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Jethro Tull - The Broadsword And The Beast CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

3.30 | 689 ratings

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3 stars JETHRO TULL's best era ended with Stormwatch in 1979. Albums like A (80) and Under Wraps (84) are generally considered among their poorest, but between them came an album that many fans respect, despite the fact that it marked a new sound featuring layers of synths, that stay quite on the background, however - and hardly any flute. There were changes in the line-up, for example Pete-John Vettese arrived on keyboards. I admit I don't like that sound as much as the one in e.g. Songs From The Wood (78), but it doesn't manage to ruin this album either. Here and there the synths actually help to create strong atmospheres, most obviously on 'Seal Driver'.

What saves this album is the level of songwriting. Some songs are weaker, what else, but on the whole it's an energetic, at times hard rocking and adventurous (almost fantasy-spirited like the great cover art) cycle of songs with strong Celtic Folk flavour, even if the sound is sadly less folky. It's perhaps too easy to imagine this album being much better if its sound reminded Songs From The Wood or Heavy Horses, and Anderson played more flute, and maybe with less heavy drum sound, and so on. But then also its uniqueness in the JT discography would diminish.

My favourite tracks: of the faster ones, 'Clasp' and 'Pussy Willow', then there's 'Slow Marching Band', an anthem-like finale of the first vinyl side; the aforementioned 'Seal Driver'; and the brief little epilogue 'Cheerio'. Judged against the time, the early eighties, a fairly good album and frankly better than many later JT albums, but of course there are numerous classic JT albums I would recommend before this one. 3- stars.

Matti | 3/5 |


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