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Rick Wakeman - Journey To The Centre Of The Earth CD (album) cover

JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH

Rick Wakeman

 

Symphonic Prog

3.70 | 268 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Trotsky
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars While I can't fault his ambition in not choosing to repeat the brilliant Six Wives Of Henry VIII, the chart-topping Journey To The Centre Of The Earth is actually something of a letdown. Too much time is spent on narration and sweeping orchestral moments for my liking, and I am also not too convinced by the vocalists employed here. Nonetheless there are still enough sizzling Wakeman moments for me to turn to this album from time to time.

In some ways, this album is still amazing ... in between listens, I almost always forget that it is a live recording and the interaction between Wakeman, his rock band, the London Symphony Orchestra and The English Chamber Choir is pretty hard to fault!

But the compositional style is far removed from that of the album that preceeded it, and I feel that Wakeman's determination to give this album an epic feel backfired. It is divided into two parts (as per the dictates of the LP format) and each track is roughly 20 minutes in length (and the guy had the cheek to complain about the scale of Yes' Tales Of Topographic Oceans!).

The first part The Journey/Recollection has many lengthy narrative sections and a lot of atmospheric classical themes, but the main highlights are a melancholic synth melody around the 6 minute mark (built up by the chorale vocals of The English Chamber Choir) and the funky harpsichord sequence that starts up at the 13 minute mark (with a nice guitar solo from Mark Egan).

While the first half of the album promises much and delivers a little, the second part The Battle/The Forest is even weaker. There's an electric piano passage halfway through, some great synths three-quarters of the way through and some brassy bombast to conclude it all, but by and large, Wakeman was pleasant without being remotely intriguing.

Frankly, this album didn't even come close to the level I'd come in expecting. I consider it to be marginally weaker than The Alan Parsons' Project Tales Of Mystery And Imagination and distinctly less exciting than Jeff Wayne's War Of The Worlds (two other symphonic, narrative albums that always come to mind when I listen to this). In fact, this is my least favourite of Wakeman's classic trio of solo albums. ... 55% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 3/5 |

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