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Rick Wakeman - Rick Wakeman & Ramon Remedios: A Suite Of Gods CD (album) cover


Rick Wakeman

Symphonic Prog

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3 stars While I do not call this essential, it is inspired and one of his strongest 80s albums. It combines an opera male singer with atmospheric keyboard flourishes (that really sound good!). Do not let the 20+ minute epic fool you, you will never hear any long bombastic synth solos in here. It is instead a peaceful album. IF you want prog rock, stay away. This is a newage+opera album. Highlights include : Pandora's Box; Hercules

My Grade : C+

Report this review (#41589)
Posted Thursday, August 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars After some not very inspired soundtracks and newage albums Rick Wakeman is back with a concept: the Ancient Greek Mythology. Respect to the huge numeber of session men of his most pompous and pretentious (but great) album, this time he has only his long time collaborator Tony Fernandez on drums and percussion and a tenor, the Liverpudian (not Spanish as one may think) Ramon Remedios.

"Dawn Of Time" is a good prologue. Unfortunately my vinyl copy of the album is now laying in a garage and I can't reread the lyrics. However, this song works well as intro with its major chords sounding pompous as the intro of an opera, and with a tenor singing why don't call it an effective opera?

"The Oracle" is opened by piano. Wakeman's touch is easily recognisable. Remedios sings, of course, operatic, but this melody could fit also with Jon Anderson's vocals. Listening to the mmusical theme it's not much "operatic".

"Pandora's Box" starts with a harp like sound and has a medieval English folk flavor. On this track the tenor sounds very appropriate. The song has a great melody, too and it's one of the best songs recorded by Wakeman in the period.

"Chariot Of The Sun" is good enough but the melody sounds "already-listened". It reminds me of the Renaissance of Mother Russia. The inspiration from Russian composers seems quite clear to me. Not the best album's track.

"The Flood" closes the A side of the vinyl. Harp again for a song which seems inspired more by German composers. I think to Schubert, mainly but with the addition of Wakeman's Korg in the second part of the song which is how Wakeman sounds usually.

One could have expected "The Voyages of Ulysses" to take the whole second side of the albium, it's a 4 minutes song, instead. Not too dissimilar from the previous one has some good passages still with the background layer typical of Wakeman. I can't not think to the songs as they were sung by Anderson. Remedios has a great voice, but Jon's is closer to my tastes.

Finally, the side long (more or less) suite. Effectively the story of Hercules can be not much shorted than the Odyssey. This is the Wakeman we all know: a rock track on which even Remedios sounds rock even singing operatic. Fans of Wakeman can find all the usual good qualities of his most famous albums without too many excesses. This is everything but boring. It's strange as a 22 minutes track can be so light and easy to stay concetrated on. possibly my addiction with Magma has something to do with it... This song is one of the reasons why I'd like to have the lyrics with me. However, if one has liked Journey to The Center of Earth would probably appreciate this album as well.

Excellent addition after a bunch of mediocre things.

Report this review (#970506)
Posted Monday, June 3, 2013 | Review Permalink

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