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Eela Craig - Symphonic Rock  CD (album) cover

SYMPHONIC ROCK

Eela Craig

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Proghead
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This CD basically packs both "One Niter" and "Hats of Glass" on to one disc, but due to space constraint, one song from both albums are unfortunately ommitted, that is "Venezuela" from "One Niter" and "Caught on the Air" from "Hats of Glass". If you want everything, you'll have to buy the original LPs, or the Korean CD reissue of "One Niter" on Si-Wan ("Hats of Glass" by itself never made it as a CD reissue, so you can only get the complete album on LP).

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Send comments to Proghead (BETA) | Report this review (#30304)
Posted Sunday, May 02, 2004 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The often overlooked Austrian progrock band EELA CRAIG epitomizes the whole Austrian progressive movement. The music on the great compilation-CD "Symphonic rock" (including the songs from the albums "One Niter" and "Hats of Glass") is hard to compare, maybe some hints from RICK WAKEMAN solo, ELOY, PINK FLOYD and CAMEL can be traced. The melodic and harmonic music from EELA CRAIG is build upon beautiful interplay between four members with their keyboards (ranging from soaring strings and bombastic choir- Mellotron to the typical sound of the Fender Rhodes electric piano, sensational Moog flights, swinging clavinet and powerful Hammond organ runs) and sensitive and howling electric guitar play. The moving compositions sound warm and are coloured with lots of instruments, from the aforementioned keyboards to flute, acoustic guitar and assorted percussion. Wonderful symphonic rock that deserves more attention, especially 'Tron- maniacs' will be delighted about the omnipresence of this unique keyboard.

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Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#30305)
Posted Saturday, October 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog-Folk Team
2 stars One of only a handful of Austrian progressive bands, EELA CRAIG, at least on this CD release of their 2nd and 3rd albums (less one track each) straddles the lines between symphonic, fusion and Canterbury, which promises a hearty musical mulligan. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find the right volume at which to appreciate EELA CRAIG. If it's down low I turn it up thinking that I am missing something, but soon enough I consider whether lower was better after all.

This just isn't very captivating very often, Caravan-era CAMEL did a better, albeit not stellar, job of blending these styles, and also struck a better balance between vocal and instrumental. Of course there are teutonic references at work as well, thinking of JANE and GROBSCHNITT in their mellow moments. At times the music does awaken from its stupor, usually in the form of an overly shrill and extended lead guitar solo which hovers about the same few notes. This dichotomy diminishes even the best of the lengthier pieces, like the NEKTAR influenced "Loner's Rhyme", in which the sparkling flute and vocal melodies, and an even better guitar solo, are derailed by incompatibly harsh themes. In "Way Down" is even less "together", and it is supposed to be the epic. Both "Hats of Glass" and "Holstenwall Fair", originally from the later album, are even weaker. The less said about the disco-ey guitars of "The Nude" and "V.A.T", the better.

Still, if you like mellotron and aren't picky about contextual issues, you may enjoy this, especially the ambient opener "The Mighty", but its main tune is too close to the old Soviet anthem for me. "Morning" and "Benedictus" are intriguing short mellow-tronic instrumentals, the latter sporting a rather sophisticated classical influence that should have been better developed. One of the strongest vocal cuts is "Grover's Mill", a traditional prog ballad, again swamped in mellotron. "Heaven Sales" is a more energetic song with an almost poppy Canterbury feel - OK it reminds me of someone else whom I can't recall. It works because of the skilled instrumentation and contrast to the rest of the CD.

While on paper this might get rounded up to 3 stars, I can't be quite so generous because there really isn't alot to draw me back to E.C. Competent and worth a listen especially for fans of the genres, it really has all the staying power of a one nighter for me.

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Send comments to kenethlevine (BETA) | Report this review (#250017)
Posted Wednesday, November 11, 2009 | Review Permalink

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