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Arabesque - Tales of Power CD (album) cover

TALES OF POWER

Arabesque

 

Symphonic Prog

3.50 | 21 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Trotsky
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars With a ripple of organ appeggios an epic unfolds. And the epic tale is not just that of Krall Mountain, but that of this Arabesque album itself. Recorded over a period of years (from 1973-1979) this decent set of songs remained in the vault for a quarter of a century, only seeing the light of day in 2002. Remarkably Tales Of Power is on par with, and in the odd case, even stronger than, many more acclaimed lost American albums that I've heard.

Lead vocalist Budd Kelly (who is also the keyboardist) has a narrative vocal style that seems clearly influenced by Peter Gabriel, although his vocal timbre is closer to that of Dave Cousins of The Strawbs. Indeed the opening track An Epic - Krall Mountain seems like a multi-dimensional audition for a place in Trespass-era Genesis, with Kelly throwing in a fair bit of Banksian organ. There are also some decent synth moments and a bit of an overly frenzied guitar solo from August Smarra.

Other highpoints include We (The Farmer's Song) which is simply, a great rock song. Sure the sound may not have much depth (remember that this music sat on the shelves for a couple of decades), but the flow of the music and the melodies of keyboards, guitar and lead vocals are excellent. There's also As The Novelty Wears, which is more of a jazz-rock piece with Kelly moving to the electric piano, and the closer Except The Dreaming which has a mock-horror opening (they go through great lengths to create that sterotypical Gothic feel), then a gentle folk passage, and then a high octane jam to conclude it all.

It's not all plain sailing though. Like numerous other 70s symphonic American acts, Arabesque occasionally seem a little overly influenced by Yes. Also some of the songs could have used some editing. The instrumental Cobbler's Knob is definitely overlong. When it starts off with a nice little synth solo, one expects great things. One does not expect to have to listen to a series of mediocre passages for nigh on 11 minutes with scarcely any variation to speak off as keys and guitar alternate lead. Believe me the vibe playing of R.J. Ketterer doesn't add enough ... particularly during the last 6 minutes when a single riff just goes on and on!

Thankfully the other instrumental The Forgotten Pond is better, with a more memorable melody although even at just under 5 minutes, it seems to repeat itself, and indeed starts sounding a bit too much like Cobbler's Knob! Arcanum Of Atlantis is pretty decent and some great synth leads, but by this time, everything is a little too familiar.

Indeed, I must admit that I used to be a little bit more enthusiatic about this record. It's still pretty good, but I would definitely go for the essential Kansas, Utopia, Yezda Urfa, Pavlov's Dog and Cathedral albums before seeking this one out. ... 58% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 3/5 |

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