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Shadowland - Ring Of Roses CD (album) cover

RING OF ROSES

Shadowland

 

Neo-Prog

3.57 | 75 ratings

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progaeopteryx
Prog Reviewer
2 stars I read a few reviews that raved about Shadowland's Ring of Roses being a masterpiece, so I put it on my list of things to be on the lookout for. I finally got my hands on it and gave it a listen. Something is not right. So, I listened to it again. Nope, something still isn't right. So I looked over the cover. Yep, looks like Shadowland's Ring of Roses. I gave it another spin and something still didn't feel right. So I got online and made sure I had the same track listing. Yes, this is indeed Shadowland's Ring of Roses. But it sure as hell isn't a masterpiece.

Shadowland is a clear example of the worst of the neo prog genre. Too much power-pop fluff. Take the most pop-like songs from Pallas, Jadis, Saga, Marillion, and Asia, and what you have is Shadowland's Ring of Roses. Even the 11+ minute Jigsaw is a pop song that goes on for 11+ minutes! I was amazed that someone would even do something like that!

What made things worst for me was that I highly regard Clive Nolan's talent as a keyboardist. But on Ring of Roses, he just provides atmospheres and shows very little of his talent. If you're expecting the spectacular work he has done with Arena, you will be sorely disappointed with Ring of Roses. What surprised me about Nolan was that I didn't know he could sing. He does a fairly adequate job of it, too, but it isn't enough to save this disc for me.

Ring of Roses also features guitarist Karl Groom from Threshold. Having never listened to any music from Threshold, I can't really comment on Groom's performance in that regard. On Ring of Roses, Groom does a nice job (although he often sounds like Steve Rothery), but again can't save this disc from its mediocrity. Neither can Ian Salmon's bass playing (future bassist for Arena), which is simply average here.

The only song keeping me from giving this one star, is the nicely done Hall of Mirrors, timing in at 14:23. This is the only departure for the group from their aforementioned pop fluff. It goes through various movements, mostly resembling Genesis and IQ, maybe even a little precursor to Arena. It's a really nice song and it's too bad it's surrounded by such awful crap.

I can only recommend this for fans of Shadowland or Clive Nolan (but you really will be disappointed with Nolan's performance), or if you're a neo prog historian in search of a complete discography. Otherwise, avoid. Two stars.

progaeopteryx | 2/5 |

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