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Mike Oldfield - Amarok CD (album) cover

AMAROK

Mike Oldfield

 

Crossover Prog

4.06 | 543 ratings

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Rune2000
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
2 stars I might sound like a broken record by now, but I just can't understand why Mike Oldfield is as big as he is. By the time of this release he had already managed to neglect his '70s fans by playing a bunch of commercial New Age-flavored music all throughout the '80s and no one seemed to call him out for this. Then came a new decade and he suddenly shifted gear to the days of the past with the 1 hour long Amarok suite.

The early '90s was a tough period in Oldfield's career since he was just finishing off his contract obligations with Virgin Records and had a lot of pressure from the company to release another hit record. Among the biggest requests was a sequel to Tubular Bells which Oldfield felt reluctant to do, even though he did just that once he switched to Warner Music! So instead of all that, he chose to do exactly the opposite of what his record company wanted him to do and recorded a completely unmarketable 60 minute suite which could neither be released as a single nor was it radio-friendly since any stand-alone section of the album just didn't make any sense on its own.

But is it really as great as fans make it out to be? First off, let me state that, despite certain similarities, Amarok is not Ommadawn 2. Yes, both albums have some similarities but musically this release is miles away from the relatively smooth performance on Ommadawn. If anything, Amarok sounds more like a collection of short pieces that Oldfield most probably have gathered in his vault for some time now and finally decided to put together into one monster suite. Unfortunately this is exactly how this track plays like and no matter how much more time I'll spend on it, it will never lose this preconception of mine.

Even though I consider Mike Oldfield's '90s period a sort of new renaissance of his, Amarok is not an album that I can recommend to anyone but the already established fan base. The music here is way to abrupt and unstructured to hail it as one of Oldfield's best releases.

*** star songs: Amarok (60:04)

Rune2000 | 2/5 |

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