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MIRAGE

Camel

Symphonic Prog


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5 stars Ahhh a young Camel...well the band CAMEL that is..this their second album are quite a wonderful album brimming with wonderful themes and supreme guitar soloing (Courtesy of mr.Latimer) This one´s even better than their debut (which i found wonderful) even though their first one was more straight ahead power rock oriented prog. This one proves why they´re such a class act!! Camel are still here and very well..thank you!!Residing in the US.....Mr Latimer are still the man with the axe...he of sovereign guitar- playing. But this album shows their potential....wide arrangements...solid songs...great themes!! Listen to "Freefall" and you´ll know what i mean.....that supreme guitar lick.....contra that great theme ooohhhh...wonderful.....next up are:"Supertwister"...this is CAMEL at their best....great theme... great musicianship....great timechanges....great music.....CAMEL supreme!! GO GET IT !!!

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Send comments to Tonny Larz (BETA) | Report this review (#2032)
Posted Thursday, November 27, 2003 | Review Permalink
5 stars The 2nd of Camel's best works ('73, '74, '75 albums). Fairy, thoughtful compositions.. It takes you away and for 40 minutes you are somewhere in astral heights and among sunlight beams. It mesmerizes you and you forget about everything but vivid imagery of northern wind, or crowd of nowhere's bazaar, or unimaginable Fairylands... Exciting album, 5 stars!

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Send comments to myas0 (BETA) | Report this review (#2034)
Posted Sunday, December 07, 2003 | Review Permalink
bonzo1969@lib
5 stars It's with mirage that my love affair with camel had its start. In 1974, when other great bands began to loose appeal (and ideas) camel were there to make a nearly perfect album. "Freefall" has probably the most catchy riff in the entire history of progressive rock. A must-have

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#2046)
Posted Monday, January 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
4 stars this as good as Camel gets but I never was nuts about this band . Being a non-cigarette smoker, I never really like the concept of this album cover . The music is still exciting and fresh but sometimes slightly clumsy for the goal and ambitions they were trying to reach.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#2051)
Posted Thursday, February 05, 2004 | Review Permalink
wiccanhistori
5 stars When I found out Camel's albums were still around, I became very excited. I bought one of the first pressings of the albums, and fell in love with this album. It came at a time when escapist music was needed, since the Vietnam War was still being fought, and solid music was the ideal. I ordered the CD, and just got it this morning in the mail. I couldn't wait to hear it. I placed it in the stereo, relaxed, and took a trip back to the 70's, early 70's, when I needed a release that groups like Camel provided. Although Snow Goose is probably their best known work, I still favor this one, because it was the first Camel album I had heard.

Nimrodel/The Procession/The White Rider will appeal to most if not all Tolkien fans. I still like to close my eyes and visualize Gandalf riding on the white horse Shadowfax. The entire new release with previously unreleased music is definitely a needed addition to anyone's collection, who enjoys music that will give you a glimpse of the cosmos.

I highly recommend this album.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#2036)
Posted Saturday, February 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 2nd release from CAMEL which I would rank as one of my favorites from their discography. Heavily rooted in their classic sound, "Mirage" is a great exploration into CAMEL's soft instrumental passages and sonic harmonies. There are not any thunderous crashes or loud bangs on "Mirage" which instead work on warm and soothing space textures. The classic CAMEL line up is present (Bardens, Ward, Latimer and Ferguson) who perform to their best standard! "Mirage" contains 2 epic tracks ("Nimrodel The Procession The White Rider" and "Lady Fantasy") which are given lots of space to explore a fine range of dimly lit moods and melodies. Song are superbly crafted and contain some of CAMEL's most treasured musical moments.

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#2024)
Posted Monday, March 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
emokid3000@ao
5 stars in my opinion, their finest piece of work... very easy listening prog but with real musisianship skills and talented compositions. some will argue that this is too mellow but the melodies are so beautiful that it's not the problem here... No, the only problem is that the album is too short and that never again Camel did such a beautiful album with exception of its follower, the snow goose, but even mellower and entirely instrumental. Both albums are masterpieces that every prog lover should possess !

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#2053)
Posted Saturday, March 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I remember the day I bought this album,a weird guy with a red beard recommanded me the record. I was suspiscious. You know, just like when your mom askes you not taking bonbons from a stranger. I kept the bill, in case...and threw it away 15 minutes later. Impossible (and I'm choosing my words here) to regret buying that record.

2 numbers are getting my constant attention: The song about the Lord of the Rings (track 3) and Lady Fantasy. In the last one, I love the way they end up the song the way they open it. It's basic, but surprinsingly effective (killer guitar riff...makes your eyes watery).

Latimer also proves himself to be a skilled flautist. This guy is a very very very underrated musician. And you know why? In part (theory) because he has no charisma. But the good thing is that the bands with no charisma (Trace, Focus, Anglagard) is that they get down faster to buisness. And we like that , right? Anyway, thanks tho the red beard guy.

Are you a newcomer in progressive rock? You want to chip in but don't know where to start? This is a wise and long lasting choice. This record is oldy THE soft spot in my heart. It's heartwarming, it's catchy, jazzy and don't waste one minute on filling. It fell in the cracks of obscurity, but buying it (remaster version has cool bonuses, for a merely 20$) is making a long time commitment.

Catchy tunes, great guitar lines, effective and tasty keyboards and a song about the Lord of The Rings, this record will blow your freakin' mind off. It did for mine, and I'm still perfectly mornal...er narmol...normal (there you go).

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Send comments to Menswear (BETA) | Report this review (#2025)
Posted Wednesday, March 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
lor68
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars By means of this mature album "Camel" demonstrate their talent and good ideas as well for the first time... of course a "melodic prog band" They are, never tiring and sometimes very captivating (listen to the splendid "Supertwister", a jewel within the so called "light style of Canterbury") and for this reason -during this phase. They already were talented. Nevertheless they never performed too many bombastic solos, except on some tasteful solos by Mini-Moog synthesizers and good music passages characterized by a simple choice of themes and a remarkable variety in dynamics as well in some circumstances!

The last mini-suite "Lady Fantasy" is an ever-green; instead "Earthrise" shows the best style regarding both the technique of the unforgettable Peter Bardens and the simple harmonic solutions of Andy Latimer at his guitar, enriched with a good range of effects!! This is not the best album by CAMEL but naturally is one of the most famous and powerful works as well...!

Recommended anyway!!

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Send comments to lor68 (BETA) | Report this review (#2026)
Posted Wednesday, March 31, 2004 | Review Permalink
greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This second album is still very rock, with tons of aggressive guitars, keyboards, fast drums and bass. The keyboards are still basic: mostly aggressive organ and Doors-like organ. The best track is "Supertwister", a wonderful instrumental track full of sentimental flute and Fender Rhodes: there are many rhythm changes. At the end, you easily believe that the poured liquid is very hot. The electric guitar can be very rhythmic, trying to follow the fast drums and bass. The ensemble is very progressive, loaded, but we feel here their style is not really anchored yet: sometimes they are still too much near the prog hard rock, like those guitar solos on "Lady fantasy". This album has really the Canterbury style. Some parts are in the right direction: the first part of "Nimrodel", where the guitar sounds like Focus, tend to give the future characteristic sound of Camel. We find many rock elements here that are present on the first album.

Rating: 4.5 stars

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#2028)
Posted Thursday, April 08, 2004 | Review Permalink
Prognut
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A classic....Camel intricacy started to mature in this second album. Synphonic touches, but mainly I would place this one right in the middle of Canterbury style. I always liked Camel, and this CD is a gem on my collection..agree!!..not the best one, but one very close to be. This is one of the most mellows albums of Camel all around, and not the first one to own if you are a newcomer..you may consider to start with anything from the 80's and then work your self backwards. For the progheads fans, nothing really to add...!!:-) You probably already own this one. Recommended!!!!

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Send comments to Prognut (BETA) | Report this review (#2054)
Posted Friday, April 09, 2004 | Review Permalink
daveconn
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This is the CAMELshair smoking jacket I slip into most often, well worn over the ages and sculpted to my musical temperament like a certain pair of jeans in need of a patch. The band had obviously settled on what sort of music they wanted to make with "Mirage", and it's palpably progressive at every turn, shrouded in a magical mist that falls and rises with the needle. The sleepy vocals, carried on the winds of a magnificent mellotron and buttressed by the bass and drums, conjure a waking dreamstate that few albums can match. This" Mirage" first takes the form of "Freefall," whose seductive siren's call simply smokes, followed by the instrumental "Supertwister", featuring Andy Latimer's heretofore unheard (and otherworldly) flute playing. It's all leading up to the two-part "Nimrodel", a transcendent retelling of GANDALF's reappearance as the white wizard that remains my favorite journey in all of CAMELogue.

For this heroic feat alone, CAMEL could count itself minstrel-kissed through the ages. "Earthrise" shakes off some of that sleepy, far-off land with a sweaty workout that finds Pete Bardens' brilliant organ working overtime while Andy Ward attacks his kit with unrelenting energy. The three-part "Lady Fantasy" would seem to continue in this vein, but soon slides effortlessly into a mesmerizing melody spiced with keyboard commentary from Bardens that beats down The DOORS' hallowed path. If I were assembling the Gods in order, a task best left to presumptive chess players, "Mirage" would appear near the head of the receiving line for progressive initiates.

The entire album bespeaks what's best about the genre: a self-sustaining musical world where fantasy is the reality and the strings of man remain unseen. CAMEL provides a different ride than the great carriages of the immortals (YES, GENESIS), using softer strokes in lieu of striking genius, but "Mirage" is no mere illusion of prog heaven, it's the genuine article. So climb aboard and strap yourself in for a ride you won't soon forget.

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Send comments to daveconn (BETA) | Report this review (#2023)
Posted Saturday, April 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars An oasis of music

Only their second album, yet the music here shows great maturity when compared to the first album "Camel".

The standout tracks are the two long pieces, "Nimrodel etc." and "Lady fantasy". Andy Latimer's guitar work is beautiful and profoundly atmospheric throughout. How many other bands could have benefited from having a guitarist who could make their guitar weep so gently? Peter Bardens is more adventurous on keyboards, throwing in some interesting mini-moog solos.

The other tracks are less worthy of note but are nonetheless finely crafted pieces of quality prog. In all a very enjoyable album, which included several tracks which would serve them well in live performances for many years.

The 2002 remastered CD includes four bonus tracks, two of which are live recordings of tracks from the "Camel" album, one is a brief live version of "Supertwister", and finally the original studio mix of "Lady fantasy". While the bonus tracks are by no means essential, the audio quality of the remastered album is excellent.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#2048)
Posted Sunday, May 09, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Talking about branding? This album had it from the day it was released, not to mention a bit of a messy lawsuit from the cigarette manufacturers. It is a very solid follow up to the first album and has something magical about it right from the start. Perhaps it is that perfect blend of keyboard and guitar, either way it is so well produced and spatially defined it is hard to actually strip out any individual track. It is a classic but I still think their best was yet to come.What I found most hilarious was that one of the previous critics above actually dismissed the album in the main because he was anti-smoking...thanks for the chuckle

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#2063)
Posted Monday, June 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is just one of the few albums that you always listen to in whole, you never skip a track while listening. The five tracks are all masterpieces. The first track is a prog track with so much blues influence, but you can hardly notice that while enjoying latimer solos, this track is such a strange mix of moods, the next one "supertwister" is an instrumental illustrating the true soul and nature of Camel's music with the use of changing key signtures and the stunning beautiful latimer's flute. The third track is one of Camel's best, a very emotional track that will take you to another world of victory and imagination of the "white rider", the guitars are so melodic that you can feel them talking to you. Earthrise is a track i always consider as the nice instrumental between the 2 giant tracks as its sequel "Lady fantasy" is also one of their best work ever, if it is not THE best although of its strange intro. The problem with this album is that you need to relax and concentrate in order to feel the music as Camel's music is always so emotional that needs to be felt deeply. This album is a true masterpiece.

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Send comments to DoomHammer (BETA) | Report this review (#2064)
Posted Sunday, June 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
The Prognaut
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Necessarily, in order to be exposed to the radiation of symphonic prog rock and to the pure essence of CAMEL, you have to get yourself immersed into "Mirage". I happen to be incontrovertibly meticulous with this very recording because it doesn't remind me of anything I have already listened to or it doesn't resembles any particular sound contained from what it was to come within the CAMEL years. The distinctive part of "Mirage" and the one that makes us remember this mid seventies jewel, is undoubtedly "Lady Fantasy": an incommensurable piece that drags us all along through its more than 12 minutes of the most pure and selective guitar playing by Andy LATIMER, through what to my concern is the greatest piece of work by Pete BARDENS achieved with the band on keyboards, and obviously, the exceptional well orchestrated conceptual context the suite overdrives by itself.

Sometimes I think of "Mirage" as the medullar point of departure of the band to take on their next subsequent productions. Without this album on the CAMEL scene, I severely think we won't be able to understand some other sparkly passages of their songs like the ones composed and arranged to be included in "Pressure Points", "Harbour of Tears" and "Rajaz". These albums are all for one, irremediably we cannot conceive one without the other and this is not just my conceitedness speaking, it is my true belief that somehow we cannot think of this English band without recalling such classic recordings.

"Mirage" is essential to any prog collection. It works both ways: for all of those people out there that are eager to start taking their first footsteps into the prog way, and for the devoted progholes that already haven't came across this unmistakably wonderful diamond.

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Send comments to The Prognaut (BETA) | Report this review (#2065)
Posted Tuesday, June 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
frenchie
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars After mainly listening to symphonic prog rock bands like Yes, Pink Floyd and King Crimson i thought i would give camel a try after reading the good reviews of this album. Mirage is an impressive album yet i was a little disapointed at the lack of exploration on this album. All of the prementioned bands tend to have vast amounts of explorational soundscapes on their songs with no limits, including many different styles, instruments and experimentation, which i believe to be one of the most important features of progressive rock. Mirage does have some of these elements in songs like "Nimrodel" and "Lady Fantasy" but i still found these songs very lacking in any direction.

Still, i am new to camel and was impressed by what is here. I especially enjoyed the keyboard and flute duo on "Supertwister". This is a decent instrumental and keeps the flow of the album going. The singer isn't too special. i found his voice to be dull, flat and he doesn't really stretch his voice. It was a shame to hear the lack of emotion in Camel's songs. The guitar work is excellent here, especially in the guitar solos. This is one of the most solid guitar based symphonic albums i have heard yet it still isn't enough to keep me gripped.

"Lady Fantasy" is probably the best track on the album and it has clear progressions within the song and is very consistant but i think they could have made it flow better as it sounds patchy in areas. Altogether this is a very enjoyable album, but it feels very claustrophobic and is rather limited compared to bands like Yes and Pink Floyd.

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Send comments to frenchie (BETA) | Report this review (#2066)
Posted Sunday, July 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Not a Mirage - the Real Thing!

A masterpiece of prog if ever there was one.

From the punchy opening of "Freefall" to the sublime "Lady Fantasy", classic Camel at their very best! A cliche, maybe, but generally we use cliches because they work and, in this case, there's no other phrase that best sums up this wonderful album.

So, on with the smoking jacket, up with the volume, and pour a dram of the finest Scotland has to offer and relax as we take a journey through the rock machine that is "Mirage".

"Freefall" lives up to its title perfectly with twisting, turning, free falling chunks of pure magic, Bardens and Latimer duelling gently, Ward and Ferguson providing solid support and rhythmic counterpoint. As usual, I'm not too sure why Camel thought that lyrics were necessary - but the vocal lines are fairly amusing if you take them tongue-in- cheek as I'm sure they're intended!

"Supertwister" again shows the lengths Camel would go to dream up apt titles as it snakes and turns through various time signatures and keys, each one more breathtakingly beautiful than the last, Latimer picking up the flute for his Bardens challenge on this outing. The flutter-tonguing at around 1:30 has to be heard to be believed - you'd swear birds were flying out of your speakers! Somehow this track is only 3:20, yet packed with incredible ideas - you simply wish it were 10 times longer.

Then we open a beer in time for "Nimrodel" ;o)

A drop-dead gorgeous exotic sounding mellow opening raises the curtain for the bells and crowd noise of "Procession". I know nothing of how this amazing little mediaeval- style march was put together, but it's over too quickly, and "The White Rider" takes us on a spacey journey of discovery, replete with oboes and, of course, flute. There are unbelievably more twists and turns, key changes, surprise cadences and powerful melodies in this one track than on the average Genesis album... OK, I'm posiibly getting carried away, but words are not quite enough to describe the joys of this track, so what I've said will have to suffice :0). Have fun working out which literary figure is "The White Rider" (it's not hard).

If you have the vinyl version, then it's at this point you realise with utter delight that you have another side to go - but how could it possibly get any better?

The answer comes as soon as the needle drops - Camel are well into the prog groove on this album, and the classic "soft sixths" sound re-establishes itself after a twinkling spacey introduction, with Ferguson providing gorgeous fat bass as usual before revisiting the slightly funky groove the band established on the first album, and also the slightly darker, muddier textures - which work a lot better on Mirage than on the debut, showing a remarkable growth in the band's style. Latimer demonstrates how to noodle in reverse AND keep the noodling relevant to the music - is there no end to this man's talent? Bardens then demonstrates his equivalent keyboard skills to provide perfect balance. Just as you get to feel that this is pretty much free form, earlier sections are revisited, giving a satisfying structuredness to the whole composistion.

"Lady Fantasy" is neck-hair raising proof that the best was saved for last. I may have enthused about the earlier tracks on this album, but I cannot even begin to describe the sheer beauty of the melodies, structures, timbres, rhythm and harmony of this track... I can even overlook the melancholy vocals (never a highlight of any Camel song)... "Lady Fantasy" is packed full of moments that make me want to jump out of my cosy armchair and shout "Yeah!!!" - but fortunately I'm a restrained kinda guy, so won't subject you to that.

It's a Masterpiece alright!

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Send comments to Certif1ed (BETA) | Report this review (#2068)
Posted Wednesday, September 01, 2004 | Review Permalink
Blacksword
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Camels second album should be in every rock collection. Latimer & Co produced a classic album here, which I guess partly thanks to the sleeve artwork would never be forgotten. But, there's nothing wrong the music, infact compared to their their worthy, though slightly flawed debut, Mirage is an excellent work. 'Freefall' opens the album. Its upbeat, quirky, full of twists and turns and spiralling guitar licks. My only objection is Andy Latimers decision to sing over it. Camel always knew their strength was in instrumental music, and thats what they should have focussed on in these early years. Nevertheless, Latimers singing is sensibly kept to a minimum and the song drives head long with energy and confidence. 'Supertwister' follows with its changing time signatures and its flute flurries. A lovely piece of music, which leaves you in restfull mood before 'Nimrodel' A few prog traditions come into play here. The marching sequence in 'Procession' is reminiscent of 'The battle of Epping Forest' by Genesis. Then when 'White Rider' comes in, I'm reminded of Pink Floyd. I may be painting a picture of plaigerism here, but take my word for it, you can tell they are not ripping anyone off. This is distinctly Camel and no one else. This is confirmed when Latimers clarinet plays some very haunting melancholic melodies.

Both 'Earthrise' and 'Lady Fantasy' are great pieces of music, although I've always felt that they could have done something a little more adventerous and less repetitive in the middle section of 'Earthrise' Latimers guitar playing and Pete Bardens keyboards are often at the centre of Camels musical world and wishing no disrespect to Andy Ward and Doug Ferguson, their contribution tends to be ignored. I can safely say that they worked hard to make this excellent album.

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Send comments to Blacksword (BETA) | Report this review (#2069)
Posted Friday, September 03, 2004 | Review Permalink
vartskyj@yaho
4 stars ahh camel,i do love this album. it's actually the first one of theirs that i got and in my opinion their best. i always thought camel had a trilogy of great albums with this one being their first and then following "the snow goose" and "moonmadness" both great but in my opinion less then mirage. if you want to tell them apart in my opinion "mirage" is more psycadelic with more guitar solos and higher speed in the playing , "the snow goose" is mellower with a bigger symphonic side ,and "moonmadness" is a kind of return to the prog rock but less to the sympho but no return to those great solos except on some tracks. my favorite here is nimrodel (track 3) because of those wonderful changes that make camel and prog so great. well,thats all from me keep proging around the world wherever you are and especially here in israel.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#2071)
Posted Tuesday, October 05, 2004 | Review Permalink
janne_loeppoe
5 stars After the uncertain, but nevertheless promising debut, Camel released Mirage, my Camel favourite so far. Andy Latimer's flute on Supertwister is just exquisite, and Peter Bardens's synth on Earthrise and Lady Fantasy "blow my mind"... Comunque, Mi piacciono Camel... Buona Notte...

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#2074)
Posted Tuesday, December 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
gvillegas@hot
5 stars I honestly think every prog fan must have a copy of this album. It has some of the simplest time signatures that were also the ones most used by the Beatles (Im talking about 4/4 to 6/8). But they also include some good 11/8 mainly on the second track which sounds pretty awesome, and their last song, Lady Fantasy, has no time signature changes at all. But still this album includes some of the best melodies I've ever heard from any other prog band. I was amazed by the beginning of Lady Fantasy and also the ending. Its just great and the theme changes are nothing likes those of the Beatles but pretty original and really, I have to give this album 5 stars cause it's obviously a classic.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#2078)
Posted Tuesday, January 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
removelibrary
4 stars This is almost certainly the best album from this band. Essential for anyone with feeling at all for prog. The vocals aren't it's best feature - they never were with Camel- but the instrumentals are really good. Mind you, the sound quality is murky- although you could argue it adds to the atmosphere. After all, this is, as far as I am aware (have'nt heard the most recent offering from this band), Camel's darkest sounding album - think of the Dark Side, or the Dark Lord, perhaps?

Highly recommended. This after being familiar with this album for 30 years!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#2083)
Posted Saturday, February 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
chessman
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Isn't it strange how opinions change over the years? I remember in the mid seventies, when Camel was just coming to prominence. They were considered by many prog fans as distinctly 2nd division, when compared to the 'big boys' such as Yes, Pink Floyd, Genesis, and even ELP. That is how I used to feel about them myself when I listened to my mate's albums. He had this one, and Moonmadness. Last year I decided to give them another go and bought the remastered versions of both albums. Now I can only comment on these two albums as I don't possess any others, (Although I have heard the odd track, such as Ice,and a couple of things off "Harbour Of Tears"), but these two are considered amongst their best, so... I have to say that my opinion hasn't changed one little bit! Camel produce pleasant, professional music and are a consistent, hard-working band, but their music doesn't do anything for me. I think the cause of that is simply they are not distinctive in any way, lots of bands formed around that time sounded similar. The music doesn't stick in one's mind for long, and even the titles confuse me sometimes! Peter Bardens' keyboards are very good, and Andy Latimer's flute is distinctive, and adds a nice touch to it. But compositionally there is nothing to prevent me considering this as background music. For instance, the opener here, "Freefall", tries to be aggressive, but ends up sounding amateurish and disjointed to me. The second track is far better. "Supertwister" has the nice flute and is far more gentle. Likewise the third track is well enough played and presented, but the last two are very ordinary and mundane to me. Latimer's guitar, whilst well played, doesn't have a distinctive personality, and it could be a number of seventies guitarists playing when I listen to it. He is technically precise, but hardly inventive, and even sounds quite dated now, as opposed to his peers, such as Howe and Gilmour. I apologise if this review goes against the views of most Camel fans, and I know their following is loyal, but they just don't stand out to me. Vocally they are suspect too, something like an inferior version of Floyd. On the remastered version I possess, there are 4 bonus tracks, three of them live, but these neither add, nor subtract from the enjoyment of the disc. In fact, they go on a tad too long and one can find oneself waiting for the end to come. Don't get me wrong, as I said at the start, this band is a decent, hard working act with a good following, who produce pleasant and technically efficient music. For me, where they fall down is in the bland and unmemorable compositions, and the weak, almost apologetic vocals. Of the two discs, Moonmadness is distinctly better, having stronger songs, but this one is worth a listen as well. Nice, but not essential. Fans of the 'big' prog bands will probably smile and dust these off once in a while for a nostalgic listen.

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Send comments to chessman (BETA) | Report this review (#2084)
Posted Sunday, February 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
submarinoituo
5 stars This is best effort Camel has! This album has no bad songs but slow burning melodies can be hard to acquire for first time listeners. Certainly Camel at their best! There's really something new here and something that makes this different from any other Camel album. And i like it just because all the compositions are so tightly done: All the songs has many good hooks that you wait when listening it over again. But all in all one of the most tight albums i've heard and best Camel stuff around are on it. Very essential to EVEROYNE and especially those new to Camel. Masterpiece of Camel in my opinion.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#2085)
Posted Sunday, February 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
say
5 stars After indulging in Jethro Tull, Genesis, plus Yes and their ilk since the 70's, I was very surprised and pleased to add Camel's Mirage to my collection of cd's last year. Where have I been! This discovery was worth a renewed interest in all things prog. Let me start off by saying that Nimrodel/The Procession and Lady Fantasy are true progressive suites that can hold their own to any other bands' epics. Latimer's guitar, flute, and vocals, Barden's moody mellotron, as well as, very good backing by the bass and drums capture the true magnificience of progressive music. The piece "Earthrise" resembles the romantic keyboards of procal harum's - whiter shade of pale. Supertwister is a good synopsis of the sound of Camel at that time. I also hold Moonmadness, Snow Goose and their first album in equally high esteem.

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Send comments to say (BETA) | Report this review (#2086)
Posted Monday, February 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars What can be said about this album. Its a masterpiece of progressive rock, from the first synth sounds of Freefall to the last fading notes of Lady Fantasy this album takes you on a musical journey that will leave you stunned. Every track on this album is a standout, for myself though Nimrodel will always be THE best track on Mirage. Mirage is a definite must have in your prog collection.

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Send comments to starofsirius (BETA) | Report this review (#2087)
Posted Tuesday, February 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars As far as I'm concerned this album is the ultimate expression of the talents of Camel's classic line-up of Latimer, Bardens, Ferguson and Ward. A dramatic improvement over Camel's enjoyable first album, Mirage is the ultimate answer to the band's many critics.

It kicks off with the fiery largely instrumental Freefall. Dominated in the begining by Andy Latimer's guitar, it contains some nice moments from organist Peter Bardens as well. The vocals, which admitedly were flawed on the first album are exactly what's needed to set the careening tone of this pulsating track.

Amazingly Latimer didn't play his flute on the first album, but when one hears the intoxicating Supertwister it's instantly clear that he's a wonderful player. The seriously underrated rhythm section of bassist Doug Ferguson and drummer Andy Ward also show their skill as they negotiate a delicate, complex piece that ranks among my favourite instrumentals of all time.

The monster Tolkien-influenced track Nimrodel/The Procession/The White Rider is another thing of great beauty. It commences with some eerie keyboards that fade into a skillful flute-dominated fanfare before the main part part of the song kicks in. A moody, ethereal melody about the travails of Gandalf then unfolds before Latimer launches into a lovely quintessentially Camelesque solo, with the trademark jazzy chords, slow build-up and gloriously melodic choice of notes. Bardens then takes over with a daring Moog synth (or is it an ARP?) solo that will take your breath away if you have even an ounce of soul within you (it might just get my vote for Camel's greatest- ever moment). A return to the vocal melodies then follows before the track closes with a dark almost metallic riff that sees Latimer wig out like never before with an effects- laden solo.

Mirage's fourth track Earthrise is a lengthy instrumental that starts off with some jazzy tones before moving into some high-octane instrumental exchanges between Latimer (who might just overdo some of his guitar "frenzies"). Being merely a very good track, Earthrise is the cut I enjoy least here.

The album concludes with another indisputable Camel classic ... Lady Fantasy. Moody intro, melodic vocals singing melancholic fantasy lyrics, a brazen keyboard solo, a dramatic tempo change which Latimer graces with some glistening guitar leads, and beyond the solos, some of the most heart-breaking memorable melodies I've heard in prog-rock, a virtual fade-out into atmospheric guitar swells before the vocals return, and then Camel catches fire with some hard rockin' (replete with solos from the Bardens/Latimer monster) before one of those melodies returns to close out the track.

This is compelling, absolutely essential stuff that has captivated me for quite a long time and I recommend it heartily as one of the truly great progressive rock albums. ... 92% on the MPV scale

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Send comments to Trotsky (BETA) | Report this review (#2088)
Posted Sunday, February 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars After a very promising debut album in which the playing was generally stronger than the material, Camel created their first artistic pinnacle with "Mirage". This album has all the best qualities a rigorous should expect and demand from a symphonic prog masterpiece: musical ideas full of genuine inventiveness and lucid ambition, well harmonized performances, amazing guitar and keyboard solos, eerie mellotron nuances and synth layers, a solid rhythm section that fluidly sustains the repertoire all throughout its shifts and variations, and of course, the quasi-mandatory two or three long epic tracks - in this particular case, two of them, 'The White Rider' and 'Lady Fantasy'. These multi-part numbers had been included in the band's usual live setlist from their early days, but it wasn't until now that they met their official recorded versions. 'The White Rider' is a dense sonic journey into the realms of a magical world (after all, it was inspired by an episode of Tolkien's opus "Lord of the Rings"), starting appropriately with an echoing arpeggio sequence on guitar upon which an eerie Mini Moog briefly expands some evocative lines; then, after a brief military match interlude, the main theme kicks off with a featured mellotron upon which the guitar and the oboe alternately slide in a delicate manner. The minimal lyrics delivered by Latimer are then followed by a brief flute passage, and then a rockier section that serves as the perfect foundation for some organ and guitar soloing. After a second brief sung part, the cosmic closing motif finds Latimer displaying psychedelic flashes on guitar while Bardens' synth and Ferguson's bass provide a disturbing background. The other long prominent track is my all-time Camel favourite composition: the 12+ minute 'Lady Fantasy' is, in fact, one of the best prog compositions ever. From the synth arpeggios that form the intro theme you get the sneaking suspicion that this is going to be really big. The attractive main guitar motif, reprised later for the closure, is one of the most emblematic and recognizable landmarks of prog rock history: it somewhat comprises the emotion of melancholy essentially inherent to the distance and illusion of platonic love. Both the rockier and the languid passages of 'Lady Fantasy' are delivered with amazing ease: the band feels truly energetic and comfortable while going through all the variations of theme and ambience. The soloing by Latimer and Bardens is very confident and sensibly elaborated, and Ward's drumming here is one of his best Camel inputs ever. Once the main guitar motif has been reprised and the final mellotron echoes have vanished, the listener gets the feeling that they have witnessed a musical epiphany of divine proportions. What about the shorter tracks? Well, they're great too. 'Free Fall' finds the band assuming a hard attitude over a jazz-oriented basis: Latimer's guitar parts are really harsh, though still immaculately crafted, while the rhythm section keeps a solid path a Bardens builds an effective bridge between Latimer and Ward/Ferguson with his organ, synth and electric piano. 'Supertwister' is a delicate Bardens-penned number dedicated to the guys of Supersister (close friends with Camel), where Latimer leaves his guitar in favor of his flute, displaying well articulated lines on the canvas of organ and electric piano drawn by Bardens. The final result is an amalgam of soft jazz and pastoral mood. The jazz thing is more intense, and at times more bombastic in the amazing 'Earthrise', a 6+ minute tour-de-force that rivals in energy and catchiness with some of the most accomplished passages of 'White Rider' and 'Lady Fantasy'. Overall conclusion: an absolute masterpiece, a classic that must be regarded as an obligated starting point for each and every prog novice and an item of worship for each and every prog expert collector.

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#2091)
Posted Monday, March 07, 2005 | Review Permalink
wavwwielder@h
5 stars Mirage...I have to mention three things about this album:1)its my first camel album.2)along with stationary traveller its my best one.3)it had been the first prog rock stuff I ve ever listened to.I think that this is maybe the heaviest thing camel ever recorded,and as a result fans of prog metal may start listenig to camel with this one!This album contains some of camels greater songs like the all time classic lady fantasy,the tripy (and more close to psychedelic)white rider,and the more hippy styled freefall.You can also find two great instrumental pieces:earthrise and the flute-based supertwister.A must-buy record

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#2092)
Posted Friday, March 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
dgiusti@ets.o
5 stars I bought this album because of the reviews on this site! Thanks guys! As of today, this is my one-and-only CAMEL record. In fact, I've only had this disc for about a month now. I've listened to it maybe 20 times! I know that in the Prog world, that's equivalent to simply removing the cellophane wrapper, but hey, I'm a quick study. This is a terrific work of art. Andy Latimer is one of the Apostles! Nimrodel - all three parts - PERFECT! Great musicianship, brilliant ideas, flawless execution. I would love to see these dudes live. Where the hell have I been my whole life? Now, "I'd walk a mile for a CAMEL".

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#2093)
Posted Friday, March 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
maani
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Founding Moderator
4 stars This is my first taste of Camel (sorry, couldn't let that pun go unused...), and, if I were you and haven't heard it, I would definitely run - not walk - a mile (or more) for this Camel. It is simply an absolute joy to listen to; interesting, creative and fun from the first note to the last. And although the band is listed as "symphonic prog," I would have to agree with my colleague, Jose Gabriel, that this certainly sounds like it sits right smack in the middle of Canterbury territory: much of the composition, approach and playing reminds me strongly of Hatfield and The North, National Health and Caravan, though it is not quite as "complex" and jazz-tinged as the first two, nor as melodic (or "lyric"-al) as the latter. What really surprised me were the other influences I heard: a little bit of Floyd, a little more of Crimson (Wake/Islands period) and, oddest of all, a great deal of The Allman Bros., especially in the jam sections. Indeed, it is quite possible that the two bands were influencing each other at some level. / There is little point in describing each composition individually. Indeed, this is one of those albums for which you don't want to give too much away: for maximum effect on the new listener, it should be listened to without detailed description. Suffice to say that the musicianship is top-notch throughout, and these guys can jam as good as any band I've ever heard. Add to this that it is obvious that the band is having great fun, and you've got a truly wonderful product. A gem.

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Send comments to maani (BETA) | Report this review (#2094)
Posted Friday, March 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars For me this recording marks the start of Camel's golden period and is one of my most favourite albums. Inspired playing from the band with atmospheric keyboards and killer guitar solos. All five tracks are strong but my particular faves are the three part Tolkien inspired Nimrodel/The Procession/The White Rider, featuring a superb otherworldly solo at the end, and the evergreen Lady Fantasy.

I first bought the album in 1976 and still regularly listen to it. The mark of a true classic.

Five stars - no question.

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Send comments to jimpetrie2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#2096)
Posted Friday, April 08, 2005 | Review Permalink
Fitzcarraldo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Highly accessible, well-crafted (and 'safe') Progressive Rock with oodles of melody (some infectiously melodic riffs) and not a dud track on the album. The song writing is not as sophisticated - or odd - as some of the 'giants' of the genre, but the music is highly enjoyable nonetheless. The sound is a sort of symphonic Progressive Rock with discernable musical influences from the Canterbury Scene bands (but not jazzy-sounding at all, to me). Very good playing by all the band members: Latimer's guitars and flute do it for me, with an honourable mention for Barden's keyboards. But then I should also mention Ferguson's bass and Ward's drumming, which are top notch. There is plenty of racy music on this album, but also plenty of dreamy, relaxed sounds for chilling out. I can easily put this on as background music when I'm lazing or tinkering around (or having a beer, as the sound effect at the end of 'Supertwister' always gets my taste buds tingling). To me the music is very pleasant but not stellar, perhaps lacking slightly in innovation and surprises. There are a good variety of tempos and moods, though, lest I give you the wrong impression.

Incidentally, I caught the band live a couple of times in the 1970s and the second time, despite the audience's pleas, the band flatly refused to play 'Lady Fantasy', which was their anthem and very popular with the band's fans. I have to say that this annoyed me: you don't bite the hand that feeds you, however fed up you are playing the same song.

The Decca Deram 2002 CD re-release has four worthwhile bonus tracks of the same vintage as the album, three of them recorded live and two of which are compositions not on the original album. I cannot conceive of any fan of the Progressive Rock genre disliking this album, and have no hesitation in recommending it. A very secure 4-star rating from me (Excellent addition to any progressive music collection).

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Send comments to Fitzcarraldo (BETA) | Report this review (#2097)
Posted Saturday, April 09, 2005 | Review Permalink
trybiszon@one
5 stars Fantastic! This is an ideal mixture of raw, hard rock and roll and graet imagination. I love Mirage, becaus it doesn,t souud symphonic at all. Of course the music has many layers and different factures, but Latimer's guitar and Bardens' keyboards cooperate rather like Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord in Deep Purple, which is rather unusual in this music genre.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#2098)
Posted Wednesday, April 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
rick_baggerma
5 stars This is really great music, best album ever! It's so real and is so mystifing at the same time, goosebumps all over. Also I think this is the golden Album of Camel, their top, they reached the summit here, athough other albums are not bad this one stays a favourite all over!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#2099)
Posted Wednesday, April 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars First album was very good. This one is perfect. It's very interesting to listen "Mirage" just after "Camel" because it sounds as a logical suite but there is one big difference : one year passed between them, so :

1/ musicians had time to work really hard together ( interplay between them is fantastic ) 2/ songs are wonderful ( for sure they definitively find their own style ) 3/ the combination of different moods make this album "complete" ( they really created an album, not just different songs put together) 4/ music flows very easily ( it supposed a lot of work and talent to obtain this impression of facility) 5/ the band sounds like nobody else ( don't say me they are Pink Floyd clones, Camel has is own identity ).

Five reasons to consider "Mirage" as a masterpiece of progressive music. No doubt. Your collection can't be complete without this one.

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Send comments to H.NOT (BETA) | Report this review (#2100)
Posted Saturday, April 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
tonythrkingfi
5 stars If their debut album was good, this is in a different class. I got it out to listen to specially for this review after a few month's break and it reminded how amazing it is. In my view, this was the best album of 1974 (and there were some damned good ones that year) and I'd still rate it in my top 10 of all time. My vinyl copy only has the first 5 tracks listed but every one is superbly composed and played - the CD with the bonus tracks would be a bargain. The production and sound quality are much improved and the musicianship is, as ever of the highest order. Funny how, at the time, Camel were always rated as second division below ELP, Yes and the like; playing their music now, they sound so much better than those icons of prog. Andy Latimer is one of the guitar gods - he can play fast, musical and can riff like a demon when he chooses. His flute playing is invaluable too - just listen to Supertwister. The late, lamented Pete Bardens is one of the most underrated keyboards players ever - he deserves to be ranked up there with Banks and Wakeman. Dougie Ferguson is a bass player's bass player (my son is a pro bass player and rates him as being as good as Geddy Lee and Chris Squire) - what a loss he was - producing melodic bass lines to hold everything together. Finally, Andy Ward is a technical and inventive drummer. All the tracks are of the highest quality but the extended tracks (Nimrodel and Lady Fantasy) allow for some real invention and are a musical delight - certif1ed's review is spot on in all respects and I endorse every comment he makes. The vocals are limited but much improved over the debut. And the beer bottle at the start of Nimrodel is good for testing your hifi!!! If you don't have this album, buy it. It couldn't get much betterthan this? Well, it did - next time out.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#2101)
Posted Sunday, April 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars A pleasant Symphonic Prog album from Camel.

Andrew Latimer's great Guitar playing and Peter Bardens keyboard skills are also outstanding.

The most stand out tracks on this albums for me are:

"Free Fall" - the album opener - with a lush synth sound introducing the track, thenbang, full on performance throughout, my favouite Camel track of all time.

"Lady Fantasy" - is an epic, songs various styles either fast or slow throughout makes this track worthwhile, with members giving great instrument solos.

A great album to have if you want to get in Camel, essential listening.

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Send comments to PROGMAN (BETA) | Report this review (#2102)
Posted Tuesday, May 03, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I agree with the majority of the reviews before me. High quality from start to finish, consistency is hard to come across in the ambitious world of progressive rock, but with classics such as Nimrodel and Lady Fantasy you also have mini suites that are arguably the best ever conceived. Highly recommended. Although not perfect I must give it 5 stars.

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Send comments to maciek (BETA) | Report this review (#35902)
Posted Thursday, June 09, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This does not seem to me to be an immortal work of progressive rock. If it is, I consider that it is only because it is one of those accessible and easily-digestible discs that help those who are not familiar with the genre to know its main parameters because, if it is full of something, this disc is full of clichés. Structurally and musically not much new was contributed here: the keyboard and guitar solos are strongly reminiscent of the Canterbury bands, especially the first CARAVAN ( Latimer's voice is very reminiscent of Richard Sinclair's voice, who would later join CAMEL), although I must recognize that the band shows an enviable musical guarantee and musicianship that cannot be refuted - the fact that they are not very original is another story. My favourite themes are 'Supertwister' and 'Nimrodel'. But I think that CAMEL giving of its best does not manage to place itself in the first division of progressive rock, that elite group in which I place GENESIS, KING CRIMSON, YES, VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR, ELP or JETHRO TULL... Perhaps I discovered them too late... "Mirage" is a pioneer disc, for that reason the three stars.

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Send comments to peyote (BETA) | Report this review (#38245)
Posted Friday, July 01, 2005 | Review Permalink
Zitro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 3.75-4 Stars

This album is more representative to the sound of Camel, toning down somewhat (but not all) the fierce musicianship presently on their debut album, preferring melodicism and deeper atmosphere. Flute is introduced as well as more progressive song structures and textures. Given that the band would continue dropping their original classic rock style in future albums, this is a good blend of progressive rock and classic rock that can be recommended to fans of either genres.

There's little doubt that all band members continue at the top of their game instrumentally speaking, just like in their debut. Great guitar tones, great keyboard patches. Very solid rhythm section.

Freefall begins the album with a straight up rock vibe and surprisingly mediocre vocals, easily the weakest song the band composed up to this point. Not to say that it's useless: far from it, but you'd find more passion on their first album, this song seems like a failed attempt to re-light the fire.

Supertwister is a more delicate, yet intricate piece with outstanding flute passages and impeccable chemistry between band members as they change tempos and time signatures with ease. My personal favorite song here.

Nimrodel is fractured with an abandoned motif in the first minute, followed by a military march. Then the song properly starts with much better vocals, melodic guitar and flute lines, and excellent instrumental sections. The first is marathon-paced with synthesizer solo, the second mid-paced and atmospheric with a bass-heavy synthesizer motif and beautiful guitar soloing on top. You simply forget about the song's flawed intro.

EarthRise is another successful instrumental with plenty of guitar and synthesizer fireworks. I love the drive this song has at times with rapid-fire guitar strumming and percussion work, it makes you forgive its slight repetitiveness.

'Lady Fantasy' oh what an awful first minute. Repetitive guitar riffing with painfully loud piercing synthesizer loops going on and on and on. Maybe I should edit the song and stop whining as there's very little that goes wrong afterwords. Melodic lines, strong romantic lyrics, great keyboard playing, a couple frantic breakdowns, its variety works well. The highlight is obviously the middle section with subtle guitar and synthesizer backdrop to a highly emotional guitar solo that simply weeps. It's depressingly beautiful.

4.5 Star Songs: Nimrodel, Supertwister

4 Star Songs: Earthrise, Lady Fantasy.

2.5 Star Song: Free Fall

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Send comments to Zitro (BETA) | Report this review (#39275)
Posted Tuesday, July 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars A near, if not complete masterpiece of symphonic rock. Strong heavy rhythmic rock structures, with very good guitar, bass, and keyboard soloing throughout the album. Camel create a very full sound, with very melodic atmospheric keyboards and guitars, and a complex rhythm section underneath.

I don't really like the vocals on most Camel albums and this album is no exception, luckily most of the songs are instrumental, and those instrumentals is what makes Camel a unique band. The few times there are vocals they do not distract from the music, so no problems there. Highlights on this album are the songs Nimrodel, and Lady Fantasy, with great guitarplay and well structured melodic songs, Freefall is a more heavy rock song, with a strong rhythm section and fabulous guitars. Supertwister is an instrumental with a good flute solo, and Earthrise (and Lady Fantasy also) reminds me already of the Snow Goose album in atmosphere and unique sounds.

On later albums the music will get more melodic at the expense of their heavy rock roots, but on this album they reach a perfect blend between heavy rock, and symphonic melodic prog. Almost a masterpiece according to me, and a huge recommendation to all who like melodic symphonic prog with some rocking edges. Great album, and regard my 4 star rating as very conservative...

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Send comments to tuxon (BETA) | Report this review (#39318)
Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I very rarely give a 5-star rating, but I firmly believe that this is Camel at their absolute finest. Everything from the album artwork to the names of the tracks gives this album a somewhat mysterious quality, and Latimer and Co. are at the top of their game. This disc should go down in history with such classics as "Close To The Edge", "Red", "Selling England By The Pound", and "Thick As A Brick." That is of course only my opinion.

The album's most important composition is the 13 minute long "Lady Fantasy" which is undoubtedly a terribly underrated song. The entire band is highly underrated, especially in the US. This song is still being performed by the Camel of today...or at least the Camel of 2002.

The superb remaster contains another 30 minutes of excellent live material, showing that Camel were a live band to be reckoned with even in their formative years. As I said in the beginning, few records for me truly deserve a 5 star rating, but this one most certainly does!! It sums up Camel music of the period and it ranks right up with the best of the time and the best of the genre! Long live Camel!!!!

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Send comments to silversaw (BETA) | Report this review (#40235)
Posted Monday, July 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Through this album Camel proved that they had matured in their musical compositions and overall performance. All five original tracks featured in this album are excellent with varied compositions but they all have similar style - yup, Camel's style. One track is truly exceptional and it has become my most favorite track from Camel: "Lady Fantasy".

The album opener "Freefall" (5:47) represents diverse styles with an upbeat tempo music and changing tempo from medium to fast and returns back to medium. The electric guitar work by Andy Latimer dominates the song combined with great Hammond organ work, inventive bass lines and dynamic drumming. "Supertwister" (3:20) is a very nice'n'cool track which starts with a mellow style and it turns into faster tempo with flute as main melody and some touch of jazz music. The song is very relaxing as it has many tempo changes from relatively fast to slow tempo style. The melody is also excellent. "Nimrodel" (9:12) is an epic containing The Procession and The Whit Rider. It starts with nice exploration of keyboard work followed with marching music that suddenly brings to melodic and melancholic music with flute work. The music turns fast in the middle of the track demonstrating fast-paced keyboard work and stunning solo. Guitar rhythm is also a good one to enjoy at right speaker, while keyboard solo at left one. Guitar then continues the solo even though it's shorter. It's an excellent track.

"Earthrise" (6:42) has eastern nuance at the opening part followed with simple guitar fills and keyboard. The music flows in moderate tempo. My favorite track "Lady Fantasy" (12:46) starts off with soaring organ / keyboard sounds followed by dazzling drum work and electric guitar in relatively complex arrangements. It turns into simpler one with guitar melody augmented with Hammond organ work. It's basically the richness of combination between guitar and Hammond organ (like the sound of The DOORS) augmented with bass lines that make this track is a great one to enjoy.

Overall, it's an excellent addition to any prog collection. Overall rating is 4+ out of 5 stars. Keep on proggin' ..!

Progressively yours, GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#40790)
Posted Friday, July 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
el böthy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars My introduction to Camel, and the best introcution album to this wonderful band if you ask me.

Mirage is the first of their three almost masterpiece albums; sadly non of them (Mirage, The Snow Goose and Moonmadness) achieve that 5 stars status... but they are not that far behind either, specially Moonmdaness.

But I should be talking about Mirage not Moonmadness. Definitly their most powerfull album of this trylogy, with some almost hard rocking moments, like Freefall, the album opener and the instrumental piece Earthrise. But, it´s obvious where Camel are at their best... the softer side, the melodies! Ah, talk about a band with some of the most beautiful melodies you are gonna listen to. Supertwister, an almost Canterbury song in my ears, is a little instrumental with some lovely flutes and delicate keys work. And of course the two longer songs, something Camel did not due very onften, long songs that is,: Nimroel and their all time classic Lady Fantasy. Both are full of Latimer and Bardens extensive solos... ah, I just love Latimers solos, so much emotion. Even though Nimroel is my personal favorite, I must say Lady Fantasy is the best song of the album and a strong contender for best Camel song for that matter.

A must in any prog collection... or good music collection for that matter, as Camel is one of those bands that can appeal to the a hardcore Avant fan, to the most inexperienced rock listener.

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Send comments to el böthy (BETA) | Report this review (#41955)
Posted Sunday, August 07, 2005 | Review Permalink
herball@walla
4 stars I found this Album as an amazing work, from to soft and good earing guitars to the amazing work in bass and drums. the album begin the the jumping fast song "freefall", at first, that song i liked the most, he's really fun to hear, guitars and keyboard are great on that song. after freefall it continous with the soft and pure prog song called Supertwister, with great keyboards. I found that song less in the quality of the other, he's still a really nice song, but he's the only real reason that I give this album 4 star, and not 5. after, the song based on the wellknown famous book, "the lord of the rings.", by the name "Nimrodel", at first, I didnt liked that song much, I must admit, but after sevrel hearings, I acctually found that song it's the best of this album, a pure masterpiece, it's quite let me down, only because it's based on "the lord of the rings." and not as a full own work, but to the music and playing in this song, truely amazing, every single second and you dont get bored, after alot of time. it continues to the amazing, great timing, fast, [found it quite funky as well.] "earthrise". the drums, the bass, the guitars, all have been worked on greatly. the last song, the first song I have ever heard of Camel, the only real reason for really buying that album. [and then of course find it not as less good.], The quick tempure changing song, with amazing lyrics. great vocal "Lady Fantasy". the first thing in that song I noticed, was the amazing work of the bass, leading this song all the way, with great timing with the drums, and fast following with the guitars, and of course fast working on the keyboards, all mixed so good, might possibly be the best song on this album to some peoples, but for me he's after Nimrodel, pure progressive masterpiece that song is. --- "Mirage" is a must album for progressive music style fans.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#41959)
Posted Sunday, August 07, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The second work of announcement in 1974 "Mirage". The first work announced after it transfers the register to DERAM. It is a peculiar sound though there is a hard part as an image of CAMEL compared with a fantastic sound since an established next work, too. The music always filled with a melancholic anxiety is a feature. Last of album "Lady Fantasy". This tune is a masterpiece that Latin system music mixes with Arabic music and jazz and the fantasy each other.

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Send comments to braindamage (BETA) | Report this review (#43752)
Posted Monday, August 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I've been wantin to review "Mirage" for some time since I think this is an absolutely captivating masterpiece of 70's prog. Starting with Freefall, which introduces all the elements that make early Camel a superb band - great groovy keyboards, moody vocals, soaring guitar, bass and drums that just make you wanna dance and bounce off the walls. Supertwister is slower with a delightful flute giving the music an unique touch. Nimrodel - The Procession - The White Rider is clearly inspired by Tolkiens 'The Lord Of The Rings' and develops into a amazing display of progressive fireworks, then soothing for a while with the great lyrics for a while before morphing into an incredible psychedelic solo with the guitar simply driving its sound into your ears. Earthrise is a smooth piece with what seems like a reversed guitar solo in the middle, sounding quite nice. Lady Fantasy makes a wonderful finale and is quite catchy with great lyrics and some acoustic guitar and the fast parts are just sooo groovy. I just can't find enough adjectives to describe this album, it's absolutely essential !

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Send comments to ENAY (BETA) | Report this review (#44837)
Posted Tuesday, August 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Almost every track here was destined to become a Camel classic. Freefall is a powerfull opener to the album, great contribution by the recently disappeared Peter Bardens (died in January 2002, Pete rest in peace.). Also Supertwister, is Bardens'one, one of my best loved Camel songs! With also a good enchanting flute. Nimrodel/The Procession/The White Rider is an impressive long track by Latimer, inspired clearly by Lord Of The Rings. Lady Fantasy is signed by all Camel members and has a superb increasing keyboard intro!

This is a sure masterpiece-gift from Camel to the world's all prog lovers.in my opinion it's not the best Camel album because not comparable with the greatness of Moonmadness in which Camel (too soon, sadly!!) touched the highest peak of maturity!!

Excellent!

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Send comments to Andrea Cortese (BETA) | Report this review (#45167)
Posted Thursday, September 01, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars No doubt: the best Camel album. The exact medium between the pure clasicism of "Snow Goose" and the preciosism of "Moonmadness". "Mirage" adds blood, dirt and an exhorbitant inspiration. Three unforgettable tracks: "Nimrodel" (my eternal election), "Earthrise" and "Lady Fantasy". Latimer (the guitarrist, the flutist and the singer) and Peter Bardens in they best moment. Essential! The album to start the Camel idilius.

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Send comments to F. G. Toledo (BETA) | Report this review (#45489)
Posted Sunday, September 04, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars A really marvellous album from Messrs Latimer, Bardens, Ferguson and Ward. Top drawer in all areas. Playing exceptional, great songs, complex and at times jazzy rock. Nimrodel and Lady Fantasy are my favourites but all the tracks are first class. If you don't have this, you are missing a real treat.

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Send comments to king (BETA) | Report this review (#45739)
Posted Tuesday, September 06, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars (3,25)

This is first Camel album that i listened and it won't be the last. I do not understand why so many people call it masterpiece. It is a good album but it is far away from something that could be called so. It contains simple songs with nice sound, melodys. This album is very easy to understand, maybe that adds some popularity to it. But lack of originality is obvious. They did not create a specific sound here. I heard many similar songs(maybe some of them were created later, i do not know, but i think about albums value NOW, not 30 years ago)On the other hand songs are not very similar to each other

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Send comments to tired_time (BETA) | Report this review (#45886)
Posted Wednesday, September 07, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars this album is an absolute masterpiece and is the best camel album up to date. i think its essential to anyone who is intrested in getting to know prog rock because its "ear friendly", melodic and beautifly played and performed, especially in the guitar and keyboards work (latimer and bardens are absolutely amazing together) but the rythm section is also great. all songs are magnificent but, and this is important, the final piece - lady fantasy is simply mind blowing from start to finish. this is a track that simply defines prog rock along with close to the edge, firth of fifth, la villa strangiato and thick as a brick. you can actually hear the almost orgasmic pleasure of the band as they play this piece, especially in the bombastic end where the band is bursting your ears with incredible sounds.

NEVER STOP PROGING

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Send comments to progron (BETA) | Report this review (#47031)
Posted Sunday, September 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
fernandoallen
5 stars The thing about these guys is that THEY ARE VERY GOOD WITH MELODY. I'm more into the Crimson style of prog/art-rock but this is my dose of Canterbury. Enticingly beautiful, never too simple, never too complex, accesible yet incredibly interesting.

I'm smoking a Camel as I review this (no joke) and it does complement the music. I gotta quit smoking...

Try this for yourself. Its just beautiful music. Tight rhythm section, weeping guitar, and not a showoff keyboard (yet they go perfectly with the music and I would never change them).

Refer to the melodies of Lady Fantasy and to its rockout climax for a prime example of this.

GET IT NOW! A masterpiece.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#51519)
Posted Wednesday, October 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Content Development & Krautrock Team
3 stars Second and eponym album by Camel. Released in 1974 it reveals in part Camel's original sound to come: talented keyboard's parts, short technical interludes delivering the improvised capacities of the musicians, effective melodies. "Freeball" is a heavy rock song mainly based on the instrumental section. "Supertwister" is a small interlude with sympathetic flute parts. "Nimrod - The Procession - The White Rider" represents the progressive part of the album; with a long introduction and various melodic instrumental parts harmonised by calm, rather discreet vocals. "Earthrise" is a catchy "rhythmical" song with interesting guitar plans. "Lady Fantasy" represents the summit of the album with fascinating keyboard / guitar duet and a nice flavour of psychedelic / supernatural atmosphere. Globally this album sounds old dated, also maybe to accessible & mainstream for me to consider it as a progressive rock masterpiece. However a pleasant listening and one of the best offered by the band.

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Send comments to philippe (BETA) | Report this review (#52923)
Posted Sunday, October 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
belz
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars 4.6/5.0

Anything below 4/5 on this album is a shame! This is really a huge album, even if not as great as SnowGoose or Moonmadness! The rhythm on Nimrod, the crazinest of Earthrise or the magic of the keyboards on Lady Fantasy, everything on this album is great!

Like most people, this was my first experience with Camel (Later, I discovered SnowGoose and Moonmadness). Now, I unserstand a bit more their Canterbury scene influence, mainly Caravan on those two albums: If I could do it all and In the land of grey and pink. However, Camel has its own sound and originality. This album is complex yet simple and easy to listen if you're new to prog music. An absolutely fantastic album if you like Canterbury Scene or Symphonic progressive music with huge keyboards and melancolic voice!

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Send comments to belz (BETA) | Report this review (#53023)
Posted Sunday, October 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars In retrospect, particularly after listening to CARAVAN, my evaluation of CAMEL dropped a bit, although I never considered them a first-class prog. It is basically a continuation, not very original one, of the Canterbury style prog, with nice and melodic songs with pleasant guitar, organ and synth solos, but nothing jaw-dropping. "Mirage" is pwerhaps their best album from the 1970s and compositions "Nimrodel" and "Lady Fantasy" can be recommended as top-prog musicianship, but even they are not flawless. Lack of inspiration CAMEL obviously knows how to compensate with hypnotic and pleasant solos. Highly enjoyable album of the mediocre band, but recommended to most prog collectors.

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Send comments to Seyo (BETA) | Report this review (#53113)
Posted Monday, October 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars With their second album, Camel begins to develop their own distinctive sound, highlighted by the group's liquid, intricate rhythms and the wonderful, unpredictable instrumental exchanges by keyboardist Peter Bardens and guitarist Andy Latimer.Anyway, this album is absolutely superb.

1. Freefall - Lots of rich instrumental passages and catchy vocal parts.4,5/5 2. Supertwister - Extremely nice and mellow. Great flute work,of Andy Latimer .5/5 3. Nimrodel/The Procession/The White Rider - A masterful song with lots of breaks, strong melodies and a very impressive and powerful performance from the whole band,and featured some of Bardens' best playing ever. This track is based on Tolkien's trilogy "Lord of the Rings". The White Rider was the magician Gandalf, and Nimrodel is the name of the lake that goes through the forest of Lorien, the land of the Elves, according to the Tolkien myth. 5/5

4. Earthrise - One of the most energetic instrumental-number they ever did. Very emotive. 4/5

5. Lady Fantasy: Encounter/Smiles for You/Lady Fantasy - This track is a 12-minute epic,presents the forthcoming tendency toward long, complicated and emotional pieces. I love it. 5/5

4,5+5+5+4+5 = 23,5

23,5 : 5 = 4,7

Essential - A Masterpiece of Progressive Music

Note - You can try pulling a gag with the Mirage tape cassette: Try offering it as a cigarettes pack to someone.It realy works.

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Send comments to Marquęs_Prög (BETA) | Report this review (#54576)
Posted Thursday, November 03, 2005 | Review Permalink
jeecdrummer@a
5 stars I just got this album yesterday, and wow, it's great. I'm just going to cut to the point.

Freefall - This song is one of the more rocking songs on the cd. There are cool riffs galore. Great song. 10/10

Supertwister - Nice, more peaceful song. Features the flute played by Andy Latimer, I believe. There is a great flute part around 1:30 where it sounds like birds flying overhead. Another great song. 10/10

Nimrodel - Man, this album is great! Another awesome song, this one based on Lord of the Rings, which makes it even better. 10/10

Earthrise - Yet another great song. This one is an instrumental. 10/10

Lady Fantasy - Wow. Maybe the best on the album, I'm not sure. 10/10

If you can't tell already, I believe this is an extremely consistant album, almost perfect. It is fast becoming one of my favorite albums.

5 stars.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#56758)
Posted Thursday, November 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This is the best a human being can hear from this band. Everything is very good stuff. The warm voice, the extraordinay instrumental parts, all is best. My favourite from them. And i think one of the best prog album of all time. You must have this masterpiece. Nimrodel and Freefall are super songs. The best effort from CAMEL, 5 stars for sure.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#63122)
Posted Wednesday, January 04, 2006 | Review Permalink
Philrod
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars After being highly disappointed with their second album The Snow Goose, I decided to give Andy Latimer and co. a second try with this album. Mostly everything have been said by my colleagues, but I would still say that this is an album of clearly higher quality thanits successor, with a progressive classic in Lady Fantasy and some incredible songs. Talking about Lady Fantasy, this song is clearly a highlight of the progressive genre. The different parts of the songs are all extremely good, and they fit together in the most simple and effective way. Great musicianship all around, the lyrics are also good, even if Latimer's voice is not the greatest in the business. Really if you want to discover Camel, start with this album rather than Snow Goose. 4/5

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Send comments to Philrod (BETA) | Report this review (#64454)
Posted Friday, January 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album blew my socks off a certain distance, but was caught in the dust of 'Moonmadness', the best CAMEL album of ALL TIME!!! 'Freefall' grabs the listener's attention with an authoritative vibe, although it loses the plot about two minutes in. This is quickly corrected, and the song finishes beautifully. The obvious prominent songs are 'Nimrodel' and 'Lady Fantasy', which have some amazing guitar work and trilling melodies. In the right mood, these literally blow my top off, as they are akin to sailing on swan back through mystic caves of aqueous planets. I disagree with the 'Canterbury Scene' tag some people have given this album, as it is a lot more symphonic than hippy-fide (mostly, anyway).

The only downside to this album is the guitar solo in 'Earthrise', which really annoys me after starting out so well. 'Supertwister's flute is extraordinary, maybe even ranking with that of 'Air Born' on 'Moonmadness'. Overall, this is an amazing piece of music, just slightly lagging behind CAMEL's finest hour - the exquisite 'Moonmadness'. This shouldn't be missed by any prog-head.

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Send comments to ProgHappy (BETA) | Report this review (#64582)
Posted Friday, January 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I've got to say that this cd was a very pleasant surprise. I love the song Lady Fantasy, an almost 13 min jam. I had never heard of Camel before I started going to this web site but when I saw this was rated so high, I decided to buy it on ebay.Great cd. Great guitar work from Andy Latimer and the keyboards are very spacey. Buy this if you can find it. I'm going to start going through their whole collection.

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Send comments to riverside tree (BETA) | Report this review (#70696)
Posted Monday, February 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Mirage" is a good album, which contains two great songs backed up by three good songs.

"Lady Fantasy" is a long, fluctuating song (which can be heard here) with very mellow, moving sections that usually are followed by more harder, louder sections in which mainly Latimer's excellent guitar playing is present, supported by decent bass and drums and nice keyboard play. Latimer's voice is a bit blank, but very charming and he reminds me of Knopfler from the Dire Straits who has a similar playing style and voice.

"Nimrodel/The Procession/White Rider" which starts with an intriguing tune and then is followed by some marching band intro. Then the band comes in, with the guitar playing the main theme which later is sung by Latimer too. I have the idea this is a song about Gandalf from Lord of the Rings, who is the White Rider who first wore grey - it might be possible as Camel drew inspiration from books later. This main theme is followed by Latimer on flutes, followed by a short guitar piece and then immediately goes to a completely different tune without sounding odd in any way. This other tune is faster, more rocking and contains yet another solo by Latimer (or Bardens on keys, I'm not sure - it actually is more probable that it's Bardens). This song is similar to Lady Fantasy in structure, switching from more rocky to more ballad-like songs, but has a far darker atmosphere and the main themes are completely different.

If you can get the CD with bonus tracks, I advise you to do so as the bonus version of Lady Fantasy is, especially in the start, far better.

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Send comments to Rosescar (BETA) | Report this review (#71358)
Posted Tuesday, March 07, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Second Camel album structurally follows the concept of its predecessor in a way that interchangeably there are some vocal tracks and some instrumental, but material sounds now mature and is more complex. 'Freefall' is fast tempo opener while 'Supertwister' attracts with nice flute and odd ending; 'Nimrodel' with its two subparts is annunciation of what is waiting for us on the other side of the record.And this B side containing two tracks, 'Earthrise' and 'Lady Fantasy', is altogether Camel's creativity zenith supplemented with excellent playing. It is also a crucial reason why I consider Mirage to be their best album.

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Send comments to bsurmano (BETA) | Report this review (#76029)
Posted Sunday, April 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Along with my cd's Camel, this second album had stunned me for a while, not because their progres music but some of their songs in this album had forced me to think about their creation. There's no doubtful and since I heard their songs completely, I realized this album is so awful!

Ok, the first song, Freefall- struck the silence with the fading in the tight beat, more louder, and added by the rock-jazzy tunes for several times. And then the voices coming up with previous sound and seem so more harder that change still remain until the mid song. I think and maybe you too, think about Freefall, and imagining like jumping out from the airplane and fly in the sky. I enjoy this part, roaring sound of rock guitar, choosing the bass tunes and then back to first part of this song until the end of part had stop. Just like brain storming song !

Supertwister- The great instrument song with the harmony flute's sound by Latimer work seems to be nice one. This time Latimer played the flute as the main instrument beside his guitar, and also he was totally proved as a great flute player. I like the end of part with the sound of champagne fill into the glass. sound chic !

Nimrodel, The Procession, and The White Rider- The first sound we hear that's Latimer playing with his guitar and the deep sound of chorus, then suddenly some crowded voice within the dancing sound of flute and the military drum fade into the song. The main song itself just begin, and of course this part is excellent and so so nice. The Latimer's voice seems to blur and heavy. After the procession has ended, we hear all the instruments chasing each other, more faster, crawling into the 70's progrock sound. This is the special solo from Bardens and 'cutted' by Latimer's solo. And in the end, that's striking colour from Ferguson and Latimer's sound. Great ending.

Earthrise - is just second attractive instrument song and I think this song is extraordinary, let's imagining when you wake up in the morning, hearing this song and you'll feel better. The music itself has medium - fast tempo, also I'm respect to Andy Ward for his attractive and powerful hit. This is outstanding work for him. Good job Andy !

Lady Fantasy - talking about this song, I heard it at the first time when I saw Camel live in Pressure Point. First I felt so unfamiliar, some nice part and some complicated part to me because there are many parts, sudden changes, and many emotional in it. But when I heard it again many times, I founded that this song is great, there are many great part instrumental, and unforgetable voice from Latimer. His voice is not too clear but the spelling is unique one. It contains hard element rock sound and nice part with the emotional sense. Very exciting one..

Overall, this album is enjoyable, colourful, more powerful, and also very recommended album. For Camel fans, don't ever miss it.

Atang - Indonesia

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Send comments to Atang (BETA) | Report this review (#77116)
Posted Thursday, May 04, 2006 | Review Permalink
infandous@exc
4 stars My first Camel purchase and listen. Based on the strength of this album, I have since purchased nearly every studio album and a couple of live albums. One of the things I like most about Camel is that they do, in fact, progress. They can't be accused of sounding the same from album to album.

This particular album, is very much in the early 70's classic rock style, while veering quite a bit into 70's prog territory. This album and the first one are probably the only two that sound qutie similar to each other in their whole discography, though this one is definetly superior to the debut. There is much to love here, especially if you grew up listening to 70's rock.

Bardens organ playing is outstanding on every track, reminding me of Tony Kayes playing on The Yes Album, but with far more blues and soul leanings (he even sounds like Ray Manzarek from the Doors during Lady Fantasy!). Latimer is starting to sound like the great guitarist he was going to be on future albums, playing some wonderful solos and melodic lines. Not to mention his very nice flute playing on a couple of tracks, most notably Supertwister. And let's not forget the incredibly entertaining drumming of Andy Ward. Doug Ferguson is not exactly a stand out bassist, but he does get the job done.

In fact, the only thing here that makes me hold back a 5th star, is the weak vocals. They border on mumbling in some spots and just seem to be so soft and bland as to almost be pointless. Still, they are not off key or particularly bad, just very weak (this will be an issue for me with many Camel albums, though starting with Moonmaddness they do improve).

Overall, a great album worth having for any progger, and probably the most energetic Camel album ever. If you only get one of their albums, make it this one.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#78600)
Posted Thursday, May 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
thellama73
COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars My introduction to Camel, I bought it without knowing anything about them except that they were Prog. I was blown away by what I heard.

Lady Fantasy is everything a Prog epic should be. It has beautiful melodic lines, extremely hard rocking moments, shifts in tempo, time signature and mood and the lyrics... aren't terrible. I am almost equally fond of the Tolkein inspired suite Nimrodel, which features my favorite keyboard solo ever. I am personally a big fan of flute driven progressive rock, and this album is a shining example of that.

For me, the least interesting track is, oddly enough, the opener Freefall, which I feel falls a bit flat and sounds rather dated.

I would be remiss if I did not comment on the bonus material included on the reissue. It's over a half hour worth of extra music, and while the version of Lady Fantasy isn't that different from the original, it's such a good song that I don't mind listening to it twice at all. I will always be at a loss to figure out why Camel was relegated to the second tier of Prog, rather than elevated to the heights of Genesis or ELP, but such is life.

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Send comments to thellama73 (BETA) | Report this review (#79845)
Posted Tuesday, May 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Mirage is such a wonderful album from Camel, a band who was coming of age as a more "undergound" progressive rock band (not that prog was radio-ready) on their second release. Camel excels here with a tight variety of compositions, and you can see so much potential coming off this album that their debut only showed so much of. Even the vocals, though never the highlight of the band, are more accentuated and not as weak this time around. From the beginning, "Freefall" displays a more challenging direction, especially in the middle break. Again, Peter Bardens' keyboards and Andrew Latimer's guitars play off one another so well, and I cite Bardens' lead vocal as the first evidence of my case above about stronger singing, even if neither he nor Latimer are powerful singers. "Supertwister" introduces us to Latimer's flute playing, and Doug Ferguson has a nice thick bass part to go along with this beautiful interlude-style number. I especially like "Nimrodel," Camel's first try at true extended storytelling, with frequent time changes and musical soundscapes, ending with a guitar solo which sounds like Latimer played this from a mountain top. The first ever Latimer/Bardens collaboration (which would become the cornerstone of the band) is "Earthrise," another instrumental featuring Andy Ward doing some excellent speed drumming portions, but the keyboard/guitar exchange continues to highlight. However, the major piece is the 13-minute "Lady Fantasy" suite, but unlike Music Inspired By The Snow Goose, there were two lyrical sections, but the music provides that atmosphere, and Latimer has some excellent guitar that people can air out to, especially about nine minutes in. If you have the remastered edition, the original mix of "Lady Fantasy" is even better than the studio one, complete with effects on the final guitar and keyboard solos, and Ward's drums sound slightly more live. Even if they weren't quite as regarded or famous as Yes, Genesis, or ELP, Camel preserves the progressive roots on this album, and it's still my favorite in their catalog. Remember that if you own this album, it's essential to try out Music Inspired By The Snow Goose and Moonmadness to complete Camel's prime trilogy.

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Send comments to CVoss (BETA) | Report this review (#80622)
Posted Wednesday, June 07, 2006 | Review Permalink
ianmclagan@ho
2 stars I love the Canterbury bands with their spacy, jazzy sound and whimsical sense of humor, but, while I respect the band as decent but not near top tier musicians, Camel is a disappointment. Though the material on Mirage is strong and generally well played, I can't shake the seriousness of it all....this stuff is humorless! The synthetic feel of the keyboards dominate while the monotone guitars soar....and soar some more, but never maintain a melody. The vocals, too, give off an air of studio sterility, like took control of the recording sessions. Not even the flutes can add warmth to this cold, cold record. Like I said, the material IS strong - some of the best numbers in the band's lenghty catalouge come from this album, but I still can't recommend it....sounds like Kansas to me.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#80903)
Posted Sunday, June 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the first album by the band i listened and still today remains my favourite even if the sound is not at the same level of maturity of the next works....the first impression were the beautiful melodic and harmonies lines by the latimer's guitar solos and barden's keyboard ones and especially the surrealist and fantasy atmosphere that surround this work from start to finish. The highlights are “supertwister” with it’s beautiful melodies thanx to Andy Latimer that here play the flute in this so emotional way; The beautiful Nimrodel is divided in three parts, Procession is a medieval piece with the magic of latimer’s flute and martial rhythms that changes in the “white rider” with accelerations of guitars and keyboards that ends with the psychedelic guitar work just it was played from the mountain Top. “Lady Fantasy” Is my all-time favourite progressive song with many changes of times, a song full of energy, melancholy, passion! While the others the instrumental “Earthrise” and the bluesy “Freefall” are a bit down but very good anyway. I recommend this with “ The snow goose” and “Moonmadness” ...the best camel works in my opinion.

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Send comments to nico (BETA) | Report this review (#80939)
Posted Sunday, June 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
lazzalazza@ho
5 stars To me, Mirage sounds like the best Camel work ever. There is nothing more to say about this album but that it's a masterpiece of prog-rock, something every prog-listener should have in his top ten. The opening track "Freefall" shows that Camel have something to teach also to Queen (compare the initial beats with the starting of "Flash"), the following music is simply undescribable in its clever and enjoyable complexity. Lady Fantasy, right from the start, stands as a mile stone for symphonic prog. This album is a MUST HAVE.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#82223)
Posted Thursday, June 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Obviously the vocals aren't the main focus point in Camel's music, but to my standards they're beyond satisfactory. All of the vocal lines have been stuck in my head at some point in time not to mention the awesome instrumental work (which has to be the main focus point).

I think every track on this album is necessary and nothing at all goes to waste but not all of the tracks are prog classics obviously, but I'd definately pick out a couple that could be: the "epics" Lady Fantasy and Nimrodel, both have to be the standouts on Mirage.

All the tracks have at least one section with a great hook that makes them memorable and distinguishable from eachother so extended periods of time listening to the album don't get tedious at all.

I wouldn't say Camel sound brash or that they could actually pull off that sort of sound with what they do which is pretty chillout kind of stuff even when there is plenty going on.

The leadwork is just brilliant, Andy Latimer obviously has his own style going on, in fact the whole album has it's own style going on.

Mirage is just a classic through and through, one of those albums you have to own even if it doesn't get much play.

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Send comments to Supertwister (BETA) | Report this review (#85886)
Posted Sunday, August 06, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars My first Camel album, the first Camel masterpiece and the beginning of their perfect album trilogy. Nimrodel/The Procession/The White Rider was the one song that blew my mind so badly one beautiful day that I couldn't rest until I found every single studio album they released. That song still does it for me, as do all the four that accompany it. The White Rider and Lady Fantasy are among their biggest masterpieces and the shorter songs don't fall behind, I consider all of them five star work. The emotional value this album has lifts it a bit above the following two, so give it another halfstar.

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Send comments to Pekka (BETA) | Report this review (#87425)
Posted Wednesday, August 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Probably the best Camel's album of all, and certainly one of the best I have heard. Album is full of dynamics and creativity, most of the time it sounds totally magical, and I started to wonder how they made such a complex record, that is very interesting and melodically in the same time.

"Freefall" is very good rock song, good for opening, with excellent tempo changes, where every instrumentalist shows extraordinary technique. Such playing is continued through other songs, in which keyboards begin to brake all limits of my, human psyche. Keyboards sound very good and fit with guitar perfectly. Compositions here are on high level of professionalism.

I have always loved flute, its sound has been touching me deeply in my soul. Latimer is my favorite flute player ever. In song called "Supertwister", his flute made me very pleased, and the beginning of the next track goes in perfect harmony with previous song. Guitar is magical in this song, vocals even more. As I figured out, this is three-part song, all of the parts are connected well.

"Earthrise" has got brilliant guitar-keyboard combination at the intro, and then mind breaking combinations of drums and keyboards, with fantastic bass, and whole composition is instrumental. The last song, which is also multipart track is one of my favorite epics, brilliant love song. It really made an impact on me. This is something one should hear, to understand its brilliance.

This is the finest piece of Camel, band who made many great works. Actually I have never heard music of bands like Yes, or Genesis, or Jethro Tull, and this is the finest prog album of seventies for me. So I highly recommend this record to any newcomer in progressive music.

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Send comments to nisandzic (BETA) | Report this review (#87515)
Posted Thursday, August 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This happens to be one of my favorite Camel albums. Not only does it boast great playing by all the members, but the compositions are well written. There's great structure in all of them. Plus, they all have that great groove and energy that doesn't seem to surface as often in their later albums. The thing that strikes me the most about this album is that it's got lots of variation, from the calm and beautiful Supertwister to the groove of Freefall to the wicked fast jam in Earthrise. Nimrodel begins with a haunting passage including synth lines that bring tears to my eyes. This song hits a high point in the middle, and then falls back down only to finish strong. Lady Fantasy is epic and strange. (Which is, of course, a good thing)

Furthermore, the synth design is great. The guitar tone is great for his style of playing. The whole band is just as tight as can be. The recording quality may not be flawless, but there are plenty of recordings that I personally find to be outstanding despite the sound quality. (For instance, Gentle Giant) I also appreciate the use of improvisation written into the structure of most of these songs. The melodies are infectuous, the harmonies are brilliantly concieved, and the album itself has a distinct and unique sound throughout. What's not to like?

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Send comments to Varda of Arda (BETA) | Report this review (#91109)
Posted Friday, September 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Camel was a very influential band witness the current sounds of Opeth on their mellow album. The inclusion of a flute makes this band very good. This group was underrated in the 70's and their sound is classic and slightly on the sugar side but if you contrast it with the darker bands like King Crimson in the same era, they can really compliment each other.

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Send comments to dmay (BETA) | Report this review (#96459)
Posted Wednesday, November 01, 2006 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The reason that I got in touch with Camel was that an older proghead with a huge collection asked me to listen to Camel because of that funny part with the opening of a can of beer ... but I was so delighted about Andy Latimer his compelling guitar work that I became a fan for life. To me the album Mirage sounds as their most dynamic, adventurous and varied effort, "no fillers, all killers": a powerful and often howling electric guitar in the opener Freefall, pleasant work on flute in Supertwister (with the opening of that can of beer in the end), a wonderful harmony of lush violin-Mellotron, twanging guitar, a deep bass sound and excellent guitar play (loaded with emotion) in Nimrodel and wonderful guitar play and varied keyboards (floods of Hammond and a spectacular Minimoog solo) in Earthrise. But the absolute highlight is their 'magnum opus' Lady Fantasy, my favorite Camel composition and a 'crowd pleaser' too: lots of exciting shirting moods, great work on guitar and keyboards, splendid interplay by all musicians and after a hypnotizing middle- part, there is that mindblowing heavy and bombastic eruption featuring swinging clavinet and a compelling organ solo and in the end beautiful violin-Mellotron, goose bumps! Camel wrote progrock history with Lady Fantasy but never reached that level again ... in my opinion.

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Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#97464)
Posted Monday, November 06, 2006 | Review Permalink
OpethGuitarist
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars One of Camel's finest works, if not the best.

I have often debated whether I am more impressed with this or Moonmadness, and the truth is, both are quite exquisite. Side 1 of this album is simply superb, with flowing melodies with wonderful work from all band members, and the vocals are even not that bad, often a downfall of Camel's works. Latimer's touch is unmatched here, and the keyboards flow gracefully with the music rather than being an interference.

My preference is side 1, with the classic song Freefall, the unique and quirky SuperTwister, and the journey of Nimrodel/Procession/The White Rider. The medieval beginnings here are a nice touch, and we are led into perhaps Camel's most aggressive and assertive instrumental section. A small point of complaining here is I am a bit disenchanted with the drums, but the human qualities that the rest of the band members make their instruments achieve more than makes up for the staleness I see there.

Earthrise is perhaps the worst track on the record, if one were to point fingers, with a less than memorable musical middle, that perhaps could have benefited from fewer keys. We close with Lady Fantasy, another glorious epic that ranks among some of Camel's best. Parts at the beginning I am less impressed with, but as we build more towards climax the band picks it up with some impressive riffs and well thought out structure.

One of Camel's most essential releases. It is often a shame that Latimer's playing is overlooked to that of Howe's, Hackett's or Gilmour's, but I believe he is the best out of this bunch, adding an undeniable humanistic quality and artistic prowess to his technical abilities. A fantastic accomplishment.

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Send comments to OpethGuitarist (BETA) | Report this review (#98516)
Posted Sunday, November 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars After the brilliant debut the band released their second album in 1974. Their debut album "Camel" wasn't very successful and thus Camel had to move from MCA Records to Decca Records. Although Mirage wasn't very successful in England too, it managed to create a fan-base abroad and especially on the U.S west coast.

Mirage is a fabulous album. The band seems to be perfectly connected and really getting serious. Better compositions, sound and performance from all members. Mirage, following what Camel had started in their debut, is a mostly instrumental album. Occasionally you might hear either guitarist Latimer or bassist Fergunson sing but even if the whole album was instrumental, I don't think it would become boring or repetitive because of the amazing ability of the band to create beautiful melodies. It's proggier and surely most experimental but most of all it's clear that Camel have defined their sound.

The solid rhythmic section of Doug Fergunson and Andy Ward prepares the ground for Andy Latimer's and Peter Bardens bombardment of melodies. Bardens has really developed his ideas from the debut while Latimer shows what a god he is with beautiful and expressive guitar solos. He also shows he is an excellent flute player (see Supertwister).

The original album consists of five songs (the remastered has 4 bonus tracks). All of them are amazing but one of the reasons Mirage is so famous is because of it's last and longest track, "Lady Fantasy". There is a video of Camel playing it live and Latimer crying while playing the guitar solo. I can really describe it with words so I suggest doing a search on youtube. The four bonus tracks are: "Supertwister" and two songs from the debut album "Mystic Queen" and "Arubaluba" recorded live at the Marquee Club in 1974 and the last is the original studio mix of "Lady Fantasy". The live tracks are really pleasant.

Overall, "Mirage" is an excellent addition to any prog music collection. The music although at times complex is not really demanding and can be very easily listened even by people not used to prog. "Mirage" could be a good place to start exploring Camel's world. Many would disagree on it being a masterpiece but I can't give less than 5 stars to it. Enjoy!

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Send comments to sularetal (BETA) | Report this review (#100760)
Posted Tuesday, November 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars WOW!!

What an album. This was my introduction to Camel and immediately I was amazed. It's nearly perfect in every aspect, and is definitely in my top 10 symphonic albums. Very lush, beautiful, soaring sound with perfect melodies, impeccable arrangements and flawless writing.

The vocals on "Freefall" and "Lady Fantasy" are awesome. Rarely do we hear deep, assertive but friendly male vocals in progressive music. Andy Latimer is a superb musician, he plays some of the nicest melodic flute ever composed on "Supertwister". Very fast soloing on "Lady Fantasy" and the brilliant emotional guitar lines of Nimrodel send shivers down my vertebrae. Peter Bardens is also a wonderful keyboard player, sounding a bit like Dave Sinclair of "In the Land of Grey & Pink" era at times. The rest of the band ain't bad either. Their roles just aren't as prominent. Overall a very solid band at every level.

There is only ONE fault I can find in this album, and that would be the intro to Lady Fantasy. the fast treble-y keyboards are mixed too high and conflict with the guitar rather akwardly.

I'll leave the specifics up to you to enjoy, but I can almost garentee you'll fall in love with this band if you like symphonic melody heavy prog in the vein of Yes/Hackett era Genesis.

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Send comments to OGTL (BETA) | Report this review (#104819)
Posted Thursday, December 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Camel is really a very underrated band; in my opinion prog music fans of any kind could find something appealing in Camel's music, from Latimer's guitar and flute playing to the great harmony between the members and long, satisfactory songs. This album possesses them all, every song on its own could well be a hit for any other album, and the album in its entirety stands as a block due to the resemblence of the songs. I only have to point out that the last one, called "Lady Fantasy" is such an awesome accomplishment that even the rest of the album was rubbish, the album could still get a five stars... Lady Fantasy is truly among the best songs ever composed.

To me it is the best Camel album, though The Snow Goose and Moonmadness come very close to "Mirage". An essential masterpiece, an easy 5 stars...

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Send comments to taylanbil (BETA) | Report this review (#107396)
Posted Saturday, January 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Camel... I think this is the one of the most overlooked bands (at least by critics) in rock history. I don't understand why it's considered any inferior to other aces of prog. But anyway... that's the common fate of bands who put very much romanticism in their music (Uriah Heep is an another example).

Mirage, Camel's second studio release, is nothing but a key to the lover's soul. It starts with somehow rough Freefall and it makes you feel like entering a deep forest when you've got no idea what's hidden there. Then - Supertwister. At this time you feel how mysterious lightbeam is making it's way through the twilight and you see the vision of a beautiful young maiden whose face reflects her innocence and childish angst. After this song you can't even say for sure whether you're awake or dreaming. Nimrodel and Earthrise bear somehow similar feelings in you. You feel like getting more and more enchanted by this maiden, the dancing elves and everything around you. And then... Lady Fantasy... I don't even know what to say... It's makes me wanna ride The Pegasus, pick the million stars and give them to the lady of my dreams... This song alone makes you fall in love.

I tell you The Knight with the flaming heart: Play Supertwister on your flute or beginning of Lady fantasy on your guitar to your beloved and she'll be yours forever.

I Give this magic masterpiece Million points from million.

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Send comments to Thandrus (BETA) | Report this review (#110731)
Posted Monday, February 05, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Second studio Camel opus. Quite different from their first one produced a year before. Due to the lack of (commercial) success they had to change from label and opted for Gama. During the recording sessions, Gama signed a long-term deal with Decca to release all Camel future albums.

This one is of course famous for its sleeve. While the band was touring in America, the American division of Camel cigarettes requested the withdrawn of the design to avoid legal procedures. In the US, "Mirage" has been licensed to Janus record. The album sleeve was quickly redesigned and the album was renamed "Janus 7009" (sounds like "90125", no ?). In the rest of the world the cover remained unchanged.

The European division of Camel was willing to produce small packs of five cigarettes with the Camel artwork and track listing. The cigarette company was really keen on to idea of a sponsorship deal with the band that they seriously suggested renaming the songs on "Mirage" to relate to the Camel brand and smoking. The association with the company did go as far as free cigarettes given away at concerts, having amplifyers were covered by camel (fake) skins ! The US sleeve for "Mirage" will be almost similar to the one of their first album.

Most of the tracks had already been performed in live sessions so that the album was quite easy to record in the sense that the band knew already what they had to improve (or not) for these studio sessions.

"Freefall" does not pass really well the proof of time : it sounds like a 60'ies number and is quite boring. Vocals are rather poor and somewhat old fashioned. "Supertwiser" is already a typical Camel piece of music : quiet, relaxing with very nice flute playing by Latimer.

The mini-suite "Nimrodel-The Procession-The White Rider" is a wonderful song : full of emotion (musically and vocally). The symphony of the band at a climax. The track starts quite slowly and develops into a solid rock number with great synth work. The last part of the song though ends in a psychedelic trip which could have been better. One of the highlight.

"Earthrise" is a very nice intrumental which is rather premonitory for the next album to come : "The Snow Goose". Then comes the suite "Lady Fantasy- Encounter-Smiles for You-Lady Fantasy" which about thirty years later will still be a regular in their live sets. This song is very good : lots of keys, rythm and mood changes. Rocking alright at times. Another highlight.

Although the album was well received by the specialized press, it failed to chart in the UK (it reached Nr. 149 in the US)

On the remastered version there are about thirty minutes of bonus tracks which are fine but not essential. Most of them were recorded during their Marquee Club concerts in October 1974. Three stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#110794)
Posted Monday, February 05, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Attention all fans of symphonic prog rock, if you haven't taken a chance on Camel by now, you definetly should. Especially this album.

When I first discovered the prog rock archives website, I clicked on the symphonic rock section and spotted an album cover art that looked like a familiar ciggy pack. I was intrigued that someone would use such an iconic but somewhat controversial symbol to put on their album. Alas I discovered a band called Camel. The page on the 'Mirage' album offered some mp3 samples and so I choose Lady Fantasy for starters. People, believe me when I tell you that I have never felt so instantly connected with a band so quick in my life. I liked every noe of what I was hearing, that early 70's synth, the somewhat Focus/Floyd inspired guitar sound, solid bass and drums, and that very odd sounding vocal.

I couldn't believe that at age 38 I had never come across this band. I quickly grabbed this album and fell in love with one track after another. Nimrodel and Earthrise have become fav's as well. Such quirky melodies interplaying between guitars and keys, one would think Bardens and Latimer were joined at the hip. Too bad they wouldn't see eye to eye in later years.

The one thing that impresses me most about Camel is the force called Andrew Latimer. What a musician and visionary. I've been a fan of Van Halen, Malmsteen, Vai and Satrianni as guitar players but I've never heard such an honest and soulful approach towards instrumentation as expressed by Latimer.

My advice, fans of Floyd, Focus and Yes should give Camel a go, I surely hold this band up with the greats despite a much smaller fan base.

4.5 out of 5

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Send comments to akamarko (BETA) | Report this review (#111687)
Posted Sunday, February 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars It's a masterpiece. I don't have any doubt about it. Only five tracks here, but they are all great. Freefall - a fine opening number that gives you and introduction, to what rest of the album will be like. Supertwister - flute! One of my favourite instruments plays in this instrumental song the lead. Great! Nimrodel/The Procession/The White Rider - Story about Gandalf :D Very fine voclas, and a beautiful guitar. My favourite track on this lp. Than we have Earthrise. A bit spacy, a bit psychedelic. And at last we have Lady Fantasy. On this track is everything that matters in prog music. Great melody, very fine keybord and guitar playing and one of the best vocals in Camel history. I can't get enough of this album, and I will never will. 5 stars. A must.

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Send comments to Deepslumber (BETA) | Report this review (#112233)
Posted Thursday, February 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
russellk
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This album is an uneven example of CAMEL'S sound. CAMEL were at their best when they did not overreach themselves, turning subtle variations into an art form, but unfortunately in a couple of places on this album they push the music beyond their compositional limits.

'Freefall' and 'Supertwister' are competent tracks, as is 'Earthrise', but the twin highlights for most listeners are the two longer tracks, the 'Nimrodel' and 'Lady Fantasy' suites. Both shine with moments of sheer brilliance, but unfortunately both are marred. 'Nimrodel' suffers from unutterably twee lyrics, while the last part of 'Lady Fantasy' seems tacked on to the rest of the suite. Shame, really; this is very nearly an excellent album.

Fortunately, better was to come. CAMEL are an essential part of the collection of any lover of progressive music, but it is the two albums to follow this one - 'Snow Goose' and Moonmadness', especially the latter - that make them indispensable.

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Send comments to russellk (BETA) | Report this review (#113691)
Posted Tuesday, February 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars The album starts out with a good opener, Freefall. It is a mostly instrumental song, but the lyrics are quite interesting, "I'm in a freefall, like a snowflake falling" the first line of the song and it is my favourite. The singing is adequate and does nothing to detract from the music, but it doesn't really add anything to the song either.

An instrumental song is next, Supertwister. Here Andy Latimer shows his skills on the flute. The rest of the band does a great job in covering the spaces where the guitar might have been, notably Peter Bardens on organ and Doug Ferguson on bass guitar. It makes this a delightful track to listen to. The ending is especially intriguing. It is a short one but fulfils the expectations of a great instrumental.

The middle track is the first epic on the album, Nimrodel / Procession / White Rider clocking in around 9 minutes and a bit. It is about Gandalf, a major character in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. The music is exceptional; I love the intro to this song with its mysterious feel thanks to Peter Bardens' organ playing. Also Andy Latimer's flute and guitar playing adds another dimension to the music. The lyrics do a great job of conveying the character of Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings. It expresses the thoughts I have about Gandalf while reading the book.

Another instrumental piece takes place here. It has a nice jazzy feel overall. The best part of this song is near the middle during the exchanges between Peter Bardens and Andy Latimer. It is another song that meets and perhaps goes beyond the expectations of an instrumental set by Supertwister.

The final song is the second epic and last song on the album. It is the Lady Fantasy, which is split into 3 parts: Encounter / Smiles For You / Lady Fantasy. It starts off with a heavy-ish guitar riff. Peter Bardens plays a catchy melody on the keyboards. The song gets going right away with a very catchy intro to the first verse. The vocals on this song are at their strongest of the album. This song goes through many changes in tempo, each with a great instrumental section between the singing sections. Andy Latimer shows his ability to express emotion through his guitar and it gets me every time. I cannot help but be moved by the guitar playing. My favourite section of this song is the last 4 minutes. It has a great feel to it. The organ keeps it going and then the song kicks into 5th gear and really gets going. It is a great end for an album.

The remaster version has a few bonus tracks to it: a live version of Supertwister as well as live versions of Mystic Queen and Arubaluba (both from the debut album - the previous one). There is also another take of Lady Fantasy.

There are many great points and highlights of this album; I have only mentioned a few of mine. The musicianship on this album is good and Camel's sound is a lot more defined on this album than it was on the last album. Overall this is a great album to follow up an awesome debut.4/5 stars

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Send comments to progismylife (BETA) | Report this review (#114113)
Posted Saturday, March 03, 2007 | Review Permalink
laplace
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars Yes, this album is very kitsch but to this reviewer's eyes, most of the attempted progressive experiments fail. When an interesting time signature arises, it is simply maintained for a while and then left behind, often without a satisfactory transition and never does an interesting melody get the chance to shine during such a sequence. A lot of the chord progressions are contrived and don't really make sense - that's ok, as this is progressive rock we're talking about, after all, but these experimental musical ideas are often buried underneath conventional solos which would still have fitted a traditional chord pattern.

The fact that singing is sparse and stranded on this album leaves this reviewer at a loss, as it is patently obvious that every one of these songs contains lengths which could be greatly improved by a sung melody.

All I can really say about "Mirage" is that it's more ambitious than music by most of Camel's rock contemporaries. Whether it actually capitalizes on its ambition is for you to decide; I say no.

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Send comments to laplace (BETA) | Report this review (#116850)
Posted Friday, March 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Now this one, i just don't get at all. Camel is one of the most popular british bands of them all, and guitarist Andy Latimer has an extremely high status among many prog afficionados, some call him the most emotional guitar player in the world. I will not say that that is not the case, nor will i say that Camel, or Mirage, is "bad" or "overrated", because that would not be true. Camel is a very talented band, and Mirage is a highly enjoyable album, with many tracks that feature stunning guitar work by Andy, but still, there is one thing that just gets me. According to Itunes, "Lady Fantasy" is one of my 20 most listened to tracks the last year, and while i always enjoy it while i'm listening to it, because it is very easy to enjoy with its high tempo and melodic tendencies, i can honestly say that neither the song nor the album has left any kind of impression on me whatsoever. I just never find myself thinking about it when i'm not listening to it, and never have i had the need to rush home to listen to some Camel. I just feel strangely indifferent towards it, and i fear that, if 41 listenings couldn't do the trick, i justthink that it's time to give up and call this one an "Okay".

I sometimes feel frustrated as to why i can't see what everyone else sees in Camel. It's not so much that i don't like them, it's just that my fondness reaches a certain height and then it just stops there. Halfway. Three stars. Good, but non-essential. If you feel touched by Camel's other work, however, this is as good as you're gonna get. It just does nothing for me. Sadly.

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Send comments to Evans (BETA) | Report this review (#116889)
Posted Friday, March 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I am going to have a hard time reviewing this album because it contains one of my favorite songs from symphonic rock - Nimrodel. The rest of the album has some very nice parts, but also has some parts that aren't so great, mainly the whole second side. The musicians are skilled, but the music is not overly complex. The singing isn't exactly the best in the world, but it is still good and I think very good in Nimrodel. Now, onto the album.

Freefall is a nice, strong opener. At the same time it sounds somewhat straight forward and just not very progressive. In the middle of the song is a really great repeating guitar riff, which I find to be the best part of the song. Next up is Supertwister which is actually my second favorite track on the album. This is an amazing and somewhat subdued instrumental that is very flute heavy. As part of the percussion, we get the repeating sound of a pop bottle cap being twisted (you know, that fizzy sound). The middle section of the song really slows down to create a dreamlike atmosphere accentuated by the swelling flute melodies. Andy Latimer is one heck of a flute player. The song ends with a bottle of pop being opened and poured into a glass (not someone peeing - geez?!)

The following song is what I would call an Essential Song of Progressive Rock. Nimrodel of course is about Gandolf from Lord of the Rings. The lyrics are pretty sparse but still very good. The beginning of the song has some guitar appregios along with keyboard (moog?) melody that is very haunting; this sets the stage. The next section is a fanfare that builds up into the most satisfying entry of drums, bass, mellotron, and guitar that is very regal sounding (entrance of Gandolf). I love the guitar melodies here. The next section picks up speed and starts out with heavier guitar laying down various melodies and then the keyboards take over. This moves into yet another section that is closer to the first section with lyrics. The last section is kind of unexpected: a killer bassline that has that "bottom-feeder" feel to it (think Stranglehold by Ted Nugent). Everything about Nimrodel is top-notch: great guitar melodies, nice flute interludes, excellent drumming, and everything just works together.

Now, I must say that the second side of the album is most dissapointing. Earthrise is another instrumental that is basically a series of keyboard and guitar solos with some repeating melodies. The tempo builds speed throughout the song. Ultimately, I don't find the playing to be very interesting and I usually skip this track. Lastly is Lady Fantasy, which is over 12 minutes in length. This song does not need to be this long. The song basically starts out heavy, mellows out, picks up the tempo slightly, then mellows out even more. The song gradually gets softer and more mellow until the end which again is very heavy and probably the best part of the whole song. THere are of course a ton of guitar solos, tempo changes, and maybe a few keyboard solos. All of the the solos and various tempos become sort of mixed together and just really are not all that interesting. Some of the lyrics remind me of Moonchild ("saw you walking on a whirlpool..."). The middle of the song really drags on and on. This is not a horrible song, but it just doesn't make you want to listen to it over and over.

When I listen to Mirage I usually just listen to the first side, which is very good. Even though Mirage contains the great Nimrodel, I can only give this album three stars, due to the weak second half of the album.

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Send comments to jfleischh (BETA) | Report this review (#119922)
Posted Friday, April 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
NJprogfan
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars From beginning to end, this album is practically flawless, (Nimrodel has some flat singing). I use to have all their albums up to "Nude" on vinyl but didn't replace any on CD until last week with "Mirage". My GOD!, have I missed their sound. They are wholly original. The only time I hear any other bands sound in their music is during some keyboard florishes during "Freefall" and "Lady Fantasy" where they sound like "Caravan", especially at the 2:12 mark during 'Freefall" where the song breaks into a gallop. Jeez, it's frickin' awesome! Latimer is the heart and soul of the band with his incredibly emotional play. Camel should have been huge, but I figure the band didn't connect with audiences as well as Genesis or Yes because of the lack of a strong frontman, because Latimer's guitar IS the center of attention. I'm not slighting the other members, especially Ward's excellent drumming, it's just that Latimer's guitar is comparable to Stewart's fuzz-organ play in Caravan, (plus he plays flute...he can do it all!). It just sticks out. If you're looking for another 70's band with an original sound, (I can see where ALOT of recent bands ape these guys) then start out with this masterpiece. Can't wait to buy another Camel disc...:-)

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Send comments to NJprogfan (BETA) | Report this review (#120465)
Posted Tuesday, May 01, 2007 | Review Permalink
Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Although I always enjoy listening to Camel I echo a sentiment that I have read in other reviews about the band. While Camel is very good and their music pleasant it sometimes seems to fall just a bit below the first tier bands in terms of substance, urgency, and prog-ness. It seems like in certain places their music can just blur into the background allowing your mind to drift from active listening. Not always, just sometimes. But like I said, I still enjoy them very much and "Mirage" is no exception.

Andy Latimer is one of the most emotionally fluent, romantic players of guitar and flute. He may lack the bite of some of his contemporaries but he knows how to please that craving we have for graceful leads.

The album opens with "Freefall" which is not my favorite Camel song by a long shot. Something about the vocals just bugs me and I can't explain it. Some nice guitar/bass work in the middle redeems things a bit. I enjoy "Supertwister" more with the amazing lilting flute and drums. The real meat of Mirage though occurs in the final three tracks, "Nimrodel," "Earthrise," and "Lady Fantasy." There is a wealth of Camel magic in these songs. Rich and well played throughout they provide me with an enjoyable listening experience occasionally but again they are compositionally just not as stimulating as some of their contemporaries. "Lady Fantasy" is the album's highlight in my view with the most compelling writing. Absolutely love the melodic lead that kicks in early and crops up throughout. The vocals are reasonably good. There are nice periods of calm and there are some that are actually funky and driving. The track ends with the lovely lead melody heard in the beginning. Not exactly the "Snow Goose" but certainly respectable.

"Mirage" is a recommended title for Camel fans and fans of lush, melodic 70s symphonic that is easy to get into, easy to listen to, and for better or worse not as challenging as other prog acts.

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#125621)
Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars The second studio album by Camel is a huge jump from their self titled debut, not only in the actual compositions but also in the amazing musicianship. Of course I'm not trying to take anything away from their debut which is also a very nice record, but I must say I find Mirage to be miles ahead. Andrew Latimer and Peter Bardens take the writing credits on most of the songs, with the exception of the album closer "Lady Fantasy" which is actually a composition by all four members.

Now, on to the music. Every song on the album is IMO a work of art. Seriously. Not a singe note is out of place here and all the band members are at the top of their game. "Freefall" opens the album, and right from the start it grabs you and never lets go (no pun intended!). Things get mellower then with the beautiful "Supertwister" featuring Andrew's amazing flute skills. I can't describe the magic feeling I get every time I listen to this one, you have to discover it for yourself. Then we have one of the longer tracks on Mirage: the majestic "White Rider" (actually it's called Nimrodel/The Procession/The White Rider) which is based on Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings. It's amazing how this band can achieve such a high level of sophistication in their songs without sounding too complex and this track proves it. "Earthrise" is an instrumental song and quite an instrumental it is. The middle part has a really cool jam with Andrew and Peter leading with some insane solos. Doug and Andy also play pretty fast here. The final song, and the longest in the album is "Lady Fantasy". This song is made of a collection of different themes that are very nicely strung together, giving it a very wide range of moods, but everything explodes in the final minutes with a frenetic jam involving all four members, closing this masterpiece with a bang.

IMHO this is Camel's best work, although The Snow Goose and Moonmadness do come very close. I'm sure every proghead will find something enjoyable in this record and I couldn't recommend it more. 5 stars for sure.

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Send comments to Hans (BETA) | Report this review (#126566)
Posted Friday, June 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars yes wonderful this second album by Camel..An album recorded with the best line-up. It's e real masterpiece of Symphonic progressive rock, the sound is defined of the guitar of Andy Latimer, the yours touch give a romantic sound in all songs.Other than the guitar of Latimer another good particularity are the melodic weave give of the keyboards of Peter Bardens.To remind the beautiful "Lady Fantasy" and the song inspired at the romance by tolkien: Nimrodel/The procession/The white rider.

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Send comments to Lophophora (BETA) | Report this review (#130789)
Posted Monday, July 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Camel´s second CD, and first for the new label, is clearly a transitional album. It lacks the cohesive feel the band had in their orignal line up. That does not mean it´s a bad album. In fact, it includes what may be marked as their most famous song, Lady Fantasy. This 12 minute epic is a truly prog gem that makes everything worth it. Unfortunatly the songs are not well balanced and they kind of spoil the overall sound throughout the CD.

The guitars on Mirage are heavier than any other album the band did at this stage of their career (and after that too, as a matter of fact). The group seemed to be trying to find some new ways, maybe. Freefall to me is the weakest track and opens the CD. Not a bad song really, but very different and quite heavy by Camel´s style. Bad choice for an opener. Supersister on the other hand is a beautiful tune much in the vein of their first album. Nimrod is another fine epic, a very underrated track. Earthride is also very good.

Conclusion: of the four first Camel´s albums this is the one I hear the least.The tracklist could be a whole lot beter, but the songs themselves are very good at least. And production wise, this album sounds much better then their debut. I was tempet to rate this album 3,5 stars, but that would be unfair. It is not a masterpiece, but an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Four strong stars.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#134510)
Posted Thursday, August 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
Flucktrot
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This album was my introduction to Camel, and there has never been a second thought regarding whether my money was well-spent. The only downside is that this album set the bar so high that even some of their later quality albums would never be able to meet this high, rocking, creative standard. Here's a brief song-by-song breakdown:

Freefall. The fact that this killer single was never introduced to me by classic rock stations only serves to further lower their usefulness in my mind. It's a shame, because hearing just this song earlier in life would have turned me into a Camel fan years earlier. Better late than never, I suppose. Latimer turns in a nice groove on guitar, and Ward SMOKES on the drums.

Supertwister. A mellow, jazzy, flute-driven track to cool off after Freefall and set up Nimrodel.

Nimrodel. Let the prog begin! A marching band mix leads into an easy mellotron intro, followed by the band kicking it up a notch with a rocking fuzz organ/keyboard solo, finished off with some spacey guitar over a groovy baseline. This was my first glimpse of Camel's ability to effortlessly switch tempos and time signatures without feeling forced--the music flows very well and is never repetitive.

Earthrise. A jazzy intro leads to an absolutely rocking and frenetic middle section of guitar and synthesizer, followed by a mellow refrain to conclude. Basically all the positives of Nimrodel, with an extra rocking kick by the rhythm section of Ferguson on bass and Ward.

Lady Fantasy. To be honest, I was expecting a bit more from this song, based on its length, the surprising quality of the songs that preceeded it, and the high praise heaped upon it by reviewers here. Not that this is a bad song by any means (far from it!). I just think it may get a bit more attention to the deficit of other songs on the album. A well structured song, with great melodies, and of course rocking sections that only Camel could offer. This may be the only part of the album where the vocals detract a bit for me, but the part where they really cut loose toward the end makes up for this liability and more!

Varied, high-quality compositions, and performed by one of the tightest bands you will hear. Mirage is a solid listen throughout and ages quite well--this will remain in my changer for the forseeable future. If you prefer your prog to center around rock (and not pretentious themes or multi-layered arrangements), then Mirage is a must!

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Send comments to Flucktrot (BETA) | Report this review (#135882)
Posted Sunday, September 02, 2007 | Review Permalink
ghost_of_morphy
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Make no mistake, this is a masterpiece of progressive rock and the best thing that Camel recorded in the Golden Age of Prog. Sure, they get more "progressive" in their next two classic albums, but they somehow seem to lose the "rock" in progressive rock. In this album, the mix is nearly perfect. Especially note the two instrumental tracks. "Earthrise" is a brilliant instrumental. It's better than everything on Moonmadness and just as good as anything on Snow Goose. But it's the WEAKER of the two instrumentals. Supertwister is an epic work, despite it's short running time. I'd be happy to listen to an extended version three or four times as long. My only complaint about it is the stupid sound effect at the end.

The Tolkein based song (Nimroedel et. al.) is also a brilliant masterpiece. Add in two very solid outings in "Freefall" and "Lady Fantasy" and we get an album that equals anything that the best prog bands ever released. This is the Camel album that cannot be ignored! If you haven't heard it, get it!

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Send comments to ghost_of_morphy (BETA) | Report this review (#138529)
Posted Sunday, September 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Camel's second album and a step into the prog rock direction.

While their first album was more of a rock album and kinda sounded like Santana to me, this album retains some of the rock feel, but adds more elements of prog rock. There are more instrumentals here, and the album starts to get more of a prog feel. Some of the tracks are a little weak, but there are some that stand out. Easily the best track from the album is Lady Fantasy. It starts off with the organ, and adds all the other istruments in and takes us on a trail for twelve minutes of some very good music. Andrew Latimer plays several amazing guitar solos and often the organ intertwines with the guitar lines to create some pretty good interplay. The second stand out track is Nimrodel/The Procession/The White Rider. This is a piece written about Lord of the Rings, and helped to inspire thier next album, The Snow Goose. While both Nimrodel and The Procession arent exactly exciting to me, The White Rider is absolutley haunting. Between the flute and bass, combined with some chilling vocals, this peice will remain in you head for a while.

Overall, 4 stars for Mirage, what would launch the prog side of Camel.

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Send comments to Tarkus31 (BETA) | Report this review (#139287)
Posted Thursday, September 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars For sure, a good album. From all albuns that Camel produced, this one (with Moonmadness and The Snow Goose) is the best in my opinion. It starts very good, with some good guitar riffs in the track ''Feefall''. And so it continues with ''supertwister'','' Nimrodel'' (which is inspired by Tolkiens's Lord of the Rings) and '' Earthrise''. After all that, it finally arrives in ''Lady Fantasy'', the best track in the album (mainly because of the heavy moog riffs and melodic guitar appearances) and one of the best of the band.

I definetely recommend it. But to start in Camel's discography, that's not the best. For this, ''Moonmadness'' or ''The Snow goose'' is surely better.

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Send comments to ProgPeter! (BETA) | Report this review (#141065)
Posted Saturday, September 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
Fight Club
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The beginning of Camel's excellence

If one were to take all my feelings of what I love about prog and throw them into one band, that band would be Camel. They take all of the beauties and complexities of progressive music and combine them not like many other groups do. Combining washing keyboards and symphonic aspects of Yes with light improvisational jazz, they make quite a sound for themselves. It all began with their '73 self titled debut. While it demonstrated some good songwriting and melodies it wasn't until Mirage that Camel became one of the top prog acts of the '70s.

Mirage is an excellent addition to any prog rock collection if I ever saw one. There are long keyboard and guitar solos and two epics clocking over 9 minutes. One thing that makes me love Camel so much is their ability to write REAL songs while keeping them proggy. The music is always rather catchy and and has a good sense of "groove" to it. A good example of this would be the opening track "Free Fall". It starts with some twisting riffs and a great rhythm and could probably be a hit on the radio. On Mirage we get everything from beautiful mellow jazz to time signature changing prog.

The musicians playing is always very tasteful, never too pompous or overblown. They always keep things at a minimum, making sure not to play too many more notes than are necessary. Though there are a number of wailing guitar and keyboard solos they never ramble on for too long. The drumming and bass playing are very jazz influenced, only touching upon hard rock when need be.

My only problem with the album is the singing. I'm not a big fan of Latimer's voice and I find Camel is at their best when playing instrumentals. Thankfully the majority of Camel's music is instrumental, but it's a shame this album would be stronger if it was 100% instrumental. It also feels as if it falls a little short. I've always been more into the modern method of making an album at least an hour so I can't help but feel that a lot of '70s stuff feels short. Considering that was the way music was made back then though, I won't let it reduce the rating.

Overall, this is a pretty great album but not quite as good as it could be. If it was more conceptual and more instrumental it would be drastically improved. This is a problem Camel fixed with their next album, The Snow Goose, which in my opinion is their timeless masterpiece. Mirage is still an excellent addition to any prog music collection though, any kind music collection actually. It also ends with one of the greatest songs Camel has ever produced, "Lasy Fantasy". Drenched in excellent guitar and keyboard playing and a very epic finish. So, if you are looking for some pretty laid back classic prog rock with good melodies and no pretentious playing this album great for you.

My rating: 8.5/10

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Send comments to Fight Club (BETA) | Report this review (#145058)
Posted Tuesday, October 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Firstly, I really like this band and this album, but this is just not five star work. There is a sharpened focus and higher level of maturity here not exhibited on their first record. Freefall is an absolute powerhouse. And, sorry diehard Camel fans, the Nimrodel- Procession-White Rider track has sections that highlight Latimer and Barden's instrumental brilliance yet has other sections that are, quite frankly, uninspired, dull and flat, case in point being the marching band sequence. Latimer's voice, depending on your perspective, is an asset or a liability... for me, it is melodious enough but it is thin. Perhaps this explains the band's decision to go instrumental on the next album, Music Inspired by the Snow Goose. This band could really crank when it wanted too, but, overall, their approach to progressive rock is unquestionably more restrained and subdued than those of Yes or Pink Floyd, with more emphasis on melody and more than a little jazz influence in their rhythmic leanings. Latimer's flute work is a major selling point of this record. It is mellow, dreamy and clean, stylistically quite different than the more percussive, tinny inclinations of Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull. Musicianship is high throughout this recording. I highly recommend it, but it simply is not their magnum opus.

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Send comments to LARKSTONGUE (BETA) | Report this review (#150602)
Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars 9.0/10 Incredible

Well, here we go...Camel's second go is a sure hit! I would probably have been reluctant to buy this after the first album had I been around at the time of it's release, but thanks to this website I managed to just throw myself into Camel based on "THe Snow Goose", so I've heard it all! Let me tell you, Mirage is a work of genius. This album stomps all over the first effort and carries with it some real CONSTRUCTION!! (something the first album really lacks). Meaning, the songs on here feel like SONGS, with changes and colors and attitude!!! Camel holds with them such a special sound and they finally realized what to do with it...and they set up Mirage.

The album begins with Freefall and Supertwister which are probably my favorite tracks. "Nimrodel/The Procession/The White Rider" is just an amazing prog effort and really shows that Camel means business in the prog world. "Earthrise" made me sit up in my chair and just say "WOW, that was amazing". "Lady Fantasy" ends it with style and we have the first true Camel album with all musicians at their best effort.

Mirage in a way feels even more instrumental and musically driven than that of "The Snow Goose". In this I mean it has more "going on". The album feels like a transition between worlds, and Camel becoming more moody but with that original "Camel" sound from the first album still hanging on. Latimer is still rocking but carrying MELODY with this one, another lacking aspect of "Camel". Andy Ward really shows how badass of a drummer he is on here also, which I absolutely love, one of the best ever.

I also like the vocals alot more on here. The band shows imporvement in so many ways with Mirage it is just stunning. The flute work adds such an amazing touch and the new arrangements and moods are just awesome. Camel is now setting themselves up as one of the GREATS of prog, and "The Snow Goose" is next!? Get me a glass of water!!!

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Send comments to The Lost Chord (BETA) | Report this review (#151035)
Posted Thursday, November 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars An ok album from Camel which would show their capabilities on future albums.

Freefall: A fast start with lots of heavy organ and guitar licks, showing off Latimer's chops. When the singing comes in, its just plain bad. it would get better on other albums and later on this one, but a band like Camel should not have ANY lyrics including Oh yea. they're too serious for that. after the short vocal stint, the guitar takes a great lead for a while, with good organ backing. This goes through several sections, with the drums keeping pace with plenty of fills. Then we are taken back to the beginning guitar part and back to the vocal part. Again, with the corny, down, down, down down down, oh yea. What is that? I wanna puke. the musicians are so talented, but Latimer did not write that vocal part well.

Supertwister: more in the vein of a true Camel song, with flute and electric piano opening. Then we get some interesting time signatures, with the flute taking lead over it all. Then it turns into a 6/8 jam with flute and organ fluttering around. Then it slows once more with the flute taking an amazing turn into awesomeness. Latimer can keep pace with the best of them: Gabriel, Anderson, Jackson, the lot. Then it turns back to 6/8. this song is like chord change from Moonmadness in that its very complex and packs a lot into a little bit of time. But then it ends with a disgusting sound, ruining the mood.

Nimrodel/Procession/White Rider: A Tolkien-themed epic, this song is a classic Camel track. Some spacey guitar and synth tones opening into a multitude of sounds, sounding like a march eventually, with trumpets and drums. the melody is eastern-tinged, and the flute comes into solo over the main theme. Then the mellotron jumps in, with the guitar taking the lead. then what sounds like an Oboe comes in, followed by Latimer singing. this is a step away from the junky singing he did on Freefall. The lyrics are mystical, describing someone whom the narrator admires. The flute takes the lead again, followed by guitar again. Then the drums kick is up as the organ jumps in to take the lead. organ turns to synth, and the soloing gets more intense. After a while of this, the guitar starts to solo again, but soon the song slows down with acoustics and the singing starts once more. The Wizard described is quite clearly Gandalf the White from the Lord of the Rings books. An evil sounding synth riff comes in to lead us to the end with odd guitar sounds popping in here and there. the song ends with a slide guitar solo.

Earthrise: some wind and tinkling leads us into the main guitar theme. the drums then jump in and the organ takes the melody. a bright melody is introduced with lots of snare drumming behind it. a mini drum solo follows, and then a mini guitar solo, followed by organ and synth lines trading off. then the song really picks up. after a bunch of high speed strumming, the guitar takes the lead in a spectacular solo. the organ then takes the lead again. as you can clearly see, they like to show off their chops, and it starts to get a little old on this album. They are much more restrained and musically talented on Moonmadness and the Snow Goose.

Lady Fantasy: An octave-jumping synth riff brings us into this masterful song, best on the album. the guitar and drums combine to give a dramatic feel, like an overture of sorts. Then it drops into straight 4/4 with the guitar taking lead. Then the vocals come in with epic organ fills in between. soon the organ takes full lead and blows us away. it almost sounds like a guitar, but it is clearly organ. After this, a slightly faster section comes in, with guitar taking lead, but this then slows down once more into the main theme. this mellows out into a slower section with acoustic guitar and some really high electric leads, while the organ carries the chords. the lyrics are just as mellow, but when Latimer sings Lady Fantasy, I Love you, its the cue to go wild. the drums and organ kick it up, and then the guitar starts to solo frantically. the organ switches in after a bit with a great solo from Bardens. the solo continues for a while, and its clear that this is the closest Camel will get to a side long epic with a massive keyboard performance, like Nine Feet Underground, Close to the Edge, Supper's Ready, Thick as a Brick, etc. the solo slows down and the song ends with a shimmering mellotron outro.

Overall, a good album, but not on par with the great ones yet to come. There is too much chop blasting here, and while its awesome on Lady Fantasy, the rest is not particularly good, but the song structures are great. The follow up, the Snow Goose, would give the world a taste of Camel at their Finest.

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Send comments to The Ace Face (BETA) | Report this review (#158259)
Posted Thursday, January 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
The Pessimist
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This review is not of the bonus tracks, only of the main songs.

As with many people, I was more than astounded with this recording. It is Camel's best work, with a harder edge than their other two memorable albums which I personally prefer. It's quite simply a master workings of symphonic rock.

The better tracks on the album are Nimrodel - with its superb changes in rhythm and keyboard work, Freefall - the complex side of Camel, yet still remaining melodic, and finally Lady Fantasy - no need for description here, other than this: Camel's greatest song ever. All of these songs add to a splendid 10/10 for me. The remaining two are 9/10.

To this day, the album abides as a very favourite album of mine. A tad better than moonmadness IMO. Recommended to Yes, Genesis and Flower Kings fans out there.

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Send comments to The Pessimist (BETA) | Report this review (#162388)
Posted Friday, February 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars I tried to like this album but my conclusion is that I failed. Don't get me wrong: Camel stands for high quality music. But no matter how hard I try I keep having troubles with liking the singing qualities of Andy. The instrumental parts are really great. No doubt about that. Nimrodel is perhaps the best song of this album. It sounds like a coherent song with an interesting mood and a great groove in it. Lady Fanatasy is known for being one of their masterpieces, but it sounds too much like a potpourrie of improvisational music to me. It's not bad to hear, but this is one of those Camel songs I think would have been better off if it was made as an solily instrumental song. For this reason I prefer their album Snow Goose before this one. Camel is a great instrumentalist band, but their singing is terrible if you ask me.

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Send comments to Niccollo (BETA) | Report this review (#163753)
Posted Wednesday, March 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars From 1968 till 2008 --------------- Only one thought was on my mind . How's the hell people living on the other side of this planet , knows about my taste . Different culture , different way of living , different language , how these people can provide me with my needs . I found out after a period of 38 years that this planet is very reach with emotions , good taste , creative works . it depends only on how to provide things in a huge market . Mirage with many other releases gave me the opportunity of learning yur language and tracking all your essential art works ,,,, God bless you all dear friends . Mooore than essential in your libraries ............... TracksToni ...... yours .

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Send comments to trackstoni (BETA) | Report this review (#164939)
Posted Tuesday, March 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Camel´s second album Mirage is an improvement over their debut album. In fact Mirage is together with Moonmadness my favorite Camel album. Camel´s debut held some pretty strong Canterbury influences which are almost gone here on Mirage. The only Canterbury flavour I come across when listening to Mirage are some parts in Freefall, but these are only tendencies.

The music is generally more symphonic prog now with lots of soloing. There are both guitar, keyboard and flute soloes ( or more correctly flute melodies).

Freefall starts the album. It´s a very powerful tune that I really enjoy. In fact this might be the most powerful tune ever on a Camel album. This isn´t hard though as Camel isn´t the most powerful band in the world. They aim more at subtle and melodic playing.

Supertwister is an instrumental song with beautiful folky flute playing.

Nimrodel another favorite of mine is an epic track with a memorable vocal melody which is something that is a bit unusual for Camel. Their vocal melodies are normally not the most exciting part about their music. There are some great soloing in Nimrodel. I especially think Bardens solo is crushing. It´s really powerful. Then Andy Latimer also joins in with a great solo and after the mellow middle section with vocals the song becomes very dark and Andy Latimer plays a solo with bite which is something I was missing on the debut. There is lots of feeling in his solo play on Mirage.

Earthrise is the least exciting song here for me. It´s an instrumental and it gets a bit too long without ever getting downright boring though. It´s ok and there is a great almost fusion part in the middle that I like.

Lady Fantasy is like Nimrodel a great epic song. It is another favorite of mine on Mirage. Full of melodic sections and soloing.

In the remastered edition from 2002 that I have there are four bonus tracks. The bonus tracks are not part of my rating but they are a nice addition to the original LP tracks. Supertwister and the two songs from the debut Mystic Queen and Arubaluba are live from 1974. There is a good sound on these songs. The fourth bonus song is Lady Fantasy in an original studio mix. I find this superfluous.

The guys in the band have become even better musicians on Mirage than on the debut. As I mentioned before there is bite in their perfomances that was lacking on the debut. Andrew Ward´s drumming is powerful and with Doug Ferguson´s bass this makes a great rythm section. But I must say that it is Peter Bardens and Andy Latimer that have improved the most. The soloing is much much better than on the debut.

The sound quality has also improved from the debut and it is one of those pleasant and warm productions that I love from the seventies. Drums just don´t sound like that anymore.

This is an excellent prog rock album and it is highly recommendable. Sadly Camel didn´t make very many good albums, but you should try this one out even if you think you don´t like Camel. 4 stars is a matter of course for this excellent album.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#165173)
Posted Thursday, March 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Neo Prog Team
5 stars Despite an exhausting 9-month tour following Camel's debut,the album did not have the level of success MCA Records expected and the band had to move on, signing a contract with Decca Records.In the meantime Camel had a good businness agreement with the cigarette company of the same name and their new album ''Mirage'' had a cover resembling to the classic packet of the Camel cigarettes.It was released in March 1974 on Decca's division label Deram Records.

The album shows Camel definitely at their best.A hybrid of Psychedelic Rock, Symphonic Rock and Canterbury Prog, ''Mirage'' is a work, where mediocrity is an unknown world.''Freefall'' is a track, transforming Camel's sound from psych influences to superb Progressive Rock with old-school vocals but majestic musicianship with heavy energy.''Supertwister'' is a short instrumental and the first introduction of Latimer on flutes.Delicate organ/flute-driven Symphonic Rock, that sticks in your mind with its marvellous melody.''Nimrodel / The Procession / The White Rider'' contains straight references to ''The Lord of the Rings'' and it is one of the most beautiful compositions ever writeen by a Prog band.From its opening marching tunes to the lyrical organ/flute-based introductive melodies to the endless interplays and solos by Bardens and Latimer, this is first class Progressive Rock from the very first to the last minute.''Earthrise'' is another winner in the line.All instrumental, fiery, Canterbury-styled Prog with majestic keyboard work by Bardens on moog synths, a fantastic rhythm section and Latimer performing guitar solos in a complete madness.''Lady Fantasy'' became an all-time favorite of prog fans worldwide through the ages.13 minutes of diverse Progressive Rock with intense lyricism, haunting melodies as well as some incredible interplays, full of edgy organs, powerful guitars and complex bass lines.

The first ever classic album by Camel is almost flawless.One of the most balanced albums ever written, containg a high level of technique but also series of mindblowing melodies.Extremely highly recommended, this comes as a no-brainer for the whole Prog audience.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#168295)
Posted Monday, April 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars The progression in attitude from Camel's debut is palpable here. Every aspect of their sound is bolder, and for the most part it works, in spades, even if the opener "Freefall", is rather clumsy and uninteresting.

On "Mirage", Camel pushes lead instruments to the fore and backing instruments to the aft, resulting in a much less jammy setting, but one that still allows for considerable interplay between the members. This works very well in "Supertwister" which is the first piece to really show off Latimer's flute, and for the most part in the excellent lengthy suites, of which "Lady Fantasy" is the best known to this day. Even the vocals are somewhat bolder, even if they sound disturbingly like Jim Morrison of the Doors at times. "Earthrise" is an excellent instrumental with a catchy central riff and a break led by Latimer that gives us more clues as to his future orientation. There are parts of "Nimrodel" and "Lady Fantasy" that break out a bit too harshly instrumentally, as if the band has not quite smoothed out the edges. Of course, that it is not necessarily a negative quality.

"Mirage" is the album that broke Camel into the big time and proved they would not dissolve into thin air on closer examination.

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Send comments to kenethlevine (BETA) | Report this review (#170604)
Posted Sunday, May 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
TGM: Orb
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Review 28, Mirage, Camel, 1974

StarStarStarStar

From my mini-Camel collection (the three 'classic' albums, at the moment), this is the one that I head for most often. Neither as artsy and inconsistent as The Snow Goose, nor as monotonous and lacking in testicular fortitude as Moonmadness, this album was my introduction to Camel. While I wasn't satisfied, really, with either of the follow-ups, I was with this album, even if I consider Earthrise a bit of a weak spot. Andy Latimer's vocals, the main caveat, I think, for Camel, satisfy on everything save Freefall ('sung' by Pete Bardens, instead), and the ideas are strong enough to keep interest throughout. Not a masterpiece, but a very strong effort, and worthy of any prog collection.

Whirling keys lead up to the stabbing bass-and-bass-pedals of Freefall, with Latimer and Ward providing some various jabs in. The song breaks out with a rather acquired vocal from Pete Bardens, with a pleasant combination of clean and gritty guitar-work from Latimer. Bardens gives us a few rather random-seeming hums on his organ, while the rest of the band keep varying the song. We get a few gentler and even more whimsical sections before returning to the martial drumming and walking bass with soloing guitar of the main vocal section. A great track for Ward's drumming, not so great for the vocals. However, the live version on the remaster of The Snow Goose is far more powerful in terms of impact.

Supertwister is rather more consistent for me, with its combination of bass, eclectic-drumming, flute, keys and organ gliding throughout a soft, sometimes slightly funky, sometimes beautiful 3.18 to a delightful end with a neat storm-in-a-teacup allusion. Great track.

The White Rider, first of the two long pieces on the album, is an entertaining, and interesting track. Unfortunately, its inspired-by-LOTR nature and use of classy lines such as 'Wizard of them all/Came back from his fall/This time wearing white' may not be everyone's cup of tea. The first section, Nimrodel, begins with an eery atmosphere, constructed carefully by Pete Bardens' synths and Latimer's guitar. Presumably Procession kicks in straight away, as I can't think of a more apt description for the brass-and-military-drums-and-flute of the following section of music. Great flute solo. After this two-part, and two-minute, opening, we can delve into some of the album's real meat, with a gorgeous guitar-part, surprisingly listenable vocals (if you can at least partially block out the lyrics), soulful mellotron and a range of uplifting flute solos from the multi-talented Latimer. After the gentle beginning, we are transported into a heavier section, with excellent, fast-paced drumming and guitar, a capable synth solo. Another stellar guitar solo brings us back to a calmer repeat of the vocal ideas, but with a gentle acoustic from Latimer and a good rhythm section of Ward and Ferguson. A little of the block organ that everyone seems to love (well, I certainly do) takes us back to a more mysterious section reminiscent of Nimrodel, with Ferguson rather taking the lead and Latimer, Bardens and Ward hurling in some superb variations. The swirling outro reminds us of the intro.

Earthrise begins with tingly percussion (the sort on Genesis' The Waiting Room or King Crimson's Formentera Lady) and a suitably wuthering effect. Masses of organ feature quite prominently on the song, as does an overly-funky and quite repetitive bass part. We get some very nice features, including a flamenco-esque tap from Ward, some rather capable rhythm section work, including a good, short drum solo. Several neat reversals of roles are included in the song, with Latimer and Bardens alternating between solo and rhythm playing, while Ward elephants (*coinage!*) all over the place. Some of the solos don't grip me, though, especially near the end and the start, and the track as a whole is the least interesting of the album.

Lady Fantasy is the album's highlight for me, with a combination of biting, versatile percussion, whirling moog and surprisingly edgy guitar launching off unforgettably into Encounter. Ferguson provides some excellent bass as the song slows down a little, whirling up. The vocals again, aren't appalling, and a rather chattery rhythm section and acoustic guitar combination don't fail to hold interest and provide a launching pad for an extended guitar solo. We get some interesting electric piano (I think, though it could just be more moog) through to the end of the vocal section, and presumably kick into Smiles For You with what must be 'tron in the background and Latimer providing alternately emotional and rather whimsical solos, including the amazingly beautiful guitar melody that I remember this song for. A gorgeous guitar solo leads us deeply into the second, highly emotive vocal-and-acoustic section, backed up powerfully by the rhythm section. After the not-at-all-sappy 'Oh my Lady Fantasy...I...love you', Latimer and Bardens explode out into the stunningly high-energy Lady Fantasy with a burst of stellar guitar and moog, with Ferguson also standing out in his interplay with the two soloists. Ward crashes along behind them to bring the song back down to the main guitar melody and its gorgeous shimmering-mellotron conclusion. Just perfect, and managing to convey beauty and emotions while at the same time being good-humoured and even trivial. The Mirage in its purest form.

On the remaster, we get a lot of bonus goodies, including a delightful (especially the flute) live rendition of Supertwister, live versions (very enjoyable, especially Mystic Queen, but I'm not acquainted with the originals yet) of Arubaluba and Mystic Queen (both from Camel, I assume), before an alternate, slightly slower version of Lady Fantasy. Normally, I'm not interested in a single song enough to want to sit through it two times in a sitting, but here I usually let the album continue through the bonus material, just so I can listen to it again without feeling bad about skipping tracks.

All in all, a very, very promising effort, with enough daring and power to make the soft sections stand out (and vice versa). Latimer and Ward really manage to stand out, even if Bardens and Ferguson have a more mixed effect on me. The bonus material is extremely good, so doesn't annoy me, and Earthrise and Freefall alone provide some exposed underbelly for an otherwise extremely solid album. The two longer tracks are vital for a prog listener, so the album receives a well-earned four stars. Also, it's probably listenable enough for a new listener, and also will hold some interest for people like me who generally don't put too much stock in the other two Camel classic efforts, The Snow Goose and Moonmadness.

Rating: Four Stars Favourite Track: Lady Fantasy

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Send comments to TGM: Orb (BETA) | Report this review (#170862)
Posted Tuesday, May 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars The first review shall be a review of a album I really like, wich comes to this:

With this album, Camel is showing of what their style is. The band shows true musicianship. The album has a very raw sound and on the other hand it's a truly symphonic album. These are the ratings I would give out of 10:

Freefall 8/10 Starts out with some spacey air sounds and some nice accents showing off. Then, Andrew starts singing and after that, some nice time signature changes take place. It's really nice to listen to and has some really brilliant findings

Supertwister 8/10: This is the song where Andrew gets it's flute. This song is a very nice instrumental song, but not the best instrumental on this album (guess which is the best instrumental on this album).

Nimrodel (9/10): Starts off slow, than starts off with a knight's tournament kind of theme and jumps over in a beautifull guitar part. Love the bass groove at the end with the solo's on it.

Earthrise (10/10): Simply the best instrumental of the album. Starts of with some real nice stuff. Then comes a (very) short but really powerfull drum solo witch will warp us into a very groovey raw nice of motive that we will freak yourself out and you will never expect. The main melody is great. After showing off this melody, they will show off the same motive again, with some great dirty organ work from Bardens and then it's Andrew's turn. Then they show off some nice melody with nice signature changes, and then they pick up the groovey theme again. The mainmelody throws us to the melody before the drumsolo and makes the song whole. Awesome!

Lady Fantasy (10/10) Starts of with some extroadinary keyboards and guitar chords true it, like the keyboards don't play a thing at all. Still sounds really spacey. Then comes the beautifull main melody with will also close the song. Then Andrew starts some modest singing, and this announces some great keyboard solo's. Then starts. I can see clearly... And then, the speed goes up and a guitar solo is born. The overall dynamics in this song is great and it has wonderfull melodies which will give you, what we call in the Nederlands kippenvel. Something like astonishement overdrive.

Five stars, because the last three songs are the longer songs. These are the songs that makes this album really special. Masterpiece!

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Send comments to Foolsdrummer (BETA) | Report this review (#174576)
Posted Friday, June 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
5 stars Camel fantasy

In my opinion Mirage is Camel's masterpiece. With this album Camel truly found their musical identity and all of the potential of the debut album is here fully realized. There are flutes here for the first time on a Camel album and that would become a trademark of their sound from then on. The keyboards are more varied compared to the debut and the vocals are much stronger. Indeed, simply everything about this album is better.

But the most important factor that makes this a masterpiece is, of course, the great material. The album opens with a bang with the bluesy hard rock of Freefall. Supertwister is a flute-based instrumental that perhaps not would be very impressive standing on its own, but here it functions as a perfect bridge between two great songs. The flute sound is enchanting! The only annoying thing about the whole album is the strange inclusion of a sound of a beer can opening and beer being poured into glass at the end of Supertwister.

The excellent Nimrodel/The Procession/The White Rider explores a theme from The Lord Of The Rings. The electric and acoustic guitar playing together is truly beautiful here. Earthrise is the track that reminds the most of the debut. A more Jazz-Rock/Fusion based piece that really rocks. Speaking of that, I think that Mirage rocks harder than any other Camel album, which is something I like.

The album closes with the 12+ minute classic, Lady Fantasy. The best part of the song is, I think, the part that follows the line "I love you" towards the end of Lady Fantasy. Stunning! And before you know it the album is over. I always find myself playing it at least twice every time. I never do that with Moonmadness or any other Camel album.

One of my all time favourites - a masterpiece of progressive rock.

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#177419)
Posted Sunday, July 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
poslednijat_colobar
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Superb album! I listen to it over and over again. It is much more completed than the first one, but it's also quite a different one. I was wondering about the the way the album was made. Everything on the album contains logical order. If someone ask me what I consider real progressive rock I would say Camel - Mirage. It is sample of absolute and pure progressive rock. I believe this album is one of the purest progressive rock albums of all time. I have the feeling Mirage was made to satisfy some professor of progressive rock music, that have written a book for progressive rock. It is full of excellent songs and compositions, especially Supertwister and Lady Fantasy: Encounter/Smiles For You/Lady Fantasy (which I consider as the best composition of whole Camel's career and one of the landmarks of progressive rock). Mirage is closer to jazz than most of symphonic prog albums. The perfect album for everyday use! I can listen to it whenever! A sample of the genre! 5 stars!

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Send comments to poslednijat_colobar (BETA) | Report this review (#178271)
Posted Sunday, July 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars It is a common case that bands who produce a good debut album, fail in writing a successor of approximate quality. Camel however managed this difficult step with a more than equal album, creating one of the classics of progressive rock music that is ''Mirage''. While the first one was more near the Canterbury sound, here we have some more classic prog rock oriented album with romantic and jazzy touches. Those fit well in the highly melodic songs of the album. In opposite to other greats of the time (ELP, Yes) Camel do not lose themselves in demonstrations of their virtuosity. Though the music is mostly instrumental and complex in playing, it never goes over board. The vocals are more secondary and according to this very hold-back. Their occasional use is not a demonstration of singing abilities, but a small annex to the instrumental work. All instrumentalists play in a way that it seems like any note is placed exactly where it should be, it all works together as a harmonic whole. So, let's have a closer look at the songs..

''Freefall'' opens the album as the first highlight to be found here. The very upbeat playing and funny vocals make this stand out from the rest. Especially the drum playing is powerful, while the guitar leads the song. In the instrumental part, we have interesting soloing of both guitar and organ, until it leads back into the vocal melodies. The song went a circle, as it ends with a build-up of its intro. ''Supertwister'' is a more relaxed instrumental tune and has a great focus on Andrew Latimer's flute playing. This piece flows nicely, especially in the middle-section. It leads over to another highlight of the album, the epic ''Nimrodel'', which is maybe my favourite Camel track ever. Introduced by synthesizer sounds, it soon goes over into a march-like rhythm. The flute adds the melody. This also solves into the main theme, a really beautiful little melody which, I promise, will stay in your ears for a long time. The laid-back vocals add a mysterious atmosphere in the first part, are more story-telling than singing. In the instrumental section, there is a change in leading role of guitar, organ and flute. The break brings us back to the mysterious mood with acoustic guitars and vocals. As a whole, ''Nimrodel'' is a fascinating track with a lot of feeling. ''Earthrise'' is another short instrumental song in the vein of ''Supertwister'', just that the flute is not the leading instrument but the guitar and also the keyboards. While it begins quiet it ends in a more furious way concerning tempo and guitar work. The closer is the next standout after ''Nimrodel'' (not that the other songs are bad, but those two clearly stand out). With organ sounds and guitar melodies begins ''Lady Fantasy''. The vocals add a certain atmosphere to the highly melodic background music. After that, there is again is the guitar-lead instrumental part, which sets another mood, as it is comparatively wild on this album with shrieking guitar. Another break makes this flow into a recital of earlier themes, a method used frequently to signalize the end of an album. The following part again features vocals and the most-quoted lyrical part of Camel's discography. The sound becomes more rocking after this, loud guitar leads this song up to the end. Similar to ''Freefall'' it circulates to end with a build-up of the intro. A big point on this song goes to the dreamy lyrics to an unreachable love, which are on the one hand beautiful, on the other irritating with sentences like ''Saw you sitting on a sun beam''.

The central points of this album are clearly the two epic tracks, the ''Nimrodel''-suite and ''Lady Fantasy''. The two shorter instrumental songs unfortunately pale in comparison to the rest. While they are more than good tracks of high quality, there is just better material to be found on this record. Though it becomes easy to overlook them this way, they deserve mention as classic Camel songs. It all is solid crafted music with catchy melodies and the demanding complexity of progressive rock. Due to this qualities, this is an ideal album for people who want to get an enjoyable impression of the genre yet also for the experienced fan who gets an ideal record to relax that certainly will not bore the demanding ears.

In conclusion, ''Mirage'' is an absolutely essential albums. It is not one of the albums that hitd you in the face with overwhelming opulence of sounds but shows its quality in the subtle melodies. Those are maybe the most beautiful I have ever heard combined with the instrumental capability shown on the album It clearly deserves a full five star rating, for it is a masterpiece of progressive music, though it may be not everybody's cup of tea for the subtle beauty in spite of over-evident virtuosity. Here we have a band which does not have anything to prove on their instruments, as the songwriting speaks for itself. Five stars to a deservedly classic of progressive rock.

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Send comments to Luke. J (BETA) | Report this review (#178283)
Posted Sunday, July 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Amazing album. Five flawless tracks ending off with my all time favorite Camel track - Lady Fantasy... Album is seamlessly put together and flawlessly executed. Way ahead of it's time. At time delving into odd sounds and ambience if only for a second to follow it up with a structured complicated style of symphonic prog. Incredible. 5 stars

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Send comments to shentile (BETA) | Report this review (#180079)
Posted Tuesday, August 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I think the album cover is so cool. Funny that Camel cigarettes were actually given out free at their concerts, all because of this album cover. Anyway i'm one of the few I guess who prefers the debut record to this one, although it's so close I keep changing my mind.

"Freefall" is my least favourite track on the album.To my ears it's a pretty straight forward song. The positive is the guitar that seems to relentlessly play throughout. "Supertwister" is more like it. This is a Bardens composition and one of my favs. I should mention that Peter Bardens was involved in composing every track except the third one (Latimer). I love it when CAMEL slows it down and plays that melancholic brand of music. It's almost haunting. This one is led by the beautiful flute playing of Latimer. A gem. And yes it ends with someone opening a beer and then pouring it. "Nimrodel / The Procession / The White Rider" was inspired by Lord Of The Rings. It opens sadly with synths before the marching style drums come in with flute for "The Procession" section. The best part is "The White Rider" that opens with mellotron and guitar 2 minutes in. Vocals follow. A change 4 minutes in as the tempo picks up as synths and drums lead the way. Guitar comes in at 5 1/2 minutes followed by vocals as it settles back down. It gets kind of spacey after 7 minutes as guitar starts to soar as drums pound away. Nice. Great ending.

"Earthrise" opens with the wind blowing as organ comes in with gentle guitar. An uptempo section led by drums and synths takes over. Guitar takes the lead 3 1/2 minutes in before synths take over again. Excellent instrumental. "Lady Fantasy" is my favourite track on here. Love the drum intro with the synths and guitar. Impressive. It settles down a minute in and vocals follow. The organ is such a highlight beginning 1 1/2 minutes in. It always reminds me of THE DOORS. This continues until the tempo picks up 4 minutes in with the guitar leading the way. It settles down after 5 minutes. It calms down even more 7 minutes in. Vocals are back after 8 minutes. It kicks back in a minute later with prominant guitar then organ. It again calms down with tasteful guitar to end it.

Amazing album from CAMEL, without a doubt one of their top three.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#180885)
Posted Wednesday, August 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars "Mirage" most definitely has that unmistakable Camel aura about it but I consider it to be less sophisticated than their two excellent albums that came right after, "Snow Goose" and "Moonmadness." Here the band comes off as a kind of poor man's Pink Floyd and I don't say that in a disparaging way. Whereas that talented group was so polished and so gifted that they could construct their songs piece by piece as they recorded, the tunes on this album have the earmarks of being cooperatively crafted during days and weeks of intense rehearsal long before they walked through the studio doors. They have an "organic" texture that only comes from an open, all-ideas- considered, creative commune of musicians that understand the concept of the whole being much greater than the individual components. In other words, these guys were a band in every sense of the definition.

I like to think of them as an instrumental progressive rock group that reluctantly agreed to put vocals on some of their tunes in order to appease their record label. What I'm saying is that they weren't exactly fighting over microphone time, yet that's the weakest part of their sound, unfortunately. The opener, "Freefall," is a fine example. It has a spacey beginning, then powerful accents draw you into a throbbing rock beat that's promising but the second they timidly start singing the indistinct lyrics the momentum drags. This situation doesn't last long, however, and soon they're buzzing off into a jazzy interlude with Andrew Latimer's bluesy guitar wailing and Peter Bardens' organ flowing freely. Harmonized, intertwining melodies between the guitar and keyboard is one of their trademarks and this number has plenty of that going on to keep things interesting. "Supertwister" is an instrumental piece that allows Andrew to showcase his fluent flute skills and he's no slouch on the silver stick. It's a light jazz ditty that starts out at a scampering gait before the tight rhythm section of Andy Ward's drums and Doug Ferguson's bass carefully slows the tempo for a smoother, more serene segment. After a return to the initial feel the song ends with the sound of a champagne bottle being uncorked. (Don't ask me why, though.)

The Tolkien-inspired "Nimrodel/The Procession/The White Rider" is next. A slice of psychedelia featuring synthesizer and tremolo guitar at the beginning leads to some crowd noise stirring underneath marching drums, bugles and fifes. They segue from that into a Genesis-like section where they make another weak stab at crooning some words before they suddenly burst into a hyper-paced movement with Bardens turning in a decent performance on his synth. It ends with a strong bass/synthesizer line rumbling through as Latimer provides some cosmic but very predictable guitar runs. On "Earthrise" they once again back away from the mikes and lay down a steady rock groove as the organ and guitar provide the basic melody both together and in harmony. They then shift gears for a jazzy little deal that further evolves into another high-energy, frenetic rock motif. The backwards guitar lead is way too 60s for me but Peter's gutsy organ solo more than makes up for it.

The epic "Lady Fantasy" provides a large-scale, big-time proggy charge out of the gate before they settle down into an easy-going trot where pleasant melody lines take over. Then they sing some brief lines again with the same disappointing results. Bardens' fiery Hammond organ break comes to the rescue in the nick of time, however, and Andrew gets to stretch out on guitar during the somewhat pedestrian jam that follows. A slower section with fat 12-string acoustic guitars ringing underneath is enjoyable but the rudely distorted, heavy clavinet/bass riff roaring beside Latimer's over-the-top guitar spasms at the end really puts me off. I might have dug it more in '74 but not now. No way.

In this case the bonus tracks add to the value of the CD package. The live recording of "Supertwister" is pretty much a note-for-note rendition but the two in-concert versions of "Mystic Queen" and "Arubaluba" will save me from having to buy the group's debut album. Not that they're inferior tunes. Not at all. They just tell me all I need to know about where Camel was at during that stage of their development. The former has a cool Traffic-style atmosphere that's appealing and the latter is a controlled, mapped out jam that has some interesting characteristics. All three are well-performed and remarkable in their high fidelity. Alas, the alternate studio mix of "Lady Fantasy" contributes little to the original.

"Mirage" is a snapshot of four dedicated musicians feeling their way in the competitive world of 20th century rock and roll, drawing on each other's specialized talents to build a unique group identity. Their intuitive arrangement skills and their propensity to come up with excellent melodic patterns were evident and would only get better with experience. It wasn't their fault that among them they lacked that essential vocal personality the public demanded for instant recognition. These four artists were obviously content with the band's makeup the way it was. But, nonetheless, it was the missing piece of the puzzle that kept them out of the upper echelons of 70s prog rock. And this album, despite its undeniable qualities and charms, displays the critical nature of that drawback to a tee. 3.2 stars.

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Send comments to Chicapah (BETA) | Report this review (#183492)
Posted Wednesday, September 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This definately my favourite albums of all times.

Featuring the best of the best Camel has to offer, this album includes all their classics of wich their ulitmate anthem song 'Lady Fantasy'.

The album kicks off with a heavy rocking psychedelic track with lots of guitar and organ.

Supertwister is dedicated to the dutch band Supersister and is an instrumental wich features Andy's best flute-work i his entire career.

The trilogy White Rider is based on Gandalf of the Lord of the Rings and showcases what progrock is all about, flutes, mellotron, organ, guitars an dlots of time-signature changes. This song is only overshadowed by Lady fantasy, ontherwise The Whire Rider would have been the ultimate Camel-song.

Side two kicks off with another heavy rocking song with organ/guitar solos throughout.

Lady Fantasy is wihtout a doubt among the best of progrock songs ever made! The different musical themes have now problem following eachother and the vocals are never boring. The only downside to the song, is that when it's over you wnat more!

With an excellent choice for a record cover this album is one of the ultimate prockrock albums on the planet.

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Send comments to Kingsnake (BETA) | Report this review (#189210)
Posted Friday, November 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The next best thing to actually finding your Lady Fantasy

Of all the symphonic giants of the 70s, Camel seems to be the one most often forgotten about. While the progressive world is still sure to give these guys their due credit, even with their new albums that have been released into the new millennium (Nod And A Wink), the rest of the world has pretty much forgotten about Andrew Latimer and his band of merry men we can still enjoy their music to it's fullest. Camel's second album, Mirage, is a marriage of several things that made the classic progressive era so classic; Long and winding suites, gorgeous instrumentals, impressive technical playing and even some hard rocking parts. Describing any classic band's sound is pretty difficult, but drawing parallels between these guys and a harder edged version of Yes with a lower pitched singer and more flute would no be too far-fetched. Needless to say, if you enjoy that Yes style of prog (as opposed to Crimson, ELP or Genesis) then Camel should probably appeal to your tastes.

Home to a mere 5 compositions, it can be expected that every one of them be memorable and impressive. Of course this is the case, and it's due to a number of things, which make this album worth going back to for a number of listens. There's nothing weak on the album, not a passage or note that seems out of place, and the album flows incredibly well as it leap frogs between instrumentals and songs with vocals, including the suites. There's only one ''standard'' rocker song, and even that one is quite impressive. Freefall is the tune that kicks off the album and does so very well. If this is your first experience with the band you also get the sense kicked into you that this band is not to be taken lightly, because they are heavy! The riffs in this song along with the repetition of ''down, down, down'' really set the mood for the rest of the album, even if the rest of the album is a lot more eclectic and varied than just that first shade of the band.

The instrumentals are probably the biggest thing to keep people coming back. If you've ever enjoyed an instrumental tune that's ripe with melody then you're likely to get a kick out of this album, and the success of these tunes is likely what led the band to compose the all-instrumental Snow Goose down the road. Supertwistser is an excellent piece that's led by an ear-catching flute melody that keeps things rolling over top as the rest of the instruments follow. The organs and keyboards on this song are also highly impressive, adding some contrast in their darkness to the serene playing of the flute. The other instrumental to be found on the album is twice the length of the criminally short Supertwister and a lot moodier too. Earthrise starts out at a mild pace before deciding that they need to do something drastic. So, like Michael Myers of Halloween finding a big knife of some kind they come after you at full force with amazing guitar solos throughout the song, which only slow off to allow for luscious keyboards with come in here and again. It bookends with another calmer part at the end of the tune and then it's all over, leaving you wanting more.

Where Camel really shows off their edge though, is in the album's two suites. Nimrodel is the shorter and less impressive of the two, but it still has a lot of charm. Starting with some creepy keys it eventually builds up to some war-march drums and then into excellent guitar solos that have a distinct melody to them. The voicing in this tune is subtle, but effective, and the dark keyboard riffs in the end of the song make for a fine conclusion. But it's the 12-minute Lady Fantasy Suite that really takes the cake. Those sharp keys that open the album are just so memorable along with the heavy guitars that almost scream like a warning siren of some kind. This song is heavy, especially given it's time when Black Sabbath were the heaviest people on the planet. Guitar parts give life to the song, especially in the actual Lady Fantasy section of the song where they turn into a chugging machine that makes you wonder if Iron Maiden listened to these guys a lot in their early days. Like any great symphonic prog band, these guys knew how to handle their suites.

This is truly a classic album from start to finish, although it would be a hard press to call this one a masterpiece. The band certainly sounds a lot more raw here than they would on later works, but that's a big part of the charm for the album. It has all the makings of a classic prog album but lacks that final emotional 'erk' that makes your spine shiver whenever you listen to it. Still, that doesn't bring down the quality of the songs at all, and this one gets 4 Lady Fantasies out of 5. Definitely an album to own.

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Send comments to Queen By-Tor (BETA) | Report this review (#189305)
Posted Friday, November 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
LiquidEternity
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Camel's second release shows the band opening up to a world of exciting ideas, somehow playing a form of Pink Floyd-esque space rock while at the same time keeping a strong, adventurous rhythm and upbeat sense of straightforward rock, and this is no mean feat for a band to pull off.

Mirage quite possibly best represents 70s Camel's blend of hard rock and classically composed prog. Contrary to what many may lead you to believe, the band's vocals are not horrible, are not just weak attempts at sounding like Pink Floyd. Camel is and has always been their own band, and in truth I rather enjoy the vocals on this album. Both Doug and Andy can not only hold a tune but truly sound actually sound like they know how to sing and that there's a reason they are stepping into the microphone zone. That common quibble out of the way, all that's left then is the album's music. And this is the kind of music that marked the peak of the 70s prog movement. Complicated rhythm section work, one part emotive and two parts technically brilliant guitar, keyboard sounds that actually have aged very well, and moods that perfectly describe the power and creativity of a young band playing whatever they want with wild abandon or careful deliberation.

The album opens with the upbeat and rocking Freefall, a guitar-oriented piece with some aggressive (for Camel, that is) vocals and a interestingly syncopated rhythm section. The next track segues nicely from it, being Supertwister. Not far into this short track does the music change drastically: flute. Yes, Andy Latimer breaks out another instrument that he is quite talented with, and from this point forward the band will only increase. The song itself is quite pretty and yet, like the first one, upbeat when compared to Camel's other major albums. The bass work is also quite superb. Nimrodel/The Procession/The White Rider seems to me to be the weak track on the album, with some awkward segues and a general sense of lacking direction. When the song is moving forward, however, it sounds absolutely stellar, with gently probing guitar solos and dramatic keyboard soundscapes. A creepy and fast bassline breaks in near the end, finally lifting the song from its listing parhood.

Earthrise starts up with an atmospheric intro, complete with organ. It builds in intensity and tempo for the first half before turning into guitar and keyboard solos. It closes gently. Of course, that's only a ruse, because the wild Lady Fantasy wraps up the end of the album. Starting off with a keyboard lick over some guitar that reminds me perhaps of Kansas, the song rotates between a luscious main guitar melody, proving here once and for all that Andy Latimer is a genius with his instrument. The song builds and ebbs, featuring a good number of solos and some good bass lines. The real magic occurs, however, at a little over eight minutes into the track, where the vocals return for a few lines, sounding melancholic and wonderful. A half second of silence becomes one of the most catchy and up-tempo bass lines the band has ever toyed with. A wild guitar solo that reminds me of Robert Fripp's power drill method (like on Fallen Angel) jumps right in, only to segue into a complicated keyboard lead. The instrumentalists show their respective masterful skills for a few minutes before finishing this song off with a band and a return of the gentle main melody.

This album is not the high point of Camel, however, somehow, it will be surpassed by the following Snow Goose, but nevertheless Mirage stands as a splendid statement of the young band's creativity, energy, and raw skill. A must have for fans of good symphonic prog, and quite possibly the best place to start with Camel. The weak portions of Nimrodel are easily made up by the masterful construction of the rest of it, and I cannot but rate this as an absolute necessity of a prog fan's collection.

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Send comments to LiquidEternity (BETA) | Report this review (#190402)
Posted Monday, November 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Camel's second album was my introduction to the band. My initial response was to question whether this band was in fact symphonic rock- their early style tends to lead more toward jazz, even with the heavy synthesizer use. I think the drumming of Andy Ward is largely responsible for this, but there are so many times, on this album and on others, that I can just focus on his highly pleasing skill and ignore everything else going on. Overall, the album is a testament to the band's ability to produce great music. Even though it is not my personal favorite Camel album, it is highly proclaimed for a reason. Variety abounds on this album, as each song is very different from one another, and for that reason, there is no reason for a lover of progressive rock music to pass this one up.

"Freefall" The album kicks off with pulsing bass and drums, with a crunchy electric guitar interjecting at various times. Keyboardist Peter Bardens, who wrote the song, takes the lead vocals here, and he does such a great job, it's a wonder we don't hear much more of him on other Camel songs. To be frank, much of the instrumental section of this song sounds like something The Allman Brothers would have played, which is by no means a bad thing (I happen to really enjoy The Allman Brothers). That bluesy sound of the guitar, paired with the keys, and the manner in which the drums and bass are played, give them that resemblance. It's a killer song, and one of their most energetic.

"Supertwister" A brief instrumental (on the next album, Camel will demonstrate that this is one of their strong suits) follows the opening track. After a lovely introduction, there is a pretty cool section in 10/8 time signature. The song relies heavily on the flute, and Doug Ferguson plays a bass run (doubled by organ) that just makes the song even more interesting. The piece ends with the sound of a canned beverage being cracked open and poured out.

"Nimrodel / The Procession / The White Rider" Inspired by The Lord of the Rings chronicles (and more specifically, the wizard Gandalf the White), this is a song with multiple stages, each with very distinctive sounds. It begins with a sad, murky guitar and a mournful lead. What follows after is the sound of a regal procession, complete with cheering masses. After that, there is one of the best compositions on the album. The various instruments are stellar, even though the composition is not very complicated. Following two verses, there is quite a bit of energetic soloing going on, mainly on the synthesizer, after which is a cool acoustic guitar and a singer chronicling the fall and rise of the wizard in question, Finally, there is a synthesizer-sounding bass riff and a heavily-delayed slide guitar section. Despite several dissimilar segments, the song flows smoothly.

"Earthrise" Quiet at first, the song has an organ build up that jumps into its main theme just under a minute in. It is the second instrumental on the album, and does a fantastic job of characterizing this entire album, providing us with some great melodies. Ward even gets a short opportunity to show off his skill behind the kit. The guitar solo midway through exemplifies what Latimer is capable of as such a refined player. While it is a great instrumental, it is not even close to being one of Camel's finest.

"Lady Fantasy" Incidentally, Camel's most celebrated song is the one I like least of all here. All the same, it is a great song with many memorable parts. The keyboard riff in the beginning is a little annoying, but Latimer's guitar work throughout completely makes up for it. The basic chords during the verse are standard jazz fare, but work well throughout this song. The piece suddenly stops to bring in the next part, consisting of a bass riff and fiery guitar solo. Much of the middle section is quiet, relying on Latimer for variety, particularly with his guitar. There is a wild organ solo toward the end before reprising the main theme. Not their best, but great anyway.

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Send comments to Epignosis (BETA) | Report this review (#191558)
Posted Tuesday, December 02, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Camel Mirage is the best Camel album and CD that I own (I have both the vinyl and remastered CD copies) The flute work is very eloquent throughout, and the songs are primarily instrumentals which show off Camel's true Prog side better than their later work increased vocals but also leaned more toward traditional rock structures and melodic lines. Mirage is as close to a Masterpiece as Camel ever achieved. Mirage remains the high water mark for Camel's artistic development. Freefall, Supertwister, and Lady Fantasy are Camel classics all contained on Mirage. And the band's humor of the beer can opening and pouring at the end of Supertwister was mimicked at Prog Music parties all over the globe, myself included. Raised Mug! 5 stars

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Send comments to ufo3 (BETA) | Report this review (#192262)
Posted Sunday, December 07, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is the first Camel album I've heard and bought right back there in 1983 and I was really enchanted. From the emerging arabian flavour cover and deep inside into the music this album traveled me to some enchanted places upon Camel's magically woven flying carpet. As for the album itself, this is a step ahead for Camel-while their first album was a, sort of , collection of songs showing Camel's wide orientation, Mirage comes out more as a concept album and songs more focused around a basic musical trend. There are two highlights-Lady Fantasy and Nimrodel/The White Rider. Those two songs are classic symphonic prog songs- nice basic theme, smooth progression and structure, exchange of varied musical themes turning from atmospheric to bombastic and more substancial strong melodies and song writing. Freefall is a strong opening track with some jazzy drops in the middle part and is followed by the haunting and dreamy Supertwister which for me is one of Camel's best songs-the song theme is really wonderful and the whole atmosphere of the song has captured the essence of the arabian tales of 1001 nights-excellent song!(with a very humorous and fitty end) Last but not least is Earthrise which is another atmospheric song with a great song theme and the duel of soloing between Latimer and Bardens. Mirage still remains after all these years as one of my favourite albums and one of the many I am never getting bored when listening to-still emerges all the nice memories of youth... 4.5 stars really!

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Send comments to Silent Knight (BETA) | Report this review (#198650)
Posted Tuesday, January 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
crimson87
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This was one of the first rare (if you can call it that way) prog albums I have heard when entering to this site. At that time I was amazed with Camel's music and they still get some listening time.Often known as a second league band , Camel still manages to produce a signature sound. They music must be one of the jazziest symphonic bands you may listen. They also have in Andy Latimer one of the best axemen in business. This record , having heard all their output with the exception of A Nod and A wink is their most agressive , for camel's standards. Do not expect a full blown Ys or Brain Salad Surgery , since Mirage combines both gentle parts and some abrupt changes.

As for the record itself. There are not weak tunes on Mirage( the only thing I can consider to be weak is Latimer's singing but that's not exclusive to this release) . However not even the much revered Lady Fantasy seems to be a mindblowing song to my ears. The main problem with Camel and this record in particular is that if you have heard lots of symphonic and jazz rock bands before , Mirage won't change your life for sure. There are lots of memorable melodies here and it's a very enjoyable album but nothing close to being unique.

My rating: 3.75 stars

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Send comments to crimson87 (BETA) | Report this review (#199985)
Posted Tuesday, January 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
Raff
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Though I am sure most of you think we do not need yet another Mirage review, for some time I have wanted to have a go at what most people hold as Camel's finest hour, and a masterpiece of prog rock. The forums are full of dedicated fans of the band, who see them as one of the best, most influential acts of the original prog movement - even better than such undisputed giants as ELP. Well, I am sorry to say that, to put it mildly, I do not share their views, even if I am quite familiar with the band's output. I do own a number of their records, and listen to them relatively frequently, since there are times when you'd rather not go for Univers Zero or The Mars Volta - but this is not really a compliment in my book, especially if you call yourself a prog fan.

Don't get me wrong, Camel are a very proficient band in a technical sense, and have a keen ear for melodies and atmospheres. Their music is definitely pleasant and soothing to the ear, and flows smoothly without demanding too much from the listener. Andy Latimer is one of those so-called 'emotional' guitarists (much like Pink Floyd's David Gilmour) that go for the heart rather than for the throat, and the late Peter Bardens knew a thing or two about creating ethereal, moody textures with his keyboards. Three out of four members were adequate enough to take on singing duties, although the vocal department is the one in which Camel, in my opinion, are most lacking. It is really a wonder how, when the golden-voiced Richard Sinclair joined them in 1977, they didn't exploit him fully, having him share vocal duties with Latimer - who may be a great guitarist, but is certainly not the most gifted of singers.

Seen the huge number of reviews posted before mine, I will spare my readers a totally superfluous track-by-track analysis, and go for the bare bones. The original edition of Mirage is comprised by five tracks, while the remastered editions contains an additional four tracks, two of them taken from their self-titled debut album (Mystic Queen and Arubaluba). Of the original five songs, two can be termed epics - the Tolkien-inspired Nimrodel/The Procession/The White Rider, and Lady Fantasy, probably the best-known offering on the album. They are both well-constructed, multi-part compositions, featuring vocals and instrumental flights in balanced proportions, richly infused with Bardens' atmospheric keyboards, and unfortunately Latimer's dull, droning vocals, as well as his tasteful guitar work. Personally, though, I find opener Freefall the most interesting song on the album, being far more energetic and dynamic than the others. The instrumental Supertwister is also a pretty nifty slice of music, further enhanced by the lack of vocals (always a sore point with the band) and the presence of the flute, also played by Latimer.

Now, I'm sure many will think this is an overly harsh review. After all, if Mirage is in the site's Top 100 (and has been for ages), there must be some reason... As the saying goes, different strokes for different people. While I am partial to music featuring lots of melody, especially when my brain is in need of relaxation, I don't think Camel represent best what progressive rock is really about. Seeing them as one of the most important bands of the original prog movement may be a question of personal taste, but in my opinion means having a somewhat skewed view of the whole phenomenon. Prog was not meant to be inoffensive, or offer highbrow takes on elevator music. By all means, enjoy Camel, love them to death even, but don't come here and state that they are the best prog band ever. Even love should be able to look at things with some impartiality...

That said, Mirage is far from being a bad album, and one that most prog fans can enjoy- at least when they are not up to anything more demanding. As for myself, I would give it three and a half stars, but since the half star rating has not been implemented yet, I'll stick to three. Nice music, but no second coming of prog, that's for sure.

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Send comments to Raff (BETA) | Report this review (#204826)
Posted Sunday, March 01, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars 'Energic, Romantic, and most of all, it ROCKS'

What a great album! probably one of the best second album of all time!(for a prog band) For me, this is a well deserved five star! OK, first of all, Camel as found their sound on this album. A unique, well crafted sound. you can see their love for long instrumental songs and jamm. All the instrument shine on this album. It is very a band(not to confuse for 'bad!) album ( the 'lady fantasy' being composed by all the members of the band show what those guys were able to do together) and you can feel that every musicians had found their own sound. I see this as a chimera between a sabbath album, a genesis album and a caravan album! call me stupid but think of it will you listen to 'freefall' and the last part of 'Lady Fantasy'.

Being a five star album means that all the songs on this album are perfect, so they deserve all the same intention

-Freefall: Great, great great opener. one of the best opener I've heard on a camel album, in fact! it brings all the intensity of hard rock into a Canterbury-like prog song! Nothing short of groovy and bloody hard rocking!

-Supertwister: this one as a great jazzy feel to it.Being one of the two instrumental on this album, it those a great job for a transition between the killer opener and the next epic

-Nimrodel-The procession-The white ride: the first epic of the album, surely not as intense and tragic as 'lady Fantasy', but still a good one. This song is about Tolkien's Lord of the rings and you can feel that from the very beginning of the song. The intro is very atmospheric, calm and pretty. The vocals are a bit hard to love at first sight but they suit the music very well. You can also hear / wonderful Latimer was (and still is) on flute and on guitar. the jam section known as 'the procession' is one of the best instrumental jam Camel ever done. great solos by Bardens, funky bass by Ferguson and intricate drumming by Ward. The last part is there to let the guitar shine. What a solo! it goes on and on till the song is over

-Earthrise: If Camel is good for one thing, is for instrumental songs. You can already tell that if you've listened to the 'snow gooze'. Special mention for...in fact, a special mention is well deserved for ALL the instrument in this song. from the funky guitar to the weird soloing keyboard. I specially LOVE the fast and complex rhythm section of this song. I love the fact that it's placed just before the end of the album, you know, just before that unknown song, 'Lady Fantasy'! it as all my intention every time I listen to it. a great 7 min instrumental songs that go beyond the simple transition role.

-Lady Fantasy: you can tell from the very beginning that this is why camel is so respected in the prog rock community. Maybe not as genesis or yes, but they deserved all the attention they got, and this songs is responsible for a lot of it. the intro is fantastic, all the section flows well into each others and the solos part at the end is simply jaw dropping. You can either trash or simply cry on this one. The guys were just on fire! it goes along Close to the edge, Starless, Fifth of firth, Echoes and Sorona to be one of my all time favorite prog song.

Simply a classic. you need this one. and the best of all is that it's also a great start for new camel fan!

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Send comments to the puppeteer (BETA) | Report this review (#205698)
Posted Saturday, March 07, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Camels second album - and my third review. I'll continuing to make a song-by-song go-through. This album is in most parts a marvellous journey.

Freefall (3+) Great instrumentals begins this record and after circa one minute there's some rock n' roll-singing style. A partly bluesy song with great drums but nothing thunderous, really.

Supertwister (5+) A absolutely beautiful beginning with great flute and some weird keyboards. This song gives me a dreamy feeling like Alice in Wonderland combined with great melodies.

Nimrodel (the procession - the white rider) (5+) One of my favourites in the Camel catalogue. It's long, dreamy and boozing, cool, great instrumentals and many parts with changes. The guitar and bass playing are just fantastic. Some good singing too which fits good with the song.

Earthrise (4+) Begins (in Pink Floyd-style) with a wind and then a nice melody with good organ-play.

Lady Fantasy (encounter - smiles for you - Lady fantasy) (5+) Great vibe, great guitar and the albums longest track. The changes from calm melody to blues-rock'n roll and back are great!

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Send comments to JackDaniel (BETA) | Report this review (#207392)
Posted Monday, March 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars It may be my biggest musical regret not investigating this outstanding pillar of the genre's heyday earlier... because from the very get-go of the first track Mirage screams excellence.

Hard rock blends more excellently here with iconic symphonic rock better than anywhere else, with heavy guitars sinking their hooks into the listener so that intricate synthesizers can take their time to unfold vast tapestries of music. Latimer's guitars can positively cook, but also use smartly delicate textures to create mood alongside the equally varied keyboards of Bardens, whose solos and classic sound are incomparable to the business of Wakemen. The rhythm section is thankfully heavy, with strong performances by both drums and bass, giving weight to the atmosphere and especially the rocking sections.

Expect thoughtful and varied compositions (including one about Gandalf... how can you go wrong?) which will appeal instantly to anyone who is a fan of the classic prog genre. For those who haven't heard anything by Camel yet, I can't recommend this one enough-- it has (almost) the virtuosity of Yes, played with a more Floydian/Genesis style... although it completely blows most anything by Genesis out of the water thanks to its combination of ambitious prog stylings and a hard-rock soul.

Outstanding!

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

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Send comments to Prog Leviathan (BETA) | Report this review (#209597)
Posted Wednesday, April 01, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars My first Camel purchase and listen. Based on the strength of this album, I have since purchased nearly every studio album and a couple of live albums. One of the things I like most about Camel is that they do, in fact, progress. They can't be accused of sounding the same from album to album.

This particular album, is very much in the early 70's classic rock style, while veering quite a bit into 70's prog territory. This album and the first one are probably the only two that sound quite similar to each other in their whole discography, though this one is definitely superior to the debut. There is much to love here, especially if you grew up listening to 70's rock.

Barden's organ playing is outstanding on every track, reminding me of Tony Kaye's playing on The Yes Album, but with far more blues and soul leanings (he even sounds like Ray Manzarek from the Doors during Lady Fantasy!). Latimer is starting to sound like the great guitarist he was going to be on future albums, playing some wonderful solos and melodic lines. Not to mention his very nice flute playing on a couple of tracks, most notably Supertwister. And let's not forget the incredibly entertaining drumming of Andy Ward. Doug Ferguson is not exactly a stand out bassist, but he does get the job done.

In fact, the only thing here that makes me hold back a 5th star, is the weak vocals. They border on mumbling in some spots and just seem to be so soft and bland as to almost be pointless. Still, they are not off key or particularly bad, just very weak (this will be an issue for me with many Camel albums, though starting with Moonmaddness they do improve). Also, while Camel has never had particularly strong lyrics, the lyrics for Lady Fantasy are comically bad. Perhaps back in the 70's such phrases such as "Saw you sitting on a sunbeam, in the middle of my daydream" and "Saw you riding on a moon cloud" were really hip and cool, but in the 21st century they just sound ridiculously silly. Still, the actual music for that song is some of Camel's best, with great melodies and guitar and organ parts, and Andy Ward's fantastic drumming.

Overall, a great album worth having for any progger, and probably the most energetic Camel album ever, along with their first one. If you only get one of their albums, make it this one.

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Send comments to infandous (BETA) | Report this review (#216589)
Posted Tuesday, May 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars A good debut, but still overrated. OK song, followed by good song, followed by fantastic song, followed by pointless song, followed by a mixed song.

You defenitive hear it's a camel album, but their style isn't fully developed yet. Songs like Freefall are harder than most camel songs while focusing so much on guitar riffs. At the same time it sounds as they do their best to sound agressive without being good at it, which make the song sounds a little bit amateurish. It's still OK but would rather listen to something else. Supertwister may sound as a dramatic titel, but in fact it's a calm instrumental song focusing on a flute solo. This suits camel better, and they would come to develope this style more on future albums. A nice track. It's followed by the best of them all and in my opinion one of the best songs from camel, Nimrodel. The song is divided into two parts, but I prefer to divide it into four. First the medieval march-intro, which developes into a vocal part with accoustic guitar, mellotron and electric guitar. It developes into a long energic solo, lead by a keyboard but also featuring a guitar, maybe the best part of the song. The song calls down, and a little repetative but moody theme with a keyboardline, some bluesy guitars and vocals in the beginning ends it. A epic masterpeace! Earthrise is really nothing special, for me it's even more pointless than freefall. Instrumental and rather boring, thats all you need to know... Lady fantasy is a mixed bag, a very mixed one. A really irritating intro with a noisy keyboard and a guitar, followed by a soft, perfect guitarline with a lush organ in the background.The "main theme" appears, which is a calm track with vocals, a rather good one but too long. Then again, the band tries to be agressive with some exploading angry guitars. They aren't placed evry well, and tries just a little bit too much. Then that perfect guitar line from the beginning close the album, and make you think: "this could have been a really good song". As I said, a album with some nice tracks but some things mess it up.

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Send comments to Eastvillage (BETA) | Report this review (#217778)
Posted Saturday, May 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is for me the ultimate progalbum! That is the album that got me listening to progressive music in the first place, and is probably one of the most underrated, but dearly loved, acts ever. Camel has more dymaics than Genesis. Camel has more "feeling" than Yes. I guess some of you still wrinkle your nose when hearing the name Camel instead of Genesis. I have no other answer than "Open you ears and get a grasp of reality!" I'll not bother you guys with a walktrough of this magnificent album, since you probably have heard it, or of it, from others here in the forum, but one thing will I say, as I said it in the magazine I write for; Camel's "Mirage" is without a doubt the most complete progressive album ever made! If you don't like that sentence, well....it is not my fault!

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Send comments to NashAdam (BETA) | Report this review (#220988)
Posted Saturday, June 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Superb album. Very melodic, very caressing, yet powerful and determined.

I cannot say which instrument shines the most, it would have to be between the keyb and the guitar, but they blend so well... Their textural universe fit well together, another sign of the bands great taste in composing. My favourite songs would be "Nimrodel", but that is just a personal choice. You should listen to this album if you like moderately - complex progressive rock. It can be also an interesting lesson in "how to make your electric guitar sound good with wild effects such as extreme tremolos". It remains one of my favourite 70' s progressive albums, and i gained a lot from it.

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Send comments to aSimionescu (BETA) | Report this review (#233182)
Posted Thursday, August 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
5 stars Mirage is a long time favourite album of mine and the creative peak of the warmest and most emotional classic prog rock act ever. Be not mistaken, there's a lot of instrumental passages, organ solos, subtle touches of acoustic guitar and flute spicing up the proceedings but everything is done with so much class and inspiration that it never gets in the way of the songs. Of special note are White Rider and Lady Fantasy, both high up on my favourite songs ever list. Not everyone seems to appreciate Latimer's singing, but I just happen to be stuck on his restrained but warm and gloomy vocals. In my view, Camel would never match this album anymore, not even on Moonmadness.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#237608)
Posted Sunday, September 06, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars I remember when I first heard Mirage, via youtube- I was impressed enough to go out and buy the album as soon as I could (take note, WMG) at my local record store, and what a purchase it was! Mirage was one of the great pieces of progressive rock I discovered early on that inspired me to pursue the genre further.

Camel sounds like symphonic prog ŕ la Yes with significant amounts of Canterbury Scene thrown in, resulting in a sound that resembles Yes, but is not a mere clone. The music can be described as relaxing, high-flying, guitar-driven, floating like a bird on air, flowing like a great ocean. However, the music is not really ambient- it maintains certain traits that preserve its status as a rock band, mainly Latimer's excellent guitar. All of the tracks on the album are strong and attention-grabbing- Side one contains "Freefall", a dreamy, guitar-laden song; "Supertwister", a relaxing number led by winding flute; and "Nimrodel/The Procession/The White Rider", a fantastic (as in, "of fantasy") fairy tale with some nice synth work. Side two contains the energetic, jazzy instrumental "Earthrise", and "Lady Fantasy", an true epic, and the centerpiece of this excellent album. Recommended to anybody who is interested in prog music, as this will help you see what it's all about.

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Send comments to Neurotarkus (BETA) | Report this review (#247740)
Posted Sunday, November 01, 2009 | Review Permalink
friso
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Camel - Mirage (1974)

Rather a Miracle!

This was one of my first vinyl records. At the time I had never realised it was considered a progressive masterpiece, my only point of reference was Iron Maiden. I came to like record because it has a lot of elements Iron Maiden didn't have as well as elements Iron Maiden did have. It had epics, hard rockin' parts and great musicianship. But this record also had these amazing compositions, these strange time signatures and inventive melodies. The speed of the record was also quite amazing for me at the time, for I didn't know about any progressive music from the seventies! Did they make such great music such a long time ago?

Nowadays I consider this to be a zenith of Camel's career. This is Camel most technical record and their fastest. The convincing Freefall with great rhythmic findings in the opening section and the drowsy vocals of Latimer and the solo's in the middle-section are all just great, except for the vocals, but they became part of the concept. Supertwister (an ode to the Dutch Supersister) is of course a song that couldn't be ruined, I'm a Dutchman myself. Mainly the flute on the strange time signature give a very interesting effect. Nimrodel and The Procession are both very warm progressive compositions with an 100% score. Such perfection! The Last part of the LOTR inspired epic The White Rider is a bit repetitive but has some nice psychedelic soloing of Latimer. On side two Earthrise is another magical achievement. While the opening section isn't that good in my opinion, from the point of the gentle melody of guitar and keys everything is blown into supremacy. I'm in love with this very melody! It's so lovely! The variation in the end is also a great detail. The up-tempo heavy middle section is very impressive and ends greatly with the gentle melody of the beginning. The Lady Fantasy epic is well known to most of us. It's many parts work very well and the ending section with the vocals of Latimer are sentimental.

Conclusion. Just get this, essential progressive listening for shure! This is truly a timeless document to proof the power of seventies prog. Five stars!

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Send comments to friso (BETA) | Report this review (#251506)
Posted Wednesday, November 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Oh my lady fantasy, i love you.

Comparing to their debut, Mirage is a HUGE leap in musicianship and songwriting. Their debut wasn't bad, but it was more random jamming with good skills on each instrument but not more really. This is to me Camel at their absolute peak, and the two next albums would continue that peak to some extent, but to me, they have never been better than on Mirage. To me a perfect album is built on flowing music that doesn't stray from the formula that the album sets from the first chords on the opening track. The album should rise at first, then keep that sound throughout the album, with few nice twists here and there. This album is just that.

From the fantastic "Freefall" this album rocks out through great passages like "Supertwister" and then to my all time Camel favourite "Nimrodel". The two ending tracks are also fantastic, with "Lady Fantasy" being the timeless epic and taking this album to the all time prog hall of fame.

In this album Andy Latimer shows for the first times what he is capable of, but to me this album is more a group effort by Camel, when the two next albums would consist more of Latimers consistent soloing(which is by no means a bad thing!). Mirage goes down in my Top10 prog albums of all time easily, thus rating it with 5 stars. Magnificient Album.

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Send comments to paragraph7 (BETA) | Report this review (#252457)
Posted Tuesday, November 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars More prog than the debut, hence the slightly higher PA rating. This is due to the presence of two multi-part mini-suites, ''Nimrodel'' and ''Lady Fantasy''. Both are well played featuring a vast collection of keyboard sounds, hard-rocking guitar solos and a few theme changes that sound natural. The epics are symphonic in nature with ''Nimrodel'' scoring points for featuring what sounds like a festive orchestra in the beginning of the piece.

The song ''Freefall'' is of personal importance to me because it was the song that helped invigorate my interest in Camel. I had thought they were a completely tepid, boring, lazy jazz- inspired prog group until my friend played me ''Freefall'' and my interest quickly changed. It sounds nothing more than 60's psych-rock leftovers, but if that one song re-energizes my interest in a band, there's got to some magic somewhere.

The other two numbers are ''ho-hum'' jazzy instrumentals; ''Supertwister'' is interesting due to the flute playing, but that's about it. But overall, this is a very well-played, well-executed prog rock album that most fans of the genre should try out.

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Send comments to Sinusoid (BETA) | Report this review (#259754)
Posted Thursday, January 07, 2010 | Review Permalink
progrules
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars There are a few questions coming up with this famous Camel album. First of course: is this yes or no a true masterpiece. Looking at ratings and reviews the crowd is divided obviously. Personally I will go along with Mellotron Storms rating in the end: 4,5 stars. So it's close but just not there in my opinion.

Second question: is this Camel's finest ? Right now Moonmadness' rating is actually higher but this is just momentary. For a long time Mirage was clearly Camel's magnum opus. My secret fav has always been their debut but I agree that objectively the three successors are probably better. And if I have to make a decision I will proclaim Mirage as most impressive work.

It will have something to do with the presence of a true epic of pretty high standard, my preferred style of progressive song. Such a track is missing on Moonmadness and The Snow Goose. The other four songs are all very much worth while as well as far as I'm concerned. So that explains the 4,5 stars. All tracks are between 4,25 and 4,75 in my opinion. But ultimately this is not enough for the masterpiece status I feel. So I will round down to 4.

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Send comments to progrules (BETA) | Report this review (#263477)
Posted Saturday, January 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
5 stars Rating #401!

Mirage is a Miracle! Every track banged the gavel down to make a statement of prog like no other album.

The main drawcard of this dynamic album is the epic multi-movement suite 'Lady Fantasy' that seems to turn up in a live form on many compilations. The studio version is as good as any live version mainly due to Latimer's vocals and scorching guitar solos. The melodies are compelling and the epic flows from section to section seamlessly, bookended by Latimer's main lead guitar motif. Ferguson's bass and Barden's shimmering keyboards throughout each track are accomplished musicianship.

'Earthrise' begins with howling wind effects and an ambience is created with keyboards and guitar. Then it launches into the main riff showcasing the keyboard talents of Bardens. The instrumental features some excellent drumming that compliments the piece and a very melodic refrain. The freakout section of fret melting guitar riffing and Barden's keys backed by relentless drumming is vintage Camel, never to be repeated on other tracks. The instrumental is reigned back in again with the main melody, but the fast paced drums from Ward are erratic and out of control. It then stops and a quieter keyboard chord structure ends the track. Wonderful.

'Supertwister' is yet another instrumental with a pretty melody, and there is an upbeat time sig that locks in with beautiful flute soloing. At the end there is the sound bite of a can of lager being ripped open and poured bubbling with froth. Here's drinkin' to your health, Camel.

Other quintessential Camel tracks include the fabulous 'Freefall' with its staccato stabs on organ and virtuoso guitar licks. It remains one of my favourite Camel tracks. 'Nimrodel/The Procession/ The White Rider' is a segue to the work they will cut on 'Snow Goose', told in multiple sections and blends three songs into one in about 9 minutes. It is also a concert favourite for good reason and appears on most compilations of Camel. A symphonic masterpiece that must be heard by every Symph prog addict.

'Lady Fantasy' is the mini epic that ends the album on a high note. A tri-part work of genius that never fails to be compelling and astounding. Overall this is one of the albums that no Camel fan should be without. The enigmatic image on the cover has become part of the 70s imagery of great rock albums and indeed in the prog world. Camel surely deserve at least one 5 star album and this is it. *****

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#272687)
Posted Thursday, March 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Camel Review number 5 for me, and this time it is pure pleasure. Along with Moonmadness, I find this to be the top of the line for Camel. And, obviously, many others agree based on the ratings. Warm instrumentals, lush even, in parts, great subdued vocals...everything that made Camel great was here. "White Rider", "Lady Fantasy", Freefall", all are classics of Camel and of prog music in general. I have no problem giving this a 5-star rating although I find I like Moonmadness a little better, but a rating of 5 compared to 4.99 makes no sense anyway. This and Moonmadness are the beginning and, almost, the end of Camel for me. They shone on other albums like their first and Nude, but nothing to compare with here. 5 stars. Thank you, Camel!

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Send comments to mohaveman (BETA) | Report this review (#275741)
Posted Wednesday, March 31, 2010 | Review Permalink
EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 8/10

"Mirage" is certainly Camel's magnum opus.

What a great album. Camel's second album is most definitely one of the best symphonic prog albums ever. Let me start saying how this is a truly "classic" prog album, with all the elements that define the genre such as the presence of suites, very frequent keyboards, interesting song titles and consequently lyrics, and a very low number of songs in the album. The five songs that form this album are all beautiful, some have a stronger feeling, some have calmer moments.

" Freefall" is the opener. I usually tend to prefer the first song of the album, but this my least favorite, possibly because I'm not crazy about Latimer's vocals in this particular piece, maybe because they sound kind of childish provocation. But it is still a good song,

" Supertwister" is a fantastic three minute piece based manly on flute, but the other instruments accompany it just as fine. Beautiful with a delicate melody( this sensation of fragility is given especially from the flute).

"Nimrodel" is the first of the two suites of the album. The first part is probably the best moment of the album, with a beautiful melody, too bad it ends almost immediately. There's a quite moving part after that, played a lot faster than before. The part after that is another beautiful part, mainly based on vocals and acoustic guitar. Finally, an awesome synth part comes in, totally mind blowing if you ask me. Probably the best Camel song ever.

"Earthrise" is a very nice song, very pretty in so many moments, especially in the beginning. It then is more rockish kind of, thanks to fast guitars and fast rhythm.

"Lady Fantasy" is the song everybody loves. I too love it with all my heart, but I'm not sure it can beat Nimrodel. After the intro, there is a beautiful guitar riff, immediately followed by another keyboard riff. After it gets a lot faster, with a nice guitar part. Many fantastic moments, one of the best suites ever made, and also a great closer.

Let me say as a conclusion that I really think it's a masterpiece of progressive rock,near perfection.

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Send comments to EatThatPhonebook (BETA) | Report this review (#279572)
Posted Tuesday, April 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars MIRAGE, the 1974 sophomore release from 2nd-tier prog rockers Camel, is a strong, if not brilliantly unique slice of English "symphonic" progressive rock. By this date, a working prog template had been established by earlier and bigger acts like Genesis, ELP, King Crimson and Yes, and Camel break little -- if any -- new ground on MIRAGE. It's almost prog by numbers; too early to be classified as "neo" prog, yet belated enough to be largely a case of following in the well-worn footsteps of giants.

Still, despite their lack of trail-blazing originality, my latter-day discovery of Camel was a welcome one. (I was introduced to them only a few years ago, via this site.) Camel made some worthy progressive rock in their heyday, and MIRAGE is a fine album. Produced by David Hitchcock (who'd already produced such prog landmarks as Genesis' FOXTROT and Caravan's IN THE LAND OF GREY AND PINK), the album is firmly ensconced in the prog milieu. After a short, spacey intro, "Freefall" gets the session off to a rocking start. The flowing lead guitar of Andy Latimer (who also handles lead vocals in a workmanlike fashion), and the keyboards of Peter Bardens establish the trademark Camel sound: that of a prog outfit able to convincingly rock out, while yet taking their music to more rarified, classy and complex heights. The second number, the instrumental "Supertwister," gives us some beauty, with some nice flute from Latimer coupled with some jazzy electric piano from Bardens. Delicate passages are followed by rocking sections where Bardens switches to the organ -- yep; this is prog rock, no mistake. Next up is the first of the album's two highlights, the multi-part, epic-feeling (and fantasy epic-themed) "Nimrodel/The Procession/The White Rider," which tells of J. R. R. Tolkien's Gandalf, "the wizard of them all (who) came back from his fall, this time wearing white." As suits the subject, we get nine-plus minutes of mood-enhancing mellotron from the mythical mists of time, sorcerous synthesizers, delicate elfin acoustic, and evocative, escapist electric guitar -- better fire up the lava lamp! The fourth track, "Earthrise" is another instrumental workout. Like the gradual, deceptively peaceful appearance of our beautiful blue planet from the window of a lunar-orbiting Apollo spacecraft, this piece starts out small and slow, before building to a frantic pace -- as tired old mother Gaia presumably gets down to the business of another day with her milling multitudes of offspring. Finally, the album ends on another high, with the near-thirteen minute "Lady Fantasy," a tripartite epic which seems to be a favourite of many fans -- your reviewer being no exception. Keyboards and guitar feature strongly on this prog paean to the titular object of unrequited love (who seems to be some sort of feminine ideal, goddess, or dream girl). It's of little import whether the words are aimed at an ethereal or earthly woman: the music plain works, especially during an up- tempo movement where the Camel lads really get smokin!

Thus, MIRAGE is a very good album. I won't say that it's a masterpiece, or "essential," but it would make a solid addition to any thorough collection of vintage progressive rock. If you haven't tried Camel yet, give 'em a go. Unlike the famous "coffin nails" of the cover art, this stuff won't kill you. 3.5 stars, rounded to 4.

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Send comments to Peter (BETA) | Report this review (#280726)
Posted Thursday, May 06, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Although the core of Camel started in the early 60s, of the three, Camel didn't really get their first album out until 1973, and then their first classic "Mirage" is from 1974. With the benefit of 1974 they had all the great Prog albums of 70-74 to reflect upon. What I love about Camel is they sort of sound like a psychedelic band, but with mid 70s sensibilities. As if, real Yes/KC style Prog had never happened, but "prog rock" instead was a pushing and refinement psychedelic music.

This is actually very admirable in how they decided to expand a sound that was already so developed, and in turn developed it enough to carve out their own territory. Which is what makes all great bands great, when they actually develop their own sound that people recognize and attribute to them.

I bring up the Genesis comparison because of all the really big Prog bands, lets call them the Big Ten, Camel is possibly most comparable to Genesis, not so much in "sound" but in how "lite" they can come across. Lets call it Non-Canterbury Lite! (since the real lite bands are from Canterbury) Of the Big Six, Genesis is probably the most Non-Canterbury Lite band, not relying on heavy guitars and riffs very often. Camel also more often focus on creating melodic (often instrumental) songs that are clearly focused on the tune/song rather than tricky musical passages

Of course I think Camel deserve to be credited in the big leagues, because their sound is unique enough, and does warrant the esteemed status of "such and such new band sounds like "Camel".

Anyway, all that said. Mirage is my personal favorite. It might not be as ambitious as Snow Goose, but its just a perfect album, with incredibly well written songs. The album brings out the best in everything we like in psychedelic and Progressive Rock music.

I'm glad members of Prog Archives "get it", as Mirage is highly regarded here, I just wish the rest of the world got it too.

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Send comments to akajazzman (BETA) | Report this review (#282254)
Posted Sunday, May 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
stefro
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars After the low-key, psych-tinged symphonic prog of their self-titled debut Camel would make a triumphant and spectacular return with this highly-regarded follow-up. 'Mirage' is, without a doubt, the group's crowning glory, featuring complex instrumentation, darker themes and a more overtly progressive style than 'Camel', showing just how far the band had progressed in a relatively short space of time. Regarded by both fans and critics alike as one of the defining albums of the symphonic prog sub-genre, 'Mirage' is filled with outstanding craftmanship from a band cruising at the peak of the impressive musical powers. The line-up was still in place, featuring Peter Bardens(keyboards), Andrew Latimer(guitar, flute, vocals), Doug Ferguson(bass) and Andy Ward(drums), and the same line-up would, over the next few years, produce at least two more stand out long-players to complete a remarkable quartet of great symphonic albums. Up there with Pink Floyd's 'Wish You Were Here', Genesis' 'Nursery Cryme' and Yes' 'Close To The Edge', 'Mirage' is a stone-cold prog classic. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010

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Send comments to stefro (BETA) | Report this review (#283619)
Posted Wednesday, May 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Prog Specialist
2 stars Except for "Moonmadness", never understood why so many people loves CAMEL, I understand that liking a band is a matter of taste, but always found their music absolutely boring, repetitive and lack of energy, but reading the raving reviews decided to buy "Mirage" and must say that despite having listened it several times, my opinion hasn't changed a bit, being that each time I listen it I like it less.

The album starts with "Firefall" a track that has a bit more of Rock than I usually find in CAMEL, but after a few minutes of this hybrid between soft Jazz, Symphonic and Rock, I want to take the album from the CD player, it's obvious that the band members know their business, but the absolute lack of energy and strength is unbearable, not even the guitar sections made want to listen it.

"Supertwister" is closer to the CAMEL most people like but bores me, soft, bland and repetitive from start to end, again the performance is excellent, but the problem is in the music, seems that the band lacks totally of emotion and imagination, unexciting since the first to the last note.

"Nimrodel / The Procession / The White Rider" is in my opinion the best track of the album, mostly because of the spectacular keyboard sections by "Peter Bardens", but as soon as the vocals start, the magic lost, again that tedious atmosphere and jamming that takes nowhere.

"Earthrise" reminds me a bit of "Moonmadness", but without the versatility of the fourth CAMEL release, in this track the problem is the lack of variation, despite a few stronger moments, the track is so predictable that can't stand it. Again the individual performances are amazing, but placed altogether makes me shout of boring.

Well, at last it's time for "Lady Fantasy", the track so many people consider CAMEL'S masterpiece, so with hope I listen the excellent introduction, seems like this is another band capable of making me applaud, but as the name of the album indicates, it's only a "mirage", because after the first minute, that boredom returns to me. Not an epic, only a long song that could had lasted 3 minutes and probably been better.

Most surely the problem is in me, because the album has an average of 4.36 stars and so many Progressive Rock fans can't be wrong, but no matter how hard I try, will never understand this raving reviews.

Don't dare to say that I don't recommend "Mirage", because most people seem to love it, so will go directly to the 2 stars rating, exclusively for the performance, because the music says nothing for me.

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Send comments to Ivan_Melgar_M (BETA) | Report this review (#285531)
Posted Monday, June 07, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars The second best Camel album in my opinion, after Moonmadness. In a different way than Moonmadnes, here I can find light and shadows, and that's why I can`t give it 5 stars. The two epics are the absolute highlights of the album and both two became an icon of 70's progressive rock. Lady Fantasy is an outstanding piece, maybe the best of Camel (with Lunar Sea). The instruments combination along the track shows how an overall band effort can bring a great product (is the only song in wich the four musicians share the songwriting). The track is mostly instrumental, with short but great melody lines with Latimer voice. The electric guitar job is outstanding and you can hear quiet moments beside a really strong ones. Nimrodel/The Procession/The white rider is the other prog gem. Maybe the first two minutes are unnecesary, but then we have a stunning progressive rock number composed by Andy Latimer. The keyboard job is fantastic and the melody line too.

The rest of the album is very different. Here we can find two tracks composed by Peter Bardens alone. In my opinion Bardens was a great performer and a great songwriter when he shared the composition with Latimer, but alone is not the same. Free fall is a routine prog track in which I can't find much coherence. Supertwister is a bit better. A short track based mainly in a flute and a bass line. Nothing special. Earthrise was composed by Latimer - Bardens, but is not so good in my opinion. An instrumental in the vein of Freefall. Sometimes the keyboards in those tracks seems to sound like a midi.

Lady Fantasy and Nimrodel are excelent tracks and essential for a progrock listener. The rest tends to be mediocre. Because the two epics, I consider this album a great addition for any progressive rock collection, so I give to it 4 STARS.

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Send comments to genbanks (BETA) | Report this review (#294296)
Posted Thursday, August 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
5 stars I began listening to Camel somewhere around the end of 2003 but my first experience wasn't all that I expected it to be. This had to do with me picking I Can See Your House From Here as my introduction to the band which basically repelled me from trying anything new Camel-related until two years later when the great reception of the band's early output here on Prog Archives convinced me to give them another go!

By that time, Mirage was their highest rated album which was enough for me to assume it to be the perfect candidate for my re-introduction to Camel. Luckily all the praise that Mirage had received felt very much in line with my opinion of this release. Not only are all these compositions very beautiful but we also have the two longer pieces that propel it to a higher echelon of enjoyment for me.

Freefall is an unusually pompous album opener by Camel's standards and it's not that representative of what awaits the listener later on. Nonetheless, it does do an excellent job of kicking off the album and the guitar riff by Andrew Latimer is a real killer! Supertwister is the quietest and probably the least memorable out of these five songs, but that doesn't mean that it's bad and would have easily made a minor hit on any other of their releases. There are simply too many highlights here that overshadow what could have easily been a memorable performance. Earthrise is the last of the shorter songs and it makes for an perfect transition between the two lengthier compositions featuring a very distinct Camel instrumental jam between the band members.

Even though all of the shorter tracks are great, there's really no denying that Nimrodel Medley and Lady Fantasy is the bulk that makes Mirage the masterpiece that it really is! These compositions have a much spacier approach held together by Latimer's guitar and Peter Bardens' underlying keyboard arrangements. The results just have to be heard to be believed! Most importantly, Camel keeps these songs at perfect lengths without a single out-of-place moment in them!

Even if I haven't heard all of Camel's releases I can still safely conclude that Mirage is probably one of their greatest contributions to the progressive rock movement. With tracks Nimrodel and Lady Fantasy there is just no way I can give this release anything less than the masterpiece rating that is truly deserves!

***** star songs: Nimrodel (9:12) Lady Fantasy (12:46)

**** star songs: Freefall (5:47) Supertwister (3:20) Earthrise (6:42)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#296324)
Posted Thursday, August 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars A four+ stars. A foundation for any prog-amateur and a reasonable entry point to discover Camel.

We could summarize Camel has having 4 periods : - the classical line-up including Latimer and Ferguson - the late 70s line-up (after Ferguson leave) - the early 80s trial to reach wider audience (some would say get more commercial) - the modern era of the 90s

This album is typical from the Camel-classical era. Their self named debut album was promising but we can say Camel matured with the second opus. The instrumental work is brilliant, sound is catchy while rather quiet, the jazzy influence is already there (to some extend, we can relate this Camel period with the Canterbury style). You will find contend announcing the Snow Goose. Both albums are very close in style (this is logical given the Snow Goose was released just 1 year later). The album peak with the 13' "Lady Fantasy" suite.

Together with "Snow Goose", this album is part of the must have to discover Camel classical era. (But a close look to "Breathless" (1978) and "Dust and Dreams" (1991) also worth it to get an overview of Camel through the ages). Thanks to Andrew Latimer for 30 years of music !

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Send comments to Subterranean (BETA) | Report this review (#297448)
Posted Saturday, September 04, 2010 | Review Permalink
frippism
COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
2 stars Ehhhhh 2.5 barely

I must say, that this is probably most overrated album on PA (Why of course 95% of you will disagree). Mirage is Camel's major step into the prog rock genre, and it's a pretty weak one. Let's get right to it:

Freefall: Horrible. Worst song on the album and one of the most annoying prog rock songs in my opinion. The song tries to come off as powerful and intimidating, but it just comes off very weak and forced. I think the most fitting word is awkward. Latimer's guitar (Which is average usually) is just god awful. But the worst aspect of this song is the vocals. I know I know that the vocals aren't supposed to be the most important aspect in Camel, but if you want to sing, do it at least well! I believe that vocals are as an important as anything else (if of course there are vocals) and Latimer's vocals are so dull. It's just frustrating. The lyrics are also rather annoying.

Supertwister: OK. Definitely an improvement over Freefall. A cute (emphasize on cute) instrumental. Nothing special, but at least it's pleasant enough. Some pretty good flute parts by Latimer. Harmless enough.

Nimrodel: Definitely the highlight of the album. The marching band in the beginning is certainly a nice touch. The keyboards by Bardens are very nice, and Latimer's guitar has improvement a lot from Freefall. Now here the vocals, while not perfect, are certainly acceptable. Also the lyrics are very nice. The solos in the middle are also executed pretty well. Overall a great song, which is not a complete masterpiece, but quite enjoyable. Also worth a mention here is Ward's drumming which complements the song nicely.

Earthrise: The return to the mediocre here. Quiet and pleasant instrumental, but the melodies here are too catchy. Pretty forgetful and pretty boring. Though, again, pretty harmless. I must say that Latimer's rhythm guitar playing is pretty repetitive. He's just playing that one chord. It's less of a backbone for the song, and more like annoying cricket that's just making enough noise to annoy you.

Lady Fantasy: Great beginning part, which opens into a very cheese and schmaltzy guitar line. Bardens gives some pretty nice keyboard parts. The vocals are OK, but the how the verses are arranged are really annoying. It sounds like Easy Listening in many parts. The lyrics here are as bad as Freefall. When in the ending They sing: "Oh my Lady Fantasy [Dramatic pause] I love you" I really want to throw up from the schmaltz. That line probably makes the song a whole lot worse. At least Latimer gives an OK solo. The instrumental section is really nice. Ward's drumming is again pretty good.

Overall, I'm really rather shocked to see all these positive reviews. Camel's sound in general in my opinion is very derivative as it is (but that's just my taste), but the songwriting here is also much worse than in Moonmadness or Snow Goose. I just suggest to stay as far away from this if you insist on listening to Camel.

P.S. I must say that as a bassist I was completely unaware of Doug Ferguson's playing. It's really just there. I mean it's not wholly bad, but the only thing it does is provide the backbone to the song.

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Send comments to frippism (BETA) | Report this review (#306140)
Posted Friday, October 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars I don't see any reason why this album should receive less than 4 stars. It's definitely an excellent prog album and a classic for sure but not Camel's best in my opinion. It doesn't have as many beautiful moments as "The Snow Goose" or "Moonmadness".

The music on "Mirage" however, is of high quality. It's lot more progressive than the first album and probably one of the most remembered by fans. There are only five tracks and two of them are striking multi-part epics, "Nimrodel" and "Lady Fantasy". Apparently "Nimrodel" was inspired by the lord of the rings. This album also features the first track by the band for Andrew Latimer to show off his flute ("Supertwister").

The album cover upset the famous Camel cigarette company at the time because the Mirage album art work closely resembles the cigarette packet design.

Highly recommended. Four solid stars.

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Send comments to Frankie Flowers (BETA) | Report this review (#326192)
Posted Friday, November 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars There is a musical masterpiece from the early '70s era of endlessly creative prog rock. This piece is not too long and has only 5 songs, that would be a hard task to choose the favourite one. Here you'll find so many fantastic melodies, emotional, musical, clear along with the purity of the sound. Not so many vocs, but when they appear it makes the whole picture more fresh and lustful. For those who like melodic dreamy journeys and long instrumentals, Latimer's vocals would be an oasis to prepare the listener for the next seance. Lady Fantasy is Camel's hymn and placed last the album, makes you wish to listen to the next one (in this case The Snow Goose :) ). But after all even it's hard to pick the favourite song, I'll dare to choose Supertwister.

Since there is not 4.5 stars, I'll give it 5.

P.S. Don't leave this album after listening to the first song.

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Send comments to parapet (BETA) | Report this review (#329392)
Posted Monday, November 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Mirage is the first album as part of a trilogy by Camel. Admittedly when I first heard this album I thought it was okay and had some cool parts, but never thought I'd give it any more attention aside from the occasional play every few months. Now I find myself listening to this excellent album at least once a week.

The beginning two tracks of this album are fairly straight forward prog songs. They're good tunes and open the album up properly. After these two songs, the first of the two longer songs of the album begins. This song opens up, also, fairly straight forward and is catchy and a nice melody and excellent vocals. The second and third parts of the song are the shining moments of the whole piece of work. The middle is an excellent guitar solo that will have you playing air guitar. The last part is almost ominous with the deep booming synthesizer that has a very driving melody. I've found myself humming this at work quite a bit. After this song we are entertained with a bit of an intermission of sorts with a very good instrumental track and is also fairly straight forward prog. This song is very reminiscent of what 70s rock in general sounded like with a driving riff and a fairly powerful solo. The album finishes things up with the longest track on the record. Another track that is reminiscent of what 70s prog was. The keyboards can be a bit obnoxious on this track. Overall it's a fun listen and the vocals helped to tie it all together.

While I may say that the tracks on this album are straight forward I must also concede that listening to this album from start to finish and hearing everything flow is something else. There is a great atmosphere with this album though the tracks do not flow seamlessly as with other prog albums. A great album that I highly recommend to novices of Camel.

Notable tracks: "Nimrodel/The- Procession/The White Rider" and "Lady Fantasy: Encounter/Smiles For You/Lady Fantasy"

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Send comments to LastDaysofParadise (BETA) | Report this review (#339150)
Posted Tuesday, November 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After their unfocused,eclectic and a bit raw, but energetic debut, "Mirage" came as band's choice for future direction. Possibly, there could be different opinions, how good this choice was, but decision has done and on this album band really knows what they are doing.

Still with some hard rock roots deeply under the skin, band plays heavily arranged symphonic prog. Differently of debut album, sound there is much better balanced, and even slightly polished. Keyboards became the main instruments from now, but compositions are still a bit too dry, not such soulful as on next release, "Snow Goose" (which I count as their highest point of career ever).

In some compositions you can hear very "Snow Goose" -like moments, what shows band was on the first step inventing their "classic" sound, but on this album such pieces still are more marginal, just more illustrating their potential for next release.

In fact, there are no bad moments on this album (as well as really great moments). Really quality album, with just some vocals (and I believe purely instrumental "Snow Goose" wins because of its absent of vocals as well. Good album (but hardly great).

To be honest, only "Snow Goose" for me is Camel's album, better than just average one (possibly,because there the band plays what they know best - melodic beautiful instrumental symphonic prog, not too hard,not too bombastic and not too mellow, as on many later works). Still, Mirage is possibly their second best album after.

Camel has its fame in some progressive circles. If you're new to band, start from "Snow Goose", if you really will like it - try "Mirage". If "Snow Goose" wouldn't sound attractive enough for you - just leave Camel for others.

My rating is 3,5,rounded to 4.

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#345710)
Posted Tuesday, December 07, 2010 | Review Permalink
octopus-4
COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
5 stars My love for Camel began with this album. I saw it several times in the shops, but the sleeve design made me think to a sort of advertising, so I didn't want to try them. Later I have discovered that the author of the novel on which The Snow Goose is based thought the same and this is why the album is officialy entitled "Music inspired to The Snow Goose".

Some years later I was lazying between the ruins of an bandoned barn in a desertic area of the Catalunya (Spain) with some friend and a portable tape recorder battery alimentated and just two tapes. One was Mirage.

Maybe because of the warmth, maybe because of other "influencing elements", the music entered in my mind and it's still here.

"Freefall" has a spacey flavour, something that a Pink Floyd addict like me can only appreciate, then let's listen to how all the four guys contribute to the tracks. Doug Ferguson's bass is often underevaluated, maybe because he doesn't slap and his sound is always very clean, maybe because he doesn't add notes when they are not needed. Camel wouldn't have been the same without him, and the relatively poor albums with Sinclair are here to demonstrate it. Also Ward is for me one of the best drummers which I've listened to. Add the skill and the songwritig of Latimer and Bardens in the middle of their peak of creativity.

After "Supertwister" the first of the two short epics of the album: Nimrodel. It was probably "fit for purpose" when I have listened to it for the first time, but the music is highly evocative and even if its duration is below 10 minutes I consider it an epic.

The B side is opened by another spacey instrumental: Earhrise. It's a good track, but is obscured by what is likely the most beloved Camel's song for their fans: Lady Fantasy. It's an epic suite. It's organic. It never looses continuity even when the theme moves from a clean guitar melody to a keyboard riff, to warm singing and to the tendentially hard-rock finale. One thing about Camel's singing: many people thinks that this is their weakness. I think that the warm low-pitched voice of Andy Latimer is better than some of the people that he hired later to sing on his behalf. Compare how he sings Fingertips on Stationary Traveller and how Chris Rainbow sings the same song on Pressure Point.

Mirage is "Camel at their top" and has a follow-up in Rajaz 30 years after. Both represent a trip in the desert (in my case literally) and justify the name of the band.

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Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#350493)
Posted Sunday, December 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is one of the best things I've heard in recent times.I not know Camel until enter in ProgArchives and even then, I have not given much importance.But only now I see the mistake I made.

Although Camel is not famous like Yes or Genesis, they have much to offer.One of the things I like about "Mirage"is the fact that there are no weak songs: they are all above the average.This album is also more oriented jazz-fusion than any other band's

It opens with "Freefall, " a great track that mixes jazz-fusion and hard-rock.Despite its quality, I do not think she is the best track on the album to get it (I'll explain that later).

"Supertwister" is a beautiful instrumental track, and is the first song of the Camel where we hear the flute Latimer.

"Nimrodel"is the first epic of the album, with lyrics that speak of the "Lord of the Rings", although I long to like her, now I realize how wonderful it is, especially for applicants entry with crowd sounds, horns, flute , melotrons and oboe.

"Earthrise" is another instrumental here, jazzy and more aggressive than "Supertwister. " Although the center part tends to drag, is a great faixa.Para me she should be the true opening track.

Finally we have "Lady Fantasy", the band's unforgettable epic that is at least fantastic.Although its introduction is too long (a "sin" of the Camel), but otherwise the music is fantastic, especially after 3:50 minutes . After the line "I love you " ... my God ... what is this? One of the best climax ever.

This is truly a masterpiece unquestionable.Listen this album just makes me more a fan of this wonderful band."Mirage" is the great masterpiece of Camel

Note: my song order is as follows:

1-Earthrise 2-Freefall 3-Supertwister 4-Nimrodel 5-Lady Fantasy

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Send comments to voliveira (BETA) | Report this review (#356343)
Posted Saturday, December 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Post Rock Team
4 stars I'm not a big fan of this band although I really like this, their second album. Until I heard this album I was very skeptical about why some would label these guys 'Canterbury'. Indeed, I can hear a little bit of a Canterbury influence, mostly in the keyboard work of Peter Bardens and the flute work of guitarist/vocalist Andy Latimer. At least one song, named after a Canterbury group, even sounds like Canterbury compositionally. But it's only on the first two albums where you hear a Canterbury influence; after this they are pretty much 100% Symphonic Prog.

"Freefall" is possibly my favourite Camel song. I like the spacey beginning. The lyrics and vocals are sorta catchy. Love the sound of the organ. Latimer does some great guitar playing in this song. The switch to the jazzier section is almost flawless. The more melodic part that follows is great too. "Supertwister" is a great instrumental named after the Dutch band Supersister. Very Canterbury sounding. I like how the song constantly changes. There's so much going on in this song it seems longer than just 3 1/2 minutes. The sound of a bottle being opened and a glass being filled at the end.

I like the crowd noises and the marching band music after the synth intro to "Nimrodel". The main vocal part of this track sounds like future Camel. The jam in the middle is good but nothing special. Love the synth after 7 minutes...superb. The guitar effects are cool too. The synth lines in "Earthrise" are really nice. Love the martial drumming mixed with handclaps and vibes and/or Rhodes near the beginning. Some real intense playing (for this band) later on. Reprises beginning section to end it.

Everything is going fairly well until we bump into "Lady Fantasy". Many like this track, maybe because it's the longest on the album. I feel this song is very weak. I do not like the synth at the start; sounds like a cheesy 8-bit Nintendo game. The vocal parts sounds like '60s music, pretty dated sounding for 1974. The transitions between the sections sounds forced. The more laid-back middle section is pretty good. The more rockin' part after 9 minutes has a good riff on clavinet(?), doubled on guitar and bass. As usual at this point, the band reprises an earlier section to end the song; this type of thing is really starting to get old now.

I like when Camel rock out. I think they are best at doing 5-9 minute songs. Latimer isn't the greatest singer, but this music doesn't require great vocals. Other than a handful of songs on their later albums, I don't really like anything they did after this. 3.5 rounded up to 4 stars.

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Send comments to zravkapt (BETA) | Report this review (#406889)
Posted Thursday, February 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars At 1 year of perfection

Writing this review and subsequent I must confess my fear for rating bands and albums that were the foundation of progressive rock and the construction of genre even before I was born. To the true genre experts offer my apologies and I will try to give my point of view objective and constructive about the masterpieces that I'll comment.

About Mirage, I agree with the majority that is an essential album in the history of progressive rock. The instrumental passages are a demonstration of balance and it's like a bridge between Canterbury Scene and Symphonic Prog; only a band like Camel was able to establish.

I think Camel obtained their musical perfection through The Snow Goose (my favorite album) and I found a reason for that: The Camel's instrumental passages allowed me to discover what we all seek in progressive rock, musical eloquence and complex fluidity that allows see this genre as true art.

My intention is not to discredit the voice of Andrew Latimer or downplay his role as singer of Camel, but I sometimes creates distraction with his voice wich extracted me from the atmosphere generated by the good instrumental balance, created by the members including himself with his flute.

In Mirage, Latimer's voice was important as a complement to some passages as Nimrodel / The Procession / The White Rider, but not essential for the publication of a good album of progressive rock; it was be demonstrated 1 year later by The Snow Goose.

My favorite: Lady Fantasy and Earthrise has all the necessary elements to be considered a good example of progressive rock: dramatic changes in tempo, instrumental "dialogues" interesting that require high quality performance by Peter Bardens, Andy Ward and Andrew Latimer on guitars. About Doug Ferguson, bass has a noticeable level even essential for the development of some passages: 5 stars because of the prominence that Ferguson prints to an instrument that only a few years ago was to accompany and support.

My verdict: 4 stars because although Mirage has all the essential elements to be considered a masterpirce in the history of progressive rock, Camel showed a year later through The Snow Goose, that their level could be overcome through a conceptual proposal, ambitious and well developed only in an instrumental way.

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Send comments to fernandoalgarra (BETA) | Report this review (#414345)
Posted Thursday, March 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
baz91
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Surprisingly, this album is not a Mirage, it actually is THAT GOOD!

After releasing their promising - though slightly naive and possibly directionless - eponymous debut album (whose review I wrote only yesterday), Camel followed it up by writing Mirage which is regarded by many as their masterpeice, an opinion I wholly agree with. The artwork - a clever edit to the famous artwork seen on Camel cigarette boxes even today - is surprisingly NOT the first time a prog band were to use a cigarette box as their artwork! I am of course talking about Procol Harum's A Salty Dog, released in 1969, whose album cover is very obviously a parody of the Player's Navy Cut cigarette box. But I digress. Mirage showed Camel maturing very quickly, both musically and compositionally, whilst retaining some of the sound and spirit of the first album, to become one of the most recognised prog bands of the 70s.

The first track, Freefall, shows an uncompromising band. Despite the relatively low sales of their first album, they had chosen to continue in the style of writing on the first album, which was to keep lyrics to a minimum and instead execute extended structured instrumentals. There are a few time signatures flying around in this peice, and the playing is both technical and exciting. The instrumental is really complex, and very similar to the sound of their first album. As an opener though, I still prefer Slow Yourself Down from the debut.

Supertwister is a very light brief instrumental, in which Latimer, having already proved himself as an exceptional guitarist, now proves himself as a very skilled flautist. To excite all you progheads out there, there is an extended section near the beginning in 5/4. This is a very underrated track, as it is just so beautiful! Camel don't take themselves too seriously though, as the sound of someone opening a beer can and pouring is used as a coda to this wonderful peice.

The three part epic Nimrodel/The Procession/The White Rider (though I usually shorten this to The White Rider) is where the real meat of the album begins. This is another song to put on the long list of prog tracks based on J.R.R Tolkein's 'The Lord Of The Rings'. However, unlike the majority of these tracks, 'The White Rider' is extremely good. While most songwriters spend their time and effort trying to fit closely to the story within the song, Camel's opus is only very loosely related to the book. Nimrodel is the very first part of the track, which is a quiet keyboard solo by Peter Bardens. The Procession is another short piece, which builds in volume. It is based on a marching tune, and includes some more wonderful flute work from Latimer. The White Rider is then the rest of the track. The song starts with a short lyrical section, which quickly turns into a fast paced technical workout from the group. Afterwards, there is another lyrical section which clearly describes Gandalf the wizard, and finally an amazing 2 minute outro. All the sections of this song are absolutely perfectly composed and structured, with all the instruments sounding just right. This song leaves you wanting for nothing.

Earthrise, the opener to Side 2, is another of Camel's signature extended instrumentals. The opening shows a more spacey side to Camel, a direction they would take more on the 'Moonmadness' album. However, some of the rocky energy heard on the first album is also heard in this track. It's very much a crossover instrumental. As you can probably guess, this track also features more fantastic technical playing from all members of the group.

The White Rider is perfect, no question about it, yet it is not the best track on the album! This honour of course goes to the final song, Lady Fantasy, another epic that is labeled in three parts (although where these parts begin and end is mainly up to the listener). When I first bought this CD and played this track, it was love at first sight. While most tracks usually take me couple of listens to get into, 'Lady Fantasy' had me enraptured from start to finish. For twelve minutes and forty five seconds, all I could think was 'I love this and I can't wait to play it again'. That feeling followed me, and it quickly turned into one of the most played tracks on my laptop. While the novelty has sadly worn off, I still love this song just as much as when I first heard it. This was their longest song for many years, and definitely their most iconic and most well known song.

So what is it that makes Lady Fantasy just so good? Firstly, I'm going to say listen and find out for yourself, as I really cannot do this magnum opus justice, but for those of you who want to see me struggle at it, here you go (you horrible people). Well I'd say the first thing that grips you is quite simply the intro, which is one of the heaviest sounds the band ever made. Fans of Yes or other symphonic prog groups will be turned on immediately. If your at all bored, this song will wake you up and make you start listening, and you start to wonder (or maybe even hope) that the rest of the song will be as good. I know I would have felt let down if the intro had been the most interesting part of this song, but thankfully this is not the case.

After the heavy introduction, we are launched into a theme that is closer to the standard Camel style, with a beautiful guitar solo. Before long a lyrical section starts. These lyrics are just so memorable and increase the song's status as an important prog rock song. When the lyrical section ends, there are more instrumental pyrotechnics. This instrumental is very long, lasting around 4:30, but each second is sublime. Incredibly, the introduction is reprised during this instrumental, though in a lighter and more melancholy form. I have to say, I am a sucker for recurring musical themes. The instrumental is climaxed with a long quiet section augmented by an immaculate guitar solo, which leads beautifully into the second and final lyrical section. Again, the lyrics are perfectly memorable, and beautiful in their naivety.

The band, having matured from their first album, learn the importance of dynamic contrast and suddenly raise the volume for a 3 minute extended instrumental that surprisingly (for Camel) feels like a lengthy jam. Astonishingly, this works well in the bands favour. The simplistic extended jam feel is a perfect contrast to the rest of the song, and will have you headbanging or air-guitaring or foot-tapping or whatever it is you do to such great music. The jam section itself consists of a lengthy guitar solo, followed by a lengthy keyboard solo, played over a really heavy riff. The length of this jam seems perfectly timed also; while it's always possible to get fed up of hearing the same riff repeatedly, the band know exactly how to maximise the listener's enjoyment before stopping and moving on. The track is coming to an end so, right on cue, Camel play an extended opening theme which was played after the intro. A beautiful ending to a spectacular song.

What an album! I'd say that it is worth buying the album just to hear Lady Fantasy, but even if that wasn't there, it'd be worth it just to hear The White Rider! Two songs of this quality mean that this album is definitely worth your money! As with Camel's debut album, in nearly 700 ratings, 'Mirage' has not recieved a single one star rating, just proving how amazing this band, and in particular this album is! I have to say, I've always liked albums with 5 or fewer songs on them. This is the place to start for Camel newbies!

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Send comments to baz91 (BETA) | Report this review (#428595)
Posted Thursday, April 07, 2011 | Review Permalink
colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Mirage is another Camel classic and is their first essential album! This album has the Camel style that later albums will embrace more fully,

"Freefall" is a fast paced rocker with solid rock riffs and fantastic musicianship, but there isn't too much in the way of progressing until the last third of the track where things cool down a bit and reveal a playful and optimistic sounding guitar motif with a few variations, followed by a neat guitar solo.

"Supertwister" starts with beautiful flute. This track is full of energy and surprises on first listening, but this is overall a flute dominated track. Short, but very nice.

"Nimrodel / The Procession / The White Rider" is a very interesting suite with lots of different atmospheres all coming together. The themes travel from imperial marching to desert landscape sounding guitar dominated passages to fast paced space jam to acoustic beauty. It all seems to work, but if I pay very close attention it seems to lack some of the cohesiveness of later works, but that doesn't detract from the enjoyability of this track at all. Very dynamic.

"Earthrise" is a playful sounding track with some great catchy synth melodies and is overall an enjoyable jam. I detect some randomness in the composition, but it is overall a jam, so precision in that era isn't truly important.

The centerpiece, "Lady Fantasy", is without a doubt the best track here and has become one of Camel's signature tracks. Lots of area here for their desert/space sounding melodies to really develop in full. Camel's unique musical voice shines through proudly on this track. One band that I could liken this song to is a much more progressive sounding The Doors.

This is absolutely one of Camel's best records, and it's terrific to hear a truly original symphonic progressive rock band. The music here isn't at all like Yes or Genesis; it has much more of an organic feel and as I've said before, it has kind of a desert feel or a feel of abandonment, and I don't think anyone could pull of this sound quite like Camel manages to. The symphonic style of Camel has always reminded me of earlier Canterbury scene bands. I highly recommend this to prog loving peers.

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Send comments to colorofmoney91 (BETA) | Report this review (#431074)
Posted Monday, April 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Until now I've written three rewiews: Dark side of the moon (my all time favorite album), Selling england by the pound and Wish you were here. I think i've succeeded to express my feelings with the last one, but I also really love the two others. I'll try to make the same with this masterpiece.

After an eponymous underrated album, Camel tried to show his musical abilities. Technically the band was very strong: Peter Bardens as the shy keyboard hero (his departure would be crucial for Camel's sound), Doug Ferguson as the dynamic bassist, Andy Latimer as the innovative guitar god and band leader and singer ( with Bardens) and Andy Ward as the powerful drummer. In fact, they must proof their melody sense and strong composition.

As the first song start, we could say they succeeded. "Freefall" with an inspired guitar line, good keyboard sound, speed bass and jazz inspiration, is only the first stage of Camel art and it's really bright.

After comes "Supertwister" which shows Latimer's capacity as a flautist and a strong sense of melody. This shows the influence of Peter Gabriel as a flautist but funnier (maybe because of the final sound effects) a little as Ian Anderson.

Then there is a very important track, the first Camel's epic: "Nimrodel/The Procession/White Rider". This began with guitar arpegio with lot of sounds effects and Bardens's synth. Then comes noise of crowd with drums roll and flaute melody. After there is a section which reminds me Tolkiens universe with mellotron sound, sweet guitar line and vocals by Latimer. Then, the rythm section becomes busy during the impressive Bardens synth solo. Then, the song becomes quieter with Latimer soft voice. Then a spacy slide guitar solo closes this epic and the side A.

We are impressed but we don't even know the best is to come.

The side B starts with "Earthrise". This is Mirage's "Arubaluda". This song includes guitar and keyboards solo with Ward's powerful beat (he even plays a drums solo). This is good but not as great as the other masterpieces of the album.

Then, THE Camel's masterpiece: "Lady Fantasy". It begins with a spacy keybords line with a crazy guitar riff and stong rythmic. After, Latimer plays a cool guitar linen, before singing. After the second verse comes an impressive keyboards solo. Then after the third verse starts duing powerful rythm section Latimer's speed guitar solo and it's really bright. When it ended, the song becomes quieter and more melancholic. Latimer plays a really beautiful guitar line or solo, I don't what it is, it's wizardery and emotion (Latimer himself cried playing this part in a video). Then after on organ part, there is another guitar solo which shows more intern emotions and I think it's one of the greatest ever (I really love the last note of the solo). When this ended, sweet vocals sing the end of the lyrics (it's to be a love song). Suddenly, the guitar becomes violent and nervous as the other instruments. Latimer and Bardens communicate with solos. After angry guitar chords, the song ended with the guitar line of the begining.

At the realise of the album, it became a success and critics gave favorable reviews. But, after more than 35 years it's been forgotten and in fact it's still modern and impressive. With only five tracks as King Crimson's "In the Court of the Cimson King", Pink Floyd's "Wish you were Here" and "Animals", ELP's "Brain Salad Sugery" and PFM's "Per un amico", it's a prog rock masterpiece.

P.S: Sorry for my bad english, I'm french.

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Send comments to Usandthem (BETA) | Report this review (#434816)
Posted Sunday, April 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Time takes a cigarette.

After the promising debut, with the second album Camel definitely scored the goal. Compared to the first album the music becomes more complex and very satisfying to listen: sound is dominated by the beautiful romantic atmospheres made by electronic keyboards, masterfully played by Bardens, the enlightened leader of the band in this first period. The rhythm section turns out to be mature, despite the young age of Ward, for the construction of complex rhythms and constantly time sig changing. Latimer, who in the band is becoming more personality, is the protagonist of beautiful guitar solos and adds a flute to the instrument set. Just the addition of the flute will allow the band to create a relaxing atmosphere of romance, half way between Canterbury style and symphonic/pastoral prog.

The opening track, the unusually aggressive Freefall, immediately shows the most complexity in songs construction than the first album: After an introduction and a part sung by Latimer, various tempo changes and instrumental sections bring the song closer to the jazz-rock territories. Then, a reprise of the initial vocal part and a crescendo that lead to the final.

Supertwister is the instrumental that sees the debut of the flute. After an complex first half, in the middle we find the beautiful pastoral atmosphere, built by the flute and keyboards, that will become the classic sound of the band.

With the subsequent mini-suite in three movements Camel invite the listener to enter into Tolkien's Middle-Earth. Nimrodel (the river where the water has the power to refresh and regenerate those who immerses himself) and The Procession introduce The White Rider, dedicated to Gandalf, the wizard of "The Lord of the Rings". In this song we can find the usual melancholy moments typical of the style of the band with Latimer and Bardens in evidence in the instrumental parts. The uncertainties of the vocal parts (the group has no real role singer) are however offset by the tone of voice of Latimer, well suited for melancholy songs like this one, and by the very beautiful melodies.

Earthrise begins with a delicate guitar arpeggio by Latimer and continues with beautiful instrumental twists. After a brief drum solo the band speeds up and the rhythm section plays a starring role. Great solos by Bardens on synthesizer and Latimer on guitar.

The final mini-epic Lady Fantasy is my favorite song. The introduction with aggressive synth and guitar is followed by a wonderful instrumental duet between Latimer and Bardens. Then the delicate vocals definitely refers to the Canterbury sounds. The song continues beautifully, with a solo by Bardens as simple as beautiful (the sound of the keyboards reminds to Caravan) and then, with continuous changes of rhythm, lead to the center section. This is absolutely my favorite part: the short solo by Latimer at minute5.11 is stunning (it's a brief and very simple sequence of notes, showing that, also in prog rock, for doing well is not necessary to do something complicated). This amazing piece continues with the usual delicate tones until the final crescendo, one of the most exciting moments of the record.

Without doubt a great album, one of the best record of Camel and a masterpiece of prog rock. If you like symphonic rock (especially Genesis and Yes) or the melodic bands of Canterbury like Caravan, you like also this one. My rating is only 9/10 because of some uncertainties in the vocal parts. Howewer, this is really a five star album.

Best song: Lady Fantasy

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Send comments to Dark Nazgul (BETA) | Report this review (#438930)
Posted Monday, April 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
Starhammer
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars "Put that in your pipe and smoke it..."

"A master-crafted blend of only the finest hand-picked Bardens & Latimer English prog with a robust domestic musical blend creates Camel's distinctive flavor and world-class smoothness."

The Good: Symphonic Prog. A genre which springs to mind the likes of Genesis, Yes and ELP. But there is another, oft overlooked and underrated act that deserves mention alongside such giants. Camel! Despite their self-titled debut receiving generally favourable reviews and modest commercial success, their record label didn't deem it worthy for a successor so they signed with Deram Records. The result was Mirage and was the first in a trio of critically acclaimed releases from the Surrey based band. It's artwork bears a very close resemblance to the logo of the cigarette brand which shares the band's name as the result of a business agreement. Featuring only five tracks, this is the most accessible and arguably most accomplished of the three, and an excellent starting place for people wishing to discover this band. Oh, and there's an absolutely bitchin' guitar solo on Lady Fantasy which wouldn't sound out of place on a Mars Volta record!

The Bad: Whilst I do love a good bit of flute, the instrumental Supertwister is for me the album's weakest track, and is improved upon in almost every aspect by its lengthier brother Earthrise.

The Verdict: Their magnum opus.

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Send comments to Starhammer (BETA) | Report this review (#439923)
Posted Thursday, April 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars My favorite Camel album!

This is the album that got me into Camel. I had only heard their first album prior to this, which didn't make a good impression on me. But Mirage on the other hand, made a HUGE impression, and it remains as one of my all time favorite progressive rock records to this day.

I love hearing the guys in the band just lock into a groove and just jam their hearts out. Lots & lots of cool soloing and jamming going on through this whole record.

"Freefall" is not my favorite on the album. Its got a bluesy/Classic Rock vibe to it, and works just fine. A decent song, but not spectacular.

"Supertwister" is better, a lush song with lots of flute and different tempos. Latimer shows that he is more than capable as a flute player with this song. Excellent playing from the whole band, creating a chill, lush mood. Excellent.

"Nimrodel / The Procession / The White Rider" is my favorite on the album! The whole thing just builds right from the start. Great melody and great mellotron here, with a really dark part in the end, with great psychedelic slide guitar from Latimer that creeps me out and make love to me at the same time! Perfect!

"Earthrise" is a cool jazzy rock song that starts innocently enough, but then goes very up tempo with lots of jamming going on. Great song, great keyboards from Bardens.

"Lady Fantasy: Encounter / Smiles For You / Lady Fantasy" is the Epic on the album, and is compiled from many different ideas and parts. Some are up tempo jams, and some are beautyful melodic stuff, with great guitar all the way through. I love this song.

5 stars. A classic.

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Send comments to Moonstone (BETA) | Report this review (#471769)
Posted Wednesday, June 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars 1. "Freefall" (7/10) starts the album off showing a blues-rock/Canterbury side of Camel. Some nice, complicated tempo changes.

2. "Supertwister" (8/10) has a bit more melody and mood to suck the listener in--almost too syrupy pretty--like a DEODATO or FOCUS song.

3. "Nimrodel / The Procession / The White Rider" (8/10) exemplifies perfectly why I will never be able to grant a Camel album masterpiece status: the vocals and drums in the slow parts (and when does a fast part of a Camel song have vocals) are dull, ordinary, soporific. Much better drums once the tempo picks back up, however, Michael Giles and Ward are two drummers I've never really appreciated. Perhaps they make it sound so easy,so straightforward, that they sound boring.

4. "Earthrise" (7/10) another Canterbury jam--one in which, IMO, the bass player stands out most. He's no Percy Jones, but he's good! othherwise, nothing so very special.

5. "Lady Fantasy: Encounter / Smiles For You / Lady Fantasy" (7/10) let's me know that STARCASTLE wasn't only YES-inspired. Nice recording and mix of this DOORS-like song. As a mater of fact, if I didn't know better, I would have guessed that Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger were sitting in on this one--a symphonic update of "Light My Fire." I do like all of the song's shifts and changes--they do work rather well--or "seemlessly" as another reviewer here on PA wrote. The music, however, is lacking the stunning soli and/or melodic 'hooks' necessary to draw me in. I've tried listening to this song over and over and over and, save but for a few moments here and there, without emotional impact. The ending has got to be one of the poorest ever--especially after coming right off that hard driving rhythm section part.

A band I like but don't love. Of the second tier of "classic" prog "greats," I would invariably choose FOCUS, RENAISSANCE, CARAVAN or even SUPERTRAMP before I'd choose Camel. IMHO, "Moonmadness" is their best--and that not even close to being a masterpiece. This one is good, but certainly not essential. 3.5 stars.

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Send comments to BrufordFreak (BETA) | Report this review (#504300)
Posted Tuesday, August 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The better of Camel's two pre-Snow Goose albums - a louder, flashier, more bombastic era for the band - Mirage is also a classic symphonic prog album, one on which the talents of Peter Bardens and Andy Latimer are wonderfully showcased. Having rocked out wildly on Freefall, the band take the listener through a dramatic musical journey which culminates in the sweeping and majestic Lady Fantasy, with a brief stopover to worship at the altar of Lord of the Rings along the way (in Nimrodel/Procession/The White Rider). Alongside The Snow Goose and Moonmadness, this should be a listener's first stop in any exploration of Camel's music.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#516978)
Posted Wednesday, September 07, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars This record has a special ranking in my library cause it has to be considered the first album to get me into prog rock. IMHO CAMEL here were at the edge of releasing three consecutive masterpieces "Mirage" , "The Snow Goose" and finally "Moonmadness" that shaped their unique style. Back to the album, The most noticed thing here is the superb guitar work from Andy Latimer; beautiful guitar riffs and solos especially in the two epics "Nimrodel" and "lady Fantasy". Supertwister is a mellow instrumental track that contains some nice flute playing. "Freefall" and "Earthrise" are more vigorous tracks, still sounding very good. Overall this album is a classic masterpiece of prog rock, Highly recommended!

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Send comments to Ultrasonic-head (BETA) | Report this review (#562092)
Posted Friday, November 04, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars The second album from Camel.

I was listening a lot to my Camel albums before I got involved in ProgArchives. It can be argued that Camel was the reason I joined ProgArchives. Strangely enough, I have been ignoring my Camel albums for the last years.

Camel is from the Canterbury area, but they are not included in the Canterbury scene category. They are in fact one of the pillars of the symph prog genre. But Mirage is an album I would label a "Canterbury scene" album. And that is a compliment. The music is very playful and very Caravan'esque at times. But there are also some folk and a lot of symphonic prog here too.

The first four songs are very good with a lot of hommage paid to the Canterbury scene. But this album is the album that gave us one of Camel's best ever songs; Lady Fantasy. An excellent song with a fascinating main theme.

Mirage is a truly great album and a must have in my view for those of you into symph prog or Canterbury scene.

4 stars

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#585560)
Posted Saturday, December 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Original release: 9.5/10

Camel's masterpiece is nothing but one of the most delicate, melodically rich and brilliant symphonic and progressive rock albums ever made.

- 2002 remastered issue - :

***** : 10/10

Perfect sound (the re-mastering process is flawless) Precious bonus tracks (3 brilliant live performances: 1 track from the album, 2 previously unreleased tracks; a demo tape from the phenomenal "Lady Fantasy")

(As a detail) The cover isn't really well crafted -the colors seem turned-off- and the inner booklet is somehow poor -few photos- but contains a relevant historical commentary.

Bonus Tracks:

Supertwister (live) Mystic Queen (live-previously unreleased-) Arubaluba (live-previously unreleased-) Lady Fantasy: Encounter / Smiles for You / Lady Fantasy (Different Take)

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Send comments to Mattiias (BETA) | Report this review (#589063)
Posted Friday, December 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Woohoo, the camel is in full gallop here! This was one of the first few prog rock albums I heard and my first Camel album. Nothing else the band have done ever again made such a big impression on me but my adoration of this fantastic album hasn't faded a whit since. Perhaps, an aptly titled album, then?

Nasty quips aside, I am quite fussy about originality in music. I don't demand something as fundamental as a new tone system to replace the one Stockhausen proposed. But I do want to hear bands present their thoughts, musically and lyrically (not so much), differently at some level. I generally don't suffer the generic end of most music genres too gladly. So, owning up to my unabashed love of Mirage is a bit of a self-goal!

There's not much Camel do, broadly speaking, that you won't find on prog rock albums before. They draw heavily from Caravan and the Canterbury scene as whole, dropping a very big hint about their debt to Supersister. There's some King Crimson in the mix while Peter Bardens at times evokes Deep Purple. They even manage to sound like - and it is like, indeed and not the other way round - those magpies Renaissance. A passage in the middle of Lady Fantasy sounds like Ashes Are Burning but it is quickly forgotten as Andrew Latimer resumes vocals.

But I am not too worried about all that when Freefall kicks off the album to a flying start. From that moment, it's literally a desert storm. Camel at all times sound graceful and capable of being gentle and becalming while rocking really hard at other times to give the album some serious momentum. You don't get much time to reflect on whether the track you just heard is really as good as it appears to be because there's another and then yet another strong track waiting to be digested. It's a simply flawless album all the way through. Not one track strikes a discordant or inconsistent note nor do the proceedings ever get boring.

To accomplish this last aspect, Camel also take you through some delightful twists and turns. Latimer is at the very top of his guitar game, enchanting you with laidback, relaxed notes as sweet as Santana and crushing you with power that reminds you of Blackmore or Iommi. Overall, the band sound as if they are truly having a blast playing these songs. Note especially the solo Latimer plays just after he has finished his first few vocal lines. That passage, as well as others in the album, give the appearance of a jam-y hard rock workout and yet there are hardly an excessive movements in the album. If anything, it is overall one of the more economical prog albums I have heard.

Camel also have one thing in spades that I have suggested was perhaps a bit undervalued in prog and that is emotional resonance. It is hard not to be drawn into those wonderful passages of music that hit you at several different points in the album. Mostly on account of Latimer's guitar but Bardens has his moments too. Subsequently, they got a bit too complacent and gave up too much of their rocking side for my liking but on Mirage their style is hard to fault and their execution just superb.

As I already said, this is an amazingly consistent album but I'd pick Lady Fantasy, Nimrodel and Freefall as the high points. Five stars easily for a delightful prog masterpiece and one of the best albums to initiate listeners into prog.

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Send comments to rogerthat (BETA) | Report this review (#596354)
Posted Monday, December 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars For many years I kept seeing this band within the ranks of other progressive acts but never took notice. One day I was looking up some Wishbone Ash when I came across the epic track "Lady Fantasy" by Camel. From the whirling sound of keyboards to Andrew Latimer's soaring guitar solo I was hooked. I sniped a copy of the album on Amazon and it quickly became a spinning disc when I have a long shift at work.

1. Freefall - Excellent opener as the band's racous jamming brings in a tight structure not heard in the later albums. I'm happy they got it right on this album. 2. Supertwister - Very mellow yet jazzy with Latimer playing flute all over this one. Its not a while flute section like Anderson in Tull but a touch symphonic to it. Bardens layers the song with some tasty keyboard work. 3. Nimrodel - Very trippy and almost Tolkien in structure (well it is based off of Tolkien's work) Its not a loud racous jam but creative and spacey. Again Latimer's guitar work is something to be had within the band. 4. Earthrise - The band reins in something that reminds me of Caravan (funny cause Richard Sinclair would join Camel a few album later). Its a well pacing song though not heavy on guitars as it is on layers of keyboard, tight drumming and jazzy guitars & bass. 5. Lady Fantasy - What can I say ? Its a 13 minute opus for the album and it has bits and pieces of everything heard through out the album concocted into one potent song. Its split up into 3 mini suites and starts off thunderous and rolls down like a roller coaster before brewing up with a rousing closure to the album.

I would highly recommend this album to anyone interested in Camel

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Send comments to geddyleefan (BETA) | Report this review (#602184)
Posted Tuesday, January 03, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars 4.5 stars

Mirage was the first Camel album I ever heard, and I fell in love with "Lady Fantasy". It is truly one of my favorite progressive rock songs. However, some of the songs aren't as fantastic, although all of the songs on this album are great to some degree.

"Freefall" is one of the songs that I consider below par for prog. Some parts are great, but some are lacking. I also don't care for the vocals on this track. It is mainly lacking in energy. The guitar is pretty good, as Andy Latimer is always tasteful. 3/5 stars.

"Supertwister" is a little better than the opener. I really love the flute parts on this track. Even though it is only a few minutes long, I feel like that is a good length. Short, sweet, and to the point. A very nice, relaxing song, in general. 4/5 stars.

"Nimrodel" begins to pick up the pace. The ending to this song is my favorite part, with a very cool bass sound. Fantastic soloing via Peter Bardens and Andy, the always in good taste, Latimer. Said to have inspired The Snow Goose, I can definitely get into this track. 5/5 stars.

"Earthrise" has a nice feel to it, but it doesn't quite do it for me. Nice melodies, but yet not a whole lot of substance, especially when compared to what the band can really do in a song like "Lady Fantasy". Some nice parts, but nothing special, in my opinion.

"Lady Fantasy" is a fantastic song, and I would recommend this album just for this track. Andy really hit the nail on the head with this song. Beautifully structured and composed, this song flows like any other prog masterpiece. Peter Bardens' soloing and Andy Latimer's exotic, almost Gilmour- esque, guitar lines really accent this. Not to mention that the part starting at about 7 minutes is amazing. A hefty 5/5 stars.

When you look at the album as a whole, it really only amounts to about 4.5/5 stars, which seems appropriate. A fantastic album that gets a high recommentdation, but not quite a masterpiece.

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Send comments to bb1319 (BETA) | Report this review (#648424)
Posted Tuesday, March 06, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars The sophomore effort from Camel works off the sound established in their debut album, but this time the songs are much more focused and compositionally superior, and consequently more recognizable. There is a constant change of tempo, time signatures, and mood changes throughout, making this a constantly developing album, though the musicianship and fantastic melodies always remains strong.

The album starts off with the classic 'Freefall' which has a fast tempo, and is filled with pleasant melodies and dynamic drumming throughout.

'Supertwister' marks the first use of the flute, for which they will use with great success in plenty of successive songs. I like the tempo changes between the softer flute parts which dominate most of the song and the short faster parts.

'Nimrodel/Procession/The White Rider' is a multi-parted song with three distinctive sections that fit perfectly into a whole. There's a ton of mood, tempo, and time signature changes in this one, from the beginning marching section, the gentle flute and oboe section, the rapid, aggressive middle, and the ominously heavy ending.

'Earthrise' is a fun song that is mostly dominated by keyboards. Again, they are flawless when changing from a more moderate opening speed to the blazing speed which lasts until the end.

The second of the two multi-parters and the final song is 'Lady Fantasy.' Again, this consists of a few different sections marked by intense tempo changes. But the guitar and Hammond playing is statically great throughout.

You could take or leave the debut album from this band, but I believe Mirage is a perfect starting point to get into Camel, and is one of the essential albums of the progressive rock canon.

9/10

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Send comments to Mr. Mustard (BETA) | Report this review (#811842)
Posted Wednesday, August 29, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars This record was heavily advised by my brother and I don't know for sure he gave it to me or I bought it myself. What I do know is that this record enjoyed me a lot when I just got it and after that I almost never listened to it again. The times I did however didn't please me a lot.

I don't know exactly what I don't like about this record. There are some great time intervals and instrumental developments. I guess it's just the sound which does not seem to fit with me and the vocals are not my cup of tea. Still I see a great improvement from Camel's debut record and I have some respect for the musicianship here. Therefor a three star rating is the least I can give.

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Send comments to the philosopher (BETA) | Report this review (#883200)
Posted Friday, December 28, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars The quintessential progressive rock album.

Though there are many progressive rock albums more masterful and innovative than "Mirage", I think that it's safe to say that this album is the definitive progressive rock album.

"Mirage" is a classic progressive album with some incredible musicianship that has inspired many artists, including Mark Knopfler (as seen in the guitar melody at the beginning of "Lady Fantasy") and less notably David Gilmour. The album contains some great riffs and melodies, and has a nice vibe of mysticism. What never fails to impress me on listening to this album, is the way it builds an atmosphere with every song.

Here is a review of each of the five tracks.

"Freefall" is a classic Camel track, fast paced and exciting. The song kicks in with a chilled out groove that is set to make even the straightest of souls kick back and grove along. "Supertwister" is one of the greatest flute jams of the 70s. The flute melody speaks just beautifully and seems to tell a story. Very catchy instrumental.

"Nimrodel / The Procession / The White Rider" is a homage to J. R. R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" and it is just incredible. The musical atmosphere here is spectacular, and it never fails to sweep me into the Tolkien-esque landscape of flute, organs, and the sweeping guitar tone that gives this piece of music such a rounded finish.

"Earthrise" is probably my least favourite track on the album, but it is by no means a "skip track". The song is a fast paced instrumental that is mainly mellotron and guitar dominated. There are some very nice melodies here.

"Lady Fantasy" is the best known Camel song, and for good reason. The guitar melody has a very Mark Knopfler feel.Though I think that the song is inferior to track 3, it is a very nice track and is probably the definitive 70s prog track.

The musicianship in this album is just superb, and though the album sounds quite 70s, it has dated very well. I highly recommend the CD remaster of this album. It is a reasonable price, beautiful sound quality, and though I generally object to bonus tracks, the live recordings on this disc are quite listenable.

I recommend this album as Camel's greatest work, and as an introduction to progressive rock.

☮ Peace! ☮

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Send comments to The Mystical (BETA) | Report this review (#946169)
Posted Thursday, April 18, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Camel's self-titled debut album released in 1973 was a huge disappointment. Only 5000 copies were sold and MCA didn't want to release a second album by the band but Decca signed them so the band went in 1974 to the Basing Street Studios in London to record their second studio album "Mirage".

According to guitarist Andrew Latimer the band made a huge step forward compared to their debut. The band wrote all the songs as team and also the interaction became better between him, organist Peter Bardens, bassist Doug Ferguson and drummer Andy Ward. Producer David Hitchcock convinced them to record the multi part song "Nimrodel/The Procession/The White Rider", which was inspired by J.R.R. Tolkiens "Lord of the Rings. The band liked the songs and decided to record another epic song, the final "Lady Fantasy". These two songs surely are the highlights of a really great progressive rock album. "Mirage" is in my opinion one of the best progressive rock albums ever released. The instrumental dominated "Mirage" really showcases four musicians, who all are master of their instruments and are able to create sensational music. And the band indeed made a big progress from their first album. The long compositions don't get boring even with a running time from over 9 minutes and the addition of the flute, which wasn't used for their first album fits to the progressive sound and makes it richer.

"Mirage" really is a strong release without any weak moment. It took me some time to really get into the album, but after hearing it 10 times I realized that this is one of the all time best progressive rock albums.

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Send comments to Lord Anon (BETA) | Report this review (#959100)
Posted Tuesday, May 14, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Camel's Mirage is such a beautifully constructed album. It's Flawless. From the opening sequences to its closing measures, just can't find any fault with this offering. Takes me through many dreamscapes and instills many different emotions. Each track has some amazing, catchy and likeable sequences. Makes me want to listen to it many times over, which, I do occasionally. While the vocals are infrequent the instrumental sections are elaborate and, did I mention before that this is a beautifully constructed album? I can strongly recommend this to anyone wanting to listen to Camel. Rates high on my all-time favorites list. It truly is a Masterpiece in my opinion.

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Send comments to Ozymandias (BETA) | Report this review (#984766)
Posted Sunday, June 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars First of all, this is an incredibly good album, and if we could give half stars on this site, it would have four and a half stars as supposed to just four. Now, what are some reasons that I would give this album such a high rating? For one, the instrumentalists are all at the very top of their game, Andrew Latimer's guitar playing especially stands out to me while it is not too flashy, but acquires the perfect balance between technicality (see the album opener "freefall") and raw emotion (check out the middle section of lady fantasy.) Both Ferguson and Ward (bass and drums) are exceptional at creating a very solid rhythm section. They each get enough time to shine, while not forgetting their main role, to provide the music with rhythm. Also, Pete Bardens is certainly one of my all time favorite keyboardists, and I would rank him up there with the likes of Wakemen, Emerson etc, and he gets lots of awesome solos on this album. Anyways, the reason that I have to exclude that one half star is because Latimer's vocals don't quite cut it for me. I mean, they're not bad, but I feel that they can at times pale in comparison with the rest of the bands top notch musicality. So I would definitely still recommend the album to anyone who hasn't heard it (although everyone on this sight SHOULD have) and songs like "Freefall" "Nimrodel" and one of my all time favorite prog songs "Lady Fantasy" go into making it one the most poignant albums of the early seventies prog music scene. Definitely worth your time!

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Send comments to pinkzepplintheater (BETA) | Report this review (#987205)
Posted Thursday, June 27, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Camel's debut was a very promising start, showing their excellent musicianship, ability to play as a coherent, balanced unit and excellent compositional skills. It was let down a little by slightly dodgy vocals and raw production and sales were modest due to poor promotion.

Mirage builds on their strengths whilst addressing the problems. They write two longer, multipart songs (the Tolkein inspired Nimrodel/The Procession/The White Rider and Lady Fantasy), both of which rank amongst the best things they've done. The other shorter songs are also strong, showing their instrumental prowess and their characteristically jazzy and melodic style. Bardens and Latimer write the majority of the songs, the first side as individuals and the second side as an effective team.

Vocals are used sparingly but are much better than on the debut and the production and dynamic range are much improved from the debut. It sold well and established Camel as a serious commercial presence after the disappointing sales of the debut. Overall, this is a brilliant album which would be the star in most bands' discographies. But the next two Camel releases were even better!

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Send comments to Hercules (BETA) | Report this review (#1043398)
Posted Tuesday, September 24, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4.5 stars. This album was my introduction to Camel, and after listening to this and Moonmadness, I've decided that I really like this band. They could have been a top tier prog band if only they had a better singer to go along with their music. I'm not saying that Latimer's or anyone else's voice in the band is bad, just not to the level of say Peter Gabriel or David Gilmour.

Where this band's strength lies is in their instrumentals and musical arrangements. I will say that Andrew Latimer is one of my favourite guitar players in all of rock music, and is far too overlooked. He just plays with so much emotion and class. Of course, all the members of Camel are talented, not just one.

Although Camel are a generally softer band, "Lady Fantasy" does have its rocking moments. The song's intro and outro are classic. Other standout tracks would have to be "Freefall" and "Nimrodel/The Procession/The White Rider". The "White Rider" segment has a stunning guitar solo.

I believe Mirage would be an ideal first listen for anyone who is new to this band, or even to the world of progressive rock. It has an accessibility that not many albums in this particular genre of music have. For that, it is recommended.

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Send comments to thebig_E (BETA) | Report this review (#1164022)
Posted Monday, April 21, 2014 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
3 stars This album seems to be Camel's highest rated on the site. I'm not going to dispute that. But when you compare this servicable release with other albums of the same year (1974) by the established prog bands, you will see why Camel is often relegated to the second tier of seventies progressive bands. While this album is not bad, it pales behind contemporary releases, like "Relayer", "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway", "Red" and "Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends".

On the plus side, Camel became much more obviously progressive with this release. Only Freefall retains the psychedelic jamming that made up the majority of the debut album. But even this track had some syncopated blasts that indicated a more adventurous style.

Supertwister and Earthwise are both nice, light symphonic pieces, with the latter harkening back to King Crimson's Epitaph (in a good way - do I hear a Mellotron?).

Then there are the longer tracks. Lady Fantasy has some excellent sections, and flows nicely between them. But too much of this song sounds like an imitation of The Doors (do I hear a Farfisa?) for me to really enjoy it. The Nomrodel suite fares better. But I can do without the Procession, and the different sections just don't seem to flow well in transition. However, the slinky synth/bass jam for the last two minutes is simply superb.

I know many feel this is a classic, but just a very strong 3 stars from me.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#1177863)
Posted Wednesday, May 21, 2014 | Review Permalink
Isa
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars [C+] Fun and light symphonic prog, though not particularly enduring.

I must confess that my first impression of Camel's Mirage was not one of utterly timeless symphonic prog majesty, but rather of dated 70s sounding rock 'n roll with half-baked influences from the popular jazz-rock and prog bands of the time. While I haven't completely departed from this viewpoint, a fair amount of plays through the album have allowed me to really appreciate the many great moments of light-hearted beauty and the nicely balanced mixture of symphonic prog and jazz-rock influences. There is a high level of creativity with song-structure and instrumental layering in all of the tracks, with mostly successful results.

The first track Freefall presents probably the heaviest side of the band's sound on the album, with jarring guitar riffs and an aggressive vocal part. This aggression is followed by some clever solo sections, leading into a a cheerful, proggy section with some 11/8 metered guitar and keyboard riffing, one of my favorite moments on the album. This leads back into the hard rock sounding chorus. The drumming on this track is particularly cool. Supertwister is an interesting track with several diverse sounding sections, some whimsical and soft, some energetic. The flute melodies and juicy keyboard parts are the best part about the track, I think. Nimrod / The Procession / The White Rider might be considered an "epic," Nimrod being a short somewhat and somewhat strange, darker section. After this, The Procession is a sort of short Renaissance sounding march, leading straight into The White Rider. I sense that the first part of this section is highly influenced by Moody Blues, with the use of an oboe-sounding synth melody and once again whimsical atmosphere. The vocal melody is a bit lackluster sounding to me, however. This leads leading directly into a fast paced solo section, which is pretty fun and well done. I sense some Uriah Heep influence in several parts of the track, including the fantasy themed lyrics. Earthrise is an interesting, very prog-sounding track, with beautiful parts from all of the instruments, though I find it a bit long-winded sounding with the faster and thicker section toward the end of the track. The track ends very well with the slower marching tempo.

Lady Fantasy is in most ways the best part of the album, and is the most diverse, cohesive, and expressive of all of the tracks on the album, with the most developed lyrics. The solo is very well done, and the singing a bit less so. I hear more Santana influence in this track than in any other, for sure, much more jazz-rock oriented throughout the song. Many solo sections throughout this multi-movement track. My favorite part of this track, and thus the whole album, is the reverse-fade guitar solo, just gorgeous. This leads directly into the soft, emotional lyrical section, and I love how the music reflects the mood of the lyrics, portraying the concept of being mesmerized by a beautiful, really majestic woman from a afar. Then "bam!" the hard-rock riffing and soloing begins, and it's just great. The crunchy keyboard timbre is just so juicy.

In terms of the album as a whole, I have some complaints which are stumbling blocks for me giving this album a higher rating: there isn't much of a sense of lyrical drama or even instrumental expressiveness throughout the rest of the album, compared to Lady Fantasy. While the complex proggy sections are fun indeed, they almost all have a very narrow range of emotional expression, unlike what you might find in the music of Yes or Genesis, and thus always leave me wishing for more. Also, while each section of music in each song is very well done, it just doesn't create a memorable cohesive whole for most of the tracks, let alone the album as a whole. These are things that I find particularly crucial for a great work of artistic music, and in my view they are where Camel falls short with respect to this album.

Mirage is a very good album which has clearly had much influence on the sound of the symphonic prog style. Any fan of this style should own this album for sure, though I wouldn't really call it crucial for progressive rock collection.

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Send comments to Isa (BETA) | Report this review (#1182055)
Posted Sunday, June 01, 2014 | Review Permalink

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