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The Violet Hour


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The Violet Hour The Fire Sermon album cover
3.80 | 27 ratings | 6 reviews | 30% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1991

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Dream Of Me (8:24)
2. The Spell (4:29)
3. By A River (3:20)
4. Could Have Been (5:54)
5. Offertory Song (5:28)
6. Falling (3:22)
7. Hold Me (4:15)
8. Ill Wind Blowin' (4:41)
9. The House (4:24)
10. Better Be Good (5:29)
11. For Mercy (4:46)

Total Time: 54:32

Line-up / Musicians

- Doris Brendel / vocals, flute, acoustic guitar
- Mark Waite / keyboards
- Martyn Wilson / guitars
- Andrew Fox / bass
- Sean Holborn / drums

Releases information

CD Epic/Sony 468420 2 (1991) UK

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Grendelbox for the last updates
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THE VIOLET HOUR The Fire Sermon ratings distribution

(27 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(30%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

THE VIOLET HOUR The Fire Sermon reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Fire Sermon is the first and only album released by UK outfit The Violet Hour, a band that imploded due to lifestyle and musical differences just as they had started to aquire a fanbase back in 1991. Almost 20 years later their CD is nearly impossible to get hold of, and long suffereing fans will be pleased about the recent reissue of this disc, with a few bonus tracks attached for additional value.

Dreamy, atmospheric music venturing back and forth between art rock and mainstream rock is what's served up here, with the former the most notable efforts. Opening track Dream Of Me in particular, but also the Beatles-tinged venture The Spell and the Joplin-goes-arty take of Better Be Good are all brilliant tracks, efforts that has withstood the test of time and comes across as true classics.

The rest of the material isn't half bad either, showcasing a talented act that sadly never got the chance to evolve, but first and foremost the amazing vocals of Doris Brendel. Not yet fully developed as a singer at this stage in my opinion, nevertheless a truly skillful performance from her on this production, singing with a raw passion that makes it easy to understand the comparisons made with one of the greatest female vocalists ever: Janis Joplin.

Overall a recommended album, and highly so if you have a soft spot for skilled, powerful female lead vocals.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars Better be good

With such an intriguing album title, such a gloomy sleeve picture and such a strong opening track, I just had to check out The Fire Sermon by The Violet Hour. Vocalist Doris Brendel is a truly gorgeous woman with an absolutely gorgeous voice and the eight minute plus opener Dream Of Me is a simply wonderful piece of mellow, progressive music. The exquisite flutes, the haunting violins, the atmospheric ambiences, the emotional and distinctive vocals and a strong melody make Dream Of Me a wholly satisfying experience. The rest of the album is, however, a disappointment after this strong opening. Apart from Dream Of Me, very little here can be considered progressive. Rather, we have here a collection of Beatles-esque Pop tunes, dreamy Pink Floyd-ish vibes and melancholic, piano-based ballads with folky touches. The occasional song approaches the more rough Rock of the likes of The Who, all with a contemporary 90's feel. Most of the tracks run for four to five minutes and they stick rather closely to conventional song- structures. The occasionally raspy voice of Brendel has been compared to that of Janis Joplin and that is not at all out of place.

The band toured with Marillion during its short existence and they are about as interesting from a Prog perspective as Steve Rothery's own side-project The Wishing Tree which also featured female vocals and folky Pop. The association with Marillion is probably what put The Violet Hour in the Neo-Prog category, but Prog related or, at best, Crossover Prog would probably make a better fit for this band. The high quality of the material is what pushes this album up to a three star rating for me.

Recommended for those who can enjoy good music that is not necessarily Prog

Review by Warthur
4 stars This intriguing band sounds to me a lot like a mixture of the approach of All About Eve with various prog giants such as Genesis, Pink Floyd, and Marillion. This fusion was not quite unique to The Violet Hour - at around this time, All About Eve were slipping some awfully Marillionesque motifs here and there into their sound - but The Violet Hour lean heavier on the prog side than their goth-folk side, though that's present enough to give them a unique sound.

Lead singer Doris Brendel's vocals sound a lot like All About Eve's Julianne Regan, with a bit of Kate Bush popping in here and there, whilst lyrically the approach ranges from fashionable indie slice-of-life stuff to more esoteric fare. In particular, when things creep into realms of fantastical allegory, the lyrics suggest Peter Gabriel's Genesis-era approach. With a musical backing that combines the best of the prog and goth-folk scenes, the album becomes a unique treasure which is well worth hunting for.

Latest members reviews

2 stars Great band,great music,great vocals..a lot of But..sorry this is not prog rock...farly prog related. ┐Folk Rock,Blues Rock,Pop Rock maybe...? The energy and quality of this band is remarkable,with vocals simmilar to Janis Joplins. I find a little simmilarity with Heart best clas ... (read more)

Report this review (#190633) | Posted by robbob | Thursday, November 27, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I have to agree with the first reviewer. A group difficult to classify and I've to add, with a hauntingly beautiful album. Shame I didn't have the opportunity to see them live in action but a friend of mine did and that's the way I got in touch with The Violet Hour. After all these years the a ... (read more)

Report this review (#70505) | Posted by lique | Saturday, February 25, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars My first contact to THE VIOLET HOUR ? Well, I saw this wonderful group as a support-act on german-tour together with Marillion. I buyed CD - as fast as possible - directly after the concert. Unfortunately, "The Fire Sermon" is the only - and meanwhile deleted (thanks to SONY) - longplayer fro ... (read more)

Report this review (#63927) | Posted by Grendelbox | Monday, January 9, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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