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Landmarq - Solitary Witness CD (album) cover





3.33 | 63 ratings

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kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars It has been a long time since I put this CD on the player, far too long, and it is like returning to an old and trusted friend. Landmarq were formed out of the ashes of Quasar by Steve Leigh and Uwe d'Rose (Steve had previously taken over the keyboards in Chemical Alice when Mark Kelly left to join some outfit called Marillion), along with ex-Quasar vocalist Bob Daisley. Bassist Steve Gee was next to join and after writing a host of material they called on Dave Wagstaffe to complete the line-up. Just as they were recording a demo for Dutch label S.I. Bob decided to leave, and replacement Rob Lewis-Jones didn't want to commit himself. The band now had a deal but no singer! Tracy Hitchings (also ex-Quasar!!) wanted to join the band but the label was loath to have her in a band so soon after releasing her solo album. Luckily Karl Groom (who was engineering the album) had the perfect solution in the vocalist he was working with on another project, Damian Wilson.

Damian is to my ears one of the finest male rock singers this country has produced, and when he joined, the band were ready to set the prog world alight. 'Solitary Witness' was an impressive debut, released in 1992. It combines strong keyboard-led prog with good guitars, intricate melodies, and soaring vocals. Opener "Killing Fields" powers away while "Foxing The Fox" always reminds me of a powerful rushing taken of "Blood On The Rooftops". Clive Nolan and Karl Groom produced the album at Thin Ice and Clive also helped out by providing the lyrics to some of the songs. Landmarq never forget that they are a rock band, and the crisp clean lines of their music cut through much of the over-dramatised music of the time. Even now it has a great deal to offer, and the fact that it has long been unavailable surely means that many will pick up this reissue, featuring as it does a different version of the album highlight "St Helens Suite". I can remember watching the band at The Standard where they were joined by Tracey and Clive, with Clive reading his own lyrics out of the booklet as he couldn't remember them!!

Originally appeared in Feedback #69, Aug 02

kev rowland | 4/5 |


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