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Etcetera - Etcetera CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.51 | 5 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars First, self-released album of rather little known Danish band Etcetera seems to be their least popular recording. It's very obscure and almost impossible to find disk, so I'm not surprised that nobody reviewed it yet. So you can imagine my surprise when I found out that in fact it contains the best music Etcetera ever recorded! While their later albums were recorded in more experimental vain with prominent King Crimson, Gentle Giant and more avantgarde part of Canterbury Scene influences, their eponymous disk is recorded under clear symphonic (Camel, Yes, Genesis, ELP) meets melodic Canterbury Scene (Caravan, Egg) influences. To be honest their second album still incorporates all of those classic prog elements, but it's already more experimental and includes a bit too many modern elements for my liking (like overuse of digital synthesizers), so I highly recommend to start your adventure with this group's music by obtaining this self-titled recording. You won't regret!

Let's review those songs one by one:

1. "Dance of the Demons" - album begins with 3 part, 21 minutes long suite which is no doubt the best piece of music these guys ever pulled out from their instruments and throats. For me it's a real classic which sounds just like hidden gem taken from some forgotten 70's prog-rock dinosaur's discography. Most of instruments are the real thing here so everything sounds very authentic only only once we're "attacked" by high-tech synthesizer solo which is thankfully not so bad and not so long. Anyway it's a fantastic piece of art full of mid/slow tempo guitar, piano, flute & occasional saxophone passages and very fast, vital fragments with joyful Hammond organ solos and whaling electric guitar "exercises". Everything is very melodic and brings to my mind such bands as Caravan, Genesis, Camel and even ELP during aforementioned organ parts. "Dance of the Demons" is a mainly instrumental suite however about 15th minute we can listen to few singing verses which are really charming and melancholic. Truly recommended for 70s prog fans, it really doesn't sound like 90s music at all!

2. "Experience" - second suite in this album is 6 minutes shorter and also slightly weaker. It contains more vocal sections (with supportive female vocalist) and bigger amount of softer fragments with acoustic guitar, jazzy piano & saxophone. I'm also not so happy that Carvalho sometimes uses digital synthesizers here. But overall it's not a bad epic at all, we can witness some great pipe organ passages, energetic Hammond runs (even some funky-like, energetic solos!) and interesting jazz-rockish guitar parts too. In general it's decent composition but not as engaging as "Dance of the Demons".

3. "Camel" - after "Experience" suite, there are placed 2 live tracks. First one is called "Camel", but surprisingly it has nothing to do with classic prog rock band of this name. "Camel" is in fact very energetic instrumental composition with clear Eastern music melody. It's mainly guitar-driven heavy prog jam based upon this Arab-like melody line but we can also hear some booming Hammond in the background (as far as I'm concerned Frank Carvalho usually played both of these instruments in studio so I suppose during concerts he was supported by some additional musician...or he's 4 hands monster ;-). Not bad track but it's a pity that lots of fun is spoiled by rather poor recording quality with too loud and noisy guitar output.

4. "Enigma of Erses Tree" - 2nd concert track is mid-tempo prog-rocker a la Camel (I mean the band) called "Enigma of Erses Tree". It's not bad at all, lots of tricky, almost Fripp-like guitar passages, background keyboards & steady but a bit too loud drum work. Unfortunately vocal sounds terrible here, very unprofessional and out of key. I suppose that it can be also a problem of rather low recording quality. Anyway really good, melodic bass guitar solo included!

+ Bonus:

5. "Endelave" - as a bonus Etcetera included very nice 11+ minutes mini-epic full of gorgeous acoustic guitar melodies & background synthesizer/pipe organs. Together with Frank's warm vocals (or maybe it's Michael?) first 4 minutes sound almost like country music. However after this section music speed-up the tempo and becomes more aggressive. We can listen to some great Hammond organ, hard edged electric guitar and high-pitched Minimoog solos. After that tempo slows down again and we can hear charming flute melodies. Wonderful staff full of tempo & signatures changes which will sure please all prog-rock fanatics out there! Just like it pleased me :-).

To close this review I can only say few things: don't be discourage by almost complete lack of internet reviews of this debut album. It's hard to find, obscure disk which is more a semi-professional demo than a full-blown official release but I can assure you that you really need it if you're serious symphonic prog aficionado. While 2 live recordings here don't have perfect quality, 3 studio epics will surely please your ears. Whole Etcetera's discography is interesting, so if you like more experimental (KC meets Gentle Giant with a spoon of VDGG) approach you can immediately go and check their "Fin de Siecle" & "Tales of Ardour & Deceit" albums, but if you like good-old melodic symphonic/art rock with melodic guitar & wild organ/piano battles - "The Difficult Second" and especially just reviewed "Etcetera" disk should be your pick.

4 sold stars from ozzy_tom

ozzy_tom | 4/5 |


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