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Gandalf's Fist - From A Point Of Existence CD (album) cover


Gandalf's Fist



3.69 | 67 ratings

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3 stars "From a Point of Existence" delves even deeper into the classic prog concept album theme that made our genre so polarizing, exalting some, exasperating others. I particularly enjoyed Gandalf's Fist's previous "Road to Darkness" and its "Wizard of Oz" imagery, a delectable album of wholly entertaining music, worthy of many immediate returns (the ones that make it to the automobile audio system, as I do have 6 speakers in my new Civic) . This is an evolution of sorts, denser, less obvious Floydian aromas abound, inserting old- school prog moves (see Gryphon, Deep Purple, Tull, The Doors, Gentle Giant, Ant Phillips etc..) but unqualifiedly exalting in a myriad of ways, with a few head scratches to keep one on edge.

Pastoral beginnings as the acoustic guitar takes the spotlight, surrounded by leafy adornments, introduce the story of William Small, a personage that will meander through the storyline, unabated. Ice cream maker by trade and lost soul by psychedelic standards, the tale weave its merry path, through a byzantine labyrinth of moods, styles and musical expression. The title track is a 16 minute+ mini-epic that takes hold right away and never lets go. The tracks are drenched in deep atmosphere featuring breezy singing from a fastidious voice in Luke Severn, with burnished instrumental enhancements ranging from the fragile to the frenetic. Dean Marsh is unafraid to keep the pot boiling, severing the existing tight parameters of Neo-prog with heavy space contours, in way like a milder Hawkwind, veering into distant realms and back to the comfort zone, seemingly at will. So was "Obscuration" and "Ascencion", so the aptly named "Purgatory" rages into meatier rock contours, rowdy mellotron and tactile synths howling behind the riffing guitars. This is no angelic realm, so unconditional is the pounding. On the next subsection, "The Fall" the melancholia is chaotic, almost paranoid and definitely lysergic, like a heavy- prog "Yellow Submarine" with balls. This will take a few sittings to absorb, a little bit too harsh for my lately romantic moods but great music, without a doubt.

"Gathering Clouds" is perhaps closer to the Road of Darkness sessions, sounding almost like a compliment to the sparkling "The Council of Anderson", it being the highlight track of their young career, in my opinion. But the tone is heavier, brasher and nastier, as if the band wanted a harder sound. Mind you, a gathering of clouds can often be an ominous affair, so they are sticking to their guns. There is a slight hint of 'Locomotive Breath' in the verses, sounding very early 70s and mind-numbing the listener into some form of submission. A clear guitar solo swerves into sudden hysteria, bluesy and rabid, flexible yet linear, finishing off hot and bothered (the way a darn prog solo should be!).

"There and Back Again" just does not do it for me, never a fan of overtly American-style pop balladry. But others do enjoy this. So be it but the Lynyrd Skynyrd dual axe blowout leaves me ill at ease. Not their style and it does not firt seamlessly into the mix. "Crestfallen" booms along like some fiery Exocet missile, nowhere nearly as gigantic and symphonic as the Anathema song of the same name but settles in compellingly into some danger zones. Good but not as great as I was hoping "Monolith" as the name implies keep the mood salty and sweltering, wallowing in a thundering surge of psychedelia, becoming the best of the last three tracks by a mile, with a comfortable repetitive riff that marches along obediently. My favorite track here.

The title track part 2 continues where the first left off, heavy machinery barreling down the prog highway, a 13 minute + stretch of that restates the original craziness but the style is not that far removed from more metal acts and that's what bothers me. It's just not my cup of tea, so I won't even criticize it, wholly unwarranted on my behalf.

Nice cover work. .

I definitely prefer "Road to Darkness" only because I have listened to it so many times, knowing it almost by heart and adoring it so. This heavier offering stays the course and is a pleasant addition to the previous masterpiece but I doubt very much it can ever hope to surpass it.

I guess it may need a few more spins......

3.5 wee Liam Chromosomes

tszirmay | 3/5 |


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