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Arabesque - Tales of Power CD (album) cover

TALES OF POWER

Arabesque

 

Symphonic Prog

3.50 | 20 ratings

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Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Arabesque: Tales of Power [2002]

Rating: 7/10

Arabesque was a virtually unknown symphonic progressive rock band active during a lengthy period in the 70s. Having never received a recording contract, they made numerous house recordings that never saw the light of day until they were released as Tales of Power in 2002. After listening to the quality material presented on this album, I lament the fact that this band never got contemporary attention. Arabesque's music is straight-up symphonic prog heavily influenced by Genesis, Yes, and Camel. Keyboard/guitar interplay, extended instrumental passages, fantasy-themed lyrics, and general epicness abound here. The recording quality is quite sub-par, considering that these songs were recorded live in a basement on primitive equipment. This doesn't stop the compositions from being excellent, however.

"An Epic: Krail Mountain" begins with some Gabriel-esque vocals (including a spoken-word section). The intensity builds up during a lengthy instrumental section of keyboard/guitar interplay. "Cobbler's Knob" is a superb medieval-sounding instrumental. The guitar work is given more attention here, and there's lots of unorthodox percussion (vibes, vibraslap, etc.) spicing the track up. "We (The Farmer Song)" features a catchy main hook and an excellent chorus. The bass has a stronger presence here than before. "The Forgotten Pond" is by far the shortest track here, clocking in at less than five minutes. This is another strong instrumental, with some oriental-sounding vibraphone. "As the Novelty Wears?" has a strong neo vibe. The vocals and the "waka-waka" guitar give a different atmosphere than the rest of the tracks, but it's still very good. I especially like the moments of bluesy guitar. "Arcanum of Atlantis" is probably the weakest track here. The vocals sound a bit off-pitch and muddy. It's still a solid song, though, and the conclusion is fantastic. The closer "Except for Dreaming" is supremely epic. The last four-and-a-half minutes are intense and brilliant, with quick tribal-style drumming and seamless guitar/keyboard interaction.

As excellent as Tales of Power is, it does have a few problems. The first is the aforementioned poor sound quality. It isn't a major problem, and it's actually quite impressive that it sounds a good as does considering the low-quality equipment, but better production certainly would have improved things slightly. The second problem is a slight lack of band identity. Although this album is not derivate by any means, it's clear that the band were still trying to carve out a specific niche for themselves. These are small gripes, though. This album has almost everything a symphonic prog fan wants, and the democratic interplay between the band members is particularly impressive. I would like to thank the holy internet for allowing me to come across this minor gem.

Anthony H. | 4/5 |

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