiful delicate duet of acoustic guitars, again very Hackett- Rutherford-like.

"To Die in Avalon" is again in the style of soft early Genesis although some guitar fragments may remind also of early King Crimson and there's a competent piano solo which could have been Keith Emerson.

The next 2 songs are grouped as "The Year of the Dream". "Limiar" is another short instrumental of Hackettian atmosphere, not bad but nothing special either.

The we have the 20 min suite "Landahl's Cross" which is another melting pot of vintage symphonic prog influences: early Genesis, lyrical Yes, King Crimson, Marillion's Grendel and so on. However this is not the great track you might expect by its lenght, it feels disjointed and lacks definition.

The last 2 songs are (or so I believe) the ones added in the Musea release. "Summit" is very good with a fantastic atmosphere reminding a bit of Genesis' "The Fountain of Salmacis" and another great Emersonian piano solo.

The album closes with "Nunca de noche" with lyrics in spanish, played in clean guitar arpeggios and the vocal melody. A nice uncomplicated song.

Recommended if you like this style of music, as long as you do not expect a masterpiece like Foxtrot and as long as you are a bit forgiving about the muddy production. Best songs for my taste "Lagada", "Virginal", "To Die in Avalon" and "Summit". Their next album is much better recorded but they lost the two main musicians David Aladro and Manolo Macia and changed their musical direction .

Gerinski | 4/5 |


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