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Gandalf's Fist - Road To Darkness CD (album) cover

ROAD TO DARKNESS

Gandalf's Fist

 

Neo-Prog

3.85 | 59 ratings

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JontyCollinson
4 stars I very recently discovered this band after one of their tracks was featured on the Covermount CD on latest issue of 'Classic Rock Presents: Prog Magazine' ? now simply called "Prog". I originally bought the issue on the strength of hearing a new track from north west proggers 'It Bites' and was pleasantly surprised to discover another Cumbrian group were featured ? Gandalf's Fist.

On the strength of the free track "Into the Dark", which to my ears sounded like jam-version of early Floyd, and was the second best track on the CD (after the new It Bites of course) - I downloaded the full album from iTunes and have thoroughly been enjoying the record with my morning stroll for the last couple of days.

The track "Emerald Eyes" sounds like the illegitimate child of 'Meddle' and 'Darkside' but yet carries it's own charm... I could put this track in my Floyd Playlist and to the unknown listener it would pass as some long discarded PF Demo.

...It defiantly sets the mood for the record and was what I was expecting after sampling the space-rock whisperings of 'into the dark' but there's a lot more to discovered here. With tracks like "the Council of Anderson" Gandalf's Fist start to carve their own sound ? awash with space-age synth, sci-fi lyrics and noodling guitar passages it really is a departure from the opening bars of the Emerald Eyes.

"Twilight at the gates of the prism moon" is a low-point to me ? experimental is all well and good but this track doesn't seem to progress the album, in fact in comparison to brilliant later tracks such as "Road to Darkness" and "Sulphur highways of Io" (both returning to the Floyd influences for brief sections) "Twilight...seems to be a bit of a let down".

No matter though because the shortest song on the album is also the best ? "Assorted Lunatics" - this song leaves me hanging for more ? seriously I wish these guys would hurry up and do a vinyl pressing of this album ? purely for this track. Twangling guitars, weeping leads and clever lyrics sum what I believe to be a very interesting release.

Some may find some sections too derivative ? I've heard this applied to a few bands lately, notably crippled black phoenix and Astra ? but for me it's refreshing to see some of these new young groups coming through showing some great influences and tributes to the prog days of old ? these guys are defiantly not trying to be the next "Oasis" that's for sure!

P.S. ? Special mention to track 7 - what the jove is this? Folk ballad? Heavy metal? Why are there pirates at the end?? Very Strange indeed... but then again ? I kinda like strange!

JontyCollinson | 4/5 |

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