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Sahara - Sunrise CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.73 | 40 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
5 stars 4.5 stars really!!!

What a change an album makes! Having suffered the departure of keyboardist Stadler, but added an extra guitarist, Englishman Nick Woodland (from Gift), the group changed its name from the strange and unfitting Subject Esq to the more concise Sahara and whatever adventure this new name promised. But the best thing happening to the band is the arrival of ex-Out Of Focus keyboardist Hennes Herring on many different keyboards. Coming in a superb gatefold with a fiery artwork, the album was released on a small German label Pan (Ariola), but also was distributed on the UK on the Dawn label in early 74. Now a sextet, Sahara develops a varied prog sound, sometimes veering classical, sometimes jazz, and at others, bluesy

Starting wildly on ultra quick guitar riff, Marie Celeste (a boat) quickly drops the horns and brings on the church-like organ in a quieter movement, when a sax blows its soul out and the boat sails many different and turbulent musical weather changes. The weaker Circles, country-folk track that shouldn't have crossed the ocean with those indispensable GI stationed around the country, but it's more folk than country, but it sticks out like a sore thumb from the rest of the otherwise near-perfect album. The following Rainbow Rider is a moody track that delves into jazz, after a piano intro and a fast-paced verse, then giving us an excellent 8-minutes track, if you'll pardon the all-too-predictable repeated choir line at its end-section

If the first side is nowhere near perfection, the flipside with its side-long title track is one of the best multi-movement epic suites ever, certainly one of the most varied: from electronica to classical, but mostly their own typical rock music that has its own sound and cannot be easily pigeonholed to classic UK prog bands. This 27-minutes+ affair (!) is head-twisting, skull-numbing, mind-blowing, will-bending, nerve-wracking, hair-pulling, eye-tearing, ear-piercing, breath-taking, sinus-emptying, throat-clearing, mouth-watering , etc..; and that's just to mention what is does to your upper extremities. And the amazing feat is that the track gets better and better to reacj its apex around the end of these 27-mins+.

Definitely one of the best "trad-prog" (this means more or less symphonic, but there is so much more to it than that) album out of Germany along with the first Grobschnitt album, Herring's OOF heritage did bring the extra touch that the band needed to become excellent instead of merely good.

Sean Trane | 5/5 |


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