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WILLOWGLASS

Willowglass

Symphonic Prog


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4 stars Genesis meets Camel meets a man who knows his music!

This instrumental album by one man, Andrew Marshall (with a little help from Dave Brightman on drums), is quite frankly an excellent debut.

Of course the music is reminiscent of early Genesis and Camel but it is just that, not slavishly derivative. The compositions are fresh and superbly played. I have only had the CD a few days but I have plyed it repeatedly and found something new with each play.

I cannot wait for more form this new talent.

I can thoroughly recommend this album to all fans of good, old-fashioned prog. Buy, you will not be disappointed.

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Send comments to progadder (BETA) | Report this review (#41156)
Posted Monday, August 01, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is the all-instrumental debut album by talented multi-instrumentalist Andrew Marshall who lives in deepest, darkest Yorkshire. If you want to know what's inside, just take a look at the gorgeous artwork by Lee Gaskins, who is also responsible for the artwork on the Pilgrym CD ... a young woman in medieval dress sits beneath a gnarled tree in a lush green meadow, gazing dreamily into the distance ... with foxgloves, birds and butterflies ...

If you like classic 1970's English style prog then this could well be your next favourite album. The style ranges from Camel, early Genesis, with even a few nods to Floyd, and some fantastic soaring Latimer & Hackett-style electric guitar solos. The mellotron features throughout but never dominates. Highly recommended to those who like the English pastoral style of Anthony Phillips' The Geese & the Ghost.

WARNING!! it may be way too gentle and melodic for some ... but for those who want to wind down at the end of a busy day or to have elegant, soothing mood music to revive your weary soul and lift your heavy spirits ... try this one out and whilst your at it, buy a bottle of mead to be served chilled with sweet cakes and dainties ... Mmmmmm !

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Send comments to felona (BETA) | Report this review (#43737)
Posted Sunday, August 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars WOW, lots of Mellotron and sensitive electric guitar soli! I can make an extensive review but I keep it short (and I refer to the other two fine reviews): if you like mid-Genesis and early IQ or bands like Camel and BJH, I highly recomended this CD to you, what an amazing and often moving progrock experience this is and what a stunning appearance from the 'Mighty Tron'! And it's mainly made by multi-instrumentalist Andrew Marshall, with help from Dave Brightman on drums. Don't expect original or complex prog, just let yourself carry away by this very pleasant and melodic prog!

THIS IS A SPLENDID DEBUT CD!!

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Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#49904)
Posted Monday, October 03, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is an excellent debut album from the multi-instrumental Andrew Marshall. I bought this cd after reading the review on this site and it hit the spot right away. I love this album because it reminds me of the old good Genesis (don't forget it's an instrumental).

Every track are good if you like melodic, symphonic, English prog 70's way. I give 4.5 stars to this cd and it is a must for your collection if you like Genesis. POTS

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Send comments to pots (BETA) | Report this review (#71995)
Posted Wednesday, March 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
5 stars You are spot on POTS! I also bought this from Syn-Phonic subsequent to the review posted here, which proves again the inherent value of such a site (from Quebec , just like POTS and myself!: we are a hotbed of Prog , if you didn't know). I am quite bold in stating that this was 2005's top 5 progressive CDs, , as it relives some classic prog luminaries , on the mellower side such as Genesis, Camel and Focus. Not a big fan of one man shows (that often yield maudlin results), this recording was received in the mail with minimal anticipation so as not to be disappointed and I was simply in heaven!I strongly urge my fellow progsters to succumb to its highly obvious charm and likewise put the sleeve up on the mantel , as the artwork is quite revealing of the juicy content (remember when we used to buy vinyl LPs just based on the progressive artwork! Ah, those were magical days!) . Andrew Marshall is as adept on keys (strong Banks influence) as on guitar where the Latimer-Hackett-Akkerman inspiration serve as a launching pad for some timely and well turned flights. Precious, fragile yet grandiose stuff indeed. Exceptional tracks include: Remembering, Tower of the King and Waking with Angels . 5 nostalgic trons

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Send comments to tszirmay (BETA) | Report this review (#71997)
Posted Wednesday, March 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I love this album, Andrew should be very proud of it. The streamed song: Garden is an excellent example of what's in store so if you like that, then I would say the rest of the album is just as strong.

All the tracks are very melodic and heavily laden with mellotron choir and strings. There is also a good deal of flute that reminds me of Gabriel's efforts in early Genesis - well enough played but obviously not Andrew's first instrument.

Track 1 Peace is a short piano and mellotron/strings piece. Very nice though I wish it was blended into another song (not necessarily the next) a bit like Horizon's and Supper's Ready as the 5 second gap at the end slightly spoils the flow.

Track 2 Remembering starts with guitar against a piano and mellotron backdrop. There are sudden changes of mood when the tempo suddenly picks up at 1:45 and the piece is then dominated by a faster synth section and quite noticeable bass. Then at 4:05 it goes into twanging guitar against an acoustic guitar backdrop almost like a cross between David Gilmour and Chris Rea. The track winds down with more mellotron and flute - lovely!

Track 3 Garden You can hear for yourself. It starts with acoustic guitar and mellotron strings and flows into some nice floaty flute and then at 1:38 the track picks up and there's plenty of drums, flute and piano. Some sort of synthesized trumpet breaks in and it really works. At 3:30 it almost stops with just some gentle plucking of acoustic guitar reminiscent of Hackett/mid Genesis. At 5:52 a lively new section starts with some beautiful mellotron choir in the background and a fab synth section which winds down to the end in a tinkly way.

Track 4 Is another tiny interlude - hence its name Interlude No 1. Just acoustic guitar in solus and an excellent prelude to:

Track 5 The Tower of The King's Daughter is my favourite track on the album. It has that slightly mediaeval sound to it which is obviously a figment of our imagination as none of us are old enough to know what mediaeval sounds like! Felona who also reviewed this album thought the girl on the cover was in mediaeval clothes then changed her mind. I think she could be right though the clothes seem to be ambiguous leaving it to your own imagination to decide. Anyway, the music is overall faster than the other tracks and richly laden with mellotron choir and strings and that quite noticeable bass guitar. If you can remember the TV series Robin of Sherwood starring Jason Connery with music by Clannad, then this piece almost belongs in that series except it is obviously a more prog interpretation to the adventure than Clannad's folky tunes. One final point, after buying the CD, I downloaded it to my iPod and was amused that the song was misspelt: Daughter is spelt as Daugter.

Track 6 Summer's Lease is an 18 second interlude that sounds like The Beatles' Strawberry Fields. It's not unpleasant in any way but I simply don't see the point in it.

Track 7 Into The Chase is quite folky with lots of flute and mellotron strings. Around 1:44 there is some organ work that flies in and out of each ear via the stereo separation and then some quite dramatic mellotron choir thunders in. Then the tune changes direction and sounds much less folky.

Track 8 A Blinding Light A good intro which is followed by a nice piece of mellotron choir at 0:44, a flute solo at 1:28 followed by mellotron choir and some nice organ work that sounds really retro like something you might have heard on Foxtrot. Then it gets lively with some more noticeable stereo separation going on with different instrumentation in each ear. At 5.05 a really good piece of electric guitar kicks in and weaves around until the song fades out - which it does in a strangely abrupt manner. I'm sure the song would benefit from a slightly longer fade.

Track 9 Waking The Angels. I like this song very much because it's basically a very nice tune. However, I think that the mellotron choir that bursts in at 2:03 is done in really clumsy way. I am a Tron Maniac and used to think there was no such thing as too much Tron Choir - but unfortunately this song proves me wrong. I can hardly make myself write this but......I think the song would probably sound better without it. The latter part of the song has some brilliant electric guitar then when it fades out there's a few seconds of some strange twinkly thing. Why is it there? I guess only Andrew knows.

Track 10 The End is another small piece of acoustic guitar. Pleasant enough but.....was it worth the effort?

As you can't do half stars I've given it 4 as it most certainly is an excellent addition to my prog collection. If you love mellotron choir you're in for a feast - you might even think there's too much. I understand at the time of writing Andrew is recording another album and I will almost certainly buy it on the strength of this album!

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Send comments to Squonk1965 (BETA) | Report this review (#75076)
Posted Saturday, April 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars One of the best albums of 2005.

Willowglass is all instrumental and reminds me of early seventies prog like Mike Oldfield and Anthony Phillips. There are not many catchy melodies here, but rather dreamy and mellow atmospheric soundscapes with a feel of improvisation. However, this is not ambient in the sense of background music. It's intense and skillfully performed. When it comes to the overall experience of the album I must say that there aren't much to complain about, but to point out one negative thing it has to be that it appears as a bit too cautious and laid- back. As for the style, I'm happy every time I find an album in this genre of prog ("suggestive and epic instrumental prog"?). Anyway, I might be crazy not to award this five stars but I'm still hoping for the true masterpiece from this artist. I'm sure it will come!

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Send comments to 1971 (BETA) | Report this review (#76698)
Posted Sunday, April 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Definitely a blend between Camel and Genesis with some Anthony Phillips guitar styles in there too. It is a beautiful album which indicates how talented Andrew Marshall is. The influences are all there yet there is nothing notable on the album that smacks of plagiarism so I have to give this debut album a big thumbs up for being truly progressive, symphonic and so 70's sounding like in it's authenticity.' Garden' featured in stream on this site is simply stunning and acted as the catalyst to pick up the album. This is a concept album but other highlights would be ' A Blinding Light' and ' Waking The Angels'. More please from Willowglass. Three and a half stars.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#109393)
Posted Monday, January 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Modest symphonic/neo-prog success

Another reviewer mentions not being a fan of one-man shows as there is often something missing when the collaborative dynamic is not present. But he is correct in asserting that is not the case here. Andrew Marshall has done a good job of making this "sound" like a full band and is helped by bringing in drummer Dave Brightman.

The music of Willowglass is a pastoral prog lover's dream come true, not to mention a mellotron lover's dream. Fans of classic bucolic prog like Harmonium, Celeste, Anthony Phillips, and XII Alfonso will want to take special note of this album. While not as successful as Harmonium or Celeste, you have an entire album dedicated to the most romantic and lovely themes and melodies with plenty of space and patience for everything to unfold. Slow to medium paced drum and bass backbone set the stage for constant progressions of electric and acoustic guitars, classical guitars, flutes, and keyboards. As I mentioned before this album features TONS of mellotron for tron junkies. The guitar playing is tasteful and lovely and in the vein of early 70s Genesis or perhaps Camel although they will not be taken to heavier rock conclusions here as they do sometimes in those bands. There is a slight Renaissance folk music feel to some of the tracks as well. One misstep to my ears is the drumming on the track "Waking the Angels." While the guitar melody is again great, the drumbeat here has a very modern "programmed" sound that sort of breaks the spell that you are somewhere in the past. How Marshall could have possibly concluded that was a good choice for this album I'll never know! It sounds like the percussion from a Dido track. This is a decent album that will please fans of modern symphonic and neo-prog but it is hardly essential. It has some nice moments but there are probably hundreds of symphonic albums to hear before you get to this one. Lee Gaskins gets an assist in the overall presentation of the release for the stunning artwork that adorns the packaging. I only wish there were more of it, the inner booklet is a scant 2 page foldover. 6/10

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#147865)
Posted Sunday, October 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I heard the two Willowglass releases in reverse chronological order, so i expected this debut release to be somewhat less stellar than it's brilliant follow-up (the mighty Book of Hours). On the first few listens I felt that was the case; the songs failed to hold my attention as well as Book of Hours and this debut feels over-long and drawn out. The recording quality is somewhat less as well and the songwriting not as deep and intriguing. This is totally to be expected of a debut album though, so i'm trying to not compare it in my mind to Book of Hours, but it's very hard not to.

Peace is somewhat of a throw-away piano intro. It doesn't really move me, though it is pleasant enough.

Remembering starts off a bit more promising with a nice Steve Hackett-esque guitar oriented theme. It's slow and a bit plodding, but again pleasant. It begins to sound more like the Willowglass I love a minute and a half in as we're treated to some excellent guitar and synth interplay backed by lush floating Mellotron sounds. This song draws you in deeper and deeper until you become totally immersed in a brightly colored fantasy world. The second half of the track sounds very 70's and has nice smoky, downbeat, nearly Space Rock feel and it contrasts nicely the brighter palette of the first half of the track.

That is the one thing I love most about Willowglass... each and every track is an epic journey through changing seasons and soundscapes. Songs rarely stay in the same place for very long and constantly evolve through new themes.

Garden is another good composition dominated by that familiar-but-never-old Mellotron backdrop and beautiful analog synth leads and flute solos.

The rest of the tracks more or less follow the same path... There are a couple of shorter disposable tracks but mostly the remaining songs keep up a high quality. The playing feels a little less inspired than on their second release.

Overall this is not as good as Book of Hours but a worthy album that most 70's Symphonic Prog fans should enjoy. 3 stars.

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Send comments to AdamHearst (BETA) | Report this review (#201793)
Posted Thursday, February 05, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars The eponymous debut release from Willlowglass gives one an exciting glimpse into an artist who seems to be able to bridge the beloved prog music of Genesis, Camel, and even KC & Nektar in the early-to-mid-1970s and the much more mature second release, Book of Hours (2008). The highs on this disc are extremely high (e.g., the ends of "A Blinding Light" [6/10], "Waking the Angels"[7/10], some sections of "Remembering" [5/10], and the whole of "Garden" [10/10]), but the brief interludes "Peace" "Interlude No. 1," "Into the Chase," and "The End") are a bit too simple while "Into the Chase" [4/10] and "Tower of the King's Daughter" [2/10] simply fail to draw one in. Plus there's something just not right about the drumming-as if it is too simple and reserved, just fill. Still, a wonderful preview of things to come. Worth a listen, maybe even owning, but, essential or excellent addition? No. 3.0.

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Send comments to BrufordFreak (BETA) | Report this review (#204759)
Posted Sunday, March 01, 2009 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars We expect mellotron, he starts with piano. But don't worry, good ol' mell will come later. I love sound of it, so I'm pleased by this album at maximum level (reminds me their better, newer album). It's pure symphony, modern approach to classical music. Not so melodic as their second, it's line is less clear to see, but as music used for floating away (I do it from time to time, just relaxing, meditating) is very useful (when you want to rest in progressive peace). I also see this one as more peaceful from these two, not so strong synths, acoustic guitar more used (I think). But there's problem which (also) is advantage at the same time. These tracks are similar one to another, which happens quite often when it's one man project (not band as I'm used to). This prevents me from giving it best mark. I like it, but could I like this more if it would be better ? There's probably a story, but I can't really feel into it to understand it. "Tower of the King's Daughter" sounds like something fantasy/medieval, which also cover art (beautiful one) suggests. But all I have are hints.

Four stars for so good music, but not so appealing as it could be (for me)

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Send comments to Marty McFly (BETA) | Report this review (#235536)
Posted Friday, August 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars What a nice surprise! Very good progressive instrumental music done with competence and love. This one band project is much better than I expected when I first heard about it. Ok, nothing here is very original or groundbreaking. In fact, Andrew Marshall does not even try to hide his fondness for the music of Genesis (around the Wind & Wuthering period), Camel, Pink Floyd and even some bits of Yes. Even the arrangements and instruments seem to be drawn from that classic era. But boy, does it sound good!

There is little doubt that the man also knows how to write some nice tunes in that frame of work. His compositions sound fresh and exciting, even if lacking some personality and boldness at times. But since this is his first efford, I guess it is ok. All the tracks are very good with lots of vintage keyboards (mellotrons, Hammond, Arp, etc), Hackett-like electric guitar solos, nice flute parts and so on. Sometimes I miss a little vocal here and there, but otherwise Willowglass is a strong debut. The guy is a very talented artist and I´m looking forward to hear their next releases.

In the end I don´t think this CD is really essential, but it is far more than just good. My final rating would be somewhere between 3,5 and 4 stars. Recommended to any fan of good instrumental prog music with lots of classic 70´s bands references.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#236064)
Posted Monday, August 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
progrules
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is going to be the last chapter of my small trilogy of laid back melodic albums I'm reviewing today and you almost could say I saved the best for last. After Edhels' Still Dream and Edith's Dreams, two albums of which the title says it all in fact it's now high time for the Willowglass debut. And it's almost the best of the three because all things considered I personally prefer Edhels but it's a tough call which is objectively the greatest.

When I checked this album out first few times I often associated it with Camel, a band Willowglass is also referred to in the band description and is the best comparison I feel. Pink Floyd and Anthony Phillips are also mentioned, all with good right but will all three the vocals play an important role and Willowglass is 100% instrumental, one of the reasons I love this band so much.

When I played this album I always completely fell for second track (and first lengthy one) Remembering, such a wonderful tune making you surrender and long for more. And more there is on this fabulous debut. Most people prefer their follow up Book of Hours and all things considered so do I but that's no reason to sell this beauty short. Also the self titled debut is totally worthy of the four stars. If you want to sit back and relax, play this one. It's perfect !

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Send comments to progrules (BETA) | Report this review (#250601)
Posted Saturday, November 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The only reference I can suggest here is an instrumental comparison to « Trespass » some thirty years after this great album.

Each of the genuine parts of this essential album is present: subtle fluting, gentle acoustic guitar and some good mellotron. What I am lacking is the drama of the lyrics, the ? absence of vocals. If you have read some of my reviews, you probably know that I quite like instrumental works (or at least passages), but with this sort of music; a few words might have been welcome.

This is at times too much derivative: "Tower Of The King's Daughter" (hi "Watcher"). When you look at the album cover, you have almost understood the content: pastoral English music. With a slice of a symphony.

The problem with such an album is that you get quite soon burned out with such content. The miracle of a couple of songs can't be repeated for long and at the end of the day, the music turns out to be quite average in terms of compositions ("Into The Chase").

I rate this album with no more than three stars. The more I listen to it, the less I can find any originality in here.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#307254)
Posted Friday, October 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars The man behind the Willowglass project lives and work in the same village as the chaotic, hilarious TV sitcom Last Of The Summerwine was filmed. The music on this album is not chaotic though.

Take some of the best from the 1970s symphonic prog scene and then add some New Age, folk and jazz to the stew. The result is a very melodic, melancholic brand of symphonic prog. Yes, the music here does soar to the top of the mountains too. Mostly through some long guitar runs. But most of the music here is melancholic and pastoral.

Combining New Age and symponic prog is a difficult task. This album is an almost perfect blend of those two genres. Of Clearlight and Genesis. That makes the music here both interesting and soothing at the same time. It makes the listener both float away and take notice of some intricate details. It is perfect beached-whale-on-the-sofa music.

The quality is great throughout too. It is never dull. But I am missing the dot over the i which could had made this a real classic album. But it is still an excellent addition to my music collection and one I really savour.

4 stars

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#455659)
Posted Wednesday, June 01, 2011 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Neo Prog Team
4 stars Willowglass is actually a one-man project,who is Andrew Marshall,a multi-instrumentalist based in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, UK.With a love for progressive rock,especially the legendary English names of the 70's,Andrew decided to record an album as a tribute to this magnificent vintage sound with only the help of drummer Dave Brightman.Marshall handles all guitars,keyboards,flutes and bass on this all instrumental debut,carrying the name of the project as a title and released in 2005.

From the opening notes the influences from 70's UK Classic Prog are dominant.The short instrumentals on this album are definitely of the ANTHONY PHILLIPS/GENESIS school,attractive, delicate, pastoral acoustic music often supported by lovely flutes and mellotron.In the longer ones Marshall seems influenced by both the Symphonic and Folk Rock scene of the Island.''Remembering'' is absolutely fantastic,grandiose spacy synth Symphonic Music blended with CAMEL-esque jazzy guitars and some GENESIS soft folkiness towards the end.''Garden'' is closer to Folk Prog,excellent atmosphere under acoustic guitars and mellotron with a nice and intense outro.''Tower of the King's Daughter'' is maybe the weakest track,not because it's bad,but mainly due to the heavy plagiarism on the BANKS-ian moog synth sounds,seems like coming out of ''Selling England by the pound''.With ''Into The Chase'' Marshall goes back on his unique track,fine blending of KING CRIMSON-influenced mellotron,GENTLE GIANT-ish clavinet with a superb GILMOUR-ish guitar section later.On ''A Blinding Light'' organ makes its strongest presence,mixed well with the piano and guitars of Marshall,again delivering some trippy melodic soundscapes.''Waking The Angels'' is another huge highlight,almost entirely built around keys (mellotron-choir,spacey synths),flutes and acoustic guitars,offering absolutely dreamy musicianship of the highest quality.

Willowglass is one of the very few bands around with very strong retro-influences,which keeps the quality of their music on,at least, the same level as its loving bands of the past.This album is so elegant,dreamy,melodic and carefully composed,it is almost possible not to spin it back in your CD player.Highly recommended to all fans of 70's Classic Progressive Rock.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#507613)
Posted Tuesday, August 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Willowglass is pure symphonic prog; lots of mellotron, synthesisers, flutes, acoustic guitar, choirs, and so on, with no vocals. The atmosphere is mostly laid back and at times relaxing, with all focus on recapturing the sound of 70s symphonic prog. In fact the production of Willowglass would cause anyone to mistake it for 70s music, and this isn't a bad thing. The album isn't very adventurous and safely stays within the confines of the sound it tries to mimic, so don't expect much originality or a cool new sound.

Even though the music here isn't very risky or creative it is still very enjoyable. Though the songs offer little diversity there aren't any bad ones. One little issue I have with the album is that it can lose a bit of interest at times and it all sounds sort of the same; it works better as background music rather than with full concentration. But looking past this I actually enjoy it. My favourite songs are Garden and Waking The Angels. I also love the artwork. It creates a good indication of the sort of atmospheric music likely to be heard. (In fact it's what influenced me to listen to this album.)

Overall it's an enjoyable album for a nice relaxed listen. It makes me happy to hear things like this nowadays. I recommend this for symphonic prog fans. 3.5 stars

I also recommend Willowglass' next album Book of Hours which has more direction and better compositions.

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Send comments to Quirky Turkey (BETA) | Report this review (#566521)
Posted Saturday, November 12, 2011 | Review Permalink

WILLOWGLASS Willowglass ratings only


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