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CHRONOS

Starcastle

Symphonic Prog


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hdfisch
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This is YES at their best!.........Oh I just see it's not YES, it's STARCASTLE, so it's STARCASTLE at their best. This is in fact a great compilation of early unreleased recordings of them. Really great, fully in the top quality of their first two albums, well most of the songs are from these, but in different versions. I'd not call it an essential one, but still, if you are a great fan of this kind of music, this album is very worthy, even if you should own already their first two albums. Fantastic songs in the vein of YES (around 'Going For The One')!3 1/2 stars for this one!

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Send comments to hdfisch (BETA) | Report this review (#7062)
Posted Wednesday, March 02, 2005 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Twenty-three years after their last studio release (the very poor "Real To Reel"), "Starcastle" put this compilation album (demos and some unrealeased songs) on the market. I am rather perplex for such release and to its sales potential.

Throughout all those years the flame of the band was hold by Gary Strater, their bassist. There will be lots of personnel changes, long periods wihtout contracts, reformations which will lead to the recording of this projet : "Chronos I".

I usually am not reluctant to listen to bands that sound to other great disappeared ones (like Genesis - Gabriel era of course - for instance). I find it valueable to be able to discover how current (or not) bands re-create their sounds. Because they do no longer exist. With "Starcastle", the story is different : cloning "Yes" while the model is still performing is not so exciting to me.

Now, this album holds some of their best numbers : "Lady of The Lake" and "Fountain" of course. The latter one is particularly well reworked and it is nice to have them both side by side on a single studio recording. Fortunately, the band will also avoid to "re-edit" songs from "Real...". Even their third album will be skipped from this work.

Songs as "True to the Light" and "To the Fire Wind" also have gained some substance in this "revisitation". Nice job, I have to say. "A Fall Of Diamonds" is actually another version of "Diamond Song (Deep is the Light)" from "Fountains of Light". Same good and fresher interpretation. And "Portraits" still tries and sounds as "&U&I" (partially).

As far as unreleased songs are concerned, three and a half sit here. The half one is "Breath and Thunder" already featured on their live album "Concert Classics". The band has the good idea to shorten it almost by half here and the short passage of "Firebird" is wisingly deleted as well. This is probably their most "punchy" song ever. Not too bad in this format to be honest.

"Morning Fall" is a pleasant sweet rock song, somewhat similar to "Change in Time" from third album "Citadel". "Where Caverns Wind" is a poor acoustic tune which should have remained unreleased without perturbating your progressive interest for rarities while "Dance Of The Physotrons" is a bit heavier and more complex than usual but is just average.

I guess that this album will satisfy most of your appetite for "Starcastle". It is a good representation of their work and skips the most pop / AOR = poorest part of their repertoire. Released material is mostly better performed here while the unreleased tracks are not great, frankly. Three stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#134044)
Posted Tuesday, August 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
3 stars Some bands just can't escape the "clone" label. The fans of these bands put on blinders when others point out that the group sounds eerily like that other more famous artist. They will pick out little differences, like "that guy plays a Rickenbacker bass while thig guy plays a Fender". Or, "you won't hear a guitar solo like this from that other band". Well, sure, when you have a completely different set of musicians, the music will have some differences, no matter how hard you try to imitate.

And so it goes for Starcastle. This collection does nothing to dispel the catcalls of "Yes clones!". On nearly every track, you can pick out the Yes classic that was mined for riffs and ideas. There are obvious refernces to Perpertual Change, Close To The Edge, And You And I and even The Gates Of Delirium. Terry Luttrell does a fair Jon Anderson imitation. Gary Strater has studied Chris Squire well. Herb Schildt sounds somewhere between Tony Kaye and Rick Wakeman. Only the guitars can't come close to matching Steve Howe's brilliance.

That said, there are worse bands to imitate than Yes. And these guys do a good job of it. If you run out of Yes albums to purchase, and need a fix. Try these guys, and this compilation might be a good start.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#455701)
Posted Wednesday, June 01, 2011 | Review Permalink

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