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Mike Oldfield - Crises CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield

Crossover Prog

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5 stars You get the complete Mike Oldfield package here with a certain Mr. Jon Anderson dropping in to lay down a vocal track which he wrote the lyrics for as well. Oldfield is in top musical and compositional form with 5 vocal tracks a short but sweet instrumental and the 21 minute showpiece title track where we also get to hear him do vocals.

Oldfield was uncompromising with talent selection and engineering on this flawless masterwork. Most notable guest player on the album is drummer Simon Philips who had up to that time played with everyone from Pete Townshend to Jeff Beck. His contributions to this project are most apparent on the main piece Crises where he and Mike partake in an excellent drum bash.The piece is synths and drums all the way with the synths stating the main theme and the drums offer accents throughout. Not one minute is wasted and we are treated early on to Tubular Bells era soft tone guitar sounds on this eloquently layered piece with absolutely no grey areas.

The series of vocal tracks which constitute the first section of the album (side 1 on vinyl) are shared by Maggie Reilly, a previous Oldfield collaborator, power vocalist Roger Chapman ( ex Family ) and our friend Mr. Anderson. Sort of reminds one of the time he popped in on an early King Crimson record. Master of ceromonies Oldfield assigns their tasks with undoubtable skill. Maggie Reilly gets the softer tracks with some heavy themes which explore intrigue, desperation and indescision. Shadow On The Wall, the heaviest song is belted out quite capably by Roger Chapman previously with Family in the early seventies. In High Places is Mr. Anderson's responsibility who aquits himself equally well out of his Yes element. The icing on the cake on this one is the instrumental track with Mike doing the spanish guitar thing with an Oldfield twist on Taurus III.

All in all a very rythhmical and layered work with Mike Oldfield at the top of his game surpassing everything since Tubular Bells. Listen to this album with high expectations.

Report this review (#28380)
Posted Tuesday, April 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Crises" has an epic progressive-new age track (around 20 minutes), and 5 short more pop tracks mostly with lead vocals. The long track is full of miscellaneous instruments, and the keyboards are in many bits really echoed floating streams. Their sound, combined with the electric guitar high notes, is crystal clear and sometimes exotic and romantic. Drums, vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, percussions, everything on this track ("Crises") is delightful from beginning to end.

You can listen to one of the best all time female singer, Maggie Reilley, on the catchy "Foreign Affair" and "Moonlight Shadow". Jon ANDERSON appears also on one track ("In High Places). "Taurus 3" is a beautiful instrumental track made of fast acoustic guitars and drums.

Report this review (#28377)
Posted Monday, April 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars One of Mike's better 80's albums.The side long title track has some excellent hard rockin drom Simon Phillips (who also produced) and allows Oldfield to explore his heavier side.The rest of the album is actually avery nice collection of songs including the popular 'Moonlight Shadow' featuring greet vocals from Maggie Reilly and the politically inclined 'Shadow On The Wall'.Good to hear Roger Chapman again.Overall this is decent stuff but only the first side will appeal to prog fans I feel.
Report this review (#28381)
Posted Tuesday, May 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Crises managed to stem the flow between commercial and "progressive". Here was overall a very good production of both instrumental and short pop type songs. He collaborated with the likes of Jon Anderson and Maggie Riley. Taurus 3 has some great guitar work too . I scratch my head in amazement that some reviwers find this album garbage when it ideally struck the best balance of Oldfield's albums in terms of good quality short compositions and one long track, ' Crises'. " In High Places" with Jon Anderson on vocal is IMHO one of Oldfield's best short song/collaboration work.
Report this review (#28382)
Posted Friday, June 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars One of the stronger Oldfield albums from the 80's, again with a main epic domenating the album. The title track ranks among Oldfield's better epics and features an amazing climax at the end, while the rest of the piece centers mostly around the theme of different crises happening. It's a tense and melodic journey. The rest of the pieces are far more mainstream but melodic at the same time, including the far overplayed "Moonlight Shadow" which have more or less plagued radio listeners around the world for decades already. The rest of the pieces are even with the mandolin rocker "Taurus III" being a standout, and a notable guest vocal by Jon Anderson of Yes on "In High Places".

Very good album that have followed me since I was a kid. The title track is still outstanding to me!

Report this review (#28385)
Posted Sunday, December 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Making a drama out of a crises?

"Crises" is an album of two sides, especially in its original LP format. On the one side, we have the more "traditional" Oldfield side long offering of the title track. It is not traditional so much in terms of the music however, which left many fans rather disappointed. The track at times has echoes of the second side of "Hergest ridge", but is generally rather disjointed and directionless.

The second side consists of five shorter tracks, which include some of Oldfield's most commercial pieces to date. While fans of his early albums were somewhat bemused, the two singles "Moonlight shadow" and "Shadow on the wall" gained significant singles success. "Moonlight shadow" is undoubtedly helped by the enormous vocal talent of Maggie Reilly (ex of Scottish band Cado Belle). Reilly's supreme rendition transforms the track into a pop masterpiece with Oldfield, while delivering some great guitar work, effectively taking the role of backing musician. Reilly also sings on "Foreign affair" which she co-wrote.

Jon Anderson guests on "In high places", a track which would have been right at home on one of his solo albums, indeed he contributes to the lyrical composition. The enormously under-recognised vocal talents of Roger Chapman of Family appear on "Shadow on the wall" which rounds off the album. The track is something of an acquired taste, but Chapman is clearly having fun. "Taurus III" is a peculiar, rather lightweight almost folk instrumental, which has sudden bursts of energy. It's wonderfully different though.

With "Crises", Mike was clearly looking to expand his horizons, and explore other musical directions. It is interesting that in order to do this, for half the album anyway, he chose to share the limelight with others, while simplifying the product considerably.

Other interesting facts, Phil Spalding who plays bass on "Crises" and "Moonlight shadow" was in GTR. Anthony Glynne, who plays guitar on two tracks, was in Asia at one time, and also Rick Wakeman's English Rock Ensemble. Jon Anderson has also been singer with a prog rock band.

Report this review (#28386)
Posted Thursday, December 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars One of the best Mike Oldfield albums after the early classics. Here progressive elements and pop accessibility meet fruitfully, and also the choice of guest singers is perhaps the best to find in Oldfield. Since Family is (strangely!) not presented in our archives, the raw larynx of Roger Chapman ('Shadow on the Wall') is not as known as it should. Jon Anderson fits well to 'In High Places', and who wouldn't enjoy the simple pure pop ballad 'Moonlight Shadow', Maggie Reilly's finest moment? The two remaining tracks of 2nd side - speaking of the original LP - are another Reilly song featuring Pierre Moerlen on vibes, and acoustic guitar dominated 'Taurus 3'. But the jewel on the top is the epic title track, a great composition that combines prog and New Age. The latter is a bit misleading term if it makes you think of soft synth carpets and lack of solid percussion. No, the keyboard-oriented Crises is full of crisp energy and drummer Simon Phillips puts his best. Not many veteran made this good albums in around 1983.
Report this review (#28389)
Posted Tuesday, May 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
The Crow
4 stars Another very good album by Mike Oldfield, and one of his most famous too!

The tittle track it's pretty good, being the main melody a remake (because the 10th anniversary) of the most famous Tubular Bells melody, The Exorcist's one. Moonlight Shadow it's one of the most beautiful songs ever made, very very well known, although there's a lot of people who don't know it's Oldfield's... The guitar solo it's simply incredible!

In Hight Places has the collaboration of Jon Anderson, but it's not a great song, like Foreign Affair... But both Taurus III and Shadow on The Wall are remarkable songs, the last one with the collaboration of Family's Roger Chapman, who gives the song an extra quality...

Excellent album, with some mistakes, but it's definitely worth the listening!

Report this review (#49972)
Posted Tuesday, October 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Crises is a great album... for the 1980s.

Many of the synth sounds are distincly 1980s, with washes of Orchestral Manouevres in the Dark and other "electro-pop" bands of that time. "Crises", the track is interesting, because it's a side-long composition from a time when side-long compositions were an almost guaranteed commercial suicide attempt.

It's interesting to see Anthony Phillips given guitar credits - but there's not much here that bears his hallmarks, so fans of A.P. can safely overlook this album until they've collected everything else by him ;0)

There appears to be 1980s tatooed all over "Crises", which is a bit of a crises in itself, as there was much about that time that simply should not have happened, ever - like that cracking "biscuit-tin-filled-with-dried-peas" snare sound, the "orchestra hit" keyboard sound, over-chorused rhythm guitars and bass "hooks". All a bit Duran Duran really.

There is much about the title track that plain doesn't work, such as straight juxtaposition of conflicting ideas, and tangential changes - no, doing it twice to prove you meant it doesn't make it work better the next time.

However, as a portrait of the state of music at that time, this is an entertaining document, and certainly an album to investigate and make your own mind up about. It's certainly no masterpiece, but there are moments that you have to hang on in there for that are wonderfully ambient in unexpected ways and well worth the torment that you may endure in the first 10 or so minutes.

Oldfield also turns in some very tasty licks on the guitar... even though some sound like they may have been borrowed from Van Halen (no, really...), he manages to blend them in with percussion that makes them sound more like Steve Hillage or the Ozric Tentacles... or would have, if the bass drum had somewhat less reverb.

I find the main theme, when it returns, somewhat twee - particularly because of those synth sounds - but your mileage may vary. It's good to see that someone was constructing long compositions in the 1980s, but don't expect a return to the primal power and form of, say "Ommadawn", as the over-reaching feeling that this album gives to me is of being stuck in a particularly nasty soundwarp - but courageously attempting, to Mike's credit, to escape from it.

So, on to the short tracks...

"Moonlight Shadow" is a a well-crafted and reasonable, if somewhat repetitive pop song... not much else to say about it, apart from the Knopfler-soundalike guitar solo, which is a high point. It was a hit, I seem to remember.

"In High Places" begins with the unmistakable and highly irritating tones of Jon Anderson over-ennunciating and missing pitches in a most precise manner... You can almost hear the sincere smile on his face. And the music behind it is atrocious too - an ostinato set over a couple of chords, with a reasonably funky drum beat that could have been performed by a drum machine.

"Foreign Affair" is a much more pleasing song - but interesting is probably the only word for it. It has a tinkly ambience, which could conjour up a kind of magical atmosphere at the right kind of parties, but it's not a song that will keep you coming back, or one that you will analyse for its complexities...

"Taurus" begins with some nice Spanish guitar - typical of Oldfield's style, this is in the form of ostinato (short passages that are repeated), but he does introduce many of these, and builds up an interesting Spanish-flavoured little number that has me reaching for the Sangria whilst grabbing my Maracas...

"Shadow on the Wall" features the Daltrey-like vocals of Roger Chapman in a kind of radio-friendly FM Rock style number. It's not nice.

It's pretty hard to consider any of "Crises" as a Prog Rock album, although it's true to say that it is somewhat varied - and really, this will appeal to fans of Mike Oldfield (and possibly 1980s music' generally) alone.

Hence 2 stars - Collectors or fans of M.O. only. Listen with high expectations and you WILL be disappointed.

Report this review (#65326)
Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars If this only had Crisis, Moonlight Shadow, and Taurus on it, it would be a 5 star album. Especially the title track is Oldfield at his best. Evidently his first attempt at singing on a released recording. It's a twenty minute prog masterpiece. The driving force of this song is the pounding drums of Simon Phillips. He is amazing! Moonlight Shadow is as catchy a pop song as MO has ever written. And Taurus is really his best of many attempts at Spanish guitar. Regretably, the other songs are throw-away numbers. Songs that should have remained on the shelf, only to appear on "rarities & outtakes" records. Becuase of this, it's 3.5 stars
Report this review (#92261)
Posted Wednesday, September 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a great album from the revival of prog that occurred around 1983 before prog became the penultimate unfashionable music genre after disco. Oldfield was clever here giving one solid prog side and some hooks on the other.

Taking pride of place is the epic crises , one of the best epics ever written imho. It moves through a variety of moods and has some real drumwork unlike the machine work that was the trademark of this era.Moonlight shadow was something of a smash single and foreign affair is similar , good little pop numbers though a tad repetitive.John Anderson's cameo on In High Places adds some variety while Tauras 3 is an outstanding track.Given the year it deserves 5 stars if only because this was probably the best attempt to stimulate interest in a flagging genre .

Report this review (#93571)
Posted Friday, October 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A combination of music exploration and song-orientation

I have always said that music is emotion. When I talk about emotion it can be seen from two different angles: the musician or the listener. These two are the major stakeholders in music especially when it comes into music reviewing. For me personally there are music which I merely interpret from the perspective (angle) of the listener - which in this case I am representing one of million listeners; and there are music that I interpret from the perspective of the musician. To me, Mike Oldfield albums are most of them the kind of music that fall into the latter category. Oh yes, I think the music of Mike Oldfield most of them (not all, of course) do not touch my heart and my mind into deep - it's just at the surface area only. Don't ask me why because I myself don't personally know it very well. It could be because most of his compositions are not "song orientated" ones - the one with nice (or even touchy) melody plus excellent harmony. It does not necessarily mean that I do not enjoy the music. In this case, I always try to use the musician's shoes by imagining how he expresses his expression of emotion (of life experiences) into music. That has made life so wonderful ..

A music exploration .

Take an example the album title track "Crises" which I believe that most of you or even no human being who dares to say that this is a bad or even mediocre composition. Oldfield has successfully expressed his opinion of life experiences about crises into music with multi styles and changing tempos. Keyboard and its peripheral instruments were played by himself with Tama Drums (Simon Philips), bass (Phil Spading), some guitar (Ant, Rick Fenn). He tries to convey a message on crises through dynamic of music flows as well as lyrics where he does vocal work as well. In a nutshell I can say that this is not truly a song-orientated but it's more on exploration of his emotion and opinion, expressed in terms of lyrics, notes, chords and scales that make up a good music. With this perspective in my mind I can enjoy this track very well. "Taurus 3" is to me also a music exploration where Mike experiments the shift in tempo.

. and song orientation

However, this album does not merely contain the music exploration itself because there are some song-orientated compositions like "Shadow On The Wall" which has become one of my favorite Oldfiled's tracks. With powerful voice of Roger Chapman, Roger's voice really fits with Oldfield's music and in fact it has, in a way, characterized the music of Mike Oldfield. This track has a nice groove and melody. The harmony between guitar and drums is also good. "Foreign Affair" which features Maggie Reilly on vocal is another one. Jon Anderson of Yes also contributes in one track "In High Places".


For me, spinning this album is a joy - especially for a break after being bombarded with music of Jean Luc Ponty, John McLaughlin, Porcupine Tree DVD "Arriving Somewhere". Switching into Mike Oldfield gives me a new nuance. At album level, I can summarize that "Crises" is a good album with various styles and textures. It combines musical exploration as well as song-orientated composition. Mike Oldfield's music is unique and it can be said no music is alike this album. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#98280)
Posted Saturday, November 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars The first weak Mike Oldfield album appeared in the 80s'. "Crises" consists in one 20 minutes long progressive piece and five short pop rock songs. The record has its moments, but sounds mainly cheesy and marks the artist's decline in the aforementioned decade.

The self-title epic starts well with a quite pleasant electronic atmosphere, to go on with energetic catchy and pulsing guitars. The first third of the song is impeccable. No problem with that. After things go worth... The rest of the tune is rather lazy and flat. Then arrives the inevitable soppy ballad "Moonlight Shadow", and a track featuring Jon Anderson on vocals, "In High Places", which seems to search itself but unfortunately does not succeed. "Foreign Affair" contains pretty interesting passages and an enjoyable melody. The next song, "Taurus 3", is flamenco-oriented but fails to really lift off. The disc concludes with its best track, the rocking and pounding "Shadow On The Wall".

The new track from the VL 2262 release, "Mistake", lasts not very long but is really catchy and truly rocks!

Crises is an uneven release from Mike Oldfield. It's a pity because good passages are worth the listen, but a large portion of the disc is below average.

Report this review (#117736)
Posted Monday, April 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I guess I’m among those few who had heard Oldfield’s any other work before Tubular Bells; And among fewer who think that Crises is the best he has ever done… No, don’t get me wrong, I think that all Mike’s seventies albums are essential to love, but anyway… I feel something special in Crises. It hooks me from the first note and keeps my ears, mind and heart bent for almost forty minutes. I don’t know why exactly but it does.

Alright, let’s discuss track by track:

1. Crises – This Epic takes whole A side. Of course the length from Oldfield doesn’t surprise, but It’s completely different from TB or anything else. It starts with a very beautiful theme and then progresses in many others. The passages range from mellow folk to hard rock and they combine so organically that I’m left with open mouth every time I listen to that. Note a small vocal part which is sung by Mike himself. And at the end the beginning theme culminates… To put it short, a masterpiece. 2. Moonlight Shadow – I think this song needs no comment. Absolutely brilliant. One of the most beautiful songs ever written. I’d call Mike Genius even if he had written this only song in his life. And yeah, I’d call Maggie Reilly an Angel. 3. In High Places – Jon Anderson sings here and it tells everything. The song is kind of reggae-ish but also has a very cosmic, trippy feeling. 4. Foreign Affair – Maggie on spotlight again. Very, very nice song. With a good melody and hypnotic refrain at the end. 5. Taurus 3 – Take a small guitar lesson from Virtuoso! 6. Shadow On The Wall – A rocker. And guess who sings? Roger Chapman! Yes the good old guy from Family. Song is about tragic events in Poland happening in early 80’s. Mr. Chapman sings it with a burst of feeling and passion. Great Stuff!

Resume: In my humble opinion, this is Oldfield’s most beautiful work. Here he achieves an ideal combination of simple and complex. And what is the most important, melodic side is flawless. I wholeheartedly recommend this album as a starting point for Oldfield newcomers and Progressive Rock newbies in general.

Rating? six from five!

Report this review (#124118)
Posted Thursday, May 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars The best-known and most successful of MIKE OLDFIELD'S phase two albums, this isn't quite up to the standard of 'Five Miles Out', but is certainly a high quality blend of progressive and pop music.

Those who find the eighties sound (overproduced, sharp-edged, with reverb, dated synths and the like) abhorrent ought to read no further. This album will do nothing to change your opinion. Personally I'm quite comfortable with the sound of the eighties, of which I view this album as one of the highlights. The version I'm familiar with has the twenty-minute title track on side 1 and five shorter tracks on side 2, though my version of 'Taurus 3' is only two and a half minutes long. I do have the US version, but seldom play it: the track 'Mistake' is exactly that (like so many of OLDFIELD'S singles) and I prefer the running order of the original version.

The title track is dominated by rhythm. The talented session-man SIMON PHILLIPS (of TOTO, but don't let that put you off, the man can drum!) really lets loose in this track, and it is a rollicking ride. The track begins with a restatement of the original 'Tubular Bells' theme. 'Crises' was released ten years after 'Tubular Bells' and OLDFIELD celebrated this - the first of many, many times he reinterpreted this theme, and one of the most convincing. Within ten minutes we are exposed to a series of short vignettes, some of them bordering on heavy rock, and all of which feature excellent drumming. While lamenting the lack of prominence of the melodic MIKE OLDFIELD, I can only applaud the strength and passion of the sections here, particularly the two sections in which OLDFIELD sings, 'Crises' and 'The Watcher In The Tower'. Finally he has found a context in which his rough, undisciplined voice makes sense: it certainly doesn't gell with his normal sweet tunes.

The last ten minutes is a rhythmic tour-de-force, building to the inevitable (though somewhat abbreviated) climax. I don't see 'Crises' as having the quality of 'Taurus II', the long track from the previous album: the segues here are coarse and unsophisticated, and the pedant in me wants to shout at MIKE: 'you can't have a crises! The word's a plural!' But, as an eighties progressive piece, it would have penetrated the consciousness of more people than almost any other, given the popularity of the album. That has to be a good thing.

Side 2, comprising five shorter songs, two of which are soft-pop songs, is bound to be controversial on a site like this. But I'll argue strongly that, given the tracks are there, it's not responsible reviewing to dismiss them because of their genre. Instead, they should be reviewed on the basis of their quality.

On that basis, 'Moonlight Shadow' is outstanding. A memorable tune, sung by just the right voice, with truly excellent guitar work, and it doesn't outstay its welcome. Sadly, 'Foreign Affair' is at the other end of the scale: a song fragment extended to single length by monotonous repetition of the chorus. 'In High Places' almost works. JON ANDERSON does a good job, but his voice needs more support, Set alongside the highly polished 'Moonlight Shadow', the track seems underdone. 'Taurus 3' is a vigorous acoustic guitar fragment played twice, a necessary interlude before the outstanding 'Shadow On The Wall'.

MIKE OLDFIELD made many mistakes in his choice of vocalists in his pop-laden albums of the latter eighties, but choosing ex-FAMILY ROGER CHAPMAN was not one of them. What a superb voice, the sound of a cornered animal belligerent in defiance, surrounded by screaming guitars. The album version of this track is far too short: on my playlist I've replaced it with the widely available extended version, which is far superior.

This is not a classic progressive rock album in the '70s tradition, but it is well worth a listen by anyone prepared to keep an open mind about pop music and the sounds of the eighties.

Report this review (#138377)
Posted Saturday, September 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars As usual, Mike will invite some great guests to help releasing this album.

Some great vocalists will especially raise the level of this department. There is nothing to do: Mike is a great musician and composer, but in terms of vocals he is not really good. I wonder why he doesn't step back from singing and leaves this role to more talented persons like Jon Anderson during the passionate "In high Places". Such a contrast with these flat vocals during the epic track of this album.

The title track is another of these long pieces from Mike. I have to admit that this one sounds better than "Taurus II". Rocking jolly good it has also its quieter and more melodic moments. But like this entire album, sounds are more electronic oriented and at times it gets on my nerves.

Still, this piece should please any Oldfield fan but don't expect anything such as his greatest seventies works but an enjoyable new age song with some folkish moods. At times, there WILL be some Ommadawn influences.

The worse is being achieved with "Foreign Affair". A real bad song even if it features the great Maggie Reilly on the vocals. It is of course not her first appearance on Mike's work (she was passed on the torch by Sally for several albums already). Press next (sorry Maggie).

The closing number features the unexpected Roger Chapman on the vocals. This is a more rocking number. Somewhat AOR-ish, but again Roger is great in his performance. And I can't help to like "Moonlight Shadow" and the very fine vocal part from Maggie.

This album is definitely profiting of all these great guest vocalists and last but not least, Anthony Phillips is playing the guitar on each track.

Another good album from Mike. Not his best of course (but these times belong to the past) but a decent work in a decade that didn't see too much of these in terms of prog.

Report this review (#160194)
Posted Tuesday, January 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Crises? Well, in the purse maybe..

Mike Oldfield, an artist known for his long compositions, does what every artist has to do sooner or later: He goes for the money. It is not that he had some good-seeling albums, but some hits can never be wrong. YES, THEY CAN!

For someone like me who enjoys Oldfield's instrumental adventures (''Tubular Bells'' up to Incantations) this is a disappointment after about 20 minutes. The title track is one of the long tracks, build up on several themes. They fit all in one as a whole song. This song has so much to offer.. if this was widened on 40 minutes, we would have another close-to-5-star record by Oldfield.

But as mentioned before, there are the hits (felt literally). Maggie Reilly is not a bad vocalist. I admit she is doing a good job here (as Mike does with the shorter tracks), however, it is anything but related to progressive music. ''Taurus 3'' is an exception. This guitar piece is his fusion of beautiful melody and show- off, as he did not before. Well, nice.

Oh, never forget Jon Anderson doing some of the highest vocals in his career. Otherwise, this is nothing special. (Yes, you are right, up to now I did not mention the success of ''Moonlight Shadow''. Simple reason: success is no influence for a review to me)

This is a three-star for sure. Although, the song ''Crises'' saves this from two stars with low tendencies.

Report this review (#168747)
Posted Saturday, April 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars While Ommadawn is Mike Oldfield's best album overall, the title track of this album is in my opinion Oldfield's best individual song ever. He sings on this track himself and that really makes me wonder why he ever bothered to bring in other vocalists on his albums. He can sing just fine, I think.

While most of Oldfield's music is clearly progressive, I would say that the Crisis track is one of the few things he ever did that were truly progressive rock (with the emphasis on the latter term) - this 20+ minute song rocks harder than other Oldfield songs.

If the whole album was as good as this track, I would not hesitate to give this a four star rating. However, this album is grossly inconsistent. Having different vocalists, on different tracks on the same album (almost) never works! Moonlight Shadow and Shadow On The Wall (though both very good songs) could have been much better if Mike had sung them himself. There is nothing wrong with they way they are sung by Maggie Reilly and Roger Chapman but they are out of place here.

The remaining two vocal tracks, however, could not have been saved by anything. In High Places is a horrible disco flavoured song sung by Jon Anderson (and even if I love that guy his contribution here is not to my liking - to say the least! If you like Jon and Vangelis you will certainly like this song.) The very worst song on this album, however, is Foreign Affair which is an even more horrible disco tune sung again by Maggie Reilly. I skip this track on every listen!

The short instrumental Taurus 3 (has not much to do musically with neither Taurus 1 nor Taurus 2 though) is very good. It is driven by a very fast acoustic guitar and also has some louder bits that sound like 30+ guitars put on top of each other! A rather typical Oldfield experiment.

So the conclusion is that this album has one fantastic track, one good one, two ok ones and two horrible ones. I wish I could give this album four stars, but the unevenness stops me from doing that. Still, this is highly recommended for the excellent title track.

Report this review (#189791)
Posted Tuesday, November 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars The watcher and the tower/Waiting hour by hour

I've been waiting for a long time to make a review on this album, and finally, I can do it! I must say from the beginning that I enjoy very much the front cover from my CD: four objects one linked to another: Moon, man, water and the tower....and they are waiting and watching to one another; a whole philosophy can develop from this... Concerning the music from this album: again MO choose to split the album in two parts: first side-a long, epic and really crossover song in his unique and classic style, and the other part of the album-pop songs with some progressive influences. Crises is a very good song, showing all the musical influences Oldfield had created in his career by then. I enjoy very much the vocal parts, and from the minute no. 10 - the electronic and ambient part - excellent and to the point. Moonlight shadow is, perhaps, his most successful pop song ever. Maggie Reilly's voice is excellent. I couldn't imagine this song sung by other female. The best part of the album. Truly pinnacle! Nothing to remark on In high places, even if the famous Jon Anderson from Yes put his vocal prints here. Foreign affair is a nice short song with Maggie Reilly on vocals again.

Taurus 3 is the end of the trilogy Taurus from the former two albums: pure latino music influences on this instrumental song with powerful drums

Shadow on the wall is a pop-rock song, featuring Roger Chapman, former vocalist on Family. Good song overall, but a little too dull and simplistic. Generally speaking, Crises did not impress me very much, but in my opinion it's a good MO album and- very important- the existence of Moonlight shadow was the biggest blow that raised the rating of this album

Report this review (#194665)
Posted Monday, December 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars I am torn on this album between three & four stars, because I believe that the 20 + minutes title track deserves five stars on its own, with the rest of it varying between inspired and mediocre.

Crises is a cracker, with Simon Phillips on drums (previously very well known for his work with Pete Townsend and a tour with the Who especially) integrating well on deep and thundrous drums backing up a mainly keyboard orientated work, but with flashes of those inspired guitar bursts that only Oldfield can do. It is long, pure prog, and engages the listener from start to finish. I think it is amongst Oldfield's best work.

Of the rest, i.e. side two, Moonlight Shadow is simply a great single, and Maggie is on fantastic form. It's not prog, but a great pop single, and, like many great pop singles performed by prog artists, I am sure it brought many people to listen to music which they would not otherwise have done.

The Jon Anderson track, In High Places, will appeal to those who, like myself, have as much passion for his vocal solo work as inside Yes. It's a good track.

The rest I find insipid, with Oldfield even making a laughable play for the heavy metal market in his sleeve notes. I think that most, like me, will merely play the forst three tracks and then move on to another LP.

Overall three stars, if only to be honest in the disappointment of the second side.

Report this review (#200484)
Posted Saturday, January 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars While Oldfield had been mixing shorter and "pop" oriented tunes with side-long suites for several albums by the time of Crises, this marked the first time that the lighter material actually stole the show. For fans of Mike Oldfield the progressive artist, this is a sure sign of trouble.

The 6 compact tracks are uniformly excellent and, on my vinyl release, brilliantly sequenced. They showcase multiple facets of the man and his ability to squeeze the most out of the considerable vocal talents brought to bear. Maggie Reilly is back and sings on 3 tracks, all of which highlight her versatility and Oldfield's developing commercial sense. The mini masterpiece is the huge British hit "Moonlight Shadow", which is instantly catchy and engaging, but the hypnotic spell of the repetitive "Foreign Affair" should not be overlooked. "Taurus 3" is a sensuous guitar fest, while Jon Anderson takes the lead on the liltingly melodic "In High Places". For the requisite rough cut gem, try "Shadow on the Wall", even better in its 12" single version.

For me the title cut is the weakest "side-long" contribution of his career to that point. The first 8 or nine minutes are mostly excellent (the awful "Crises" vocal section notwithstanding), particularly the "Watcher in the Tower" segment and the following gentle instrumental part with synthesizers approximating and orchestral feel. The balance attempts to be a grand buildup in the style of Ommadawn but falls flat due to a mundane tune and numbingly repetitive sequences, even by Oldfield standards. It lacks the punch of "Platinum" and the charisma of "Taurus 2", without breaking any new ground.

Its huge commercial success notwithstanding, this 1983 album exposed MO's identity crises of the time, which would resolve itself for the worst as the decade wore on.

Report this review (#207102)
Posted Saturday, March 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Last year crisis possibly refreshed my interest to almost forgotten Crisis by Mike Oldfield. Possibly, just tried to find some differences :).

First composition is 20 + minutes long , melodic, sweet and is full of new age sound. OK, there are some short moments borrowed from Oldfield early works, but used just to fill space between new age frame.Simon Phillips drumming is great in places, however. Possibly, most proggy album composition ( mostly because of it's length). All the best 80-s traditions on polished sound could be found there.

Side B is easier for classification - you will find 5 really good pop songs there." Moonlight Shadow " was hit for years. Nice Maggie Reilly voice and some Oldfield rock guitar imitations. Catchy melody - what else you need for good pop song? "In High Places" demonstrates Jon Anderson's usual abilities ( could be easily placed on almost any Anderson solo album).

"Foreign Affair" is another hit and good pop song. "Taurus 3" is pop-world fusion based instrumental with Spanish touch and some interesting percussion.

"Shadow on the Wall" is the only album's rocker and strongest album song. I like Roger Chapman's vocal there,song's energy and really nice guitar work.

Overall, one of great pop albums from early 80-s. Catchy melodies, different songs, pleasant mix of folk,pop rock and new age. Just don't try to search progressive music there and you will be happy listening to this album. For good pop music lovers, around 2,5.

Report this review (#261944)
Posted Friday, January 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars This time the crisis is really over. Oldfield shed the burden of prog ambition and stayed clear from the new-age and folksy clichés he had repeated endlessly on the previous three albums. The result is very different from any of his other albums and sure brings in some rocking power and inspiration.

The title track is not the 20.40 minute prog epic it promises to be but it is a nice one nevertheless. It's pieced together from a couple of disconnected segments that mostly segue fluently into one another. At other times Oldfields needs an abrupt break to go from A to B though, so there's sure no compositional mastership as on Hergest Ridge or Ommadawn. There still are some traces of new-age left and right but not to a degree that they do much harm. Nothing like the prog-muzak that ruled the three previous albums. The finale of this track is a bit overproduced and too busy. It misses the punching impact it strived for by at least a mile.

The remainder of the album is made out of short pop songs of which at least two became international hits. I can't find much fault with them; mostly they are great tunes with a distinct sound and great performances. In High Places is my favourite, the new-age style exercise Taurus3 the weakest bit on the album.

Not a masterpiece of anything, it's a fine record nevertheless. 3.5 stars

Report this review (#278997)
Posted Thursday, April 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars A strange album for me. Because "Moonlight Shadows" is one of the more famous 80's songs (a generation evergreen!!!) but is a simple POP song and because this album is a true and pure POP album with invasive arrangements in beautiful songs. Mike Oldfield is in a magical solution of dissolution of ideas but since this fact is Mike oldfield's mind an album of POP songs by Oldfield is magical as a rose in North Pole! I love "Moonlight Shadows", a song that was already kidnapped me yet in 1983 and that now not have returned to me my soul. As this the perfect production transform a simple song as "Shadows On The all" is a pure masterpiece.

So, if I love this album, is also true that this album is only a POP album with tons of invedent arrangements that are the soul of the songs. Because this is Mike Oldfield.

Report this review (#346718)
Posted Wednesday, December 8, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars 6.5/10

Not exactly a crisis in music.

Crises, the eighth album by Mike Oldfield, maintains its characteristic sound of the 80s: a distance from the progressive rock albums in their 70's and an approach to pop music of that era.

This is far from his best work (a title I think it still belongs to Incantations), configured as an average album, and only that. But there are many highlights: the title track epic is a really cool 20 minutes which is mainly dominated by synthesizers and have the huge hit Moonlight Shadow (a very beautiful song sung by a beautiful singing voice). The rest is median (In High Places, Foreign Affair and Shadow on the Wall) or bad (Taurus 3).

3 stars.

Report this review (#521832)
Posted Monday, September 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars One of my favorite artists of all time, MIKE OLDFIELD has a vast number of albums, many of them of great quality some others more commercial oriented but at the end they have a good folk tendency. CRISIS is one of those commercial attempts that I enjoy a lot. He got the tendency of writing a very long epic instrumental song for the album and the rest short vocal pop oriented songs. The song CRISES is long and really good, with only a little vocal part. Then from the sung songs I think this album contains all my favorite songs of Mike Oldfield, starting with the beautiful innocent Moonlight Shadow, then the other favorite of mine is the one sung by Jon Anderson, High Places. Taurus 3 is a really good instrumental guitar song, then Foreign Affair is as well as innocent as Moonlight Shadow. Finally, the rock song Shadow on the Wall, sung by another classic Roger Chapman (Family) which has a good tendency, let's say a softer rock. Noteworthy, the participation of Anthony Phillips all the album, and of course Simon Phillips, great drumming, and Pierre Moerlen with percussions. I think CRISES and ISLANDS are the best albums of the 80's of Mike Oldfield.
Report this review (#1020424)
Posted Sunday, August 18, 2013 | Review Permalink
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
3 stars This album is an attempt to help broaden Mike Oldfield's listening audience. It is made up of one side of short, mostly vocal songs (on my copy there are 6) and one side is one long track, mostly instrumental.

The short songs are mostly decent, a few of them poppy but not too overwhelmingly cloying. Apparently "Moonlight Shadow" was a big hit in some countries and it sounds like a song that would have been a hit in the 80s. "Mistake" is another song in the same vein but only available on the North America version and it could have easily been another hit. One of the songs on this side has Jon Anderson from "Yes" doing a guest vocal. Jon shares writing credit with Mike on this song "In High Places" and it is one of the best vocal tracks on any of Mike Oldfield's albums, especially once the full instrumentation comes in. There is one instrumental song called "Taurus 3" which highlights some amazing acoustic and electric guitar work, but alas it is too short. Roger Chapman also guests on one of the vocals, but the song is quite underwhelming and probably the worst track on the album. Not a lot of interesting stuff, but at least it is well produced and the sound is great, so that helps make up for a lot.

Of course, the best track is the side-long title track "Crises". This is mostly instrumental except for a few mostly unnecessary vocals by Mike himself. Not a bad singer though, so I don't know what he didn't sing more, probably to concentrate on what he does best, instrumentation. "Crises" has everything in it that he is famous for, great instrumentation, composition, mood and meter changes, a very nice balance of sound and instruments with interesting rhythm throughout. I don't feel that there is a returning melody on this track which is fine, it is probably more of a continuous suite than anything, and it stays consistently good throughout the entire twenty minutes that it plays. This track is as good as anything essential that he has released including "Ommadawn", "Tubular Bells", or "Hergest Ridge".

The more pop oriented songs bring the essential-ness of the album down, but at least there is enough variety among the short songs to keep it all interesting. After the popularity of this album, Mike will release a follow up album to try to copy it's success named "Discovery". That album unfortunately fails in most every aspect because of poor production and sound quality and all uninteresting pop songs except for only one 12 minute instrumental. "Crises" proves that the mix of pop and prog can work where in contrast "The Discovery" shows you how to do it all wrong. If you have a choice, look for "Crises" as the better album. But if you are interested in what Mike's essential albums sound like, get one or more of the 3 essential recordings that I mentioned in the previous paragraph. As for this album, I consider it good but not essential. 3 stars.

Report this review (#1310908)
Posted Monday, November 17, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Here's one I remember fondly, I must have been around 17 or 18 years-old at the time, and as I was helping my mum unpack her shopping bags, I came across Mike Oldfield's 'Crises', a CD she'd bought as it was only a couple of quid and she'd loved it since her days of owning it on vinyl. I'd encountered Oldfield's music many times throughout my childhood due to both of my parents being fans, but it was upon hearing this album that this fledgling young progressive rock fan really started to properly appreciate his music.

The next day I went to the same shop and bought my own copy of the album.

Featuring a bit of a mixed bag of styles and influences, 'Crises' is based around its 21-minute title track, a song with plenty of rocking riffs and some interesting keyboard melodies. There are times when the song does tend to lag, but the first half of it is genuinely exciting stuff, full of energetic performances and some thrilling guitar work.

After this, there are five shorter tracks, and this is where the album truly shines. For starters, there's acoustic rockers such as 'Shadow on the Wall' and 'Moonlight Shadow', which would go on to be a huge hit for Oldfield, showing that there was definitely still potential for mainstream success after Tubular Bells. 'In High Places' (featuring Jon Anderson of Yes) and 'Foreign Affair' are both more slower tempo, synth-based pop songs, but do well to highlight just how versatile Mike Oldfield can be with his music.

'Crises' is a fairly underrated album in Mike Oldfield's discography, though perhaps my opinion is swayed by the fact that it's essentially the album that made me a fan. Either way, while I doubt there's many people who'd consider this one of his best, it's still a solid release, and well worth looking into if you're into progressive rock or 80's pop.

Report this review (#1779961)
Posted Thursday, September 7, 2017 | Review Permalink
4 stars I wanted to review this album for so long now, but it couldn't happen sooner: the plan was to start with subpar and average records and only then climb to the very top. I have a soft spot for "Crises" which is quite hard to explain, especially for a person more fond of his cryptic, progressive work than happy little tunes of the 1980s. Hopefully you'll see where I'm coming from after reading the whole thing.

"Moonlight Shadow" doesn't need to be introduced. Radiant, beautifully produced and flowing so calmly from the very first note - no wonder it reached the No. 1 pretty much anywhere west of Volga. What's more, "Moonlight" still receives significant radio airplay 35+ years later and for this reason it's grown weary for some. Instead of giving credit for innocent, perfectly delivered vocals, effervescent backing guitars or spot on soloing, we focus on its status in the 80s popculture, one of the more recognizable symbols of the era, and we're all a bit fed up with it. Can't blame anyone for thinking that way after dozens involuntary listens, but it's not exactly fair to let overexposure cloud our judgment. With fair treatment and a pair of good headphones, "Moonlight Shadow" holds up very well today.

"In High Places" features Jon Anderson on vocals - very welcome albeit unexpected addition! It's not the place to discuss fully all merits of his angelic voice; suffice to say he fits extremely well with airy, mesmerizing compositional style of Mike Oldfield, and even in this relatively simple song I sense enticing chemistry. Especially the latter part, where synthesizers take hold and we're heading out, all textures mesh really well.

"Foreign Affair" also relies on simplicity of the beat and gentle atmospheres. This one might be a hard pill to swallow, we're knee-deep in pools of softness and naivety and not much of it sticks. "Taurus 3" falls a bit short of its mighty predecessors, I admit; but aside from that it's such a nice display of Spanish guitar creativity, brimming with colorful passages and and impeccable articulation. I want some more, why just two minutes?

"Shadow on the Wall" concludes the 'shorties' section. This one draws heavily from "Five Miles Out" style: perfect blends of distorted and acoustic guitars, synthesized and organic timbres, all led by raspy Roger Chapman's (Family) vocals. This track makes good use of edgier sounds: it feels like a relief at this point because it satisfies my hard rocking inclinations. The tune is catchy enough to stay in your memory, although the chorus might be a tad overused.

All in all, we have a smashing radio hit, an acoustic wonder, two decent and one forgettable pieces on the B side. Quite good, perhaps on the "QE2" level, maybe a tad less adventurous (but in turn better produced). Sounds like an average material, eh? Not really! I omitted the title track, "Crises", on purpose.

And the reason is: I usually prefer leaving the Good Stuff until I'm done with the rest.

Granted, after tons and tons of listens this 20 minute mammoth lost a bit of its appeal, but it happens to any song you've had too much of. And I definitely did my best to kill this one in recent years. I just can't get over the infinitely pleasant and intriguing intro - a perfect use of synthesizers in my opinion, crafting such a mysterious and inviting atmosphere, and then following it with the main theme for the ages! The melodies so nice, drum kits thumping so convincingly, the 'strings section' providing so much joy; and that shining background, it all makes for a great promise.

And then we have that solitary bassline with twangy guitars on both channels, police sirens in the distance, crashing windowpanes, you remember that part? Or the next one when it all goes bananas with aggressive cross-picking, or Fripp inspired guitars at 5:25? The point is: good parts never take the backseat and before we're satisfied with the first idea, the second one rolls around; and the same happens with the third, fourth, and so on. I even happen to like the part with Mike singing "Crises, crises, you can't get away" constantly.

The epitome, the peak of this song enters the scene some 8 minutes in. Just look at the album cover and rediscover the dreams of your past, remember the times you were waiting for Godot to come, let those moments flow through you. The music is delightful, and it's all done with a bunch of perfectly aligned electric guitars and some synths. And then, the calm itself, this is beauty.

Now I'm past the 12 minute mark and wonder, how is it possible that one musician, time and time again came up with ideas - and atmospheres - that leave you happy and yearning at the same time, wandering along the coasts of British Isles from a different dimension, or maybe eras unexplored by modern man. Isn't it exactly what New Age music should hope to duplicate, as a genre? Those calm and transcendent moments when our souls try to reach further, or maybe reconnect with the places and times we're all coming from?

The main theme comes back and lays the foundation for mighty satisfying coda, full of drums and unadulterated joy, positive to the limits, magnificently joining all the ideas into one celestial body. I'm done!

I think the startling contrast between shorter songs and magnitude of the title track is Almost like a Statement from Mike Oldfield. The statement being: 'my new self sells records with radio hits, but I can still deliver big time, watch it!'. It's especially compelling on an album such as "Crises", where Oldfield cranks up simplicity and commercial appeal significantly. It's like a mini-era in itself, that time between "Crises" and "Earth Moving", when his records could be listened by your wife without eye-rolling and checking the clock every moment. "Crises" definitely offers the most of the bunch.

Certainly my praise for the title track may seem exaggerated, but I'm aware of its shortcomings, too. I know it's not in the league of "Ommadawn", "Supper's Ready" or "The Gates of Delirium", I realize it's full of synthesizers and that transitions between part A and B are suspicious at times. But the composition makes up for it on emotional level and I don't think anyone could duplicate that sound and approach. Plus, if we take into account "Crises" hit the stores in 1983, well, what are we expecting? Even Jethro Tull introduced Fairlight CMI at that point.

For me, "Crises" is a very pleasing and surprising album. Pleasing, because even the bland "Foreign Affair" isn't bad really and I enjoy qualities in every song. Surprising, because the title track has plenty to explore and brings together complexity with meditative atmosphere so well. For these reasons I'm willing to dish out a 4 star rating - a huge accomplishment for an 80s record.

Now I'll spin it once more, I need to wait with a 'watcher in the tower' and ponder a bit.

Report this review (#2219114)
Posted Thursday, June 6, 2019 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars I have some spare time to review one of my favorite albums of the 80s. As a YES fanboy, the main reason why I immediately went to buy this album just after released was a song featuring Jon Anderson, bt let's come back to it later.

I don't know if it has been the biggest commercial success of Mike Oldfield after Tubular Bells. Surely the two songs sung by Maggie Reilly were big hits back in 1983.

The album follows the format of Platinum: a side long track on side A and a bunch of shorter songs on the B side. The suite is effectively divided into two parts, but the use of sudden changes, clearly short different pieces of music tied together, as in Tubular Bells, is limited. Crises is a typical Oldfield's track, in which he likes playing every kind of instrument he can think of, but it's one of his things that I still like more. The lyrics are quite hermetic, I'd like to know their meaning.

Arrived to side B, you immediately find the big hit: "Monlight Shadow". Oldfield tried several time to resurrect the formula but this remains probably his most known song in the pop world. Easy listening excellently sung by Maggie Really, later also on Mason and Fenn's "Lie for a Lie". Her "r" is a distinctive thing.

Then comes the first reason why I have bought the album: "In High Places" is perfect for Jon Anderson's voice. Its lazy rhythm makes it one of the best things of the album. I didn't regret the purchase.

"Foreign Affair" I though was the B side of Moonlight Shadow's single. It's not at the same level , as it's more repetitive, but it's again Maggie Reilly. She spells it "Foveign Affaives". Also in this case, it gives the song a unique identifier. Only this couls have been the single's B side.

Another instrumental of the "Taurus" serie, "Taurus 3" is made for acoustic gutar. Primers wanting to try something a little more difficult have done, I think, a huge use of the tablatures. In the album's economy it's not just a filller, but I consider it a bridge to the closer.

Also Roger "Chappo" Chapman has a unique voice, with his vibrato. Probably only Francesco Di Giacomo from Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso had a similar vibrato. "Shadow on The Wall" is everything but a masterpiece, but Chapman's voice makes it interesting and, being more rock-oriented, it's a good closer for the album.

If it was released 10 years before, it would have probably been ignored, but looking at the albums released in the same year it actually looked like a masterpiece. Because of some love that I personally have for it, I go against the site rules assigning 4 stars instead of the 3 that objectively it would deserve.

Report this review (#2219124)
Posted Thursday, June 6, 2019 | Review Permalink

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