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Egdon Heath - Him,The Snake And I CD (album) cover


Egdon Heath



2.92 | 34 ratings

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3 stars The floating keyboards are what I loved the most about Egdon Heath. With two keyboard players on board, it's only natural the neo progressive sound gets dominated by the keyboards. When compared to other EH records, this one is slightly more accessible. Songs are shorter and more simplified with much more pop/rock ingredients but yet the band retains their full blown symphonic sound. Both this album and the next offering have Maurits Kalsbeek on vocals. His strong and sometimes aggressive vocal parts have some resemblances with the vocals of Freddy Mercury, Geoff Mann and Michael Sadler. A commercial sounding track like "Witness" is reminiscent to the best years of Saga. Kalsbeek puts a necessary amount of emotion in the music of EH. Nevertheless sometimes the sound of the vocals is too much on the fore. I suppose this is the reason for having difficulties in listening to the album all the way through. I usually select a pair of tracks to listen to at one time, not the whole album. Notable musical comparisons are the keyboard sounds of Rick Wakeman in the ABWH album and Tony Banks. When compared to earlier releases, the excellent guitar parts are sounding more emotional and virtuoso than ever before, really a joy to listen to.

"Gringo" is easily the highlight of the album. It gives me shivers down my spine. Especially the refrain is breathtaking. Both from a lyrical, emotional and a musical point of view. It seems like an outburst of desperate feelings someone may experience when being cast out of a society. The chorus gets emphasised by the massive keys, emotive guitar solo's and the sound of a kind of tubular bell. "Slightly in despair" is a typical tormented ballad but as such, it's capable of moving the listener quite well. I used to love "Satellite" for the many changes in the atmospheric sound and the idea's of paranoia in a global society in the lyrics. Nowadays the keyboard sounds terribly outdated and the voice is annoying. "Thousand stories" closes the album in style. This wonderful epic combines all the qualities of Egdon Heath. The track takes the listener through a series of different atmospheres varying from progressive to aor/metal, the closing part consists of a lovely ambient/classical atmospheres where the floating keys are present once again.

It's obvious that "Him, the snake and I is Egdon Heath most commercial offering. Even though it's been released in 1993, the eighties elements are undeniable but somehow disturbing nowadays. Still it's worth of checking out for the many moments of brilliance. Those who like Saga, IQ and in lesser degree : Marillion & Twelfth Night, should give this album a spin when they can get their hands on it.

Fishy | 3/5 |


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