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Starcastle - Starcastle CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.15 | 150 ratings

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3 stars Oh my! Imagine being a really talented prog musician in the US in the mid 70s. Imagine meeting other such musicians. Imagine finding out that you are all fans of Yes. Imagine playing superb music together. Imagine recording it. Imagine playing it to your deaf grandma whose most recent musical investment was a coin given to an organ grinder's monkey. Imagine getting whacked around the side of the head by said ancient as even she instantly spots your shameless plagiarism!

Sorry, about that reverie. You'll have to forgive the imagination I put into it, because I found that I had to supply all the imagination when it comes to this record. Sure most bands have influences, and there are some bands who may project theirs a little too strongly (in fact Starcastle's compatriots Yezda Urfa and Cathedral both also suffered from a questionable degree of allegiance to the Yes cause), but very rarely do bands go through these lengths to imitate their idols (the other obvious example being Japan's Bi Kyo Ran whose King Crimson fixation was also too much!)

I honestly can't imagine (there's that word again) what must have gone through the minds of the musicians who made this. Because let me tell you, they are damn good musicians. But, why oh why, does every song here sound like a Yes outtake? Take Elliptical Seasons, great vocals from Terry Luttrell, outstanding acoustic guitar touches (I'm not sure if its Stewart or Haggler who did it) and some great keyboard lines from Herb Schildt. The problem is that Messrs Anderson, Howe and Wakeman had already done it before ... rather well I might add.

Taken on its own the music here is pretty darn good, and is probably better than half the albums Yes recorded ... but still this is one album that simply cannot be viewed in isolation. Songs like the blistering Lady Of The Lake, Forces and To The Fire Wind (Schildt's synth solo here is superb!) are damn good songs, but the lack of originality is unforgivable and frequently cringe-worthy. In To The Fire Wind, Luttrell even apes Jon Anderson faux-mystical lyrical mumbo-jumbo to perfection ... "In the impulse of daylight, those remaining will catch the sight, eager to renew their fight". To go public with such plagiarism is both unnecessarily flattering to Yes and a real disservice to the talents of the individual musicians who played on this album.

If you can forgive the clone band thing, this really is a good record, but I still struggle to understand what could possibly have made them do it. ... 52% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 3/5 |


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