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Jethro Tull - Benefit CD (album) cover

BENEFIT

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

3.90 | 696 ratings

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Sinusoid
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Maybe not an abrupt turn of styles, but to follow STAND UP with the gut check of BENEFIT will feel a little weird to those following Jethro Tull in some chronological order. BENEFIT is very much a hard rock album nearing proto-metal many times, probably a byproduct of Martin Barre getting comfortable as the de facto electric guitarist of the band. Speaking of comfortable, the lineup of the band technically didn't change between STAND UP and BENEFIT; while long time organist John Evan first showed up here, I believe Evan's role here was mostly on a session basis.

You could call this a precursor to AQUALUNG in many ways as it has those album's characteristics without an overlapping narrative. To be honest, I get a lot more enjoyment from BENEFIT than AQUALUNG, maybe because the songs here are more unpolished of gems even if many Tull fans hold this album in high regard.

Other than bits and pieces scattered throughout the album, the acoustic bits are kept to slightly more than marginal. Granted ''Sossity'' and ''Michael Collins'' are very acoustic based, but the meat of the matter is in the harder rocking tracks and how it sounds like if Tony Iommi did rub off on Ian Anderson's composing style (Iommi was a brief member of the band in earlier days). ''Son'' is just face-tearing with a stomping riff, as is ''Inside''. It's also how well the riffs segue from one to the next that warrant a sense of stability in songs. ''Inside'' plays with the notion very well and can keep you guessing the whole song.

Other strong highlights come in many forms. We have rock songs beefed up with Anderson's signature flute playing that give a sense of unorthodoxy (''Alive and Well and Living In'', ''Play in Time''), songs with excellent solo opportunities (''Nothing to Say'', ''To Cry You a Song''), and the overall highlight in ''With You There to Help Me'', a song that keeps the listener on the edge of their seat with well-executed and quick dynamic shifts.

BENEFIT ''benefits'' (BOO!) from not having as much wear on it as some of its neighbouring albums. If you're a prog rock fan looking for more bite, BENEFIT is waiting.

Sinusoid | 4/5 |

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