Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Rick Wakeman - Out There CD (album) cover


Rick Wakeman

Symphonic Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars On many occasions I had read comparisons of 'Out There' to 'No Earthly Connection'. After I purchased it (Feb 2004), I arrived to the conclusion that, though the previous comparison was not totally out of the target, this specific record reminded me more of '1984', 'King Arthur' to a certain degree, and contemporary symphonic prog - even sometimes, prog metal (not only due to the style of Wilson's singing, but also to the somewhat heavy use of metal-like guitar riffs and solos). All in all, it was a record I enjoyed very much, because it includes lots of inspired melodic ideas, well achieved changes of tempo and mood, the typical Wakeman-pyrotechnics and keyboard 'wall of sound', and a sense of explosive energy that keeps the listener stuck on the music's pomp and circumstances. The opening and closing titles are the longest, therefore it is no surprise that they include the most complicated passages in symphonic terms, as well as an epic succession and reprise of various motifs. Tracks 4 and 5 are the most metallic-oriented, though they are not metal prog tunes per se: it's just the most aggresive attitude that a Wakeman rock tune can get, and it really works very fine (pay attention to the alternate solos of guitar and synths in the final 2 1/2 minutes of track 4). 'The Mission' is an excursion into a more funky-oriented realm, with hard rock attitude (think back of 'No Earthly Connection', as a point of reference), but it is the compelling semi-ballad 'To Be With You' that attracts most of my attention - besides the opening and closing numbers, that is. 'To Be With You' is constructed on a basis of eerie layers of synths and a computarized rhythm sequence, over which Pomeroy and Fernandez add their human touch with appropiate subtlety: Wilson's performance is particularly emotional as his singing almost reaches the point of whispering at times, though the most evocative singing comes from the chorale while in the background Wakeman displays some effective touches of piano - awesome! Generally speaking, 'Out There' is one of the best prog efforts of 2003, as well as one of Wakeman's best records in the last 20 years, which proves you that his musical creativity is still genuinely fruitful: lucky for us all prog-heads.
Report this review (#27556)
Posted Sunday, May 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars No earthy connection. . . Part 2

Wakeman himself has nominated this album as the (rather late!) follow up to "No Earthly Connection", and the similarities are certainly apparent. This is his first truly progressive album for many years (even "Return to the centre of the earth" was more excessive than progressive).

While keyboards are inevitably predominant, this is very much an album made by a five piece band, supplemented from time to time by a choir. Vocalist Damian Wilson is called upon throughout, with tracks such as the 13 minute "Out there" even requiring his talents for much of the time. The sound is very tight, with Wakeman spending as much time adding to the layers as he does to soloing.

There are just 6 tracks in total, all written and produced by Wakeman. That said though, there's much more of a feeling that he's part of a bigger unit here, unlike the vast majority of his solo works, and the album benefits enormously from this.

The package includes sleeve notes by Wakeman explaining the background to the making of the album, and dedicating it to the memory of the 6 astronauts who died on the Columbia space shuttle.

Report this review (#27557)
Posted Tuesday, June 1, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Excellent realization...great keyboards and general sound....damian wilson at his best, also if the pronuntiation is not so clear...the album runs away fast, personally I would it a bit longer....anyway it's a very good work.....
Report this review (#27558)
Posted Sunday, July 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars this album has to be in my top 10 albums made since 1980. pure brilliance. prog rock doesn't seem to be like this anymore. so many details and textures in the music for you to discover. so many cool solos/jam outs. excellent songwriting and excellent performance from everyone who performs on it. you must own this album no matter what other bands you like.


Report this review (#27559)
Posted Thursday, September 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Really, really excellent. Totally unlike his earlier albums though, this one has an almost metal sound in places which surprised me. But it's still massively symphonic, with rich and complex musical passages. It's really driving and energetic at times; at others, eerie and sad. All the way through there's a feeling of exploration and new discovery. The opening and closing tracks are the most "symphonic" in length and complexity, but one of the best tracks next to these two is, to my mind anyway, is "To be With You", a haunting piece, which uses the choir to great effect.

The real let downs for this album are the repetition of some of the concepts, over and over in a song to the point of possible irritation - after hearing Damian Wilson sing something mystical about music and space/time roughly half a dozen times a minute, it got somewhat annoying. Which may just be me, and is probably just because he has the wrong voice - after all, I can listen to Jon Andersons mystic waffle for hours unpertubed. Or maybe it's just the timing - sometimes it feels a bit forced.

It's dedicated to the memory of the crew of the ill-fated Columbus shuttle which is nice, and a suitable musical epitapth for them.

So all in all, well worth getting for most people, even if you don't like Ricks more well known albums like "Myths and Legends" or "6 wives". Well deserving 4 stars.

Report this review (#27560)
Posted Sunday, March 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I always admired Rick Wakeman. Sometimes he gives to us great masterpieces like "The Six Wives...", "Journey...", "Myths and Legends..." or "Return to the Centre of the Earth. However, some other times i feel surprised when he does things that are really far away from his real talent. "Out There" is a very good album, not historical, not forgettable at all. To mark a difference with previous albums, this time Rick doesn´t sound like a "keyboard player with a band behind him". Sounds like a band. In fact at the cover you can read "Rick Wakeman and the English Rock Ensamble". And the band sounds certainly strong and powerful, near to rock and roll, even near to bands like Magellan or some others of "progressive- rock". But if you want to hear the incredibly performances of Rick, don´t be sad: they are always there. Moog and melllotron are always there, playing over the powerful base. I just can say is a very good album. Is not an essential one, but deserves attention.
Report this review (#27561)
Posted Thursday, May 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Definetively one of the best Rick Wakeman albums. An excellent album by one of the greatest proggressive keyboardists there is.

This album is a must buy for Rick fans or even just fans of symphonic prog in general. Blistering riffs, slow and melodic songs and some real prog ep

Out There is by no means a perfect album but its about as close to it as albums get! The song "To Be With You" is probably one of the weakest songs on the album having no real hook or key moment but it is still a very good song.

4.4/5 Overall

Report this review (#72478)
Posted Tuesday, March 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album remarks the return of Rick's early work like "Journey" or "Arthur". This time it's much electronic as compared to early works but the style and composition resemble the roots of classic Rick Wakeman music. The key characteristic of the music comprises pulsating keyboard solo combined with dynamic drumming of Tony Fernandez - long time contributor of Rick's albums. Damian Wilson sings perfectly in this album. I don't know is it a coincidence or an influence the music offered is somewhat similar with Ayreon music like "Into The Electric Castle" or "Human Equation".

All tracks featured here are truly excellent ones. It starts off with "Out There" which represents a true prog rocker with dazzling keyboard / synthesizer solos. The ambient opening with a sort of eastern nuance followed with a blast of dynamic music that moves in upbeat and energetic style. If you love Rick's previous work it's hard to deny that you love this track wholeheartedly. Oh the keyboard solo and powerful vocal are really interesting. The song contains style and tempo changes with distant narration of outer space sounds. "The Mission" continues the musical stream and a bit groovy style with nice keyboard punches augmented with mellotron and guitar rhythm. Again, Damian Wilson sings excellently throughout the track. Track three "To Be With You" is a pop song with programmed rhythm section overlaid with long sustain organ sounds. It's an accessible and enjoyable track.

"Universe of Sound" brings the music into a fast tempo upbeat style. It's a rocker with excellent guitar work and energetic singing style. It reminds me to the style of "Silent Nights" music. "Music of Love" is another great prog rocker with stunning combined work of guitar (by Ant Glynne) and keyboard. It rocks! "Cathedral of The Sky" concludes the album with a soaring Church organ sounds played with wonderful chords. Bravo Wakeman! The bass lines enter the music dynamically and gives the organ to soar in higher notes follower with choir by English Chamber Choir. What a wonderful opening! The rest is a well composed song with great harmony. It reminds me to the "Six Wives of Henry VIII" album by Rick.

Overall it remarks the true return of Rick to his glory days of seventies when he successfully composed "Journey", "No earthly Connection" or "King Arthur" or "Six Wives of Henry VIII". Highly recommended. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#75736)
Posted Friday, April 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars First release from the New English Rock Ensemble (also featured in the Live in Buenos Aries DVD), the album requires several listens to get familiar with the music. Surprisingly it has a definite prog metal feel and you get the feeling the music was created by a band not just Wakeman and a set of session musicians. Guitarist Ant Glynne in particular makes a significant contribution to the sound. Vocalist Damian Wilson does a fairly good job but there should have been a lot more shading in his delivery. Most of the time he just sings at the top of his lungs and you can't always make out the lyrics.

There are only six tracks and it's a full concept album about man's search for the origins of music in space. The picture on the front cover shows the spaceship. The title track is excellent with some good playing from both Wakeman and Glynne. The shorter tracks also work very well, from the more laid back To be With You to the out and out rocker Universe of Sound. He overdoses just a little on organ in the last track in my opinion. However, it is a good return to form for the keyboard maestro (his best album in twenty years in fact) and recalls his glory days in the 70s and Wakeman fans shouldn't be disappointed

Report this review (#92802)
Posted Sunday, October 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars 3.6 stars

This is an excellent album and a surprise from Wakeman whose solo career was prolific yet mediocre after the 70s. Another surprise is how great the keyboards sound (though they sounded great in his disappointing "Return to the Center". Another point of interest is how band-oriented this album sounds as well as how good the band is. The guitar playing is very good and metal-oriented and is as prominent as Wakeman's keyboards; the vocalist is finally a good one whose vocals fits the heavy style of this album; the drumming and bass playing is very good; and the choirs are not overused.

The album opens with the epic title track which might be the best song he wrote since 1984's overture (though "Ocean City" comes very close). It opens with a wonderful middle-eastern string arrangement and ends up being a structurally complex song that doesn't get dull. The song has some fast-paced heavy part that might sound like Iron Maiden if the synth riffs weren't there. The song also has some great softer moments and features an amazing analog synth solo that shows that Wakeman is still Wakeman. This is my favorite song of the album, but the rest is great as well.

The Mission is a rocker that has hammond organs, even mellotron. The metallic guitars are still here and the song sounds quite fresh because not only is Wakeman back in terms of songwriting, but also is playing a style I never heard him play before.

To Be With You is for me another highlight. It has a computarized drumline and many many layers of background synths and some subdued guitar playing. The main focus are the great vocals of Damian and the choirs. The harmonies of the choir and him are great in minute one and the chorus, which uses only the English Chamber Choir is just magical.

Universe of a Sound starts as a slightly unremarkable guitar-driven metal tune though the second half is a showcase of solos from Wakeman and the guitar player.

To be With You is more symphonic than the previous track and focuses more on melody. The keyboard playing is great and kept in the background. I think that most of the times, Wakeman sounds better when he's not dominating. Like the previous song, there are solos again ... the first guitar solo is excellent and the synth solos are even better, with the usage of an unusual tone that really works.

The closer symbolizes the genre Symphonic rock. It is written in classical music style, has church organs, choirs. It is energetic and focuses on arrangements rather than virtuosic showing off. An excellent epic, though nowhere as brilliant as "Judas" from his Criminal Records album in the 70s.

I might say that this is one of my favorite Rick Wakeman albums. The songwriting is great, the arrangements are carefully done,, the playing is superb, the band is tight, and the sound is refreshing. I highly recommend it to anyone.

Report this review (#110021)
Posted Wednesday, January 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album has been compared to No Earthly Connection by some reviewers, and to me this comparison is equally adequate, but because I have the same feeling of an album full of ideas that could evolve into great music, but didn't, for a couple of reasons. First: the arrangements are kind of noisy, the instruments are not clearly defined, so there are many moments when I can't say exactly "guitar is doing this, and there's this keyboard on the background". I just hear a confused mass of sound. No Earthly Connection had this problem too, something I notice even more comparing to the clear and beautiful sound on the King Arthur album. Second: The singer is deplorable. His voice is not appropriated to prog-rock, it's unclean, not very melodic, and his often too acute voice is not pleasant at all. Alive, he sounds Ok on some songs, such as "Journey to the Centre of the Earth", but here he feels free to sing in his own way. Comparatively, on No Earthly Connection, Rick began to play with a new singer, with a hard rock inclination, and though he was reasonably good on the album, alive he spoiled classics such as "King Arthur". Third: There are sections of really poor musical ideas. The vocal melody in "The Mission", for example, is absolutely commonplace. Fourth: The heavy metal inclination is noticeable not only in the vocalist, but in guitars (there are some distortions that really hurt my ear), bass and drums (which sometimes does a steady and strong beat that's a heavy metal's cliché)

So this album is not totally bad, but listening to it is an unpleasant experience to me, because many parts on it hurt my ears, in a sense or another. Two stars without a doubt.

Report this review (#126594)
Posted Saturday, June 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I have the DVD version of this project and will be getting the CD in the future. For now, my review is of the DVD.

For starters, the animation is not top shelf. Compared to the Minds' Eye series Out There is, well, honestly, amateurish.But, I understand that these projects can get very expensive so I'm not going to harp on about the video quality and animation. It's serves a purpose and the NASA sound and video clips are OK for the nostalgic in all of us.

That being said, the music is SUPERB! This is one of THE BEST prog bands in the world. RICK WAKEMAN has put together his best ensemble since leaving YES. I can't imagine any serious WAKEMAN fan saying otherwise.

Ant Glynne can play the guitar as well as anyone in prog. The few times he lets it rip he shreds like the best of the best. Most of the time, though, he's reduced to a power chord comping role, helping to keep the rhythm section tight and punchy.

For you bass aficionados, the bonus features of the DVD show a live concert clip of Lee Pomeroy playing some NASTY, NASTY bass.

Tony Fernandez is pretty much another limb growing out of Wakeman. The two have been making music for several decades that the two men move as one unit. Tony's drumming is flawless, as usual.

The vocals are along the heavy metal upper register flavor. I'm not a big fan of that style, but I have to admit that Damian Wilson can sign his tail off! After a while the vocals are a bit fatiguing for my taste, but I can appreciate the talent that this man has.

Finally, RICK WAKEMAN. What can be said? He's the master of symphonic prog. IMO, he has mastered symphonic prog like no other artist or band. His tasteful use of B3 and piper organs in a heavy rock setting are sublime.

You will be treated to an excellent mix of digital and analog synths, featuring Rolands, GEMS and Moog Voyager. RW's soloing is restrained and never so overbearing that it takes over the music. Perhaps that is the biggest plus of this band, namely, that they operate as a UNIT.

An EASY FOUR STARS and an excellent symphonic prog effort.

Report this review (#157556)
Posted Thursday, January 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars All you need to know is that the answer is out there!

Rick Wakeman is one of those recording artists that clearly put quantity above quality, at least from the 80's onwards. His discography is simply enormous and beyond his early classic albums it is never easy to know where to go next. But here is finally an album worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as Six Wives Of Henry VIII, The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur and No Earthly Connection. To be honest, this is a very different kind of music and this album rocks harder than anything Rick has done before or since. He is certainly not trying to mimic his own classic releases here, but he has stated that this is some kind of follow up to No Earthly Connection. But this is more in relation to the concept of that album than to the music itself. However, in terms of quality, Out There is in the same league as those 70's albums! While those classics were brilliant in their kind of own way, Out There is actually one of my all time personal Wakeman favourites and I'm sure that it could appeal even to people who dismiss his early releases as overblown or bombastic. Indeed, Out There is a bit more in line with the 90's Yes albums than with much of Wakeman's solo output.

Rick was here, for the first time in many years, working with the right people, at the right time, with the right ideas (and the right budget!). The line up involved is identical to such amazing live releases as Out Of The Blue and Live In Buenos Aires (the former being a CD and the latter a DVD, both great!). The vocalist is Damian Wilson, known from Prog Metal band Threshold and Neo-Prog band Landmarq. I am very fond of Damian's voice and I think it fits Rick's music perfectly (both these new studio tracks and the classic material when played live as on the live releases I mentioned). We have Tony Fernandez on drums, Lee Pomeroy on bass and Ant Glynne of guitars. This is, I believe, the rockiest band Rick Wakeman ever had and probably my #1 favourite line up of the English Rock Enseble (or The New English Rock Enseble as they are sometimes known - a silly name for a great band, I think). Sadly, Damian Wilson would leave the band before they had the chance to tour in support of Out There. There are thus no live recordings of Out There featuring Wilson.

For this album, Rick came up with six great melodic and progressive songs, all of which are well above six minutes in length. This leaves room for some very good keyboard and guitar solos and not a single note feels out of place. The opening title track is my personal favourite and possibly the most powerful on the six tracks, but all the songs here are at least very good. As it says in the booklet, work on this album started five years before it was released and the music feels complete and fully realized in a way that has been very rare in the Wakeman catalogue. The production values are as high as the artistic values.

There is also a DVD version of Out There which features the same recordings as this CD with some rather bad, mostly computer generated, visual content added. The music is, however, not strictly identical as there are some added spoken word samples from NASA and longer breaks between the tracks. I think the CD version flows better. The visual content is not very interesting and comes across as home made. I would recommend the CD version, but if you can only find the DVD version you can go with that as long as you don't expect anything from the visuals. You do, on the other hand, get an informative interview with Rick on the concept behind Out There and some footage from the tour they did supporting the album (with Ashley Holt replacing Wilson).

This album is out there for you, don't hesitate to let it in!

Highly recommended!

Report this review (#259019)
Posted Sunday, January 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars I had no idea Wakeman had put this many solo albums out over the years, he sure hasn't sat still long. It is agreed that this is one of his better ones. Damian Wilson on vocals was a wise move. He brings passion and suits the surprisingly heavy music quite well. This album is dedicated to the crew who lost their lives while on the space shuttle Columbia. He has a picture of the 7 members along with their job title while aboard this flight. Once again I review an album that is right in between a 3 and 4 star rating in my opinion. Frustrating. The negatives are the opening and closing tracks (the two longest ones) which I don't like at all. The positives are all that's in between.

"Out There" opens with synths and it continues until before 2 minutes when vocals and a full sound arrive. A calm before 4 minutes then it picks back up before 6 minutes like earlier. Guitar solo after 7 1/2 minutes. "The Mission" features pulsating keyboards as drums pound. Guitar joins in then vocals. Great sounding tune. "To Be With You" has a beat and atmosphere as reserved vocals join in. Backing choir vocals come and go.

"Universe Of Sound" is uptempo and quite intense with vocals. The guitar and keyboards light it up after 5 minutes. "Music Of Love" opens with drums pounding and synths washing. Guitar then vocals join in.This rocks out pretty good. "Cathedral Of The Sky" opens with organ as Rick puts on a display. He continues this throughout. Choirs join in. Not a fan of this though. Drums and guitar after 2 minutes.The choir is back as they trade off with Damian. Not a fan at all.

This probably deserves 4 stars but I don't feel right in giving that so 3.5 stars.

Report this review (#281594)
Posted Wednesday, May 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars Rick Wakeman has to be one of the most prolific musicians of modern times. Looking at his web site it looks like he has released over 100 solo albums, let alone his albums with Yes and so many sessions that even he isn't sure how many he has played on. This album is credited to Rick Wakeman and the New English Rock Ensemble and hearkens back to the Seventies when Rick played with a full on rock band. The line-up is completed here by Tony Fernandez (drums), Ant Glynne (guitar), Lee Pomeroy (bass) and one Damian Wilson on vocals. The album reeks class from start to finish, from the artwork in the booklet to the final notes of the concept album drifting away.

Rick has used some fine singers in his time, both male and female, but Damian has the power and range to put many of these in the shade. Although this album has been written solely by Rick, the impression throughout is that this is a group that just happen to be led by a keyboard maestro as opposed to just a keyboard-fest. Damian has fitted into the role being asked of him and the result is an album that allows him to shine, whether he is singing with a choir or fronting the rock band that this outfit so readily can be.

I have been trying to rack my brains and think of a studio album by Rick that I have enjoyed more and while I can look back at the Seventies with great fondness I have to say that this is even better than those and is one that I will be playing a great deal in the future. I have also found myself singing bits of this to myself at work, certainly an unusual state of affairs, let alone for a Wakeman album! More details at

Originally appeared in Feedback #73, Jun 03

Report this review (#983940)
Posted Friday, June 21, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Out there issued in 2003 is without hesitation one of his better solo albums, and one of my fav from him for sure. We have here on vocals Damian Wilson the excellent voice of Threshold, Ayreon , etc and one of my personal fav voices ever, Rick Wakeman as other reviewer said made a wise move to bring him here, because he is fiting perfectly in the overall atmophere creating a very solid release. Also Out there is dedicated to the crew who lost their lives while on the space shuttle Columbia, also there is a picture of the 7 members along with their job title while aboard this fligh. Well, musicaly speaking this is awesome at best album, the opening title track clocking around 13 min Out There is a killer one, going almost in prog metal direction but without being a prog metal tune in the end, impression mainly because of great deep and forceful top notch vocal delivery from Mr. Wilson, what a voice, really great tune and all. Another highlight is Universe Of Sound, an upemtpo piece with great vocals and intresting arrangements, Wakeman proves once again he is the master. So, I really enjoy this a lot, among my fav from him and one of his most intresting releases since the glorious 70's. Solid, easy 4 stars and definetly a keeper.

Report this review (#1124105)
Posted Thursday, January 30, 2014 | Review Permalink

RICK WAKEMAN Out There ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of RICK WAKEMAN Out There

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.