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erik neuteboom
4 stars This is progrock from Wilmington, New Zealand, the other end of the world for us Dutchmen! This five-piece band that was rooted in '76 and disbanded in '78 has delivered an amazing album. 1 - Clockwork revenge This is an impressive opener that has a fluent rhythm, sensational synthesizer flights, great duo-guitarwork (both guitarplayers has their own sound) and very distinctive duo- vocals (one sound as 'the Very Down Under nephew of Peter Gabriel). The final part includes a powerful, very biting guitar solo. 2 - Pictures in a puddle The first part is very mellow with emotional vocals, soaring keyboards and acoustic rhythm- guitar, then a mid-tempo featuring fiery electric guitar and beautiful choir-Mellotron drops. 3 - Ladies of the night It opens with a slow rhythm and a bit folky climate, then lots of shifting moods including majestic choir-Mellotron waves and fiery and biting, wah-wah drenched guitar soli. The excellent duo vocals give an extra dimension to the music, very disctinctive! 4 - Earthborn pilgrim This is a mellow song with twanging guitars, good vocals and in the end a bluesrock inspired guitar solo. 5 - Out of the woods A very alternating track that ranges from bluesy to mid-tempo delivering a splendid build- up guitarsolo, from sensitive to howling and biting, accompanied by lush organ waves. 6 - Is it such a dream? Here the string-ensemble and a sensitive guitar perfectly blend, in the end there's a biting electric guitar solo. 7 - You might even be Another very alternating track, the vocals reminds me of the early Peter Gabriel ("Nursery cryme"-era), the duo-guitarplay is very strong, supported by a dynamic rhythm-section. The final part contains the sound of many 'laughs', this emphasizes the original approach from Airlord. THIS BAND HAS DELIVERED A GREAT, VERY UNIQUE ALBUM!
Report this review (#41622)
Posted Thursday, August 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Make no mistake, this New Zealand group (recording in Australia) were clearly influenced by Genesis on their one and only album, CLOCKWORK REVENGE. In fact, with the raw twin-guitar attack, the electronic combo-organ and the stripped-down production, they almost sound like a garage-rock version of Genesis. The campy, crazed title-track-with lyrics about an army of wind-up dolls attacking an old lady-is practically Genesis meets Pavlov's Dog with roaring hard rock guitar and manic, tremulous vocals. The rest of the album isn't quite so out-of-control, but maintains an air of theatricality in the multiple voices (both guitarists sing) and some of the darker subject matter in the lyrics (particularly the harrowing, Mellotron-laced "Pictures In A Puddle").

Not enough originality to make this a must-own, but for fans of this type of music, this is one of the better items in this style.

Report this review (#44619)
Posted Sunday, August 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
Carl floyd fan
2 stars Sometimes there is a reason certian albums remain obscure while others are being labeled as gems. The reason this album remains an unknown is it simply is not very good. It is far to similar to genesis and came into the game way to late (1977) when music was in sore need of originality. The lyrics aren't theatrical, just plain goofy. They really ruined the mood for me on multiple occasions and were far to awkward.
Report this review (#59130)
Posted Sunday, December 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A great benefit of the internet is that many long lost records are being (re)discovered. This little gem is from an antipodean band who would likely have received no exposure in the northern lattitudes. Which is a shame because their only album is of great interest to those who like the Genesis side of 70s Prog, awash with memorable melodies, inventive arrangements and a high standard of musicianship. The sound is warm and friendly in typically 70s fashion, well produced but not stifling the natural flow of ideas.

There seems to be two main singing voices, one of whom sounds like an early Peter Gabriel on steroids, while the other is a plummy tenor akin to Ray Thomas. Fortunately, the latter is the more prominent, and with some excellent rich high harmonies the Moody Blues comparison is quite striking, nowhere more than the superb Out Of The Woods. Guitars dominate the instrumentation, often with acoustic varieties providing excellent rhythmic support. Both guitarists get the chance to shine with some excellent lead runs and solos, though just occasionally a little extra spark of inspiration would come in handy. Keyboards largely fulfill a background role, mostly filling in the gaps, but the rhythm section is very good and the bass is especially inventive and forward in the mix.

The standout songs are also the two longest - Ladies Of The Night and Out Of The Woods - each succeeding in combining wonderful songwriting with changeable 'symphonic' arrangements and scintillating rock-guitar work-outs. A couple of masterpieces there, and the rest of the album isn't far behind, except perhaps for the story-telling opening track which tries much too hard to recreate the battle of Epping Forest with overblown vocal theatrics! The finale (You Might Even Be) returns to a similar style but is more successful in marrying the theatrics with a strong sense of melody.

Despite the Gabriel-like vocals, this is no Genesis clone but an interesting, superior venture into their territory, quite at home with the likes of Fantasy or England. Had it been produced five years earlier it may well have made an impact. In retrospect, a terrific album that will appeal to lovers of Classic Prog and well worth the effort to seek it out.

Report this review (#110929)
Posted Wednesday, February 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Clockwork Revenge" is the debut full-length studio album by New Zealand, Wellington based progressive rock act Airlord. The album was released through Infinity Records in 1977. Airlord was a relatively short-lived band forming in 1976 and disbaning in 1978, leaving only this album behind as their legacy.

Stylistically the material on the 7 track, 42:22 minutes long album is quite the eclectic and theatrial take on progressive rock. Itīs hard rocking (some nice hard rock riffs and solos here), energetic, a bit silly, and above all very well performed. The vocalist (as far as I can see from the credits both guitarists also sing lead vocals and the bass player sings harmonies) sounds a lot like Peter Gabriel and Genesis is arguably the most audible influence on Airlord. Airlord both write crazy energetic progressive rock songs like the album opening title track, which sounds like Genesis gone mad (Try and imagine Peter Gabriel on amphetamine singing the "You're a robbing hood" part of "the Battle of Epping Forest" on double speed after inhaling a baloon full of helium and youīre halfway there), and more mellow and pastoral songs like "Pictures In A Puddle".

So upon conclusion there are a lot of positive features on "Clockwork Revenge" and itīs overall a good quality progressive rock release, which also feautures a well sounding production job. It doesnīt escape the clone factor though and although Airlord donīt sound one to one like Genesis, the similarities are this one is recommended to those who canīt get enough of 1971-1974 Genesis and want something in a similar vein (although this is generally a bit harder rocking and less sophisticated). A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.

Report this review (#157711)
Posted Saturday, January 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Airlord is an unnoticed band from New Zeeland who release only one album in 1977 named Clockwork revange. The music of this unknown band is Genesis orientated, quite good in places but not outstanding. They play uptempo with nice arrangements , even the voice of the main singer is almost one on one with Peter Gabriel. Some pieces worth mentioning as good, like the opening track Clockwork Revenge, the voice here is an odd one , sounding like a clown , but not irritating to my ears and the longest from here Ladies Of The Night, the rest are so so, not really bad but not special either. So if you want to discover some bands from the other side of the earth try Airlord, a band that didn't make it in music for some reasons and remain an obscure band from the late '70's, but, with all that worth some spins from time to time. 3 stars good but non essential.
Report this review (#188775)
Posted Tuesday, November 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars New Zealand has not produced many progressive rock bands. It is a kind of an oddity on our beloved planet. And I am not meaning this in a negative way.

Airlord released their one and only album in 1977. It did not become a commercial success and it is truly an obscure album. Partly because of the quality of the music and partly of the lack of commercial success.

The music here is pretty much similar to Genesis, the Peter Gabriel era. But there is also a lot of folk-rock, the 1970s era rock and blues connotations here. The music is heavier than Genesis, that's for sure. The quality is pretty OK. The title track is the strongest track with it's clear references to Peter Gabriel and Genesis. The rest of the material is pretty anonyme rock with blues and folk-rock influences.

This album does not capture my attention at all. I do not find anything really bad about it. It is just an album which falls to the bottom of the list of many, many high quality albums in this genre. 2 or 3 stars ? I give it two stars just because I am not in any way captivated by this album.

2 stars

Report this review (#255820)
Posted Sunday, December 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars There seems to be a lot of 'Genesis Clone' accusations aimed at this album. Though i can see where they are coming from to hold it against such a strong album is quite ridiculous. At times the Genesis influence is quite clear, such as the comedy vocals at the beginning of the opening track Clockwork Revenge. The vocals in Pictures of a Puddle have a very Phil Collins style about them, in both the sound of the voices and style of the harmonies. Both of these opening tracks are very strong and put the album off to a great start, with the heavy rock finale to the opener, and a distinct folk influence to Pictures of a Puddle.

In my opinion the albums albums finest piece is Ladies Of The Night, which features one of the finest guitar solo moments that deserves to be heard by any fan of Prog music and Rock guitar, aswell as memorable atmospheric keyboard and vocal performances.

The other songs on the album feature fairly simple arrangements but very atmospheric playing, Earthbound Pilgrim and Out Of The Woods bring back the acoustic folk influence with strong vocal harmonies accompanied by ambient guitar sounds.

Airlord on this album produce a fairly traditional Symphonic sound with an extra spark with the feature of 2 Electric guitars which gives the songs a heavier feel. The Guitar playing gives the album some of it's best moments especially the solos found in Ladies of the Night and Out Of The Woods.

This effort shows Airlord are perhaps the great forgotten symphonic band, producing only one album in 1977 they seemed to release a masterpiece into a scene that no longer existed. This album can easily stand up to the better known classics of the era and it's unfortunate lack of production value is only a minor flaw in a fantastic piece of Symphonic Prog.

Report this review (#410572)
Posted Thursday, March 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'll half-claim this for Australia, since they moved here seeking, if not fame and fortune, at least a somewhat more hospitable environment for their music than they could enjoy in New Zealand, and recorded their entire discography (ie this album) while over here. And it's one of the best albums to come out of the local scene - easily the best of the small handful of local releases in the symphonic subgenre. Yes, I can also hear the very strong influence of early 70s Genesis (though with far more prominent guitars, and somewhat lower profile keyboards), on which basis other reviewers chide them for a lack of originality. Well, even if one does take strong cues from another established band, writing an effective nine-minute symphonic mini-epic is still a very different proposition from writing an effective three-minute three-chord garage rocker - an undeniably high level of musicianship and imagination is still required. The bottom line is every song on this album is an excellent composition, whoever wrote them and however strong their influences. Hey, it's better than the album the real Genesis put out that year! The opening title track stands out for it's uber-theatricality and hyperactivity - it's disconcerting on first listen, but an effective introduction that immediately marks out the band for their skill and ambition. Following up with the initially more pastoral "Pictures In A Puddle" is a good choice.
Report this review (#768218)
Posted Saturday, June 9, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars AIRLORD "Clockwork Revenge" provoke in my mind a sensation of happiness... and at the same time of sadness... I can explain ; the happiness is due to the fact that I stay perplexed of how rich the progressive music was in the 70's, when I discover a "lost pearl" like this album and the sadness comes to the fact which on those days was very difficult record an album (due the high cost of vinyl), a fact which made simply disappeared a countless treasures like this... very different of today, by the advent of cd and digtal records process. Aside these lamentations, talking about the disk in question, is a very interesting album, mixing the most varied influences passing through several styles of progressive music. Already in the first track "Clockwork Revenge" you can feel a "taste" of GENESIS ( mainly in the lead vocals ), FRANK ZAPPA ( listen the children's choir ) and a great similarity with the musical lines of YEZDA URFA ( obviously a band which probably they don't know ). In the track 2 "Pictures In A Puddle" in their first and bucolic part reminds me STRAWBS and in a breaf and more heavy passage the band sounds like J. TULL or maybe GENTLE GIANT. The track 3 "Ladies of the Night" seems to me like a FRUPP reminiscence. In the other tracks you can find another influences, like in the track 5 "Out of the Woods" again the J TULL flute and pastoral scenery ( very close to Bennefit phase). In a general way, although this album don't represents none newness, but, is a very good work with beautiful arrangements ! My rate is 4 stars !!!
Report this review (#914536)
Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
4 stars While progressive rock had peaked and declined in the advent of musical tastes changing, many bands across the world didn't get the chance to partake in the boom of the early 70s but nevertheless tried to have a go at it even as punk and disco were dethroning even the most popular of the lot. AIRLORD were one such band that formed in 1976 in Wellington, New Zealand but like most bands of such remote areas had to go to larger countries to seek fame and fortune. In AIRLORD's case, it was off to Australia although they had many gigs in their homeland playing their original material in live settings. The band consisted of the five members: Steve MacKenzie (guitar, vocals), Ray Simenauer (guitar, vocals), Brad Murray (bass, vocals), Alan Blackburn (keyboards) and Rick Mercer (drums).

Despite having gone down in history as a mere Peter Gabriel era Genesis clone performing symphonic prog with a more caffeinated upbeat quirkiness, AIRLORD did have somewhat of a unique sound even if some of the tracks like "Pictures In A Puddle" are right out of the "Foxtrot" or "Nursery Cryme" playbook. The band released their one and only album CLOCKWORK REVENGE in 1977 and had a short life on the Australian mainland but unfortunately garnered little interest in the eclipsed years of prog when bands like AC/DC were becoming all the rage Down Under. However, despite the clone tag, this album is quite the pleasant little listen and although Genesis is the most blatant influence, AIRLORD sounds more like a less progified and more pop oriented version of classic Genesis with more emphasis on melody, steady rhythms and feel good upbeat passages with some track having a more energized hard rock guitar driven groove complete with soloing. It's actually quite diverse.

The title track opens up, and i kid you not, sounds somewhat like what Genesis would sound like if they happened to have a couple members of Devo or Split Enz in the band with a quirky zolo art pop sort of spin with the vocals of Steve MacKenzie sounding as if he'd joined Alvin and the Chipmunks. The track is also strange in that it's about an army of wind-up toys attacking an old woman. But after the opening track however, the rest of the album alternates between highly derivative mopey Genesis inspired tracks with more serious lyrics that displays MacKenzie doing his best Gabriel to a more rocking mix of hard rock and symphonic prog touches with the occasional soaring synthesizers and a few scant hints of the mellotron. Besides Genesis there are folky Jefferson Airplane types of interactions as well as spaciness that is more akin to German bands such as Novalis and the occasional space rock of Pink Floyd.

The first thing that pops into my mind when i listen to AIRLORD's one and only album CLOCKWORK REVENGE is that it could possibly qualify as one of the first neo-prog albums as it has all the characteristics of the 70s Genesis style symphonic prog but smoothed out into more pop friendly and less proggy compositions with some like some tracks like "Lady Of The Night" being downright catchy enough to hit the pop charts ( just listen to that guitar lick that reminds me of The SImpsons theme! ) I'm one of the rare individuals who doesn't really like the "Foxtrot" and "Nursery Cryme" era of Genesis and personally find these sorts of derivative bands more palatable for whatever reason and while there is no denying the wellspring from which AIRLORD tapped into, these guys definitely deliver a more upbeat and catchy rock performance than Genesis ever did in the early Hackett and Collins years. Call me sacrilegious but i actually like this one quite a bit more. Although it will never convince Genesis fans to desert their idols, this one still deserves a little more recognition than being a mere footnote in the vaults.

3.5 but rounding up because it's not getting enough love 'round here.

Report this review (#1937545)
Posted Wednesday, June 6, 2018 | Review Permalink
4 stars I just checked on Wikipedia in the category Prog from New Zealand: 6 bands are mentioned, of course Split Enz, but not Ragnarok and Airlord. I don't know Ragnarok but in the mid-Nineties I bought the vinyl version of Clockwork Revenge by Airlord from the known Spanish proghead Angel Romero. He had started to suffer from severe dust allergy while having a huge prog vinyl collection (including lots of rare Italian prog, like Zarathustra by Museo Rosenbach). So he had to get rid of his many thousands of prog LP's, what a sad story!

Airlord was a 5-piece band, hailing from Wilmington in New Zealand, rooted in 1976 and disbanded in '1978. Let's have a look on the 7 tracks of their only effort entitled Clockwork Revenge, from 1977.

Clockwork Revenge : This is an impressive opener that has a fluent rhythm, sensational synthesizer flights, great duo- guitarwork (both guitarplayers have their own sound) and very distinctive duo- vocals (one sound as 'the Very Down Under nephew of Peter Gabriel). The final part includes a powerful, biting guitar solo.

Pictures In A Puddle : The first part is very mellow with emotional vocals, soaring keyboards and acoustic rhythm- guitar, then a mid-tempo featuring fiery electric guitar and beautiful Mellotron choir drops.

Ladies Of The Night : It opens with a slow rhythm and a folky climate, then lots of shifting moods including majestic Mellotron choir waves and fiery and biting, wah-wah drenched guitar soli. The excellent duo vocals give an extra dimension to the music, very disctinctive!

Earthborn Pilgrim : This is a mellow song with twanging guitars, good vocals and in the end a bluesrock inspired guitar solo.

Out Of The Woods : A very alternating track that ranges from bluesy to mid-tempo delivering a splendid build- up guitar solo, from sensitive to howling and fiery, accompanied by lush organ.

Is It Such A Dream? : Here the typical string-ensemble sound and a sensitive guitar perfectly blend, in the end a biting electric guitar solo.

You Might Even Be : Another very alternating track, the vocals reminds me of the early Peter Gabriel (Nursery Cryme- era), the duo-guitarplay is very strong, supported by a dynamic rhythm-section. The final part contains the sound of many 'laughs', this emphasizes the original approach from Airlord.

An obscure band worth to discover, especially for the 70-77 Genesis fans.

Report this review (#2993115)
Posted Wednesday, February 21, 2024 | Review Permalink

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