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Starcastle - Starcastle CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.15 | 150 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Of all of the progressive rock bands to take more than a few hints from Yes, Starcastle is arguably the most famous - or infamous, if you prefer. Especially on their self-titled 1976 debut, these American proggers have been noted time and time again as a mere Yes ripoff. While that statement is almost undeniably correct, any band that can convincingly sound like Yes is worthy of a few points in my book. Starcastle is an incredibly tight and precise group of musicians with a knack for creating memorable progressive rock compositions, and in spite of their total lack of originality, they deliver their style with complete confidence. Although this album derives far too much from Yes' sound for my liking, you'll have a tough time finding many American prog albums from the mid-seventies' on par with Starcastle.

Though it's a fairly well known fact that Starcastle sounds a heck of a lot like Yes, it is pretty amazing how well these guys have mastered every fine aspect of Yes' sound. Everything from the masculine basslines to the vast keyboard palette immediately transports the listener back to the golden age of symphonic prog, and for fans of the genre, this record should provide plenty of great listens. The album opens up with the excellent "Lady of the Lake"; while the strength of this opus is never reached again, the rest of the album is pretty great as well. The instrumental section in "Forces", in particular, is also a major highlight.

Starcastle may have mastered every fine aspect of Yes' sound with this debut, but that ultimately doesn't shake the feeling that this album is just a second-rate version of the real thing. The emotional plateaus achieved by masterpieces like Close to the Edge and Relayer are rarely found on Starcastle; while I do find myself having a spectacular time when the album is playing, it doesn't leave the same mark that Yes' best works deliver so brilliantly. With that said, it's still worth noting that this is one of the essential American prog albums of the seventies', and all die-hard Yes fans should mark this as an absolutely mandatory purchase. The derivative nature of the music keeps Starcastle from being truly excellent, but I do still think this is a very good album indeed. 3.5 stars is a pretty fair score in this case.

J-Man | 3/5 |


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