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Jethro Tull - A Passion Play CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

4.05 | 1665 ratings

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Hector Enrique
Prog Reviewer
4 stars The road ahead for Jethro Tull, after the consecutive releases of their major works "Aqualung" and, above all, "Thick as a Brick", was more than challenging. In this scenario, the release of "A Passion Play", the band's sixth album, generated controversy due to the theatrical approach of the proposal and the subject matter, dealing with sensitive themes such as life after death, and the eternal dichotomy between good and evil. And the sensation that haunts the album is that it tries to go further in the level of complexity with respect to "Thick as a Brick", resulting in a conceptual work of similar structure, but more intricate and at times of choppy fluidity.

The reflections of the troubled Ronnie Pilgrim, the main character, now out of the animated world and in a flashback of his life confronted with himself and his post-mortem destiny between heaven and hell going through the ordeal of purgatory, serve as an excuse to appreciate how consolidated the band was at that point in their career, separating the story of "A Passion Play" into two parts.

Part 1 describes Pilgrim's funeral and the review of his earthly years, highlighting Anderson's acoustic guitars accompanied by John Evan's classical piano and synthesizers in passages like "The Silver Cord" (including Anderson's sax) or in the brief "Re-Assuring Tune"; and standing out in between the demanding bent flutes of "Memory Bank", the intensity of the changing "Best Friend" and "Critique Oblique", and the closing with the crystalline magic of "Forest Dance #1".

And the amusing fable of the hare who lost his glasses narrated by Jeffrey Hammond's vocals and orchestrated by David Palmer, bridges Part 2 to pick up Pilgrim's story where it left off at the end of Part 1. Tempted into his final judgement by the demon Magus Perdé, Pilgrim begs and is given a new lease of life, with the powerful instrumental backing of the very progressive "The Foot of Our Stairs" featuring Evan in the lead, the melancholic beauty of the brief "10:08 to Paddington" and the distorted guitar riffs of "Magus Perdé", in one of Martin Barre's sporadic appearances on the album, before the work concludes with the circular "Epilogue".

Although its pieces have hardly been part of the band's live repertoire, "A Passion Play" is an excellent album and a must-have reference in Jethro Tull's discography.

4/4,5 stars

Hector Enrique | 4/5 |


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