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Druid - Toward The Sun CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.47 | 134 ratings

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3 stars Released in 1975, 'Toward The Sun' was the debut release from British group Druid, a symphonic progressive rock act whose quintessentially-English sound bore a strong resemblance to the early-1970s works of their much more famous genre mates Yes, an observation that has seemed to dog that band throughout their sadly rather brief career(just check out the other reviews for this album on this very website). Featuring a singer(called, simply, 'Dane') with a high-pitched, almost boyish Jon Anderson-like vocal style, a bassist(Neil Brewer) who likes a nice, deep twang effect, not unlike a certain Chris Squire, to eminate from his four-string and a dominant keyboard, mellotron and moog player (Andrew McCrorie- Shand), Druid's sound seems rooted in the fabric of 'Fragile', 'Close To The Edge' and 'Tales From Topographic Oceans', just with a less rocky vibe. The music is by no means bad, and on songs such as the maudlin 'Voices' and the achingly ethereal 'Dawn Of Evening', the group even achieve a level of symphonic prog that almost matches their musical overlords. The real pity is that, wherever and whenever Druid are mentioned, whether it be in a print review, a conversation in a pub or song played on a radio station, he name Yes will never be far behind. The reasons become startlingly evident once the first thirty seconds of 'Voices' have been played, but unlike many clone groups there is much merit to the Druid sound. They also aren't the only group accused of taking Yes' music a bit too literally, as Us proggers Starcastle, and another English group, England, have also tried to emulate the quicksilver Yes sound, usually without too much commercial success. However, those fans who have exhausted the Yes discography and are hungry for more symphonic thrills should definitely check out 'Toward The Sun', an album that twinkles with a lightly-ambling and gorgeously-harmonic(though highly unoriginal) album that features excellent production. Druid's second album 'Fluid Druid' would find the group edging towards a less enthralling and more commercially-viable sound, though still with the Yes-isms firmly attached. If you like your progressive rock light-and-airy, and you don't mind a touch of harmless plagiarism, this decent release should be right up your street. But don't expect it to be 'Close To The Edge'. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2011
stefro | 3/5 |


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