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Will-O-The-Wisp - Ceremony Of Innocence CD (album) cover



Psychedelic/Space Rock

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Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars If I had to rank the four Will-o-the Wisp albums I'd put this one in third place behind their fresh debut and their breathtaking final album 'A Gift For Your Dreams'. Still, that's not a bad place considering all of their records are very, very good and well worth the trouble of seeking them out. The main difference with this one is that there's nothing to distinguish it from the other two mentioned here. The debut was such a surprise that the impression continues to last. And the final record includes strings (violin) and this music is made to be accompanied by strings of some sort. Also, the two cover versions of "Natural Boy" aka "Nature Boy" are a real treat.

All that said, this is still an outstanding psych/folk/neo-prog album, with none of those labels being any less or more appropriate in than the others in describing the music. As with their other albums lead guitarist Takis Barbagalas delivers long, whiny arpeggios and sustained chords that smack of the finest neo-prog of the eighties and nineties. Dina Nassi's whirling organ passages give the music a retro, slightly psych-tinged flavor, while Aggelos Gerakitis' easy-going and comfortable vocals, along with just the right touch of flute from Nikos Chalikias, give the music a bit of a folk feel at times. It all works together seamlessly.

That's not to say that everything is perfect. At times the band seems to become just a tad bit self-indulgent, as with the rambling lyrical and repetitive organ passage on "The Reaper's Paper Boat" that extends the song needlessly. Or Gerakitis' vocals on "A William Blake's Song" that overshadow those of chanteuse Sofia Rapti toward the end and almost ruin what would have otherwise been a stunningly beautiful delicate ballad.

But these are minor points really, and the strong guitar and flute passages on tracks like "Fairies Waltz" and "The Rabbit Under the Teardrop's Shade (of Alice)" more than make up for any shortcomings elsewhere. And the acoustic guitar lead-in on "Hew A Dream In The Twilight" gives a wonderful, airy balance to the more weighty organ and electric guitar work on most of the other tracks.

This is one of those records that can either be listened to intently, or can just as easily offer a rich backdrop to an evening spent on other pursuits. Either way, the experience is worth the cost of admission.

Easily four stars, as are most of the band's other albums. Forget trying to get your hands on the limited-edition vinyl version of this record, but the CD version is much more easily had and I would assume just as good. Very highly recommended to just about any sort of progressive rock fan, and particularly to those who favor psych and neo-prog. Worth seeking out.


Report this review (#331847)
Posted Tuesday, November 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars WILL-O-THE-WISP is without question one of my favourite bands from Greece. I remember that debut which is still my favourite from them with that prominent organ, warm vocals and those melodic psychedelic tunes that just seemed to suit my tastes perfectly. This one is my second favourite with their final album rounding out my top three from them. They are a six piece at this point with the usual "rock" instruments plus that floating and sometimes powerful organ along with piano and flute.

"Smoke Suspended In Still Air" has this relaxed and trippy sound with prominent bass as laid back vocals join in. Organ to the fore as the tempo picks up a minute in. Nice guitar solo as well before 2 minutes as the vocals step aside. Vocals are back after 2 1/2 minutes. Love the passion in those vocals 4 minutes in. "The Rabbit Under The Teardrop's Shade(Of Alice)" opens with strummed guitar as vocals join in quickly. Soon drums, bass and organ kick in but then it's vocals and strummed guitar again as contrasts continue. Nice. It picks up in tempo at 2 1/2 minutes as the vocals stop and flute and organ lead the way to the end.

"Shadows Of Daylight" opens with some excellent psychedelic guitar that echoes as a driving rhythm kicks in with organ over top. Vocals before a minute as it settles some. Nice bass here, really good in fact. Love that guitar that arrives after 3 minutes as the vocals step aside. Just a killer instrumental to the end. "The Reaper's Paper Boat" is such a feel good track, so moving at times. It has that VIOLETO DE OUTONO "Volume 7" vibe for me with the organ, vocals and meaningful sound. Flute before 1 1/2 minutes. Gorgeous. A calm after 2 minutes with bass and organ as it builds. Vocals are back a minute later with that beautiful sound. Another calm with flute before 4 minutes to the end.

"Hew A Dream In The Twilight" opens with acoustic guitar and fragile vocals as keys also join in. Vocals will come and go. Kind of a whimsical beginning. That changes as we get some power in the instrumental section before 2 1/2 minutes as drums, bass and organ lead. Guitar 3 minutes in. So good! And this continues right to the end. "Haze Secrets" has this relaxed and trippy sound as reserved vocals join in. Piano, drums and bass standout. It kicks in with power before 1 1/2 minutes Contrasts continue then we get this guitar solo after 3 1/2 minutes. Vocals return after 4 minutes.

"A William Blake's Song" has relaxed piano as we get female vocals for the first time on this album. Some angular guitar as well. It picks up a minute in, nice sound here. It's fuller after 2 minutes with some vocal melodies as well. So good! Male vocals take over after 3 minutes. "Fairies Waltz" opens with guitar that builds then it starts to solo as other instruments join in. Flute replaces the guitar. Nice bass lines before 2 minutes then the guitar returns. Flute replaces the guitar again before 4 minutes. What a ride!

This is just one of those bands that is like comfort food for me I guess. This band from Athens has offered up another solid 4 star album.

Report this review (#1941439)
Posted Tuesday, June 26, 2018 | Review Permalink

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