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The Minstrel's Ghost - The Road To Avalon CD (album) cover


The Minstrel's Ghost


Crossover Prog

3.73 | 82 ratings

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3 stars A year after ''Dream Things True'' Blake Carpenter (aka The Minstrel) returned with an ambitious work entitled ''The Road to Avalon''.For this reason he recruited a group of talented musicians like bassist Troy James Martin, The Flower Kings' drummer Zoltan Czorsz, guitarist Richard Baysinger and Gandalf's Project's keyboardist Marco Chiappini.Unfortunately Baysinger's schedule prevented him from carrying on with the recordings and Carpenter brought in Corvus Stone's guitarist Colin Tench.Eventually the second album of The Minstrel's Ghost sees the light in late-2012, both as a digital release and as a CD on Melodic Revolution Records (featuring the great artwork of Ed Unitsky).

The story of this work dates back in early-00's, when Carpenter wrote a 12-min. song entitled ''Avalon'', which he had the chance to perform live with his band Ogma in 2003.Two years later Carpenter re-wrote an extended version of this track and started recording it with the help of a local guitarist, but again this project led nowhere.Finally, through The Minstrel's Ghost, Carpenter refined these ideas into a long proggy experience.

''The Road to Avalon'' is everything a Classic Prog fan can dream of and, despite the evident influences and strong resemblances to famous Prog bands, holds all the right components of a good Progressive Rock album.It contains semi-long and short compositions, balanced between epic instrumental themes and sensitive vocal explorations, with a bit of accesibility through the way to make things a bit easier and the overall style comes like a cross between THE FLOWER KINGS, Dutch outfit US, MANGALA VALLIS and early MARILLION.Of course the album offers huge references to Classic Prog acts such as GENESIS, YES or even KANSAS at the most rhythmic parts.The arrangements are tight with tons of multi- layered synthesizers (MARK KELLY's early style comes constantly to mind) and lovely piano textures in a very good performance by Chiappini, supported by a confident rhythm section and melodic guitar themes, often with a ROINE STOLT-kind of approach.The overall style sounds very atmospheric and epic with some nice symphonic atmospheres, containing a strong melodic content, while Carpenter's voice recalls a bit BERNARDO LANZETTI's warm, GABRIEL-esque color.

This one ranges from quite decent to simply great moments.Moving a bit away from the influences possibly would deliver an even more fascinating work but again I can see no fan of Neo/Symphonic Prog, Retro Prog or Melodic Prog who will not enjoy this ambitious offering.A very cool 2012 Prog entry that comes strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

apps79 | 3/5 |


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