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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) - The Empire And The Rebellion CD (album) cover

THE EMPIRE AND THE REBELLION

Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)

 

Various Genres

3.65 | 12 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

CCVP
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Could have been a lot better

Having a number of albums idealized, organized and released by the Finnish progressive rock magazine Collossus, most of which contain some of the most expectacular music to ever grace my ears (such as Odyssey, Three Samurai and Spaghetti Epic 3), I was very enthusiastic about acquiring this album, at the beginning of 2011; I mean, the concept was interesting enough, the samples around the web were promissing as well, so why not have yet another from this well accomplished magazine?

Starting with the physical qualities of this album, I must say that the booklet has the standard Colossus projet quality and dedication put into it: being nearly as thick as it possibly could be and hardly fitting in the acrylic case, the booklet contains descriptions of all kinds, musician's impressions on the theme, photographs and lyrics as well as their testimony on the "making of" of the album. If there is anything that could be put in that, it's there. Being on an era when less and less time and effort are put into making an actual physical copy of an album, it is very nice, to say the least, to see such amount of work put on the booklet alone!

The theme of the album revolves around the first of the Star Wars movies (which now happens to be the fourth), entitled (now) Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, following the story exactly as showed in the film.

As for the music, I don't believe I could be as complimentary as I was with the booklet. Not because it is bad, but because it isn't nothing but average. Yes, in all 77:51 minutes of music. Throughout the whole album you have the impression that the songs were stretched for as long as possible, aiming for the elongation of songs that were already finished in order to make the album bigger; I can constatly hear lines randomly being put where they both don't belong and don't make sense, being the epic The Rebellion Suite the biggest example of this.

There are, however, songs that do not sound like that, however few they are, being them the Astral Prelude , Meeting the Force , Two Suns , My Tears for Alderaan , clocking for about 20 minutes, less than a third of the whole issue! Coincidentally or not, these songs are mostly short, at least for progressive rock standards, what makes the idea that the other songs were elongated stronger, in my opinion. In spite of that, every song have interesting ideas in them, what is able to renew your interest in them for every now and then and keeps you excited about the music, although there aren't any moments of brilliance, it just melts down to some of the same clichés that we have seen before.

As in other Collossus projects, the musical focus here is symphonic progressive rock similar to the bands of the 1970's. In the case of Empire And The Rebellion's music, that's mixed with some sprinkles of musical space themes (after all, the music is based around Star Wars), driven by keyboards, which usually take the forefront together with the vox, so there are plenty of organs, mellotrons and synthesizers through it all.

The musicianship and the production are mostly very professional and well processed. The instruments and voices sound clear, alive and bright. That's specially true for the "non-rock" instruments, such as the woodwinds, saxophone and bowed string instruments. The only exception is the bassit who, from time to time, manages to play off of time in a studio recording!

Rating and final thoughts

All in all, listening to The Empire and The Rebellion is an amusing experience: the music is enjoyable, the theme and how it is developed are interesting (if you know the film, you can literally watch it in your head as the music plays), but I feel that it falls short in a number of departments. Maybe if the album was some 10, 20 or even 30 minutes shorter, the experience would be much more fulfilling and enjoyable. There is also the problem with the number of clichés they employ, but that would require a much deeper change

For all that was said, 3 stars would be the most appropriate rating.

CCVP | 3/5 |

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