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Colosseum - Daughter of Time CD (album) cover

DAUGHTER OF TIME

Colosseum

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
3 stars With their previous album a resounding success (artistically certainly and commercially also), but touring constantly, the line-up change seeing the two guitars of the group disappearing, being replaced by a more fitting (not necessarily more virtuoso) duo, there was no clear cut singer. Dave Greenslade then remembered his old Thunderbird days, where he was backing one of the best and strongest soul voices (along with Traffic's Stevie Winwood) Chris Farlowe, and in a surprising and daring move offered him the job. An incredibly bold choice as Farlowe's impressive stature (the man is tall but also had survived a polio attack, but deforming his body) was not really an obvious frontman candidate. Farlowe's soulful voice was not that evident either to fit the group, but again the magic that had operated for the first line-up worked but at a cost: the songwriting. Bringing such a forceful singer as Farlowe in but to use him as little as there were vocals in the first two albums was of course impossible. So the main difference between this album and the previous two, is that there is a lot more singing. And as incredible as Farlowe's voice is, it is not to everyone's taste either, but no-one can claim that there are not some incredibly spine-tingling moments on this album and that they are mostly due to his voice. So now, Colosseum is a sextet!!

Right from the opening track, you can feel that the exuberance of the first two albums will be much absent, but not the solemnity. Greenslade's organ is mixed much lower than previously, but still well present and countering Farlowe's incredible vocal soaring leaps. The following Time Lament has a difficult start, but once it gets settled, Farlowe's howling, answered by DH-S's sax lines (he was almost absent in the opener) are pushing the track into an impressive progression (but it does need repetitive listenings to fully dig it). Doomsday is a much less impressive piano-led track, even if the lyrics should please the more Tolkien-esque appetites, and a rare flute (Barbara Thompson who gets in many sax parts also and future Mrs Hiseman) appears. Clearly Clempson (the singer on this track) is not at ease with lead singing, though. The rather short title track is slow in starting and takes it time before Farlowe pulls in another one of his tricks, but again his voice sort of dominates the rest of the players. Assuredly the mixing and engineering of the album could've been bettered at the time, and the remastering job has not brought the expected results (at least for this writer).

The opening salvo of side B is a Jack Bruce (Cream but also an ex-RnB colleague) and Pete Brown (the leading UK Beat poet that had links with everyone from jazz to rock) track. If Farlowe really understands what Bruce was singing and duplicates quite well, this is not one of the stronger Brown lyrics (the man had gotten us used to She Was Like A Bearded Rainbow lines ;-), but overall a cool cover of that classic track. The instrumental Bring Out Your Dead is clearly a return to old Colosseum track (Ides Of March-type) and unfortunately shows us that the integration of such a powerful voice is not an easy task: the obvious and glaring proof is here. One can recognize Louis Cennamo (Renaissance, Illusion and Steamhammer) bass lines in the track - as official bassist mark Clarke only plays on three tracks, probably due to his late arrival in the group. Downhill And Shadows is a mix and messed-up blend of again slow-starting blues with all the usual heroics from Clempson and Farlowe and the typical Clarke on bass. The last track, the cynically-titled Time Machine is not only a filler but also a throw-away drum solo (remember that the drummer is the boss in this group) recorded live, and even if the guy is clearly an ace at his instrument (the man is impressive in concert), this kind of exercise is really not my cup of tea, a fortiori even more when lasting over 8 minutes. I suspect that this is exactly the type of tracks that terminated the partnership between Vertigo and the group.

Constant touring, a shifting line-up, the lack of time to write songs (maybe even a few too ideas also), a new balance to find between the six members and maybe a lesser production, all these factors might make this album is clearly a bit of a let-down, but ultimately with repeated listenings it slowly unveils its merits.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#26299)
Posted Monday, February 02, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Mistakenly considered the "black sheep" of their early studio albums, Daughter of Time is, in my opinion, underrated. From the dazzling opener "Three Score And Ten, Amen" to the lengthy close-up "Time Machine", the band's energy is displayed in their full potential, at their most mature creative points (Time Lament bears no comparisson with anything on "Valentyne..."). "Take Me Back To Doomsday" puts you in the middle of a musical caroussel via sax/flute/piano simultaneous solos, while "Downhill And Shadows" is one of the highlights of this album (first, the saxophone that opens the piece is not "playing", but "speaking almost like a human voice", and then there's Clempson's sense of complementarity with the whole of the band, framing his solo coherently). "Bring Out Your Dead" and "Time Machine" could be the "turn-offs", but any serious prog listener would laugh at that : turn-off ? no [&*!#] ! Better open your ears and, most importantly, your minds ! (I've always associated "Bring Out Your Dead" with "Hocus Pocus" by Focus, but I don't know why ... maybe it is the playfully melodic line ! Could be !)

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Send comments to hrempe (BETA) | Report this review (#40925)
Posted Saturday, July 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars IMHO this was Colosseum's weakest album. Hiseman pointed that "Daughter of Time" was actually written in the studio and does not feature any song previously developed on the road. I don't know if this fact has any impact at the general quality of the songs, but this album is far below than the previous two in terms of music - not in terms of playing: Dave Clempson is surely a better guitar player than James Litherland, Louis Cennamo and Mark Clarke both are as good as original bassist Tony Reeves and Chris Farlowe's vocals are very distinctive (although I prefer James Litherland's singing); Hiseman and Heckstall-Smith are on top form and maybe only Greenslade lacks brilliance when compared to other Colosseum albums. But the songs aren't as good as on "Those About to Die" and "The Valentyne Suite", making this album weaker than these. "Theme for an Imaginary Western" is a great track, but Mountain did a better job covering Bruce/Brown's surrealistic epic. There are some highlights: "Take me Back to Doomsday", "Downhill and Shadows" and "Bring Out Your Dead", and Hiseman's drums tour de force "Time Machine" - almost 8 minutes of pure percussive heaven. Newcomers must check out for "Colosseum Live", "Those About to Die" and "The Valentyne Suite", making "Daughter of Time" a collector's item.

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Send comments to M. B. Zapelini (BETA) | Report this review (#53985)
Posted Sunday, October 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The third work of COLOSSEUM released in 1970 "Daughter Of Time". Work with some images to which scale became small. However, it is correct that it is a splendid work as the studio board. Famous piece of music "Theme For An Imaginary Western" is collected. The fan of Greenslade will be satisfied with "Bring Out Your Dead". The bonus track is destroyed drum solo of Jon Hiseman. He is a talented drummer.

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Send comments to braindamage (BETA) | Report this review (#55456)
Posted Wednesday, November 09, 2005 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars An Excellent Classic Prog Album!

What should I do when I'm waiting for my daughter, Dian, going back from school activity? Oh I'd better go to the coffee shop, open my laptop and write a review on Colosseum's "Daughter of Time" album. Well, it seems the album title fits with the situation I'm currently having: waiting (something to do with "time") for my "daughter" finishing the school activity. Hope I can finish this review just before a call from her. Hm. So sorry, it's just an introduction - nothing to do with the music of Colosseum at all. It's just an indication how prog rules my life. Yeah - I live, I breathe, I work with prog music .

This album was actually not recommended by my colleague proggers because according to them, this one is not as powerful as Valentyne Suite or Live albums. But for the sake of having a complete set of Colosseum album, I bought it anyway. To my surprise, the music of this album is truly meeting my taste and I can see that the musical quality of this album is at par excellent as the band's Valentyne Suite. In general, the music is so classic where I can hear may styles of seventies sounds blending the classic rock style, jazz, as well as blues. It's really a gem for me. So many organ sounds that remind me to old days sound like those played by Brian Auger, Ekseption, etc.

Track 1 "Three Score And Ten, Amen" (5:36) has an intro that gives an impression of somewhat KING CRIMSON's music of "In The Court of Crimson King" album especially on the nuance created by mellotron-like sound. But it's not truly King Crimson as when the vocal enters the scene it gives an impression of the like of CHASE, CHICAGO Transit Authority or Blood Sweat & Tears. Of course they don't sound exactly the same but the style is similar. The tight bass lines by Mark Clarke seems like bringing the beat of the song combined with excellent brass section and powerful vocal line by Chris Farlowe, which sometimes sings in high register notes. The style and tempo changes have formed the music in cohesive way.

"Time Lament" (6:04) starts off with a string orchestra in relatively complex arrangements with excellent combination of brass section wonderfully played by Dick-Heckstall Smith and Barbara Thompson. Well, who doesn't know Barbara Thompson and Dick-Heckstall Smith? They are both excellent brass instruments players. When vocal enters the song, it seems very obvious how the music has shifted into a blues-based music with powerful vocal line. The rest of the track shows great combination of brass section and dynamic drum-work by Jon Hiseman. Excellent track!

Track 3 "Take Me Back To Doomsday" (4:26) starts with piano exploration by Dave Greenslade in a jazzy mode. The electric guitar played by Clem Clempson brings the music in faster tempo followed with duo vocals. "Take me back . take me back .". The album title "The Daughter Of Time" (3:30) starts somewhat complex with circus-like music followed with distorted guitar solo and brass section that slashes afterwards. The vocal enters in classic style backed with rhythm section which comprises combination of powerful brass section and organ. I do enjoy the combined work of guitar solo and brass section. It's really excellent.

"Theme For An Imaginary Western" (4:05) opens with vocal line in relatively high register note augmented with acoustic guitar and organ sound that reminds me to the music of Procol Harum. Oh yeah, this tune sounds like PROCOL HARUM's. It's cool, especially when I hear the organ sound and electric guitar fills. Oh my God . I like this track very much.

"Bring Out Your Dead" (4:25) opens with keyboard / organ sounds that remind me to the music of The NICE. The organ work is really stunning, combined with dynamic drumming by Jon Hiseman and electric guitar. Vibes take its part during transition pieces. It's an excellent instrumental track. "Downhill And Shadows" (6:11) enters with sax solo in relatively long duration (1 minute) followed with drum, bass and guitar that form a truly great blues music. The vocal line enters with a lyric of "From now on ." oh . this is really great!!!! Yeah man, it's one of my favorites blues music especially with the use of brass section to accentuate the music and stunning guitar fills and solo. Oh I'd better sip my coffee now commemorating the wonderful blues beats this track offers. It's really awesome!!! And . the guitar solo is fantastic. Clem Clempson rules!!! The vocal is also powerful.

"The Time Machine" (8:12) is a live track that concludes the album. As usual, it's performed with high energy and it's very dynamic. Look at how the drum set is played wonderfully by Jon Hiseman. Well, I'm sure Jon is one of the best rock drummers that I have ever known. He has a lot of variations in how he combines the snare, bass drum as well as tom tam. It's really great and very enjoyable.

Folks, what can I say about this legendary album after I have been listening to it many times and written long review? Of course, it's a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED prog album that you must have. Don't miss it. As for the sonic quality, this is the seventies record so don't expect something really good coming out of this record. But with this kind of sound I really have an emotional bound with the album because it casts the memorable time of the glory days of rock music during my childhood. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#73735)
Posted Saturday, April 01, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Although everything is here, excellent musicianship with nice interplays and strong rhythm, the only thing which is to be highlighted here is the appearance of unique, strong and impressive Chris Farlowe's vocal.The best song to me is the cover of Jack Bruce/Pete Brown's 'Theme For An Imaginary Western' while all the other tracks are more rocking than jazzing or proggin'. Anyway, it seems that 'Daughter Of Time' was just warming-up for the booming 'Live'.

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Send comments to bsurmano (BETA) | Report this review (#74155)
Posted Wednesday, April 05, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars If I mean jazz rock I mean this album! It conatins elements of jazz, rock, classical music, funk, bluesand who knows what else. But most of all it's just a prog jazz music masterpiece. I don't know if it's better than The Valentyne Suite. For me this record has something. From the first tarck Three Score And Ten, Amen which starts with orchestral chorus, then gets into funk it's a magical journey. If you like this one you should like the whole album. It's not jazz rock in Mahavishnu Orchestra or SBB style. No, Colosseum has it's own style here. This album is so intense there is no room for air here. Even in production. This album is really known for the last track The Time Mashine. A killer drum solo. An eight minute drum solo! This is real music, not some fake. Get it whike you can and by amazed by the power of this album. 5 stars

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Send comments to Deepslumber (BETA) | Report this review (#105705)
Posted Friday, January 05, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars In 1970, Colosseum introduced their seond masterpiece (as I see it) to the world titled under the name "Daughter Of Time". Brining Chris Farlowe as Colosseum's new vocalist was major change in the vibe, with Farlowe's strong vocals chords and wide dynamic use of tone Colosseum never sounded so powerful and strong, I do believe with this album they've topped their legendary "Valentine Suite. Daughter Of Time incorporates more classical music and jumpy jazz music than the previous album especially at the first parts of the songs.

With songs like "Three Score And Ten, Amen", "Time Lament" arousing the hearing senses with beautiful and massive sounds that enthrall your mind! the dazzaling instrumental "Bring Out YOur Dead", unbelievably strong "Theme For and Imaginary Western"! but forget about it every song is just top excellence!

With Colosseum's swift and brilliant musicianship, topped by incredible harmony and melody along with the incredible connection between the new vocalist and the rest of the band there is much to explorer in this album for any progressive rock fan.

9.5/10 but here it's definitely a 5!

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Send comments to Verwuestung (BETA) | Report this review (#131439)
Posted Thursday, August 02, 2007 | Review Permalink
Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Flawed but enjoyable third studio release from progressive jazz-rock axis Colosseum despite Chris Farlowe's inexplicable shouting and a medium production. 'Three Score and Ten, Amen' starts majestic but turns forgettable, and 'Time Lament' is better, with nice string and horn arrangements, Leonard Bernstein-isms and anthemic feel. David Greenslade's piano is beautifully showcased in 'Take Me Back to Doomsday' and features feathery jazz parts with multi-instrumentalist Barbara Thompson's flute and Baritone sax. The title cut wakes things up and we start to hear the brass-rock influence in this group, Harrold Beckett's trumpet and myriad talents of Dick Heckstall and Thompson, and 'Bring Out Your Dead' smokes the jazzical. Missed is the heat of leader Jon Hiseman's drums, seeming a bit uninspired here. A muddled blues for 'Downhill and Shadows' but Hiseman is redeemed by solo 'Time Machine' and a terrific moment to himself. The record fails at times and the band seemed to be coming apart, though for 1970 it is fairly bold music. A hit-and-miss set from a potentially great outfit.

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Send comments to Atavachron (BETA) | Report this review (#135655)
Posted Friday, August 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
Raff
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Colosseum's first studio album since the departure of singer and guitarist James Litherland (who went on to form the short-lived Mogul Thrash, John Wetton's first band) sounds at the same time similar and unlike its illustrious predecessor, "Valentyne Suite". As other reviewers have pointed out before me, it is a bluesier, jazzier effort, with a big, majestic sound, and much more prominent guitar parts, which make it harder-edged than the more keyboard-oriented VS. Anyway prog fans will find a lot to enjoy in "Daughter of Time", at least as far as the music is concerned. In fact, Chris Farlowe's powerful, resounding vocals do not fit with many people's expectations of what a prog singer should sound like, and for some they may even be an acquired taste. To these ears, though, his voice is simply stunning, and complements perfectly the epic sweep and overall uplifting mood of the album.

I set a great store by the opening track of an album, and "Three Score and Ten, Amen" does not disappoint, with Farlowe's commanding vocals fitting perfectly in the rich texture of Colosseum's music. Founding member Dick Heckstall-Smith's sax is augmented by Barbara Thompson (the future Mrs Hiseman, and a band member to this day), who doubles up on flute. The presence of a mini brass section boosts the band's already dramatic sound, and serves as a foil for Hiseman's textbook drumming and Dave Clem Clempson's brilliant guitar work. Clempson shines throughout the album, and the instrumental section of "Time Lament" showcases his sadly underrated skills as a six-stringer. "Take Me Back to Doomsday", my own personal favourite, is an exhilarating ride dominated by an awesome vocal performance by Farlowe and Greenslade's scintillating piano, as well as a soothing, elegant flute section provided by Thompson.

While the title-track sounds slightly too bombastic for comfort, and is in my opinion the weakest song on the album, "Theme for an Imaginary Western" is another vocal tour-de-force for Farlowe, though of a somewhat more understated nature than his trademark style. The song, originally written by bassist extraordinaire Jack Bruce for his album "Songs for a Tailor", is a wistful ballad slightly reminiscent of Procol Harum's best efforts. The intricate instrumental Bring Out Your Dead comes closest to the band's sound on "Valentyne Suite", and features sterling organ work by Dave Greenslade. The powerful, bluesy "Downhill and Shadows" allows Farlowe to shine once again, and introduces the live recording of "The Time Machine", mainly an extended solo by master drummer Jon Hiseman. Though drum solos have the reputation of being boring to all but practicing drummers, this one is eminently listenable even for musical dummies such as yours truly.

Though not perfect, and certainly not as innovative as "Valentyne Suite", "Daughter of Time" is nonetheless an excellent offering by an equally excellent band, blending jazz, blues, classic rock and progressive stylings in a single, high-quality package. Very warmly recommended to all lovers of great music.

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Send comments to Raff (BETA) | Report this review (#160328)
Posted Thursday, January 31, 2008 | Review Permalink
TGM: Orb
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Review 26, Daughter Of Time, Colosseum, 1970

StarStarStarStar

An excellent album from this majestic blues/jazz-rock band. There are two real characteristics for the album 1) Sometimes the size of the line-up (a daunting sextet/septet plus the occasional string arrangement) pays off perfectly (see Time Lament for an example), whereas in some tracks it lumbers a little, with Farlowe's very powerful voice or a generically-used sax not merging very well. 2) It's interesting to have a very strong and individual vocalist, and even if Farlowe's additions of 'baby' in some songs seems out of place, and his voice occasionally seems a little too strong, he really does add to the album and pull off some powerful emotional performances. In the end, we come out with some stunning moments, especially the unforgettable 'Time Lament' and 'Downhill and Shadows', even if the predecessor, Valentyne Suite, was a little stronger overall.

Threescore And Ten (Amen). The album kicks off pompously with hymnal vocals standing behind a thick organ and a powerful, prominent rhythm section. We get an interesting combination of Farlowe and a very intricate bass part shadowing him to the smallest note. Jon Hiseman throws out some more unusual percussion into the mix, adding a slightly ferric, spiritual feel to the song. As superb as the instrumental section showcasing the talents of Clem Clempson as a guitarist is, it feels very out of place. The saxophonists (and Greenslade on vibes) contribute a little towards the end of the piece, with its dramatic, cheese-bordering spoken part, though they are mostly backing the strength of Farlowe's vocals. An appropriate introduction, even if the jazz-fueled urge to show off doesn't merge too neatly with the piece's spiritual/vocal base.

Time Lament is the raging high for this album, in my opinion, showcasing some . The song begins with the saxes showing off both more traditional humming and unusual arrangements and an amazing screeching violin (and other strings), backed up by Greenslade's piano. As the verse comes in with its stunning drum patterns, wandering bass and vibes, Chris Farlowe delivers stunning vocals. This leads into a less serious-sounding section, allowing everyone (especially Dick Heckstall Smith on saxophone) to display their ability as soloists. I'd thought of this as a step down for a long time, but have come to appreciate the opportunities it affords the players and the return of the vocals. The strings throughout build a slightly twisted feel into the song. It escalates back into the amazing drums and Chris Farlowe vocals. One of my favourite drum-performances (and songs) ever. Absolutely unforgettable.

Take Me Back To Doomsday begins with an interesting chord-based piano that continues throughout the piece, adding something small in the background behind some stunning guitar from Clem Clempson and excellent vocals (by the same, even if he didn't think of himself as a singer). A great flute-saxophone duet from Heckstall-Smith and Barbara Thompson leads back with some more trademark Hiseman direction-drumming and some small guitar soloing. This flute-saxophone duet remains for the rest of the song.

I like the whimsy of the start of Daughter Of Time, with the juxtaposition of the upbeat, flowing sound (especially the whinnying Clempson guitar and Heckstall-Smith sax) and the massive drum crescendo and pompous Farlowe vocals. Another really strong drum performance, and a the sax duet hums along behind it effortlessly. The blues-style ending, with amazing Clemson guitar, works perfectly.

The cover of Theme For An Imaginary Western is a more cohesive piece than most of the album, with everyone fusing into each other in between their showing off rather than simply continuing each others' lines (as happens in some other places). We get great bass and guitar performances from Mark Clarke and Clempson, and a more prominent Greenslade organ and chorus part. Even though the sax additions feel a little redundant to me, it's a refreshing break from the minor chaos of the album as a whole.

Bring Out Your Dead is a schizophrenic quirky instrumental which contrasts a foot-tapping sax-organ with some tragic vibes, aggressive guitar and rapidly changing drumming. The ending is plainly weird, escalating to an indefinite conclusion, and maybe building a little tension for Downhill And Shadows to launch off from. Some repetition, some superb ideas. An interesting little piece, but I'm never really quite sure what it's trying to do.

Downhill And Shadows is (don't believe the lyrics sheet) a pessimistic, dark, brooding blues-at-its-finest. Everything, from Hiseman's gloomy lyrics to Chris Farlowe's deliberate vocal, to the opening, lamenting saxes to a load of dazzling mini-solos from Clem Clempson is handled well. A very good bass performance and the pygmy brass section exchange and share ideas with Clarke's bass neatly. Definitely Clemson's high point on the album, and some of the best guitar-soloing I've heard.

Time Machine is an extended drum solo, which means that I can't really comment on it. To appreciate a drum solo like this fully, I'd guess you need to understand what the guy's doing, which I don't. It's enjoyable enough for me, and a good listen anyway, but the real highlight of the track is when everything comes together majestically at the end, blaring away to one of the most powerful conclusions I've ever heard.

This album has three really outstanding performers, Hiseman, Clemson and Farlowe, and anyone who either likes one of those or wants to hear some superb drumming, strong vocals or blues guitar should put this album on their wish list. Don't expect to be overwhelmed with awe on the first listen, since it's really a grower, and you need to pay some attention to get the small, but significant background additions of the bass, sax and keys. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys blues, though those not familiar with Colosseum should perhaps try the more consistent and better-arranged Valentyne Suite before moving on to this more difficult album.

Rating: Four Stars,

Favourite Track: Time Lament

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Send comments to TGM: Orb (BETA) | Report this review (#169911)
Posted Monday, May 05, 2008 | Review Permalink
ExittheLemming
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The Blues had a baby and they called it Progressive Jazz Rock

Although I can find no direct references in any of the lyrics I am able to decipher, this album may be based upon the 1951 novel of the same name by Josephine Tey. The plot of this book is concerned with whether Richard III, King of England actually murdered his nephews, the 'Princes in the Tower' The latter's claims to the throne were negated by being deemed illegitimate under a document titled the Titulus Regius published in 1483.

(Yeah so? get on with it you long winded rodent)

'Three Score and Ten Amen' - The incongruous spectre of Ennio Morricone pops his head over the parapet here on the choral intro for this teleologically inclined rumination on our all too brief mortality. Thereafter, Farlowe proves once again that despite his much documented and rather paradoxical obsession with Nazi memorabilia, he was really christened Christopher 'Tyrone' Farlowe. We are in the presence of perhaps the only man without a perennial suntan capable of flicking wet towels at that rather redundant cliche that 'honky' can't sing da blooz. Clemson's playing I don't really much care for as large swathes of the classic double Live album are sullied by his 'Blues Rock for Dummies' soloing. He is somewhat more restrained here however, and apart from the odd wah wah drenched cold shower in places, is mercifully consigned to the 'shallow end of the gene pool' for the most part. The horns have an unmistakable 'Jazz with a British accent' inflection and prevents much of this record from degenerating into a pale take on the similarly minded early 'Chicago' or 'Blood Sweat and Tears' from across the pond. This is a great opening song with a bristling delivery from Farlowe over a delicious chord progression apportioned very imaginatively between Greenslade, Clemson, Heckstall-Smith, Clark and Hiseman. The brief narrative that appears however, unless tackled by someone like Lou Reed, Mark E. Smith or William Burroughs, ends up as rather trite and mawkish and does spoil an otherwise sublime track accordingly. Chris Farlowe's declamatory vocal stylings are often considered OTT but hey, this is 'Prog' baby! and understatement has never really been on the menu at the 'Bombastic Takeaway'. The song ends on a particularly memorable note with stabbing horns on an unresolved dissonant chord. Very unsettling and powerful.

'Time Lament' - Some very neurotic brass and string writing introduces this and takes on the mantle of a rather disquieting chamber music as realized by someone like Zappa. Things settle down quickly with gorgeous shimmering organ chords and tasteful breathy sax injections. The sung section has a very stately and tenuously hymnal style and as you would expect, Farlowe milks this pious atmosphere for all it's worth with another larynx flexing delivery sufficient to snuff out liturgical candles. The pace then quickens with a lovely bubbling organ motif before we embark on a very tightly disciplined stop/start section which also carries a trace of the staccato writing style of Zappa circa Orchestral Favourites Heckstall-Smith lends some signature wailing sax to a quieter section and together with Mel Collins, these two are probably the only credible jazz sax players on a rock record I have heard. The nervy strings and brass get reprised briefly before the band kick into a syncopated riff with shades of America by the Nice. The whole song never sits still for long and this ever changing structure lends it a schizophrenic feel throughout. For the ending we meet some heavy brass chording dragged inexorably downwards by the magnetic pull of the descending harmonic progression. Two belters to start with. Things are looking good*.

'Take Me Back to Doomsday' - (*I knew I would rue those badly chosen words) The witty gallows humour in the title is unfortunately one of the few redeeming factors in this track. Dave Greenslade's rippling piano is very attractive and even the reviled Clemson is tasteful here, but the 60's harmony vocals over a chugging Deep Purple type groove is hopelessly dated and without a memorable tune this really ain't going to win any friends 'round these parts. There is an extended instrumental passage with some nice flute but some rather aimless sax squawking and noodling redolent of the 'OFF your face' while the red bulb is ON which Crimson were guilty of on both Islands and Lizard

'The Daughter of Time' - Comes across fleetingly on the intro as a parody of lounge lizard jazz as explored by Zappa (the irreverent moustachioed one is quite a palpable influence on much of this album) before we transition into more staccato writing featuring a very arresting sax put through a chorus effect a la VDGG. As tantalizing as this may appear, when we do encounter Farlowe again, the melody alas, is a portentous dirge that makes Lamonte Young sound positively capricious by comparison. Very disappointing

'Theme For an Imaginary Western' - the Pete Brown and Jack Bruce penned classic is beautifully read by Farlowe and suits his soulful delivery perfectly. Given the wretchedness of his subsequent group's attempt on Spyglass Guest, Greenslade's organ somewhat ironically sets the mood perfectly for this very powerful song. This track represents Clemson's most successful contribution to the record and I think it significant that he shines when playing simpler chordal arpeggios and phrases that outline the harmony at the 'dusty end' of the fretboard as opposed to his habitual screechy noodling at the other end. Must take this opportunity to underline what a very accomplished and supportive drummer Hiseman has always been and I am surprised his name does not crop up more frequently when the 'great and the good' are debated from the drum stool?.

'Bring Out Your Dead' - This morbid humour is getting beyond the pale fellas. Greenslade's Hammond conjures up a rattlesnake slithering on the desert sands during a very dramatic intro before we gallop off into a brisk instrumental that betrays shades of the Nice in places. The main theme is stated in unison by guitar and organ and eventually joined by sax before we are temporarily unseated by another wah-wah (why why?) drenched solo from Clemson. A feature of Colosseum was the great use that Greenslade made of vibes during the quieter atmospheric sections of their work and there is a beautiful and delicate example of that here which contributes an ethereal texture in contrast to the driving urgency that preceded it. The unrelenting pace is halted during a section where more start/stop rapid unison playing is exploited to telling and percussive effect. This is a very fine composition and represents my favourite side of Colosseum i.e. their forays into predominantly instrumental writing where the band dispense with their habitual blues vocabulary. I feel it is in this territory that they were at their most innovative and far-sighted.

'Downhill and Shadows' - This 'wee wee hours' in a blues club with just a solitary chain smoking waiter for company number features some suitably slurred and wailing solitary sax from Heckstall-Smith in inebriated busker mode. He utilizes that 'two horns at once' trademark here a la Graham Bond and I think quotes or prefaces momentarily from Valentyne Suite? This funereal and brooding blues which both Farlowe and the band could perform in their sleep is a rather unsatisfying conclusion to the album. Given their impressive and glowing resumes garnered from the Illuminati of the UK R'n'B scene this is tantamount to 'Blues on Autopilot.' As much as it healthy to acknowledge your roots and influences there is much evidence here to suggest that Colosseum are not using the blues as a vehicle to expand that particular idiom but merely thumbing down a lift from the next passing car. Dull.

'The Time Machine' - Another best left unreleased 'bonus' track this time a pointless live drum extravaganza by Hiseman. Demographically speaking, drum clinics are attended in the main by drummers and who am I to undermine democracy ? (and don't the word 'clinic' denote something unwholesome here?) There is of course great playing by a consummate technician but this is 8 minutes of your life you wish you had spent backcombing a poodle instead.

BEWARE: at 2min 30secs(ish) we get a truly infectious rolling funk beat which will probably be sampled and looped by one of those 'one word a minute typists with a synthesizer' from the dance fraternity and mutated into a jack hammering global smash.

Don't say you weren't warned progbuddys....

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Send comments to ExittheLemming (BETA) | Report this review (#173333)
Posted Monday, June 09, 2008 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
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Symphonic Team
3 stars Much better recorded/produced than The Vallentyne Suite album. And even if it does not contain anything up to par with the fantastic Vallentyne Suite track, this is a much better album overall. Much more consistent. Another plus is that Chris Farlowe is a much better vocalist than their previous one.

Better than Vallentyne Suite but still not essential. I would go for the live DVD instead.

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#177541)
Posted Monday, July 21, 2008 | Review Permalink

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