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Gracious - Gracious ! CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.73 | 182 ratings

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Dark Nazgul
3 stars Mellotron Heaven.

This first Gracious album is a little classic of symphonic progressive rock, with many great moments and some loss of quality, especially in the long suite The Dream which is too inorganic and inconclusive, sometimes even boring. The other four tracks are in focus however, so I think that this album is a good deal for collectors of progressive rock music.

Introduction is an effective opening track, characterized by a catchy harpsichord theme followed by an aggressive guitar riff. Some little hesitation in the vocal parts are compensated by the excellent instrumental sections, including a great guitar solo.

Heaven deserves a separate discussion. I believe that the introduction of this track is one of the best things of all progressive. If you are mellotron fan and love the dreamy atmospheres that only this instrument can recreate (do you remember the ending of "Seven Stones" by Genesis, or "In The Wake Of Poseidon" / "Libra's Theme" by King Crimson?) then forget my rating and the number of stars I give. What you need to do is go by your music shop and buy the album. The vocals are just fair but what really makes the difference is the solemnity of the organ/mellotron intro followed by a majestic electric guitar part. (Fun fact: the song by the Italian '70s band Panna Fredda - which can also be found on progarchives - titled "Un Re Senza Reame" ("A King Without a Kingdom"), is nothing more that this intro takes note for note! Unfortunately the results aren't the same).

Hell is more experimental and aggressive with the ominous tones of the organ and several dissonances that are repeated along the track. There is a bit of everything in this piece, even a brief excerpt of Can-Can.

Fugue in D Minor is a piece for harpsichord in clear classic derivation. I'm not a great lover of this kind of songs where contamination with classical music is so evident, however, in the context of an album where the single tracks are so different from each other, it does not bother me much.

The final suite, The Dream, unfortunately is not up to previous tracks. It's a long song aged badly, at times confusing, with references to the Beatles ("Hey Jude") and to classical music (the introduction is "Moonlight" by Beethoven). Despite several plays I have never been able to appreciate it, finding it rather tedious and sometimes banal.

Highly recommended to mellotron lovers because of Heaven, as I already explained. For all others it is a good album, but not a masterpiece. If instead of The Dream there was "Supernova" (for those unfamiliar with Gracious, is the long epic of their second album) the rating was 4 stars. But here I can give no more than 3 stars. Final rating: 6/10.

Best song: Heaven

Dark Nazgul | 3/5 |


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