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Mainhorse - Mainhorse CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.72 | 76 ratings

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4 stars Mainhorse is a one-off proto-prog band best known for being the starting point for Patrick Moraz's fascinating career. The sole album reveals a Deep Purple Mark I/The Nice fixation, both in terms of Peter Lockett's lead vocals and the kind of keyboard-driven storming hard rock (although there's a hint of the Hocus Pocus bridge at one point) on offer. While it's arguable that for most prog fans, the main reason to listen to this would be to hear Moraz in Jon Lord like mode, I do believe Mainhorse to be original enough to be worthy of investigation on its own right, particularly if you are partial to the 60s acid rock scene.

Most of the shorter tracks like Introduction, Such A Beautiful Day and the jazz-tinted Basia are essentially heavy blues rock numbers, with Lockett's guitar freak outs involved in exchanges with some classical organ touches from Moraz (a nifty electric piano solo in Basia as well). Elsewhere the moodier Passing Years is an excellent dreamy acoustic track, while the instrumental More Tea Vicar starts off with some nice glockenspiel before another guitar freak out takes over and some appropriately "churchy" organs brings the piece home.

The real highlights of this album however are the two 10 minute epics Pale Sky and God. The former begins life as a mellow piece featuring Jean Ristori's cello and Lockett's violin that is held together by Moraz on organ. A burst of aggression ushers in lengthy, worthy acoustic guitar and electric piano solos ... it's all top stuff. God which is slightly less focussed a composition, moves from an atmospheric Gothic intro to an anthemic electric guitar jam and then another churchy vocal part ... "God is high above me" sings Lockett before a series of thrilling yet cleverly low-key solos dominate the song. Once again it's not just Moraz's keyboard that shines.

At first I used to categorise this album alongside Quatermass' only effort, thinking it only truly essential if you're into the keyboard playing of Lord and wanted to hear someone else doing a passable imitation. I've now come to appreciate it on its own terms ... it is a lost masterpiece of psychedelic rock with more than its share of progressive moments. Take the trouble to track this one down and then to let it grow on you ... you won't regret it! ... 71% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 4/5 |


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