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Trion - Pilgrim CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.98 | 96 ratings

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Dark Nazgul
4 stars Sorry friends for the long dissertation on the bonus tracks!

"Pilgrim" is the second album of Dutch prog band Trion. It is totally instrumental and consists of eleven tracks and two bonus tracks.

I've never been a great lover of so-called "bonus tracks". I do not like re-releases on CD, including bonus tracks added to the songs that historically make up the album, especially when the albums in question are those of the classical era (the seventies) of progressive rock. Few years ago I recommended a friend (who did not know very much the prog rock genre) to buy the CD "Close To The Edge" to get an idea of the amazing music of Yes. Imagine my surprise when I had to explain that the songs were not seven but three, and the album ended with "Siberian Khatru". The CD reissue (I am not sure but I think it was the 2008 remastered edition) in fact, contained seven songs including "America" and other excerpts from studio rehearsals.

This kind of commercial operations completely distort the meaning of the message that the progressive music has spread in recent decades. In the context of rock music, progressive rock has always been regarded as the maximum expression of art. The intention of the bands of the 70s was to promote a true art form through rock music. Assuming that an object of art ought not to be modified by others, how you can reprint a CD by adding more songs than the original ones? it is like adding a few poppies and daisies to Van Gogh's "Sunflowers"! For this reason, when I do a review, I prefer to completely ignore the bonus tracks and I just express an opinion on the album considering only the songs in the very first issue.

Here, however, I must make an exception.

The heart of this album is in fact represented by a bonus track: the long instrumental epic Frank. Probably, as the band explains in the liner notes of the album, if it were not for the positive reviews of Frank, this album would not have been achieved, at least in a short time. Frank is a 22-minutes epic inspired by the eponymous character of Sergio Leone's movie "Once Upon A Time In The West", played by Henry Fonda. The song was recorded for a Musea / Colossus project who wanted to include it in the album "The Spaghetti Epic" (which I already did a review on this site). I do not know why the band decided to publish it as a bonus track and not in the ordinary list of songs, perhaps for contractual reasons with Musea / Colossus. The version included in "Pilgrim" is slightly different, surely better than the version of "The Spaghetti Epic" (a short section characterized by a larger footprint rock, that has nothing to do with the rest of the epic, was cut in the middle of the track). The song is really amazing, totally instrumental, and inspired by the 70s band (especially Camel and Genesis) with intelligent use of various keyboards (church organ, mellotron, sinth) and delicate acoustic guitar arpeggios. In the first part of the song dominates the solemnity of a church organ: then, after few minutes, the same organ chords are played again in a magical piano solo. The second half of the epic sees a great guitar playing. Excellent solos evoke typically western themes. In particular, the last amazing guitar solo gives me a lot of chills: if you love prog and also like the typical music of "Spaghetti Western" movies you'll appreciate very much this fantastic great finale.

The other songs are not at the same level of Frank. Listening to the album, the most obvious flaw that you feel is the sensation of being in front of a lot of musical ideas not fully executed: for this reason some songs, especially The Book, The Deep Ocean and A Dream are a bit inconclusive . Another negative aspect that characterizes "Pilgrim" is a little monotony, and perhaps the excessive duration. The atmosphere is, more or less, almost always the same, often characterized by slow rhythms and a classical pastoral calm (in the context of contemporary prog, Andrew Marshall, aka Willowglass, makes music in a very similar way). It also does not help the lack of a singer: the presence of vocals would certainly mitigate this monotony.

Despite some negative aspects the level of the tracks is generally quite good. Walk On Land and The Magnificent Forest for example, are very beautiful, with many parts reminiscent of Camel and magical mellotron and guitar parts. Pilgrim, Giant Man, How We Used To Go and Blue Shadows are other interesting songs.

Definitely, "Pilgrim" is a good album, if you love the symphonic genre, and the magical mellotron atmospheres. The quality of the sublime epic Frank allows to obtain one more star.

So, four stars and a final rating of 7/10.

Best song: Frank

Dark Nazgul | 4/5 |


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