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Ajalon - Light At The End Of The Tunnel CD (album) cover

LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL

Ajalon

Symphonic Prog


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Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Neither lamish artwork nor band's category here won't give you a glimpse of what they are.AJALON is good EARLY HOGARTH-ERA MARILLION CLONE. Actually, some pieces are TOTAL rip-offs - "Girl on a Swing" sounds exactly like "Easter", the same chords and harmony,but played in 4/4 instead of 6/8...the absence of ripped 5/8 part should probably prove that band has its own distinguishable face...Nope. The title track is a result of mixing "Berlin" and "Holloway Girl" together; ending of "The Long Way Home" 18-min epic features "Hooks in you"-like and even "Market Square Heroes"-like bits; opener is an expected "Splintering Heart"/"A King os Sunset Town"-related type of song...and so on. Other tracks can be close to other MARILLION's ones too, in the same 89-91 vein, sometimes also PENDRAGON/SHADOWLAND-like. So why 3 stars to a clone band you'll ask? I just DEEPLY LOVE that poppish kind of Neo, including mentioned bands...so for a fan like me it would be a 5-star release.Though the whole level of THIS work and some remains of undimmed mind of mine resulted to 3 stars. Recommended after all
Report this review (#110015)
Posted Wednesday, January 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I DON'T SEE ANY LIGHT AT THE END OF THIS TUNNEL

I wonder why this band sits in the symphonic prog category. At times, this is rather misleading. Their fully seventies/eighties-oriented music makes them fully neo-prog IMO.

Inspiration is based on Genesis and Yes during The Illusion Of Permanence and is little inspired for most of the album. Of course, the music is pleasant and should not hurt any sensibility; except that this work doesn't sound very personal.

For a change, To Fly With You holds some Dire Straits connotations. Is this really what we need???

When you start to listen to this record, the opening track doesn't leave a blue print but after having digested a few more ones, you might well think that it was probably the best available (the worse IMO is the Christian oriented Commonwealth). But most of the tracks have this Christian texture which is not my cup of tea. No wonder that Neal Morse will join them for their second release. Mixing religious thoughts and music is not what I prefer.

If ever you would assume that the epic song is coming at the rescue and will save this average album, I'm sorry to say that your expectations will NOT be fulfilled. This is indeed a long Marillion Mark II type of songs, which means.Well, you know what I mean.

It is not the first time that I have been disappointed with such US based bands. Maybe they passed on the word, just to annoy me? Can't be serious!

Two stars.

Report this review (#183813)
Posted Saturday, September 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars 2.5 stars really...

AJALON are a US-based prog band formed in spring 94' in Seattle.Marked by Rick Wakeman,they were signed by his label Hope Records and released their debut ''Light at the end of the tunnel'' in 1994.The album had exclusively christian-inspired lyrics and is a decent effort of song-oriented neo/symphonic prog with pop leanings....but personally I find it quite monotonous that all tracks follow a typical song-format,though the vocals are very sensitive and musicianship is strong with obvious influences being KANSAS and late 70's-early 80's YES.There are also some nice instrumental sections with good arrangements and deCent keyboard parts,but most part of them are spoiled by the ballad-like mood of the album.Not exactly a recommended release,fans of GLASS HAMMER or anyone searching for a lighter side of KANSAS might a good time with this one...

Report this review (#211623)
Posted Saturday, April 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars Marillion between Kansas and is the sound of Ajalon, their appearance causes the pop band has a certain identity, but what strikes me is that the pop side wins the group. Little complex and anything psychedelic. Particularly love this album, but not on my list of albums prog. Median arrangements and great musicians, it seems that the band has some risks. The only tracks the most exciting prog to a good listener are "A Thief in the Night " and "The Long Road Home. " If you do not mind listening to a pop / progressive can get without fear, if not, or regardless to close this pseudo light.
Report this review (#404000)
Posted Sunday, February 20, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars 'Light At The End Of The Tunnel' - Ajalon (2/10)

Yet another album I have found as a result of my search for hilariously bad records, Ajalon's debut 'Light At The End Of The Tunnel' was recommended to me on the basis that it was the worst symphonic prog rock album ever made. Naturally, I would reserve my declaration of such a prestigious title until after I had thoroughly digested the album. Now, while I have not yet become an expert on this style of progressive music, Ajalon's debut sits at the bottom of the barrel. 'Light At The End Of The Tunnel' is equal parts sappy sweetness and shallow depth, not unlike a child's birthday party at the local swimming pool. What may have been conceived as an earnest tribute to the work of Marillion and Yes comes out as a ridiculous example of everything that can go wrong with the style, and like everything else that's too sweet, I end up feeling sick by the end.

Ajalon's sound comes off as a bleak budget rendition of some of prog rock's most legendary and enduring acts, specifically Marillion. The classic bands like Yes and Genesis are still loved today because they were able to merge complex instrumentation with warm emotions. Ajalon cannot be blamed for the sake of not trying to tackle that goal, but the music comes across as being neither complex, or particularly moving. The band's sound and skill would not sound out of place at a rec centre or church recital. The musicians are not necessarily poor, but the performance sounds one-dimensional and there seems to have been little to no effort made to give the instruments and interesting sound. The basic clean guitar tone sounds like it could have been plucked out of a teenage pop song and the keyboards are a worse offender, sounding more like a ridicule of prog rock, rather than an honest representation of it. Whether its the soggy dramatic dialogues of the final 'epic', or the Radio Disney-worthy stinker 'To Fly With You', there aren't many strengths riding on the side of 'Light At The End Of The Tunnel'.

Vocalist Will Henderson's performance is probably the strongest aspect of the band. While his voice falls flat a few times too often, he bears a resemblance to Marillion vocalist Steve Hogarth, and he is able to lead most of these songs on passably. The lyrics are another matter altogether. Ajalon makes it blatantly clear that they are a Christian band, and their lyrics seem geared solely to either appease the religion's followers, or haplessly convert godless prog fans. If Ajalon's debut was the one representative that Christianity had to spread their influence, I would take immediately to donning the corpse paint and burning down churches. As one sappy spoken word section puts it so delicately, Ajalon "is destined for mediocrity".

Report this review (#585430)
Posted Friday, December 9, 2011 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars No holy smoke without spiritual fire

The history of Ajalon goes back to 1994 when they started to write music together. In 1996, Rick Wakeman heard a demo tape and was impressed enough to sign the band to his own Christian record label Hope Records on which Ajalon released this debut album. Ajalon is a trio consisting of Randy George, Will Henderson and Dan Lile. While far inferior to their second album On The Threshold Of Eternity, Light At The End Of The Tunnel is a good, if somewhat immature, album. The strongly religious lyrics might turn some people off, but even me (who is a committed atheist) can look past this and enjoy the music for what it is. Anyone who is able to stand Neal Morse (who made a guest appearance on the band's next album) should have no problem with Ajalon.

What we have here is a set of fine, melodic but rather low key songs. The music is progressive but not in any way original. Female backing vocals and saxophones make discrete appearances in a couple of songs, but the focus is on acoustic and electric guitars, modern keyboards, bass, drums and male lead vocals.

While enjoyable throughout, it is hard to pick out any standout tracks. The music is good but not very memorable. I would recommend starting with the very good On The Threshold Of Eternity.

Report this review (#604688)
Posted Saturday, January 7, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars 7/10

Well, this was a surprise. And yes, it was better than I expected.

Like many, I came Ajalon by Randy George, best known for his work in solo career Neal Morse.Se you notice, both artists have some similarities in their music, and I'm not talking about the fact that they are Christians . Oh, and if you despise the band because they are Christians, please review their concepts of musical taste. Yes, I am a Christian, and support any Christian band that plays progressive rock and / or similar.

But I'm not giving my rating just for the "mercy" or something. Although, strangely, my first listening was superior to the others, this album still some fomra captivating. The sound is poppy and keyboards seem to have come out of the 80s, but this is a work worthy of attention than the best received here on the website.

3.5 stars, rounded up.

Report this review (#948847)
Posted Wednesday, April 24, 2013 | Review Permalink

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