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4 stars As to their sound, on the strong and tight rhythm section an alluring high tone vocal is supported by the melody of flute and saxophone. And they seem to put more emphasis on whole band ensemble than each solo playing. Particularly the flute is played with enthusiastic intensity, and the saxophone is rather functioning to lead the ensemble, giving the strong proceeding vector. Guitar also takes some solo part but it is better utilized as an accompaniment with compare to the wind. The ensemble of vocal and saxophone may remind you of the sound of VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR but the voice is quite different. GNIDROLOG has very unique and brilliant voice. Another small resemblance to VDGG is the fact that saxophone is more pushed to the front line of the ensemble than guitar. The album has a real variety of musical styles. They are the very melodious masterpiece, the lyrical and acoustic song with good arrangement, and the very aggressive song with some taste of maniac feeling. Some of the songs hint at the sound of KING CRIMSON in their mid era, the lyricism and insecurity that causes your uneasiness. In most of them we may say the color of the music is painted mainly by saxophone ensemble. And in some songs guitar successfully pinpoints it with very good phrasing. Consequently the album is one of the masterpieces of the 70's that give you the feeling of the beauty of destruction. Although there is little amount of playing keyboard (just piano), the sound of ensemble is really colorful thanks to cello, flute and other wind instruments. You must be really impressed with this fact because you may be soaked in the synthesizer sound of the 90's."
Report this review (#3042)
Posted Saturday, March 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
5 stars Superbly interesting second album from a welsh band, yet to be discovered by the vast majority of the proghead. This is a full blown blues-based prog with folk and jazz tinglings , with fairly aggressive ambiances (from VDGG, Flute from J Tull ) . T he voice reminds me of the sadly forgotten prog band named AUDIENCE ( who recorded four album between 69 & 72 for the Charisma label) , and the music is a cross of the above mentioned groups, Blodwyn Pig and KC and sometimes Gentle Giant.The saxes , flutes and cellos parts makes this album rather unusual and rather original IMO, and the art work is rather spooky an aspect also present at times in the music. There is also a newcomer in a second reed player and it increases the musical interplay within the band.

Soldier is a real gem , the title track are immediate pleaser to an accomplished prog addict , Ship taking some time to win you over but one must be patient with Social Embarassment as the finale is probably one of the more violent and weirdest momemt on a prog album and it is the only number not to be sung by Goldring. The two shorter numbers are of the same superb standard, one of them having a piano , the only time you will hear KB in that band. The solid sound and ferocious singing may set back some people, but ultimately , this will satisfy the most demanding proghead. Start with this one as the debut is even more difficult, but just as loveable.

Definitely worth the spin , the hunt and the investment.

Report this review (#3043)
Posted Monday, May 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is definitely an overlooked gem in the annals of progressive music. Like many of the reviewers have noted, there are strong comparisons to the sound of VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR or KING CRIMSON, but the music does have an identity of its own. Given the fact that keyboards are absent from most tracks, it is up to the horns and strings to flesh out the sound, which they do marvelously. My only criticism would be the vocals, the singer took some getting used to for me. He kinda sounds like a British Isles version of Geddy Lee. Highlights include the title track, which melts down into a nutty coda that will have fans of the two aforementioned bands smiling; and 'I Could Never Be A Soldier' which at times veers off into territory not unlike CARAVAN, and the end guitar jam is a dead ringer for WISHBONE ASH. All in all, a great addition to the collection of any fan of progressive music.
Report this review (#38041)
Posted Thursday, June 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
The Hemulen
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This 1972 album (a very good year for prog) defines the term "lost classic". Powerful, complex, packed with emotive playing, distinctive vocals, interesting instruments and clever arrangements, it's wuite frankly nothing short of wall-to-wall genius - symphonic prog at it's very very best. Why then, are they never ever mentioned? Lord knows, but they never made it big and as a result will forever remain an obscure footnote in the history of progressive rock. Footnotes don't get much better than this though.

Opening with the powerful (if slightly dated) "I Could Never be a Soldier", the Goldring brothers and their assembled chums proceed to deliver 42 minutes of dark, soulful symphonic prog with touches of folk, jazz and so on. You know the drill. When was the last time you heard a prog album that only had influences from one genre?

With a wide base of instruments (saxophones, flute, oboe, recorder, horn, plus the usual guitardrumsbass combo) from which to weave their compositions, there's a lot of variation in the mix, which is a wonderful boon. Add to that the fact that the pieces are all very original in their style (one can compare to Van der Graaf, Gentle Giant and Jethro Tull if you like, but this was 1972 not 78 so I feel that most similarities are somewhat coincidental) and already you've got two brilliant reasons to seek out this masterpiece. If you really need a third. just look at that cover. F*ck Roger Dean! THAT'S proggy cover art!

I wish I had something bad to say about this album for the sake of balance but I really really don't. Some accuse the two short acoustic pieces of being inferior, or worse "filler". I disagree. I think they're beautiful additions and act as helpful interludes to allow the ears some recovery time before the next onslaught of wailing saxes, pounding drums and aggressive guitars. The only other criticism I've seen levelled against Gnidrolog is the vocals. Yes, they're a little high pitched at times, yes they're somewhat nasal. However, you soon get used to them and in time they become inseperable from Gnidrolog's sound. I wouldn't swap 'em for anything.

VDGG fans, fans of all dark, jazz-tinged symphonic prog - why do you not already own this?

Report this review (#45730)
Posted Tuesday, September 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars One of the most productive things about prog is that it allows bands that assume it more as an artistic attitude for themselves than rather a genre to subscribe in, to explore their musical ideas with more fruition and gull than a conventional approach to rock would generally allow. That was the case with Gnidrolog, a British hard blues-rock band whose major influences seemed to be Uriah Heep and Traffic, yet they stretched out their basic style in order to let enough room for musical freedom to enter and found a solid tendency for expansion. This thing is openly clear from the first two tracks: 'I Could Never be a Soldier' and 'Ship' exhibit the straightforward strength of the early days of hard rock in fluid combination with the bluesy-folkish approach to old-fashioned psychedelic rock that Traffic epitomized so well, yet Gnidrolog takes this envelop to new limits by incorporating a more artsy colorfulness to the instrumentation and arrangements. The progressive trend is further exploited in the elating title track and the cleverly crafted closing number: both of them show wind player John Earle somewhat emulating David Jackson's tenor sax multi-layers and frantic soprano leads, while the dual guitar riffs and raw-edged rhythm section clearly remind us of 70-71 VdGG at their most intense. 'Lady Lake' is, in many ways, the central piece of the album's repertoire, showing the band's roughest side, which really gets creepy for the last passage. Later on, 'Social Embarrassment' leans closer to the realms of jazz-rock, yet Stewart Goldring amazing final guitar solo (he saved the best for the end) and Cowling's pounding bass lines for the hardest sections keep thing quite rocky. Another featured aspect concerning this particular song is the inventive use of interaction between baritone sax, cello and oboe in some passages - this is as orchestral as Gnidrolog allows itself to get. The tender, bucolic 'A Dog with No Collar' and the Cat Stevens-esque 'Same Dreams' allow the listener some room for emotional relief among the whole sonic power constantly incarnated throughout the remaining repertoire. While I don't regard this album as really essential for a prog collection, I truly appreciate it as an effective art rock work. It is very likely to appeal to those who already love Still Life, Catapilla and other rock-blues oriented band with added prog tendencies, but generally speaking, "Lady Lake" might be really interesting for every serious treasure seeker across the land of prog rock's early years. I personally give it a grade between 3 and 3 ˝ stars.
Report this review (#57657)
Posted Thursday, November 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Having established their brilliance with the thrilling debut In Spite Of Harry's Toe-nail, Gnidrolog casually upped the ante with their second effort, which was also released in 1972. The multi-talented quartet of Colin and Stewart Goldring, Peter Cowling, Nigel Pegrum was boosted by flautist/saxophonist John Earle for Lady Lake, and the album they produced is a radiant one.

I Could Never Be A Soldier is a brilliant emotional anti-war epic, the zenith of the band's angst-laden lyrical themes as Colin Goldring's character moves from flippancy to an urgent plea for reason. Musically, the evoluation of the piece is astounding, a slow build-up and the volcanic eruption of emotion that coincides with its choruses, brilliant flute turns before a surprisingly brassy finish puts the lid on my favourite Gnidrolog song ever!

It might be my favourite song, but the opener does not quite win the accolade of their most beautiful track ... which goes to the second piece Ship! I defy you not to be moved by the fact that "the sons of the sons of the sons found out that the fire of the stars and the sands go out." Gnidrolog's skill in adding layer after layer of beautiful accompaniment to what might otherwise have been a simple chorus, makes for an outstanding track that thematically recalls VDGG's Refugees.

A Dog With No Collar is a brief but extremely melancholy work that seems to have been borne out of a poem ... with just four lines a powerful picture is painted. The title track is another exquisite, albeit somewhat discomforting epic that provides proof that Gnidrolog could jazz-rock with the best of them, if they so chose. A mass of aching strings and dazzling saxes this one.

My least favourite piece is probably Same Dreams which is a little bit of a glam-rock ballad ... a good enough piece, but far from Gnidrolog's best. Thankfully, order is restored with the concluding Social Embarassment which overcomes the bizarre lead vocals of John Earle to register some truly arresting jazz rock moments and a spectacular conclusion ... if you want to draw a trite comparison, it's almost like Soft Machine meets Gentle Giant!

Gnidrolog made magical music. Two albums worth of it. Track them down. ... 92% on the MPV scale

Report this review (#71739)
Posted Sunday, March 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Here was a truly fantastic band that was overshadowed by the success of the prog giants in the 1970's and this is unfortunate both for GNIDROLOG and for those casual prog fans who will never have the opportunity to discover this lost gem. Given the elicit nature of their music, it's hard to draw a comparison. Gnidrolog combines the bluesy prog and folky flute flavor of JETHRO TULL's earlier albums with the dark atmosphere and wind instruments of VAN DER GRAFF GENERATOR. Add into the mix a generous helping of originality and you have the great prog beast Gnidrolog.

The band strays away from long drawn out solos and instead focuses on playing as one tight unit and does so very well. The music contains a variety of layers and intertwined melodies keeping your ears plenty busy from beginning to end. The track Ships is a particularly moving piece featuring excellent use of woodwind instruments to back up a catchy acoustic guitar riff. The vocals on the track are near euphoric, but really every track here is magical. Lady Lake will no doubt spark the interest of any fans of more adventurous, eclectic prog acts, and those who are fans of the darker side of prog in the vain of VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR and KING CRIMSON.

Report this review (#79198)
Posted Wednesday, May 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Another forgotten masterpiece prooving that the best prog was played in the 70s.Excellent hard-rocky passionate epic "I could never be a soldier" has awesome chorus and a magnificient mid-part jam. "Ship" is very lurical one,once again with strongly melodical chorus. The singer has a unique voice,compareless to anyone you can suggest!!! Such tracks as "Lady Lake" or "Social Embarassment" are closer to the jazzy side or Art Rock(try to imagine Canterbury band going pretty hard!!!).There some similarities to JETHRO TULL ,KC or VDGG,but you CAN NOT use these bands to describe the GNIDROLOG's unique music.Once again underrated band gets its recognition posthumous.

Highly recommended to all prog lovers despite their tastes!!!

Report this review (#80022)
Posted Thursday, June 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars As one of bystanders of prog rock of that time, I can tell that I've never heard of them although I closely followed ongoings on the flourishing prog rock scene. And so it happened that I've discovered this band thanks to this site and immediately acquired an vinyl re-issue of this album as a basis for this review.The album opener 'I Could Never Be A Soldier' brings catchy melody line,nice flute and particularly impressive ending with strong lead guitar,bass and brass; follower 'Ship' has mighty sax intro fading into acoustic guitar sequent with supportive bass; 'A Dog With No Collar' is acoustic ballad closing side one of the record.The title track opens side two and is in my opinion, together with 'Soldier' , highlight of the album; piano sound dominates in 'Same Dreams' while 'Social Embarrassment' is to me less impressive number.The fourth track on this side of the record 'Harry's Toenail (Reprise)' is guitar driven instrumental and seems to be a bonus one. The sound of this album inevitably makes you find similarity to Jethro Tull or Van Der Graaf, the bands at the peak of their career at the time , and I guess that this was the main reason why Gnidrolog stayed in shadow.But it's never to late for good and true music material, as it is this one, to come out of the shadow. Therefore, I'm very glad that I've complemented my prog collection with this release.
Report this review (#80292)
Posted Sunday, June 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Believe it or not, this album is probably the best 'previously unknown' recording of progrock of all time. It is really surprising that it is not in the hall of fame of prog rock (top ten) on this site, although it seems that just a few people know this gem.

The first album of Gnidrolog (what a name...) was great, but somehow raw. Lady Lake is much more crafted and somehow more polite although it is not soft prog by any chance!!!

The arrangements of songs are made by genius musicians and composers and are masterpieces even when they are compared to the lead prog groups like Genesis...

The best songs are I could never be a soldier and (my favourite song) Ship. Ship is probably one of the best prog songs of all time due to beautiful arrangements and great vocal and guitar gradation in the end of the song.

The whole album is essential masterpiece of progressive music and it's a pity that so few people even know this.

Report this review (#84138)
Posted Wednesday, July 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The pacifistic opener of this album called "I Could Never Be A Soldier" really made one of my friend who is a reserve officer to rip his pants. As myself being a reserve soldier too, I personally do not either share the idealism of this beautiful song, but I admire the sincerity and courage and meaning of this statement. It's much bolder to say in a nationalistic society that you couldn't be a soldier than that you could be a one. And the only fault of this attitude is that as everybody else in the world cannot be made to think in similar manner, the violent conflicts will be the harsh reality of our unjust world. The song starts delicately with a flute accompanied with a guitar and a singer, and later the chorus grows up very strong, and the song continues with an interestingly fumbling jazzy rhythm. The further progression including the heavy emphasizing of the verse and strongly bursting flute reminds me the classic works of Jethro Tull, and the singing voice reveals the Welsh origin of this band. The quiet part in the middle of the song resembles then King Crimson's "I Talk to The Wind" quite much.

Following tune "Ship" is my favorite song here. The heavy horn sections replace the standard solution of Mellotron arrangements. The descending chorus makes this sound like one of the golden oldies from the late 60's, truly one of the most touching songs I have heard in a long time. Horns have a very peculiar jazzy rhythm, and the singer has unbelievably strong emotional load in his voice. Sadly the tune ends up with a fade-out, but here this solution works in a similar manner as in Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing", where the song and chorus is suggested to continue forever.

"A dog with no collar" is a short beautiful acoustic minor ballad between the longer numbers, and the following title tune begins with the drums giving us some jazz noise. Powerful bass and horn melodies packed up with sensation of a mystery resembles King Crimson's "In The Wake of The Poseidon" album's overall feeling. Soon the fast rhythm calms down to a wonderful slow ballad, which grows slowly up to a hard shuffle in a manner of the previous band mentioned.

"Same dreams" is then a happier short tune opening up with a piano and a trumpet. This track too proves that the awesome strong melodies are a trademark of this band. The final track "Social embarrassment" fades in from the void with a taunting and chaotic horn driven rhythm, and the song continues as a fast jumping jazzy composition. If the lyrics are listened carelessly, one could hear that they sing about Emerson, Lake & Palmer playing too loud. This song pleased my tastes least of these six song which build this album, but I have heard much worse tracks too. And there are surely good musical parts here too, but the composition as an entity wasn't so great.

I would recommend this album with a very beautiful cover jacket sincerely for the fans of classic prog, like first albums of King Crimson, Genesis and the classic work of Jethro Tull.

Report this review (#86290)
Posted Wednesday, August 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars GNIDROLOG's second album has much more to offer for jazz-rock lovers like me I've to say. If their admittedly highly original debut is considered by some people already as a masterpiece this one has to be their definite one. Though vocals (which are the only concern I have with this band) had been performed here still by the same man, Colin Goldring and they're as well still quite intrusive at times I don't find them as much disturbing as on their first one. I've to admit this album had lived a kind of shadowy existence for a long time within my collection and just now after I'd listen as well to its predecessor I discovered its true greatness and beauty. First highlight is certainly "I Could Never Be a Soldier" but already the second track "Ship" isn't inferior to it by any means. And despite its brevity "A Dog with No Collar" is an excellent and beautiful song as well just being followed by the most demanding track on here, the title song with mindblowing free-form brass playing bringing a bit Chicago's more sophisticated early work to one's mind. "Same Dreams" might be the least interesting one of this album and "just" more or less a nice ballad but by no means a failure and a reason to narrow the overall rating for this great piece of art. Needless to say that the closing track "Social Embarrassment" is just another highlight again with awesome brass work and a fierce and abrupt finish.

As a summary I can just say that for me it's quite obvious that "Lady Lake" has been the more accomplished, better and moreover (at least for fans of brass playing) much more enjoyable work of this excellent rather under-estimated band. Usually I prefer to restrict my 5 stars-ratings to truly exceptional albums but I think this one can be considered as such.

Report this review (#88581)
Posted Thursday, August 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of my favourite albums. I don't know if this is better than the debut. It's slightly different, but still, you can hear that this is the same band. Every track within this lp is great. I have no idea, why I Could Never Be A Soldier wasn't a hit! This track is so much better than the ordinary rock standards. A Dog with No Collar - a ballad. When I heard it for the first time a was nearly crying, because it's so sad. Lady Lake - almost King Crimson:) Social Embarrassment - this track couldn't get off my head for weeks:) A true masterpiece. For art rock fans, for early King Crimson fans, for VDGG fans, and maybe for Gentle Giant fans:) An album for everybody:)
Report this review (#104463)
Posted Monday, December 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Catchy and memorably, jazzy and folk-y, complex and simple: an extensive recipe, cooked to perfection. Or near so. Gnidrolog, as a band, stand as living evidence that not all excellent music make the mainstream, even in prog. This is a perfect starting point, and a perfect inspiration to begin a journey into the deep and cavernous world beneath the surface. From 'classic rock' - a genre or sub genre that Gnidrolog have some to do with - this gem is a huge dig (especially nowadays). But for prog specifically, it isn't actually too obscure, and shouldn't prove too difficult in finding. On that topic, good luck to all, for as we all know, some of the more revered albums are sometimes the hardest to find. It is important, however, not to glorify, exalt, or raise albums that prove difficult to find too high. When you do eventually unearth these legends, they're so immortalized in your mind. If ever there's the smallest crack in your holy grail, you'll be disappointed beyond belief.

Progressing from the year's previous release, Gnidrolog develop further the jazzy taste to their music very much, incorporating brass instruments. The result of doing so is a very refreshing sound that is, in some ways, reminiscent of King Crimson's jazzier side (Pictures of a City, particularly). Still neither explicitly being guitar led, vocal led, or rhythmically driven, this diverse album manages to remain fresh with a huge amount of varied instruments and styles, changing swiftly. Complexity is an integral part of the writing, and never lingers too long on any particular phrase or atmosphere. Effects and whatnot adds an extra level of interest - but not to the point of overpower the instruments. The vocals still carry a very strong presence, but the rigid, aggressively experimental edge that was key on Harry's Toenail, along with the Tull-ish folk influence that made a stark contrast to the guitar sections have both been watered down, and replaced by the more explicit jazz direction.

Musicianship is important, and is clear that the instrumentalists wield the lion's share, but don't ever go over the top with it, and never chaotically and arrogantly show off their skills. Their talents, however, have been put in a more meaningful and less hazardous route, where all players focus on making and jointed sound, instead of a collection of distant musicians. Melodies that catch the ear are present in many situations, typically in the vocals, but also in many other instruments. John Earle's touch on the album is undeniable, what with his incredibly influential, and very, very powerful saxes blasting, nay, pounding away, adding an entire dimension of energy. His vocal talents are also utilized on the phenomenal album ender, Social Embarrassment.

Any casual fan of powerful jazz, or complex classic rock, with mild folk and experimental interjections, should keep an eye out for this classic. Just look for that phenomenal artistic cover and shouts "I'm a prog record!"

Report this review (#132777)
Posted Saturday, August 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars My first exposure to Gnidrolog was "In Spite of Harry's Toenail" and the crazy title gives you some indication of the off-beat nature of that work. So when I first listened to "Lady Lake", I was expecting more of the same eccentricities and rough edges found in "Toenail" (and shall we say not accessible to the average listener). Boy, was I pleasantly surprised!

That first listen of "Lady Lake" was about 6 months ago. Since then I have probably listened a total of about 5 times, most recently last night. My appreciation of this album has grown immensely. This has all the elements of great prog. First of all the musicianship is impressive, not only for the fact that all members play their instruments well, but that they each play so many different instruments. Peter Cowling's bass playing is the engine that supports and drives the band(he also plays cello). There is a bluesy feel to it that reminds me of Stand Up / Benefit era Tull. The breathy rapid-fire flute played by Nigel Pegrum (oh yeah, he also happens to be the drummer and plays oboe too!) also adds greatly to the Tull-like sound. Stewart Goldring's lead guitar generally takes a back seat to the wind instruments, but when featured is a hard driving blues-rock force. Which brings us to the defining sound of Gnidrolog, the distinct voice of Colin Goldring. His voice is high-pitched and takes some getting used to (now I love it). But it gives the band such a unique sound that most open-minded prog lovers would embrace. Colin also plays recorder, harmonica, sax and horn. To my ear, there is some similarity to Vandergraph Generator...lead by an eccentric voice that can howl or be very sensitive and touching, with the music supported by sax (and a variety of other instruments). The wind instruments (and lack of synthesizer) give the band a different sound than your average prog band. The arrangements are very interesting (i.e. progressive).

All in all, this album has just the right mix of hard and soft, all done in a style that is uniquely Gnidrolog. Very entertaining and an undiscovered gem as far as I am concerned.

Report this review (#147498)
Posted Saturday, October 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars 8.0/10 Great

Lady Lake continues, and improves, the Gnidrolog sound in many ways from it's predecessor, "In Spite of Harry's Toenail". This sound is something I have a very strong liking to, especially the vocal power of Colin Goldring, and the overall intensity and structure of these songs. I certainly do not fully enjoy some of the songs on here, and find a few bits as "filler material" so to speak, and many strong changes from highs to lows. "I Could Never Be a Solider" is an iconic classic for progressive rock, and a masterpiece at that. "Ship" is my favorite track on the album, and I think a good argument can be made that this is one of the first almost hip- hoppish sounds in music! The opening sax run is a gold mine for some rap/hip hop artist to sample (and butcher, ofcourse, in my humble opinion ;) (listen to and you will see!). "Social Embarassment" is my other favorite here and a great, powerful song and melody that I truly love, but drags towards the end. The rest of the album has never quite sunk into me, and I don't find much there that I enjoy heavily.

The musicianship is really fantastic, though, and overall this is actually a very unique style of vocalization and sound. This is a fantastic album yet quite far from truly incredible or perfection status. I have played a few of these main tracks for some people and there is always a positive response to them, so give this one a try and you should certainly find something to enjoy!

Report this review (#148239)
Posted Wednesday, October 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. This is one of those rare albums that is both complex and beautiful. Compared with their debut this one is more accessible, melodic and jazzier. Great cover art by the way.

"I Could Never Be A Soldier" is the over 11 1/2 minute opening track that I never tire of. I'm reminded of Peter Hammill vocally and I love the lyrics. Amazing song. It opens with gentle guitar as flute helps out before the Hammill-like reserved vocals come in. Passionate vocals and a fuller sound with guitar after 2 minutes. This contrast continues. A reflective calm with flute, cymbals and bass after 5 minutes. The sound slowly builds until guitar joins in after 7 1/2 minutes. Vocals a minute later. The drums and guitar sort of take off 10 minutes in to the end of the song with sax joining in late. What a song ! "Ship" opens with sax, bass and drums. Vocals and strummed guitar then take over. Sax and more passionate vocals 1 1/2 minutes in. This contrast continues. The guitar 5 1/2 minutes in is great. A special tune.

"A Dog With No Collar" is a sad song with gentle guitar and reserved vocals. Aboe joins in later. Not a fan of this one. "Lady Lake" has this terrific jazz intro. Love the sax. Vocals 3 minutes in are brief. They come back though before 4 1/2 minutes in a mellow soundscape with flute. Sax and bass change that after 6 minutes. This reminds me of VDGG, and the sax gets dissonant late. "Same Dreams" features some guest piano while the vocals are fragile. This is contrasted with the fuller sound that adds bass and drums. "Social Embarrassment" is a GENTLE GIANT flavoured tune with a different vocalist. The vocal style reminds me of GG a lot. Lots of sax too. I like the way they seem to just jam after 5 minutes. Guitar joins in a minute later and lights it up as they start to yell and carry on to end it.

Highly recommended music to GG and VDGG fans especially. A diamond in the rough for sure.

Report this review (#171218)
Posted Saturday, May 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Surprisingly great. A very original and authentic band. Of all albums recorded on that year of 72, this particular one deserves a place among the top 5. Lady Lake is Gnidrolog's masterpiece and a progressive masterpiece, no doubts 'round here. Every song has a vailed charm and show how rock was evolving and which ways would be taken from then on. The sax and flute are more than details or support arrengements, they're part of the band and its sound (as they already were in JT and VDGG, for example). The cover is their sound in paint. It's weird, disturbing, obscure an new. The atmosphere created is a nice mixture of VDGG's dark passages and JT's Benefit with sharp vocals and simple(but effective) lyrics. Same Dreams is a ballad, a very beautiful one. I could never be a Soldier and Social Embarassment are long and pleasant. Ship is very redundant but it's a great song after all. The jazzy title track and the mysterious A dog with no collar add extra emotion to the record. Smashing!
Report this review (#172340)
Posted Tuesday, May 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Lady Lake is the second studio album from Welch act Gnidrolog. I enjoyed the band´s previous album In Spite Of Harry's Toenail, but never found it excellent. Lady Lake is unmistakably Gnidrolog with the Peter Hammill ( Van der Graaf Generator)like vocals from Colin Goldring, the Ian Anderson ( Jethro Tull) and David Jackson ( Van der Graaf Generator) like flute and sax playing and Gnidrolog´s conscious choice not to include a keyboard player in the ranks.

Lady Lake consists of six tracks. The opener I could never be a soldier has lots of beautiful flute playing. It´s an 11:36 minute long track and even though it´s a great track it´s probably my least favorite on the album. In the end of the song we´re introduced to new man John Earle´s powerful and excellent sax playing. Ship is next and it´s a song with great brass arrangements, but it´s a bit repetitive. Great song though. At this point I thought to myself that this was a big 3 star album. Next song is A dog with no collar which is a short beautiful song. If I ever considered giving Lady Lake 3 stars that is not in my thoughts anymore after listening to the title track. What a dark, majestic and wonderful song. Again the sax playing is fantastic. Same Dreams is the only song with piano from guest Charlotte Fendrich. It´s a short and rather strange love song. Social embarrassment is like the title track a dark and powerful song with John Earle on vocals. I´m really impressed at this point and couldn´t dream of giving the album 3 stars.

The musicianship is excellent and I have to give a special mention to the new man John Earle. He has really given this album the extra dimension that Gnidrolog needed to make a unique and extraordinaire album. Sax and flute enthusiasts should take a listen to his playing.

The production is great and detailed.

It´s taken me a while and many listens to appreciate Lady Lake but finally I understand what a unique and excellent album this is. For me this is not a full masterpiece but it´s certainly a sure 4 star album.

Report this review (#185219)
Posted Friday, October 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Damn Good

And yet another hidden gem of the 70's prog among the top eclectic prog albums. Maybe this is the genre that gives the most credit to unknown bands to the mainstream public (mainstream progressive rock public, in this case), besides, maybe, zeuhl and the avant-garde sessions, but that is another story. The fact is that there are many albums among the top 20 that are not by the genre's big bands (King Crimson, Gentle Giant, VDGG and Peter Hammill) and this album is one perfect example of that because this band is, to this day, pretty underground.

Gnidrolog's Lady Lake was released in the same year as their debut and, no matter how good or bad their debut was, this album is a solid release and sadly remained underground for many years until the prog's resurgence in the early 90's. The probable reason for they being so unknown is probably because in 72 many important and influent albums from important and influent bands were released, like Thick as a Brick, Foxtrot, Close to the Edge and Octopus.

Their music fits quite well in the genre also because, though not being very experimental, at least for prog standards, their incredible mixture of woodwinds, saxes, guitar, bass and the bow string instruments is very good: there is no leading instrument because they keep questioning and answering each other or each takes the lead in one part. the only constant instruments are the drums and the bass, who create a great atmosphere. The only problem here are the vocals. Though the singer sings in tune and does his job well, his timbre is quite obnoxious and the vibrato don't help a bit.

The songs, in general, are very good, but there are two songs that definitely stand out. The opening song of side 1, I Could Never be a Soldier, and the opening song of side 2, Lady Lake, have some great moments, but overall they are very good. However, the album is not very constant and the remaining songs of each side is unable to maintain the same quality as its opening track. In fact, the album, unfortunately, cannot follow up the song I Could Never be a Soldier and the quality drops considerably after it. In my opinion, if the band could make the whole album as good as its opening song the album would have been a masterpiece.

Grade and Final Thoughts

Another great hidden gem of the 70's. Lady Lake is a very good album and deserves to be rated accordingly. It is just a shame that the band disbanded the following year because they had an enormous potential. The problem probably was that they were yet another good progressive rock band from the 70's, what, back then, was nothing special. 4 stars then.

Report this review (#186633)
Posted Tuesday, October 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Although it isn't quite as groundbreaking and original as their debut album, Lady Lake by Gnidrolog is an excellent swan song (pun intended), which sees them softening and broadening the idiosyncratic style of In Spite of Harry's Toenail with some influences from the wider prog and art rock world. The combination of Jethro Tull-like flute work and hard rock guitar heroics is still present, especially on opening track I Could Never Be a Soldier, but there's nothing quite as dissonant and chaotic as Long Live Man Dead from the debut - except for the ending of Social Embarrassment, which is otherwise a somewhat Gentle Giant-influenced tune.

Then again, the fusions of styles that Gnidrolog cook up are often highly intriguing. Ship, for example, sounds to me a little like a fusion of early David Bowie solo work (from around the time of The Man Who Sold the World or Space Oddity) and Van der Graaf Generator - make of that what you will! Although In Spite of Harry's Toenail is probably the better album - being a bit more representative of the band's unique sound - Lady Lake is a fine followup. Of course, the best way to grab Gnidrolog's 1970s output is to pick up the two-albums-on-one-CD compilation of this one and the debut, and newcomers to the band are advised to pick that up - it's relatively easy to find, and if you like their first album you'll also want this one anyway (and vice versa).

Report this review (#192272)
Posted Monday, December 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars An eclectic one.....

It has taken me ages and tens of listening sessions to get my head around this album. For a simple minded, slightly braindead man like myself, this album asks a lot. My review of their debut album was also a shallow putdown of that album. I believe I gave it two stars. So I have taken more time on this album.

I believe we all agree that GNIDROLOG is one of those sadly ignored British prog rock bands. With the release of both their first two albums on one CD, this band will get the attention it deserve. GNIDROLOG is most definate a fascinating band with very fascinating music. Fascinating..... but any good ?

The answer is yes to that question. The album starts with the rather catchy and the very infectious epic I could never be a soldier. At over elleven minutes, it draws you in with it's moods and swings. The similarities to VDGG is obvious. But it becomes pretty clear that GNIDROLOG has their very unique style. This is an excellent track. The album continues in the same style and with a frequent use of saxophone which draws the similarities to VDGG again and some of SOFT MACHINE's more jazzy moments (ie Third). The music is very complex and moody at the same time. The title track is a gem too with it's moods and strong melody. Somehow, I get some DAVID BOWIE vibes here. Well, Mr. Bowie was really never as good as GNIDROLOG. The last song Social Embarrassment has some very strong GENTLE GIANT vibes.

My main impression though after having being totally exhausted by this album is that it is multi-layered and very demanding to the listener. In other words; a gem. I am not totally won over by it. Maybe I should give it another year or another decade. It is most definate a keeper in my record collection because it challenges me every time I am listening to it. But it is not my cup of tea anno 2009.

3.75 stars.

Report this review (#218010)
Posted Sunday, May 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Lady Lake is a fantastic progressive album. The anti-war song I Could Never Be A Soldier is just plain amazing, featuring Jethro Tull-styled flutes, and amazing vocals by Colin Goldring, makes the song a great prog song, and in my opinion, a prog anthem.

Ship, is again an excellent track, with amazing guitar playing by Stewart Goldring, which really touched me, and a great chord sequence.

Lady Lake is one of the better progressive rock albums I've heard, and you can call me a prog newbie, but I will always recommend Lady Lake to every progressive rock fan out there. To sum it up, Lady Lake is a must-buy for Tull and Gnidrolog fans!

Report this review (#221262)
Posted Monday, June 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Moving Vietnam War-era tune 'I Could Never Be a Soldier' opens the Gnid's outstanding follow-up to their promising debut the same year, the Brothers Goldring tearing a page straight out of Benefit period Tull with the grind of a tin can guitar and airy flutes from the winds of John Earle & multi-talented Nigel Pegrum. More developed than In Spite of Harry's Toenail and with fewer avant garde experiments, Lady Lake is a fully realized album showing a team that was always a few years ahead of everyone else in their vision of where rock was heading, both in their prog aspirations and punky tendencies. A fairly good songwriting unit is also heard and we wonder what these fellas might've done had they not been too far in front of the curve for their own good. Think early Gentle Giant meets Supertramp at an outdoor concert. 'Ship' bobs on the waves highlighting the group's talent for protest folk and is followed by morose ditty 'A Dog With No Collar'. The title cut finally pumps some life into things, lush with traffic jams of horns layered five and six deep, sublime drums from Pegrum and an infectious jazz exploration, and swells to a huge finish. Somewhat whiny 'Same Dreams' quickly moves to the excellent 'Social Embarrassment', an ideal sample of the art of rock in 1972 with a big & bold arrangement and huge energy.

At the time, Gnidrolog's first two albums were cutting-edge rock music, kept the big boys on their toes and looking over their shoulders, and should not be missed by anyone interested in this marvelous and mercurial period in music.

Report this review (#222035)
Posted Saturday, June 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
TGM: Orb
4 stars Lady Lake, Gnidrolog, 1972

Gnidrolog's second album, Lady Lake, is slightly better received than the debut. And it's a great album: the increased instrumentation pays off nicely (novus John Earle on saxes + flute fleshes out the sound in a very individual direction, drummer Nigel Pegrum's oboe turns up more prominent, a versatile range of lead guitar sounds are there), there's perhaps an even stronger sense of basic melody here than on the debut. And yet, it's a great album, but it's not as great as its predecessor: first off, a host of reference points (Ian Anderson's flute-work with Tull, a bit of the double-jointed compositional/improvisational blur and weirdness you'd expect from an amalgamation of Caravan and Gentle Giant) are used very effectively, but occasionally feels a bit too calculated... likewise, the guitar sounds are diversified, the guitar use can go either way... always pleasant, but occasionally a bit too cool and bluesy for me, and then, the lyrics only really take off after a couple of false starts. There we go, that's almost everything that annoys me about the album out of the way, and I can kick back and say that Lady Lake is an album any fan of melodic, adventurous and altogether fascinating music should have, but not quite as much as they should have In Spite Of Harry's Toenail.

The opening I Could Never Be A Soldier is a prime example of the band's retained and acquired strengths; the presence of two flautists and a recorder offers a lush woodwind sound, Colin Goldring's sly guitar work echoes and builds themes continually, we have deliciously minimal (driven by the superb Peter Cowling's bass, somewhat reminiscent of what Crimson would be trying to build up a year later with Starless And Bible Black) and folk sections with variously pretty and Anderson-type flute. Lyrically, it hasn't the bite its stereotypically hippy comrades held on Spite, which somewhat hampers the vocal sections. Rounded off by a slightly unconnected but nevertheless superb blues guitar solo, this is a clear success, though not quite a perfect one.

As a slightly impatient type, I have to admit that Ship is not really my thing; stretching out a typically weirded (I like Colin Goldring's voice a lot... but I'm not sure he manages to build this one up as well as he could) chorus beyond its strength... the arrangements are great, the guitar-work is just beautiful, that rather odd horn sound is fantastically quixotic, and there's a bit of spacey guitar-work noone really expected from this synth-free outfit, but the chorus goes on too long, in my view, and there isn't really much of an overall mood to it.

A Dog With No Collar is a bleak acoustic piece with a brilliant four-line lyric and an oboe offering downcast support. Short, but very effective.

Yet more poignant is the title track, opening with a general dark jazz vibe slowly solidifying from its murky horn duel opening and an alternately sharp and ethereal rhythm section into the mystical, horrifyingly bleak and captivating image of our leading lady and the most beautiful cello-sax-bass-guitar background. And the alternation between a classical-type hook and this winding, haunting rhythm is just incredible (even without the spine-chilling lyrics: 'Night, nothing near, nothing said, noone here/Loved once, but ice to tears/Melted slowly, seasons' greetings/somehow turned to fear')... if there's a piece where I'd say Gnidrolog achieved what they aimed to, it's probably this one: the sound is incredible, the solos are astonishing, driving the avant-garde leanings into beauty, the lyrics are superb... just amazing.

And then, Same Dreams, an atypical love song with Colin Goldring's unique voice given a perfect opportunity to stretch out vulnerably, very nice guest piano from Charlotte Fendrich, various backing (oboe from drummer Nigel Pegrum, the occasional dab of bass guitar and an odd bit of warm complimentary guitar), and a striking set of lyrics... ('We shared the same thoughts/The same road/The same line from an old song...'). Mainly, it's the sense of development in this one that gets me... I'm not so sure about whether the bursts of support are even really necessary for what's basically a duet, but it sounds good.

Social Embarrassment takes us onto almost Canterbury-sounding areas, with oddball lyrics, loads of instrumentation (a sax duel, horns,  oboe, flute...), a big, grating, aggressive cello sound, walking basslines, somewhat Caravan-with-bite drumming, snarly guitars, odd ramblings in all sorts of jazz-tinged directions. As you'd expect, great guitar soloing, fun vocals (saxophonist John Earle taking the lead), and a clever general construction for the song... driving it ever towards the end while still leaving the actual content of the moment pretty much free to go where it likes.

Lady Lake is that most awkward of reviews: the great album you don't think is as good as public opinion suggests compared to the available alternatives. So, if given the opportunity (and like me you're a bit strange and not allowed to be DJ any more), I'd make sure you get In Spite Of Harry's Toenail as well (currently, there's a two-in-one-thing and it's serious high-grade under-the-counter prog rock) and remember that, while this is not the cookie, it is, in the words of Bernard Black, 'some sort of delicious biscuit'.

Favourite track: pick one of the last four... nah... Lady Lake Oh, and ratings: Four stars, 12 or 13/15... say 13. I'm feeling nice, today.

Edit: This reviewer is an educated monkey. He probably will say 'oboe' and mean 'sax' on occasions. Blame the copy-paste.

Report this review (#238778)
Posted Saturday, September 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Second Gnidrolog album is real gem! Starting from very first song -"I Could Never Be A Soldier" - you are caught by Jethro Tull -style flute soloing ,but the vocal is high and all music is very beautifuly harmonised.

Step by step you are traveling by band's musical space,full of complex harmonies. The sound is warm and well balanced, all listening is pleasant. Even debut album was very interesting, but that,second one, is absolutely their top! More different sounds, more complex arrangements. If the music of first one was a bit similar to VdGG music of that time, there you can hear more tension and breaks in sound, which is more King Crimsonian field.

Rare band from early seventies could balance so beatiful,nice music with complex arrangements, warm, almost polished sound with tension and sound brakes in compositions, vocal harmonies with very non-commercial musicanship. Really very pleasant and interesting album,very recommended.

In total 4,5.

Report this review (#244706)
Posted Thursday, October 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars The second half of a great 70s duology from Gnidrolog. If you're like me and are too lazy to try to hunt down the vinyls or individual CDs, you'll likely be familiar with the recent CD that smooshes both this and HARRY'S TOENAIL on one CD.

In comparison to HARRY'S TOENAIL, this effort is largely of the same mould being that there are four meaty long-winded compositions augmented by two quiet ballads. However, other than the ballads, LADY LAKE is very different from its immediate predecessor in terms of sound. Obviously, newcomer John Earle is given quite a bit of leeway as his flute solo on ''I Could Never Be a Soldier'' and haunting sax lines on the title track automatically certify him of official Gnidrolog status even if this is the only album Earle participated in. However, it's much more than Earle.

To connect this album to HARRY'S TOENAIL is hard. Sure, Colin Goldring's voice is still as sharp as ever, the rhythm section still give the same impression and Stewie gives a solo every so often. But the avant tone of the compositions has gone down in comparison as this album tries for a more melodic, tuneful approach whilst still keeping the same power as before. The title track is the only song that could fit on HARRY'S TOENAIL soundwise, and even then, the production on ''Lady Lake'' is far superior as the rest of the album attests to.

What we get is a great rock jam in ''I Could Never Be a Soldier''. The prog here is not in the sense of virtuoso playing (other than the flute and bass solos) and not a keyboard is played, but the prog aspects are in the building effect of the piece as it starts very soft, builds into a strong chorus, drops again by the flute solo but builds again towards the chorus all leading up to the payoff: an epic guitar riff followed by a guitar solo, a bass solo and a superb sax line that reminds me of Magma.

We also get a slighty weak sea shanty in ''Ship''. Not that ''Ship'' is bad per se but it lacks a lot of oomph for me to get behind it. ''Social Embarrassment'' is a weird experiment. Earle sings the lead vocals here and, depends on how you perceive it, they are either better or worse than Colin's. The avantness of the previous album is here in this song (even if it doesn't exactly fit on HARRY'S TOENAIL), but in a higher octane performance. To describe the last song, think of a 70s punk song with tricky basslines and saxophones.

It's production is better than the one presented on HARRY'S TOENAIL. However, I keep comparing LADY LAKE to HARRY'S TOENAIL because it seems like the compositions were aiming for more melodic acceptance rather than the ecletic avant inventiveness on HARRY'S TOENAIL. Even then, LADY LAKE is still a phenomenal, overlooked prog album that welcomes all those who dare listen to it.

Report this review (#255910)
Posted Sunday, December 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Gnidrolog was and English progressive rock group with a brass section. Their second album 'Lady Lake' has received some praise over the years and is considered to be one of the bigger 'gems' of the genre. The band is a bit more folkrock than for instance Colosseum, but about as progressive. Perhaps you could name Van Der Graaf Generator as a reference, but that band has a more theatrical approach to songwriting. The whimsical and expressive Welsch vocals by Colin Goldring are both charming and a bit of nuisance at times. The band has some strong song-writing moments, but overal the record suffers from the weight of its own length and repetition. Though this is quite a unique piece of prog from '72, I found myself easily parting from it - despite the beautiful artwork the album has.

Report this review (#260803)
Posted Thursday, January 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars With this album, it sounded more like Gnidrolog should have been ready to break out into the wider world, not fade away into obscurity. Their debut album, the oddly named "In Spite of Harry's Toenail", was already excellent, and on this one, they seem to have focussed their sound just a bit more. Also, the album art was much better ;). Unfortunately, this would be their last album for almost 30 years.

The music is still influenced by blues and a little bit by hard rock. But, in the first half of the album especially, the tracks appear to be more controlled than in their previous albums, the structures more defined. As before, the shorter tracks (A Dog With No Collar, Same Dreams) sit among the quieter side, but are still good tracks.

Lady Lake, the albums title track, shows Gnidrolog incorporating some more prominent jazzy influences into their sound. As far as I am concerned, this is just another reason why the bands demise was a shame - they were releasing great music from the start but also showed a willingness to grow and experiment, and if they had survived longer, they probably would have released some truly amazing music. They never quite released a masterpiece, but I feel confident that they would have. It took Yes five albums before they released a full-out masterpiece, and Gnidrolog started a fair bit closer to achieving this than Yes did on their first two albums. They may have been just one away.

Pointless conjecture aside, Lady Lake does more than demonstrate Gnidrolog's growth as an artist, it is an excellent track in it's own right, featuring everything from the jazzy intro to moody vocals and an extended instrumental section at the end.

It is impossible to mention this album without mentioning the opening tracks, I Could Never Be A Soldier and Ships. To me, these tracks are not quite as experimental as Gnidrolog could be, relying more on the strength of choruses than anything else the band had done, but that does not stop them from being damn good tracks. Each is tinged with emotion and some form of sorrow. I Could Never Be A Soldier reflects on the fallacy of war and the difficulty of viewing another human being as intrinsically evil, while Ships seems to be more about living with the mistakes of ancestors (at least, that's how I interpret it).

Compared to their opening, this album is somewhat more consistent with more high quality tracks, but it lacks anything that's quite as good as Snails off of their debut. Despite this, the album is great from beginning to end, and the fact that the bands career ended here (not counting their eventual reformation) is truly a shame.

Report this review (#294644)
Posted Sunday, August 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Like all the very best progressive rock, Gnidrolog's 1972 album 'Lady Lake' takes several listens to completely grasp, making the listener work for their musical rewards, of which there are plenty. The group's second album, after the discordant and oddly-titled 'In Spite Of Harry's Toenail', 'Lady Lake' would also be there last for almost three decades, before Gnidrolog surprisingly reformed for a one-off reunion album called 'Gnosis' in 1999. It's also by far and away their strongest release, sporting a spirited and complex variation on the King Crimson sound, with elements of Caravan, Van Der Graaf Generator and Genesis thrown in for good measure. Stand-out tracks include the anthemic opener 'I Could Never Be A Solider', it's carefully-crafted, elegiac follow-up 'Ship' and the album's epic closer 'Social Embarassment', but the real treat is the militant, symphonic rock of 'Lady Lake', a haunting, eight-minute-plus centrepiece to this excellent album. Fans of progressive rock in the truest sense of the word will find a hard-won treasure chest of proggy delights filling 'Lady Lake'm with the only disappointment being the fact that Gnidrolog would never repeat the trick. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010
Report this review (#330506)
Posted Monday, November 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars It's quite a shame, but not a big surprise, that this band never managed to make it big. This album isn't very easy to listen to. Their music is very hard to describe. High pitched, emotional vocals, combined with great wind sections and guitar solos, all with very audible bass playing. They have an extremely original sound, and manage to pull it off very well.

The songs are very crescendo oriented. Things start off very quiet and melancholic, and slowing build up until the guitars and wind instruments are swirling in full force, making for some very emotionally powerful music. I highly recommend this album for anyone who wants to hear some progressive rock at its most beautiful.

Report this review (#448198)
Posted Sunday, May 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Well, I'm not going to pretend I'm a life long Gnidrolog follower who will tell the world all about this band and album. I just found out about them thanks to PA and noticed this could be prog gem. So time to dive into this near masterpiece (according to PA standards). The band description indicates you'd better be a GG, VDGG and/or Tull fan to appreciate this music. And how right this statement is ! Oh, and intense vocals are another significant aspect, hmm...

For starters, I can't appreciate these intense vocals I'm afraid. Too strident which is unbearable for my poor ears. And as with so many progbands the instrumental handling is a lot better but also here not 100% my preferred style and sound. The compositions are indeed a remarkable combination of the three mentioned bands above. Social embarrassment is a funny combination of Gentle Giant and VanderGraaf Generator whilst the opener I could never be a Soldier could have been one by Tull. Also the other songs are a blend of the famous three.

So a very much eclectic experience and although I start to get used to this bizarre way of making music I will never embrace it as one of my favorite styles. Ok, I could have stayed away from this but in the end I'm always curious how I will digest a band like this when I give them a real chance. Thanks to the opening song and the two short ones I still end up with some respect for Gnidrolog. The other three are too chaotic, dissonant and bizarre to be appreciated by me. But because it is definitely 100% prog and this is after all a prog site I will round up my 2,5* verdict and still give three. Highly recommended for eclectic prog addicts.

Report this review (#468553)
Posted Friday, June 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Gnidrolog is one of the most extraorinary of the numerous early 70's short-lived prog bands who never gained much success. And this (their second and last one - until the year 2000) album is a huge artistic development over their rather disjointed debut In Spite Of Harry's Toe- Nail from the same year, which mixed Gentle Giant -type complexity and Amazing Blondel/ Gryphon-sort of Renaissance music influences. This is not to say that this album is short of anything heard in the debut, but most of all it has maturity in emotional level that was maybe missing earlier. Also the sound is more mature, thanks to a new member on sax & flute. Recorder is a bit less heard this time as the saxophone is used quite a lot, making the music a close relative to Van Der Graaf Generator's, albeit not quite as extreme in progressivity or emotion, though there is plenty of that too. Mostly dark-toned and melancholic.

'I Could Never Be a Soldier' is a magnificent and emotionally powerful prog opus in 11 and ˝ minutes. The title track is another lengthy highlight, the closest in spirit to VDGG. It's delightful to hear also heartfelt simplicity on a couple of shorter tracks.

As a negative side (and there are only few!), the Goldring brothers are not very talented singers. The voice reminds me of Wishbone Ash. But as a whole this is an all-too-forgotten semi-masterpiece of the era. And with a fantastic cover art!

Report this review (#507226)
Posted Monday, August 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is an average album of eclectic, progressive rock has its moments there. However, it did not surprise me.

Gnidrolog may sound appealing to fans of Van Der Graaf Generator and bands like that, but as I include myself in that group, then do not see myself in a very comfortable listening to "Lady Lake", her second album.

Do not get me wrong, the album is good, but does not have "it". But what is "it"? "It" is the thing that pulls you into an album and makes you like it, even if you can not explain. "Lady Lake" hasn´t "it", and that's why I give it 3 stars.

Now I am able to detect very well the main flaw of this album: the vocals. God, these vocals are some of the worst in history! If this were only instrumental album, I would give it a higher rating!

3 stars. A good album, that's all.

Report this review (#514796)
Posted Sunday, September 4, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars ESOTERIC 2012 REISSUE with Bonus TRack

Blending classical training with folk and jazz influences, Gnidrolog produced this their second album in late 1972. The first striking aspect of the music is how well recorded it is, a fine example of the early 70's studio ethic of dry drums and vocals with the other instruments clearly and cleanly placed in the mix. Written entirely by the Goldring brothers Colin and Stewart, `Lady Lake' is an immensely sophisticated and well written album, and whilst the vocals may not win too many prizes, their strident style is ably supported by beautifully arranged saxes, flutes and guitars. Although frequently compared to Gentle Giant, `Lizard'/`Islands' era King Crimson is also close, and the wonderful `McDonald and Giles' album perhaps the closest in style and sound.

The old `Side One' features a trio of songs dominated by the 12 minute opener `I Could Never Be A Soldier', and ending beautifully on the sparkling acoustic and flutes ballad `A Dog With No Collar'. The title track opens `Side Two' in wonderful fashion, as stunningly recorded sax orchestrations compete against each other framed by the confident drumming of Nigel Pegrum (latterly of Steeleye Span). It's a stunning opening, which shows all its Prog credentials by settling down into a slower paced and entirely unrelated vocal section. This is well thought out first generation Progressive music well worthy of your attention, and it is somewhat of a pity that the band dissolved mere weeks after the completion of this album. The album also ends strongly with the repeated multi-layered riffing and Stewart Goldring's wonderfully Frippian guitar solo at the end of `Social Embarrassment', the album's standout track.

A stunningly recorded testament to the original progressive rock movement and a real joy to listen to 40 years later. It also contains the previously unreleased session track `Baby Move On' which is very much in keeping with the rest of the album.

Report this review (#782634)
Posted Friday, July 6, 2012 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A gem of an album that definitely flew under the radar in my day and yet the opening epic, "I Could Never Be a Soldier" (11:39) (10/10), was so familiar to me when I first heard this album a few years ago. It must have received some air play on the local album rock radio stations in Detroit to which I listened. (I actually believe that a local cover band played it during the first dance concert that I ever attended in the seventh grade. The band also played "Maggie May" "Aqualung," "Locomotive Breath," and "(I'm Your Captain) Closer to Home.") The band had some very talented instrumentalists--though the flutist and bass player stand out most for me.

Many of the songs have most excellent horn play--often by multiple horns, one or two soloing, and a horn section supporting the rhythm sections.

2. "Ship" (Colin Goldring) - 6:44 (9/10) 3. "A Dog With No Collar " (Stewart Goldring) - 2:09 (9/10) 4. "Lady Lake" (Peter "Mars" Cowling, Stewart Goldring) - 8:53 awesome jazz-oriented song that turns into a Hammill-VDGG-like insidious slow build to crescendo piece. (9/10) 5. "Same Dreams" (Colin Goldring) - 2:49 (8/10) 6. "Social Embarrassment" (Peter "Mars" Cowling, Colin Goldring) - 6:30 a pre-Henry Cow idea of avant-garde craziness? (8/10)

An excellent album that deserves more attention. Great arrangements, great sound reproduction and engineering, with the rendering of some very creative ideas. A 4.5 star album that I'm bumping up for the sake of exceedingly high creativity.

Report this review (#843828)
Posted Tuesday, October 23, 2012 | Review Permalink
1 stars I guess this proved to be a watershed in the Gnidrolog catalogue. A leaky one with dead pigeons floating in it if you ask me.

I was so looking forward to this album when I bought it in 2001. After all, it has a great sleeve doesn't it? What more could you want than a great big hand threatening to strangle the neck of a swan? But it's that old saying... 'You can't judge a book by its cover'...

I'm afraid this review is going to read more like an autopsy report than a musical review.

I've literally nothing good to say about this benchmark of awfulness which was recorded in the 'prog peak year' of '72.

Like most folk, I don't know much about 'Gnidrolog' other than that they're Welsh. But I do know what I don't like. And I'm about to listen to it for another 40 wasted minutes...

Everything I hate about 'prog' is carried out with gay abandon on this recording. Overblown sentimentality, feeble wobbly vocals and straight drumming run rampant throughout this nonentity of ineptitude.

Downbeat to the point of torpor, this is prog by numbers - so run-of-the-mill it's beyond belief. Colin Goldring sounds like he's being given car battery electric shocks to his tongue as he wails and whines through interminably hippy-like forgettable tunes.

The intensely soppy "I could Never be a Soldier' - sets the scene where I find a strange shrinkage of my neck - as if my shoulders are in vain reflex trying to cover my ears for protection. I'm left contemplating World War I in my mind as Goldring 'sings' and leaves me furiously thinking that I could have been stuck in a trench in the Somme with this guy whimpering into his hankie. We'd all have been blown to pieces in 5 minutes with characters like this surrounding us. Actually, come to think of it, we were even without him... Damn...

The longer this album goes on the more it sounds like a slow puncture on a bicycle wheel slowly deflating. A woefully run-of-the-mill recording with no merit whatsoever. Musically bereft of originality coupled with a very weak vocalist makes this one of the poorest and most irritating recordings I've ever heard.

Report this review (#1005323)
Posted Thursday, July 25, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Gnidrolog is one of the bands that I really can't get into their music from the first listning. Lady lake issued in 1972 is considered one of the best eclectic prog from ealy '70s. While is ok most of the time this folky jazz/blues type of music doesn't mesh very well to my ears. Something between VDGG eclectic parts with folk passages remind me of Jethro Tull first period around Benefit, horn instruments added in the mix - Lady lake is nothing close to masterpieces as many pretend to be, really, is an ok album with only one great tune, the opening I could never be a soldier, the rest are good but nothing impressive at all. All in all decent and hardly essential, at least to me. 3 stars, nothing more nothing less.

Report this review (#1031049)
Posted Monday, September 9, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Despite Gnidrolog's very sweet approach, I really like their second album, Lady Lake. The easy description of this music is that Gnidrolog sounds like the Wishbone Ash guys singing over (a particularly harmonious and restrained) King Crimson. Although the vocals are a bit too playful at times--the refrain in Ship is pure pop--and some of the final sections of their songs could use more compelling development rather than merely repetition with sound effects (Social Embarrassment), the songwriting is solid, and the album is loaded with infectious horn parts that have a lot of swagger and clever surprises (such as the disjunct vocals melodies in the verses of Social Embarrassment). I tend to prefer much heavier or more symphonic stuff than the type of progressive rock these guys play, so my ability to enjoy this album so much reflects well upon their craft and art.
Report this review (#1082841)
Posted Thursday, November 28, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is exactly the kind of progressive rock I like to listen to. Flute, guitar, drums, horns, etc. Reminds me of Gentle Giant, Barclay James Harvest, Jethro Tull, Jezda Urfa, Cressida, Caravan and the likes. Not in the vein of the Canterbury sound, but very eclectic and incorporating many, many different styles.

Playful melodies, very tight interplay and outstanding musicianship. Both albums of this band rate very high for me. Of course this kind of music can never reach commercial heights, that will be the reason the band quit after only two albums. But am I glad they at least recorded what they did.

On top of what I already wrote I love the calmer parts, it has a certain folkish and pastoral feel here and there, partly because of the fluteparts.

Report this review (#1772144)
Posted Thursday, August 17, 2017 | Review Permalink
4 stars GNIDROLOG were a British Prog-Rock band with a sound that is somewhat hard to define, so they've inevitably found themselves in the Eclectic Prog section of Prog Archives. The band were most notable for not including a keyboard player in their line-up. So, how did they come up with that bizarre bandname? Well, a little bird called Google tells me that they mixed together the letters of the band members names (a bit like Scrabble) and arranged them to form the name Gnidrolog, which just happens to sound like a fantasy world inhabited by goblins, elves and trolls. Their first album, the bizarrely-named "In Spite of Harry's Toenail" (1972) passed by vitually unnoticed at the time of its release and this album "Lady Lake" (1972) didn't fare much better either. The "Lady Lake" album with its distinctive album cover, is by far the better-known of the two albums and it's now gained something of a cult following with the advent of the Internet. The band broke up shortly after the release of "Lady Lake", due to disappointing sales, but they made a comeback with a third album "Gnosis" 27 years later in 1999. A remastered CD version of "Lady Lake" was released in 2012 with a bonus track added to the original six songs on the album. So, without further ado, let's step into the fantasy world of Gnidrolog.

We begin with the anti-war song, "I Could Never Be a Soldier", the longest song on the album at over 11 minutes long. It's a proggy folky number, sounding like a cross between Van Der Graaf Generator and Jethro Tull, so if you like those two bands, then you'll probably like this band too. In fact, the singer sounds remarkably like Peter Hammill of VDGG and there's an accomplished flautist very much in the mould of Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull. The horn section, particularly the tenor sax, also reminds one of VDGG, so any fans of Van Der Graaf Generator will feel right at home with this offbeat album. Sailing on now with "Ship", another song with the sound of the tenor sax very much at the forefront. This uplifting and upbeat 7-minute-long piece of music is a real highlight of the album. This is exuberant and exhilarating music, which will transport you back in time to those heady and wonderfully proggy days of the early 1970's. We come to the end of Side One now with a short and sweet gentle ballad, "A Dog with No Collar", a sad and maudlin acoustic number, which might bring a tear to the eye, but don't get too sentimental, because we still have Side Two to come yet.

Side Two beckons us with the 9-minute-long title track "Lady Lake", which, dare I say it, does sound slightly discordant in places, but that shouldn't put off fans of Van Der Graaf Generator, as this is precisely the kind of experimental and Jazzy rock we've become accustomed to hearing over the years from VDGG. Yes, this track is definitely in VDGG territory, so you'll know pretty much what to expect here. You might even hear elements of Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" in this song if you listen VERY carefully. We're in romantic balladeer mode for the next song, "Same Dreams", a beautiful piano piece with these emotionally- wrought and heartfelt lyrics:- "We share the same dreams, the same hopes, the same cigarettes. They said we had a lot of growing up to do, Well I've done some without you, But I wish that you could have been here, And I wish that you could have been here, Yes I wish that you could have been here too." ..... Yes, it's an emotionally appealing good old-fashioned love song where the singer unashamedly pours his heart out to the listener in time-honoured tradition. You can put the hankie away now though, because the final song "Social Embarrassment" is a raucous and rambunctious uptempo number. The song barrels along at full-pelt with the horn section in full flow for six and a half minutes of lively and energetic, bright and breezy Jazz-Rock. A suitably uplifting finale to a superb album.

A Prog-Rock album with elements of Jazz and Folk which should appeal equally to fans of Van Der Graaf Generator and Jethro Tull. If you've listened to all of your VDGG albums over and over again and you want something in a similar style, but at the same time, a little bit different, then this could be just the album you're looking for. It *almost* sounds like a missing VDGG album from the classic early 1970's era. "Lady Lake" is a worthy addition to the progosphere, so dive in and give this memorable and long-lost album treasure a listen.

Report this review (#2287537)
Posted Sunday, December 15, 2019 | Review Permalink
5 stars A masterpiece of the definitive year of progressive rock. If there is a band that did not deserve to be forgotten and put out more albums to continue finding its legitimate sound, it was the precious Gnidrolog. The name is very funny as it is a kind of mirror of the singer and rhythm guitarist Goldring. The songs are all spectaculars, but the one that opens the album is the definitive jewel of the band. "I Could Never Be A Soldier" is one of the most beautiful symphonic rock songs I have ever heard in my entire life. For starters, the title is already beautiful and defines what the listener awaits. A smooth but honest guitar begins the record, and then gives rise to the oboe to make it clear that he will be starring in the song and in the album. Goldring's voice at first seemed tepid, lacking in strength and hope, but little by little I understood and enjoyed it more and more. Obviously, I backtracked quickly. The lyrics of this song are so wise, so direct... I have no doubts that if it had been in single format and lasted 3 or 4 minutes it would be today a hit and a song that would happen in schools, but since it is progressive rock, they have left it in oblivion. There are few songs within this symphonic world that reflect for all ages the malice of violence, the cruelty of throwing lives overboard as if they were breadcrumbs to doves. "I could never face the enemy, he looks just like you or me." Simply fantastic. This song is already a big step towards becoming fond of the band at first sight and continuing to enjoy this work. There are sweet, well-composed songs like Lady Lake or Ship. I will always recommend this.
Report this review (#2600327)
Posted Thursday, October 7, 2021 | Review Permalink

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