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Winter - Across The Circle's Edge CD (album) cover

ACROSS THE CIRCLE'S EDGE

Winter

 

Neo-Prog

3.50 | 13 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
5 stars This is a review of the latest version of the EP, with the additional keyboards

In 1987, Winter came together as a band in Newtownards, Co. Down, with Johnny Lennie (vocals & lyrics), Rab Beggs (electric/acoustic guitars), Phil Murray (keyboards/additional vocals), Rick Loyer (bass guitar) and John Murphy (drums/percussion). They released this EP on vinyl on their own label in 1990, but what may not be known by many is that it was always just intended to be a demo (because of that there are occasional little timing issues or blips in there in one of 2 places) and the idea was that by using this they would be able to secure a recording deal and then record a complete album. During 1991, having not secured a recording deal, the band decided to attempt a tour of Holland rather than record new material. Murray and Murphy felt that the band should concentrate on writing and recording more songs, as the best means of securing a deal, so they decided to leave. Rab Beggs did tour with Winter in Holland but left after a few gigs and later formed rock groups Mr. Jinx and Native Sun with Phil Murray.

A new version of Winter, still with Loyer and Lennie, formed a new version of the band in London and the EP was remastered and released on CD by SI Music, and to this day is still an album I play regularly. Then, one day when I was perusing the web I discovered that Phil Murray had added keyboard parts that were missing from the original recording, and was making the EP available again. Of course I was soon in touch, and I am now listening to the 'new' version. I have to confess and say that it is almost impossible for me to write anything constructive about this. I saw the later line-up in concert three times, and right from the first I was blown away by the sheer onstage presence of Johnny combined with some of the most wonderful and powerful neo-prog I ever had the pleasure to witness. "Toybox" is just one of the greatest prog epics never to have been heard by many, and I wish for the day when someone discovers this lost gem and restores it to it's rightful place as one of the top in the prog canon. I know this album so very well indeed, that initially I found Phil's keyboards quite jarring as they weren't what I was used to, but the more I played this the more I fell in love with what he had done to the music. Bear in mind he hasn't actually added anything, but rather has replaced something that was missing from something that was never expected to be the finished article.

Many of the 'lost' bands of the Nineties have had their music reissued on CD, and I can only hope that the same fate befalls Winter as to my mind they were a band that had incredible potential and really should have been known by many more progheads. Maybe Phil would consider getting this pressed alongside the tracks that appeared on singles and tapes (it was the Nineties after all), or maybe adding some live recordings?

Sheer quality from start to finish, it is now possible to stream this from the website so if you are at all intrigued as to why I am creating so much fuss why not visit www.winteronline.co.uk and listen for yourself.

kev rowland | 5/5 |

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