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Sebastian Hardie - Windchase CD (album) cover

WINDCHASE

Sebastian Hardie

Symphonic Prog


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!

Second album (please avoid pronouncing the word "opus" when speaking of Hardie, this is way too under-blown to qualify as such) from one of the rare Aussie group that dared developing symphonic prog. Graced with a fairly identical artwork than their debut, the unchanged (standard prog quartet) line-up decided not to change much musically to their ultra-overly-cheesy symphonic formula and unfortunately I will not change much my mind either.

Opening on the "epic" title track, SH starts fairly slow and gradually increase the level of interest button (but apparently it is stuck just at the medium level), and there are short moments where indeed the group reaches the waist level of Yes (although none are even close to their Yes counterparts) as the tracks ends better than it started. Just too derivative for this writer. And the second side doesn't really bring much new to their habitual repertoire of influences as At The End is again derivating from Focus and Finch, but this time not reaching the excellent Openings track from their debut, as clearly they were trying to reproduce theuir Rosana track. Othe three remaining tracks, Phimistar does raise the interest button from boring to the "lending an attentive ear" level, but ultimately the listener's hope are deceived, even if this might be the best track of the album, mainly because of the higher-than-usual energy. The closing (and aptly titled) Peaceful is again based on Focus, but again cannot appear anything more than a pale copy.

With a different rhythm section, the two frontmen Millo and Pilt, will go on to form Windchase (named after their present album), recording one album (atrocious and pretentiously named Symphinity), which remained grosso-modo similar-sounding. Should you want to investigate Aussie prog grandiose (the REAL grandiose, not the ones usually evoked in other reviews), please discover Rainbow Theatre's two superb albums, both of whom trounces, minces, massacres, melts and reduce to a pulp this incredibly cheesy and uninspired group.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#6481)
Posted Wednesday, February 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
NJprogfan
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I'd like to create a new sub-group for prog: Soft Prog. And this album, (and their first) would be listed as such. Sebastian Hardie play a Camel-like soft symphonic prog that goes down very easy. Nothing earth shattering, complex, or mind numbing, their prog is to be played so as to be relaxed. Mario Millo's guitar and singing are front and center on this album with keyboards relegated for coloring purposes. Mainly instrumental, the title track is the best thing on the album, "Windchase" is 20 minutes long with a very memorable melody throughout. It glides and ebbs with Mario's guitar sounding like Steve Howe's, especially when he reaches for the higher notes, but the song can get a bit tedious. The rest of the album is fine, but nothing substantial. Except for the song, "Hello Phimistar" which notches up the tempo a bit. Overall a fine album. Very, very good in fact, but it does not reach the four star rating. Just a tad under. 3.5 sounds right to me.

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Send comments to NJprogfan (BETA) | Report this review (#58863)
Posted Friday, December 02, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Australian prog band Sebastian hardie released their second complete album Windchase an year after their debut. the music is quite similar of that album, Four Moments, maybe a little more jazzier in parts. Still their basic formula of mixing influences by Focus, Camel and Yes is very much alive and well. Unfortunatly they did not come up with something as strong as their best (Openings) from the first CD. The opening tune, the massive 20 minute title track, is very good and it is obvious the band was trying to expand their musical pallette a little more. It is an excellent epic, but could not beat the power and inspiration of Openings.

The remaining tras are also very good, smaller songs with nice melodies and nice arrangements. Some reviewers here seem to mock them for being too laid back and for not making their songs more elaborated and complex. I´m not among them. Their simpler, melodic approach is their very own charm and personality. While some bands are very much the musical press favorites, Others are bashed because they simply play what they want and have an audience bigger than those ´better´groups. Sometimes the criticism to progressive rock is right: many bands are too complex and play for complexity´s sake. Music for musicians, as we say in Brazil. Sebastian Hardie plays a very nice symphonic rock that is accessible but is also very good and has the right influences. they are no better nor worse than any other group. Only different. And I like it a lot.

That said I must also warn you that their sophmore release is not as good as their debut. They were on the right track to find a new, maybe a more elaborated, sound. It was a pity that the times were changing and they didn´t have the chance to have a follow up to this one. It would be very interesting to see how far they would go. They were talented and had a very nice chemistry together. If you liked their debut, chances are you gonna enjoy this one very much too. Just don´t expect too mcuh.

Rating: 3,5 stars that I´ll round up to four to compensate some unfairness here.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#285812)
Posted Wednesday, June 09, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album is pleasant, but slight. Which was also a good description of their first album. However, this is easily the inferior product. The title epic from Four Moments was in some ways one of the best constructed symphonic prog epics ever - not overly ambitious, not overly complex, but with sections that flowed seamlessly and an overall sense of unity. The title epic of Windchase completely lacks this quality. The music listlessly moves from one moderately interesting section to another, with no real feeling of unity, despite the late and half-hearted attempt at a rhythmically-transformed recapitulation of the original theme. The second side contains one cheesy pop song in "Life Love and Music" (this time Paul McCartney's Wings seem to have displaced Air Supply as their chief pop influence), and several slight instrumentals. It's not a bad record, but it's not an exciting one either.

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Send comments to sl75 (BETA) | Report this review (#722297)
Posted Wednesday, April 11, 2012 | Review Permalink

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