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Camel - Mirage CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.39 | 2658 ratings

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Dark Nazgul
5 stars Time takes a cigarette.

After the promising debut, with the second album Camel definitely scored the goal. Compared to the first album the music becomes more complex and very satisfying to listen: sound is dominated by the beautiful romantic atmospheres made by electronic keyboards, masterfully played by Bardens, the enlightened leader of the band in this first period. The rhythm section turns out to be mature, despite the young age of Ward, for the construction of complex rhythms and constantly time sig changing. Latimer, who in the band is becoming more personality, is the protagonist of beautiful guitar solos and adds a flute to the instrument set. Just the addition of the flute will allow the band to create a relaxing atmosphere of romance, half way between Canterbury style and symphonic/pastoral prog.

The opening track, the unusually aggressive Freefall, immediately shows the most complexity in songs construction than the first album: After an introduction and a part sung by Latimer, various tempo changes and instrumental sections bring the song closer to the jazz-rock territories. Then, a reprise of the initial vocal part and a crescendo that lead to the final.

Supertwister is the instrumental that sees the debut of the flute. After an complex first half, in the middle we find the beautiful pastoral atmosphere, built by the flute and keyboards, that will become the classic sound of the band.

With the subsequent mini-suite in three movements Camel invite the listener to enter into Tolkien's Middle-Earth. Nimrodel (the river where the water has the power to refresh and regenerate those who immerses himself) and The Procession introduce The White Rider, dedicated to Gandalf, the wizard of "The Lord of the Rings". In this song we can find the usual melancholy moments typical of the style of the band with Latimer and Bardens in evidence in the instrumental parts. The uncertainties of the vocal parts (the group has no real role singer) are however offset by the tone of voice of Latimer, well suited for melancholy songs like this one, and by the very beautiful melodies.

Earthrise begins with a delicate guitar arpeggio by Latimer and continues with beautiful instrumental twists. After a brief drum solo the band speeds up and the rhythm section plays a starring role. Great solos by Bardens on synthesizer and Latimer on guitar.

The final mini-epic Lady Fantasy is my favorite song. The introduction with aggressive synth and guitar is followed by a wonderful instrumental duet between Latimer and Bardens. Then the delicate vocals definitely refers to the Canterbury sounds. The song continues beautifully, with a solo by Bardens as simple as beautiful (the sound of the keyboards reminds to Caravan) and then, with continuous changes of rhythm, lead to the center section. This is absolutely my favorite part: the short solo by Latimer at minute5.11 is stunning (it's a brief and very simple sequence of notes, showing that, also in prog rock, for doing well is not necessary to do something complicated). This amazing piece continues with the usual delicate tones until the final crescendo, one of the most exciting moments of the record.

Without doubt a great album, one of the best record of Camel and a masterpiece of prog rock. If you like symphonic rock (especially Genesis and Yes) or the melodic bands of Canterbury like Caravan, you like also this one. My rating is only 9/10 because of some uncertainties in the vocal parts. Howewer, this is really a five star album.

Best song: Lady Fantasy

Dark Nazgul | 5/5 |


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