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The Violet Hour - The Fire Sermon CD (album) cover


The Violet Hour


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5 stars My first contact to THE VIOLET HOUR ? Well, I saw this wonderful group as a support-act on german-tour together with Marillion. I buyed CD - as fast as possible - directly after the concert. Unfortunately, "The Fire Sermon" is the only - and meanwhile deleted (thanks to SONY) - longplayer from THE VIOLET HOUR. I'm still very sad about this matter, it's a waste of huge potential.

This group is very difficult to classify. I really don't know 'till now, but "neoprogressive" doesn't seems to fit this kind of style perfectly. Nevertheless, THE VIOLET HOUR are playing with a very progressive touch, but it's not really prog-rock. The album is well-stocked with some folk elements, but you cannot call it folk-prog. So, I will call it "Dream-Prog" ;-) Why ? Because the album is full of wonderful warm moments. It's building up a melodic, melancholic, emotional, unique and independent atmosphere, featuring great and very catchy female voices of Doris Brendel. A perfect CD for your personal "calm down" after a long hard working day. After all these years now, there's still something magical around this album. It never lost it's charm. "The Fire Sermon" is one of my personal all-time-favourites in my collection.

Buy this album, if you can get it, it's a timeless masterpiece and a lost pearl.

Report this review (#63927)
Posted Monday, January 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have to agree with the first reviewer. A group difficult to classify and I've to add, with a hauntingly beautiful album. Shame I didn't have the opportunity to see them live in action but a friend of mine did and that's the way I got in touch with The Violet Hour.

After all these years the album is still in the top 5 of my favourites and I discovered two single cd's with some extra songs. 1 CD (3 tracks) featuring Falling, The House and In Control. 1 Cd (tracks) featuring Could have been, Haunting you and Cross the line. In Control and Cross the line both rock edged and Haunting you as a dreamy haze and a touch of sixties psychedelic rock.

Doris Brendel has a strong, warm and raw voice. The songs are of great structure and melody. Strong and yet fragile, best of both worlds. From fairytale to day-to-day life, as in music and lyrics. Always catching the right spirit. Everything is just right, string arrangements, drums & percussion, keyboards, flutes. But also attention for the whole concept. CD inlay, drawings, clothing and presentation (as I heard from my friend was great!!).

Picture perfect, pity it didn't last. But there's still the album, buy it!

Report this review (#70505)
Posted Saturday, February 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Great band,great music,great vocals..a lot of But..sorry this is not prog rock...farly prog related. ¿Folk Rock,Blues Rock,Pop Rock maybe...?

The energy and quality of this band is remarkable,with vocals simmilar to Janis Joplins. I find a little simmilarity with Heart best classic albums You must get this album if you really like classic rock specially in the folk or blues vein.. But if you are looking for a great neo prog band you will be disapointed.Short songs,little keyboards,less progression in each song. I think it is only a matter in the kind of rock music insertion..and that is why i sometimes don,t understand Progarchives prog definitions ¿Why for example the very good neo prog or symp.prog album Cannata Mysterium Magnum is not incorporated? ¿Why Saga is considered prog related and not symph-the classic- or neo prog -the modern-?

Well ..then.. this album in the general prog rock area is for 5 stars but in the neo prog area 2.5.

Report this review (#190633)
Posted Thursday, November 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Fire Sermon is the first and only album released by UK outfit The Violet Hour, a band that imploded due to lifestyle and musical differences just as they had started to aquire a fanbase back in 1991. Almost 20 years later their CD is nearly impossible to get hold of, and long suffereing fans will be pleased about the recent reissue of this disc, with a few bonus tracks attached for additional value.

Dreamy, atmospheric music venturing back and forth between art rock and mainstream rock is what's served up here, with the former the most notable efforts. Opening track Dream Of Me in particular, but also the Beatles-tinged venture The Spell and the Joplin-goes-arty take of Better Be Good are all brilliant tracks, efforts that has withstood the test of time and comes across as true classics.

The rest of the material isn't half bad either, showcasing a talented act that sadly never got the chance to evolve, but first and foremost the amazing vocals of Doris Brendel. Not yet fully developed as a singer at this stage in my opinion, nevertheless a truly skillful performance from her on this production, singing with a raw passion that makes it easy to understand the comparisons made with one of the greatest female vocalists ever: Janis Joplin.

Overall a recommended album, and highly so if you have a soft spot for skilled, powerful female lead vocals.

Report this review (#269343)
Posted Wednesday, March 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Better be good

With such an intriguing album title, such a gloomy sleeve picture and such a strong opening track, I just had to check out The Fire Sermon by The Violet Hour. Vocalist Doris Brendel is a truly gorgeous woman with an absolutely gorgeous voice and the eight minute plus opener Dream Of Me is a simply wonderful piece of mellow, progressive music. The exquisite flutes, the haunting violins, the atmospheric ambiences, the emotional and distinctive vocals and a strong melody make Dream Of Me a wholly satisfying experience. The rest of the album is, however, a disappointment after this strong opening. Apart from Dream Of Me, very little here can be considered progressive. Rather, we have here a collection of Beatles-esque Pop tunes, dreamy Pink Floyd-ish vibes and melancholic, piano-based ballads with folky touches. The occasional song approaches the more rough Rock of the likes of The Who, all with a contemporary 90's feel. Most of the tracks run for four to five minutes and they stick rather closely to conventional song- structures. The occasionally raspy voice of Brendel has been compared to that of Janis Joplin and that is not at all out of place.

The band toured with Marillion during its short existence and they are about as interesting from a Prog perspective as Steve Rothery's own side-project The Wishing Tree which also featured female vocals and folky Pop. The association with Marillion is probably what put The Violet Hour in the Neo-Prog category, but Prog related or, at best, Crossover Prog would probably make a better fit for this band. The high quality of the material is what pushes this album up to a three star rating for me.

Recommended for those who can enjoy good music that is not necessarily Prog

Report this review (#302407)
Posted Wednesday, October 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This intriguing band sounds to me a lot like a mixture of the approach of All About Eve with various prog giants such as Genesis, Pink Floyd, and Marillion. This fusion was not quite unique to The Violet Hour - at around this time, All About Eve were slipping some awfully Marillionesque motifs here and there into their sound - but The Violet Hour lean heavier on the prog side than their goth-folk side, though that's present enough to give them a unique sound.

Lead singer Doris Brendel's vocals sound a lot like All About Eve's Julianne Regan, with a bit of Kate Bush popping in here and there, whilst lyrically the approach ranges from fashionable indie slice-of-life stuff to more esoteric fare. In particular, when things creep into realms of fantastical allegory, the lyrics suggest Peter Gabriel's Genesis-era approach. With a musical backing that combines the best of the prog and goth-folk scenes, the album becomes a unique treasure which is well worth hunting for.

Report this review (#605576)
Posted Sunday, January 8, 2012 | Review Permalink

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