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STARCASTLE

Starcastle

Symphonic Prog


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Starcastle Starcastle album cover
3.13 | 102 ratings | 31 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Lady of the Lake (10:26)
2. Elliptical Seasons (4:27)
3. Forces (6:25)
4. Stargate (2:54)
5. Sunfield (7:36)
6. To the Fire Wind (5:16)
7. Nova (2:35)

Total Time: 39:43

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Terry Luttrell / lead vocals
- Gary Strater / bass guitar, bass pedals, vocals
- Stephen Tassler / drums, percussion, vocals
- Herb Schildt / organ, synthesizers, pianos
- Matthew Stewart / guitars, vocals
- Stephen Hagler / guitars, vocals

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to ProgLucky for the last updates
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STARCASTLE Starcastle ratings distribution


3.13
(102 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
10%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
46%
Good, but non-essential (27%)
27%
Collectors/fans only (11%)
11%
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)
6%

STARCASTLE Starcastle reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars STARCASTLE is slavishly imitative of Yes, but other influences can sometimes be discerned. If you can forgive the band their shameless lack of originality (I certainly can't), the track "Lady of the Lake" is pretty good, but I find this group to be strictly non-essential. I don't know if they ever developed their own sound, because the formulaic, imitation-Yes approach on this disc made me ignore all subsequent releases.

One for the "deleted" bin!

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Send comments to Peter (BETA) | Report this review (#7020) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars Of all these mid-70's US prog bands, the only one that got a real exposure was Starcastle, but I take it that it was mainly because they landed a recording contract with the Epic (CBS) label contract, which got them wide distribution. But compared to the Pentwater, Citadel, Mirthrandir or Yezda, these guys were not really more deserving, since they also leaned heavily on their British prog influences. Actually, of all these mentioned, this Illinois sextet was probably the most derivative of all of them, that they could qualify as Yes clones. Personally, I always had a hard time taking these guys seriously, partly because of their ridiculous (though proggy) name and their even-more ridiculous album artworks, but of course, even as a teenager, though I loved Yes, I couldn't understand why these guys aped them so much. Not only they they not better their idols, but they used one more person (a second guitarist) to achieve that dubious goal.

Opening on the 10-mins+ Lady Of The Lake, right away, you'll check to see if you haven't misplaced a Yes disc inside a Starcastle sleeve. Once you're reassured that you weren't too drunk last night or that your brother wasn't playing a prank on you, you wonder (and check in reference books) if Yes had not recorded an album under a pseudo for the rivals Epic/CBS of their Atlantic (WEA) label. Once you're sure that Starcastle is no joke, you'll also find that they are no Yes pastiche, like the Rutles were to the Beatles. Don't get me wrong, the final result is a competent prog rock, if you disregard the Yes soundscapes, but where it hurts is that there isn't one ounce of originality in the album, or the subsequent ones. Neither Elliptical Reasons, nor Forces on the A-Side will dispel the unease either. The shorter flipside is no different, but to be honest, it would be too fastidious to start enumerating or citing the Yes borrowings on each songs on the album. I thought I'd let you do that, should you find that amusing. Even the two shorter pieces (both under three minutes) do not sound anything but Yes. OK, enough said. If you don't mind your music to sound "ala" and you like Yes enough to accept copies, no doubt Starcastle's discography will be right up your alley. Hardly (not at all) essential, but competent ebough to warrant a rounding uo to the third star on our rating scale.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#7025) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars You like YES? get this record! I never seen a progressive group resembling so much to YES like STARCASTLE. In many songs, I see the "Close To The Edge" influence (the experimental guitar on "Lady Of The Lake", the keyboards on "Sunfield", the vocals on "To The Fire Wind"). The bass, the vocals, the keyboards and the guitars sound like YES!! Bits on "Forces" remind me the good TRIUMVIRAT of ELP. Definitely the best album of STARCASTLE.

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#7026) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Review by Proghead
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars One of the more unjustly reveiled prog rock bands, STARCASTLE is that band that I'd recommend highly if you like YES and don't mind a band copying their sound. STARCASTLE came from Champagne-Urbana, Illinois, same place as REO Speedwagon. In fact REO's original vocalist Terry Luttrell was STARCASTLE's vocalist as well. STARCASTLE consisted of Luttrell, keyboardist Herb Schildt, bassist Gary Strater, drummer Stephen Tassler, guitarist Matthew Stewart, and guitarist Stephen Hagler. Tassler used roto-toms, Strater used a Rickenbacker bass, and Herb Schildt used Mini Moog and Hammond organ.

The album opens up with "Lady of the Lake", complete with Steve HOWE-like guitars and Rick WAKEMAN-like organ, you might think you're listening to a lost Yes recording. The vocal harmonies, not to mention Luttrell's ANDERSON-like vocals is very much like YES. And that YES-like sound is obvious with songs like "Elliptical Seasons", "Forces", and "Sunfield". "Sunfield" oddly reminds me of something off "Tormato", although that album wouldn't even see the light of day for two more years. "To the Fire Wind" has vocal harmonies in one passage that's more like CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNG than YES (probably to show that YES' vocal harmonies were influenced by CSNY). There are also a couple instrumental pieces as well too. Definately underappreciated prog rock, but given the label this band was on (Epic Records), it could have been a lot worse. So if you don't mind a band cloning YES, get this, if you can't stand that idea, avoid.

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Send comments to Proghead (BETA) | Report this review (#7027) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, May 07, 2004

Review by maani
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Founding Moderator
2 stars There's nothing wrong with Starcastle that a little originality would not have cured...It's not that the music is that bad, it's just...not good. All kidding aside (...), this "poor mans' Yes" is not nearly as bad as some claim. I even liked Elliptical Seasons, much of Forces, and the second half of Sunfield (which includes - hold on to your hats - a section in 9/8!). The music is super-derivative, with the band "mimicking" Yes' various sounds: Wakeman's keyboards, Squire's bass, Howe's guitars (less successfully), and the groups' "trademark" vocal harmonies. Starcastle are actually reasonably good, disciplined musicians, and they capture one of the most classic Yes "sounds" - Squire's deep bass against the higher notes of Wakeman's keyboards and/or Howe's guitars - pretty well. As well, the vocals, though painfully obvious "clones" of Yes, are actually not bad (though they have far too many "dit-dit" sections). The lyrics are perhaps less successful in their attempts to "capture" Yes: although they are filled with colors, seasons, and space references (the word "sun" is used quite a lot), they simply can't match the unique "other-worldly" pseudo-gravitas quality of many of Anderson's lyrics. (Whereas it was fun to take lots of LSD and try to figure out what the heck Anderson was talking about, reading Starcastle lyrics on LSD might send one on a "bad trip"...) One odd thing is that all the songs end with abrupt stops: apparently, the band never learned how to "fade" - and some of the songs might actually have benefitted from it. / Although Yes purists (and many others) consider Starcastle a joke, they are not as painful to listen to as, say, Ayreon or other super-bombastic, pompous, pretentious bands: although Starcastle "wears its influence on its sleeve," at least they have some respect for that influence, and have some fun with their music.

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Send comments to maani (BETA) | Report this review (#7028) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, June 18, 2004

Review by loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars STARCASTLE have been historically slagged and tagged as nothing more than a plastic second rate YES clone band to which I do not subscribe to. Without a question the music of YES shaped this band and musically there are some very strong similarities, but having said that the first album is total enjoyment with 7 great songs. STARCASTLE blend fantasty- space keyboards, Richenbacher bass lines, and pointed guitars with some fantastic vocal harmonies. Musically these guys were top notch with shifting time signature changes, instrumental prowess and their unique ability to create that certain prog lovers Dream-like fantasy themes. So let the debates continue to rage on whether these guys were original but with way I say they were very progressive ! An excellent album

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#45852) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Review by arcer
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars As a youngster I had seen Starcatle's third album 'Citadel' on the racks and was intrigued by the cover art, but never made the purchase, so I had hankered after the band's records for years and was tempted when their fikrst and second albums came up on a random e-bay search on vinyl. A couple of weeks later and the records arrived, in good nick and just itching to be dropped on the turnatble. But, oh, the fear and trepidation. I had heard in the years of waiting that they were nothing but sad Yes plagiarists, slavish wannabes who could only badly ape their heroes. They lacked spark, invention, individuality. And initially I feel into the negative camp. They did indeed sound a lot like Yes, but a Yes without the drive, fire and aggression. It all sounded a bit... well, limp. And so I tucked the records into the collection under 'S' and also 'Failed Experiment'. And there they sat, for months on end. But something drew me back. No idea why, but there was something there begging for another chance and now I'm really glad I gave them another shot. This first Starcastle is a little gem. A pleasant little gem. No it doesn't have the inventivenes of prime period Yes, or the fiery skill of Yes. But it dfoesn't matter. This is a record that despite the handicap the band gives itself by pledging such faithful allegiance to its heroes, does stand on its own two feet. And it does so by blending some really good melodies with a very American (to my ears) take on the Yes template. This could only have come from the States. There's bits of Kansas, Styx, any AOR sound you care to mention. There must be something in the midwest water for all these bands to share the same sense of melody. Couple that with some great playing (particularly from keys and bass) and you've got an album that ticks a lot of the right boxes. The albums sets it's stall out early with the first, biggest and best track, Lady of the Lake, which is built on a lovely revolving guitar and organ riff which is quickly bolstered by some pedalling Squire-like bass playing. It gives way to a lovely harmony-rich verse which is just, well, happy. It's feelgood summertime AOR prog, if such a thing could be said to exist. There's a very Yes mid section (driven by a Howe-esque solo from Hagler) which in turn gives way to dreamy ambient section fleshed out with guitar swells and washy keys before it's all wrapped up with a reprise of the verse in the big finale. That sets the template for the whole album. 'Elliptical Seasons' is a sparkling 12-string acoustic guitar-driven song, the guitar bathed in large washes of string synths (very mid-70s AOR and you can almost draw a straight line from this to something like Triumph). It also features some lovely harmonies and a neat monosynth solo. Forces is very Yes, with singer Terry Luttrell really turning on the pseudo-Jon Anderson affectations, complete with the Yes man's trademark do-do-do-do vocalisations. It's a shame that they choose to so so slavishly ape these Yes trademarks because they certainly had enough of their own identity to have forged a career other than as being 'the best band in the world that isn't quite Yes'. Having said that, this is a real grower. It's a charming album, has some great playing, some lovely melodies and won't disappoint. If you're a hardcore Yes fan then it might annoy you greatly but once you accept the limitations their adulation of Yes imposed upon Starcastle then you'll learn to love this.

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Send comments to arcer (BETA) | Report this review (#64851) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, January 15, 2006

Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Oh my! Imagine being a really talented prog musician in the US in the mid 70s. Imagine meeting other such musicians. Imagine finding out that you are all fans of Yes. Imagine playing superb music together. Imagine recording it. Imagine playing it to your deaf grandma whose most recent musical investment was a coin given to an organ grinder's monkey. Imagine getting whacked around the side of the head by said ancient as even she instantly spots your shameless plagiarism!

Sorry, about that reverie. You'll have to forgive the imagination I put into it, because I found that I had to supply all the imagination when it comes to this record. Sure most bands have influences, and there are some bands who may project theirs a little too strongly (in fact Starcastle's compatriots Yezda Urfa and Cathedral both also suffered from a questionable degree of allegiance to the Yes cause), but very rarely do bands go through these lengths to imitate their idols (the other obvious example being Japan's Bi Kyo Ran whose King Crimson fixation was also too much!)

I honestly can't imagine (there's that word again) what must have gone through the minds of the musicians who made this. Because let me tell you, they are damn good musicians. But, why oh why, does every song here sound like a Yes outtake? Take Elliptical Seasons, great vocals from Terry Luttrell, outstanding acoustic guitar touches (I'm not sure if its Stewart or Haggler who did it) and some great keyboard lines from Herb Schildt. The problem is that Messrs Anderson, Howe and Wakeman had already done it before ... rather well I might add.

Taken on its own the music here is pretty darn good, and is probably better than half the albums Yes recorded ... but still this is one album that simply cannot be viewed in isolation. Songs like the blistering Lady Of The Lake, Forces and To The Fire Wind (Schildt's synth solo here is superb!) are damn good songs, but the lack of originality is unforgivable and frequently cringe-worthy. In To The Fire Wind, Luttrell even apes Jon Anderson faux-mystical lyrical mumbo-jumbo to perfection ... "In the impulse of daylight, those remaining will catch the sight, eager to renew their fight". To go public with such plagiarism is both unnecessarily flattering to Yes and a real disservice to the talents of the individual musicians who played on this album.

If you can forgive the clone band thing, this really is a good record, but I still struggle to understand what could possibly have made them do it. ... 52% on the MPV scale

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Send comments to Trotsky (BETA) | Report this review (#75527) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Review by oliverstoned
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars 2,5 stars

A Yes clone? Yes, certainly. This first effort from 1976 is in "The Yes album" vein, and may also evoke the gentle mind of Camel/Moonmadness from the same year. The lead singer has a voice similar to Jon Anderson, but the music is of course less inspired and intense than Yes. The pieces are short and suffer from a binary rhythm and a lack of progression, but some nice instrumental parts remain. A light, but pleasant record for symphonic prog lovers.

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Send comments to oliverstoned (BETA) | Report this review (#105236) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars In those remote days, there were some bands who were playing some Genesis ("Neuschwanstein") and Yes ("Starcastle") music. If you need an additional shot of Yes music (performed by another band), I guess that you will try this album (to start with).

In this genre, I have to say that "Starcastle" might be a good option. Do bear in mind though, that theyt are NOT Yes. But you will quickly discover this.

Compositions are rather average and I guess that if the link with the master was not so obvious, very few attention would have risen from their "original" work. This being said, I do spin their albums once in a while. Instrumental moments are the best ones here. When I listen to most of the vocals, I just can't stand it.

There are lots of singers with the Gabriel tone of voice. Usually, they are doing from OK to very good. It does not seem to be the same with Jon.

Songs to listen to ? Probably "Lady Of The Lake", "Forces" and "Sunfiled". One song has to be avoided by all means : "Nova".

I am a rather nostalgic guy, believe me. But I can't get thrilled with this "Starcastle" debut. Even the cover seems a bit too much. Maybe a later release...

Two stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#132780) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, August 11, 2007

Review by stefro
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Like some kind or crazy alternative YES outfit, but hailing from the old U S of A instead of blighty, Starcastle are almost the definition of the wafting, ethereal prog-rock band. Featuring enough high-pitched guitars, organs and keyboards to keep fans of symphonic prog happy for at least a couple of hours, this debut release ranks as probably their greatest recorded moment. Later albums seemed to get progressively(he he!) worse, until they abandoned the prog altogether and tried their best at imitating JOURNEY, BOSTON, FOREIGNER et al in an attempt to change their image and tap into the dollar-generating soft-rock fever that was sweeping thru America during the 1980's. It's a pity, because Starcastle, their eponymous debut, is probably the closest any prog band has come to hitting the high, majesterial harmonies that Jon Anderson and co were so good at making.

STARCASTLE kicks off with the fey, twinkling epic LADY IN THE LAKE, a ten-minute plus opus featuring a crisp, driving, repetitve guitar line from lead twiddler Steven Hagler that rises and falls throughout the pieces various sections and, amazingly, never gets boring. The vocals are lighter than a malteser in zero-gravity, and any self-respecting YES fan will surely fall in love within the opening ten seconds. LADY IN THE LAKE is the definite Starcastle song, but the album still holds a few surprises.

ELLIPTICAL SEASONS rocks in a airy-fairy kind of way, whilst FORCES and SUNFIELD also contain enough gorgeously composed wafting harmonies to fill a thousand yes-lite records.

Mores the pity then that subsequent albums just didn't cut the mustard. 1978's REAL TO REEL was really the nadir(just check the review on this site) but wait! Yes, believe it not the story is not finished! Earlier this year(2007), SONG OF TIMES was released, and to decent reviews, not just "where have they been" curiosity. So, they have managed to survive and build on their earlier efforts, despite waiting thirty years to do so, which, in my book, is the sign of genuine rock survivors.

YES fans, check this out, OPETH fans, don't even bother.

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Send comments to stefro (BETA) | Report this review (#135456) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, August 30, 2007

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Neo Prog Team
3 stars STARCASTLE's roots can be found at a band called ''St.James'',formed in 1969 by some students of the University of Illinois in Champaign.The band suffered by line-up changes and had been renamed several times,until Terry Luttrell (ex-Reo Speedwagon) took over the vocals and they finally found their own style under the name STARCASTLE.In 1976 they published ''Starcastle'',which can be consider as the American answer to YES.At a time when YES slightly moved towards more accesible music forms,STARCASTLE recaptured some of their glorious past and taped it on ''Starcastle''.The album is haunted by the Jon Anderson-like vocals and the nice polyphonic vocal harmonies,while the music remains trully adventuruous and intricate.Very complex bass lines,captivating keyboards throughout,Steve Howe-like fantastic guitars and additionally nice drumming create an attractive work for all YES/symphonic lovers.However the albums lacks in originality and some people will accuse STARCASTLE as a total YES-clone,but nevertheless the album is a high-quality release with good,demanding arrangements and carefully-arranged vocal lines.YES fans should hurry for this one,progressive rock fans should also taste some of STARCASTLE's music,unless one has a big problem with (good) clones...3.5 stars are a fair rating IMHO...

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#167912) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, April 18, 2008

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Much has been made about Starcastle being a poor American Yes clone, and for good reason. But any band that sounds so close to Yes and exhibits good songwriting and stellar playing can't be that bad. Indeed, this is band that delivers pleasing music. Two major elements give rise to this praise or accusation (depending on the critic): Gary Strater's bass tone is unmistakably similar to that trebly punch of Chris Squire, and Terry Luttrell just sounds uncannily like Jon Anderson at many points. But I hear many other influences here, namely ELP, Camel, and Gentle Giant. In addition, there's some highly original compositions present really worth hearing.

"Lady of the Lake" The most creative and engaging song on the album, it is also the lengthiest. The guitar playing is more than sufficient, ringing out nice and clean despite the use of distortion. Herb Schildt's organ solo sounds much more like Emerson did on Tarkus or Pictures at an Exhibition than anything Wakeman or Kaye ever did. The light atmospheric section is much brighter than, but very similar to the softest section of "Close to the Edge."

"Elliptical Seasons" That twelve-string acoustic introduction may easily be compared to "And You and I," but the rest of the song moves toward a funk-driven direction. The lead singer stands alone (rather than clothing himself with heavy vocal harmonies). The synthesizer lead, however, reminds me of Peter Bardens of Camel.

"Forces" Here, Luttrell does not sound as much like Anderson, stripped of the harmonies as he is. The vocalizations of "I've Seen All Good People" are present here. This time, the synthesizer tone is very similar to that of Wakeman's on "And You and I." Other than that, this song sounds incredibly original and fresh.

"Stargate" A light synthesizer and lead make up this terse, building instrumental, as drums, guitar, and bass butt in at several points. However, I can't shake the feeling that the band decided to reinterpret Stravinsky's finale to his Firebird Suite (which Yes frequently used as an introduction at live shows); it just sounds too convenient, especially since it goes right into the next track.

"Sunfield" The vocals here are a tad embarrassing. They sound out of place, poorly mixed, and spouting goofy lyrics. Otherwise, the music is stellar, with more fantastic keyboard and bass carrying on. Schildt is the clear star here, giving his synthesizer a workout. The guitars both take a more submissive role, similar in vein to Gary Green of Gentle Giant.

"To the Fire Wind" Heavy and oddly timed organ chords run under some strange punctuation just before the lead guitar comes in, leading into the harmony-ridden vocals. The vocalizations grow a bit stale though, but inward bound is a fantastic synthesizer solo before the introduction overtakes things again. The guitarists do get a shot at showing their stuff, assaulting the listener from both speakers.

"Nova" Tribal drumming initiates this odd album closer. The rest of the instrumental uses the instruments in an odd arrangement, with punctuating organ as guitar and synthesizer play various leads. Sadly, the strong bassist has nearly no place.

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Send comments to Epignosis (BETA) | Report this review (#210051) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, April 03, 2009

Review by Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Way too many Yes nuances for me to take seriously. On their debut album, Starcastle mine all of the positive qualities Yes brought to the music scene and use them to make ''the album that Yes never recorded''. Right from the first bass guitar sounds of ''Lady of the Lake'', you could really smell the Yes in this group. Vocally, STARCASTLE fails in most regards; Terry Lutrell is a decent singer on his own, yet when the group does harmonies, they get annoying. The diddits in ''Forces'' are among the worst vocal thing I've ever heard.

''Lady of the Lake'' and ''Sunfield'' have some nice proggy touches, but neither get put on repeat for the blatant Yes copying as is the rest of the album. Side 2 begins and ends with duds for instrumentals that really don't serve any purpose. Nothing more than a novelty album that sounds like Yes.

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Send comments to Sinusoid (BETA) | Report this review (#221486) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Review by Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Even better than the real thing?

ELP had Triumvirat, Genesis had The Watch and Yes had Starcastle. But Starcastle is from another league: the over-the-top-life-dedicated-to-Yes league. This is a perfect clone (underline perfect in bright color), a grandiose chef d'oeuvre to plagiarism, so big and obvious it provokes admiration instead of pity.

Starcastle is the ultimate tribute band ever, over The Musical Box. Although Musical Box is renowned for imitating perfectly Gensis on stage, Starcastle is pushing forward by composing their own songs; songs that we could easily hear on Close to the Edge or The Yes Album. I was cleaning my bathroom with this in my IPod, and I actually had a great time! This album is genuinely entertaining and not as corny as the cover could let you presume.

Shorter songs, which means less filling (or no filling at all frankly) is a winning combination, since Yes has the bad habit of extrapolating their songs to the limit of the listener's patience (Tales of Topographic Boredom). The musical skills are not as high as Yes, but again, Yes is not even as good as Yes sometimes! They did their best, and their 'best' is pulverizing the competition to sheer space.

Brillant and never dull.. and I don't even like Yes that much!

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Send comments to Menswear (BETA) | Report this review (#426340) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, April 01, 2011

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
3 stars Starcastle's claim to fame is for creating the best Yes songs not created by Yes. Deny all you want, but this band played Yes music. From the Jon Anderson-like vocals (Terry Luttrell sounds exactly like Anderson on To The Fire Wind), the early Yes styled harmonies, the "dah dah dah" breaks, the Squire styled bass lines, to the Tony-Kaye-caliber-keyboardist- trying-to-play-like-Wakeman synths and organs, this band was the best Yes imitator I've ever heard.

But they do it well. Lady Of The Lake is a great song. It even has a break where they imitate ELP instead of Yes for a short time. In fact, all the songs on this album are pretty good. If the band wasn't trying so hard to be Yes, I would probably rate this 4 stars. But they lose a point once again for originality.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#456683) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, June 03, 2011

Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team
4 stars Today I remembered that USA have its moments on 70's Progressive Rock era (the only other name that came across my mind right now are the great Yezda Urfa). And I put the needle again on Starcastle first record from 1976.

Much is said about how much Starcastle has 'robbed' the Yes sound, and this is quite boring to read, cause ALL reviews in all possible websites says the same.

I'll not say contrary, cause yeah, we have a lot of Yes influences all around. But what people do not remember is that on 1976 Yes WASN'T playing any of this music anymore. So, really, I don't give a damn if they are 'thieves' or not, what I wanna say is, thanks for bringing some good sounds for a year that has no great albums to remember of.

I always loved this bass sound we have here, the old Rickenbacker with a pick in a medium- high range and Gary Strater deliver it, so bring'em. Maybe the only thing that can annoy me here from time to time is the weakness in the voice of Terry Luttrell, I like his voice, but sometimes is really clear that he need help to deliver a full vocal section, so yes, a lot of vocals, even if their style 'demands' a lot of vocals you can notice that.

And you have to admire the courage of a band that played around for 4 years before really could record an album, and had all their equipment ruined in a truck crash in which their guitar player Stephen Hagler had his back broken.

All in all an album that can be heard with a smile and the attention that good Prog Rock album deserves.

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Send comments to ProgShine (BETA) | Report this review (#561873) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, November 03, 2011

Review by J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Of all of the progressive rock bands to take more than a few hints from Yes, Starcastle is arguably the most famous - or infamous, if you prefer. Especially on their self-titled 1976 debut, these American proggers have been noted time and time again as a mere Yes ripoff. While that statement is almost undeniably correct, any band that can convincingly sound like Yes is worthy of a few points in my book. Starcastle is an incredibly tight and precise group of musicians with a knack for creating memorable progressive rock compositions, and in spite of their total lack of originality, they deliver their style with complete confidence. Although this album derives far too much from Yes' sound for my liking, you'll have a tough time finding many American prog albums from the mid-seventies' on par with Starcastle.

Though it's a fairly well known fact that Starcastle sounds a heck of a lot like Yes, it is pretty amazing how well these guys have mastered every fine aspect of Yes' sound. Everything from the masculine basslines to the vast keyboard palette immediately transports the listener back to the golden age of symphonic prog, and for fans of the genre, this record should provide plenty of great listens. The album opens up with the excellent "Lady of the Lake"; while the strength of this opus is never reached again, the rest of the album is pretty great as well. The instrumental section in "Forces", in particular, is also a major highlight.

Starcastle may have mastered every fine aspect of Yes' sound with this debut, but that ultimately doesn't shake the feeling that this album is just a second-rate version of the real thing. The emotional plateaus achieved by masterpieces like Close to the Edge and Relayer are rarely found on Starcastle; while I do find myself having a spectacular time when the album is playing, it doesn't leave the same mark that Yes' best works deliver so brilliantly. With that said, it's still worth noting that this is one of the essential American prog albums of the seventies', and all die-hard Yes fans should mark this as an absolutely mandatory purchase. The derivative nature of the music keeps Starcastle from being truly excellent, but I do still think this is a very good album indeed. 3.5 stars is a pretty fair score in this case.

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Send comments to J-Man (BETA) | Report this review (#645212) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, March 03, 2012

Latest members reviews

3 stars Okay- Everybody else has had their shot at Starcastle, now it's my turn. Although, I probably don't really have too many deep insights to give that haven't been given by others. Does it sound like Yes? Yes. Is it as good as Yes? Nope. Is it better than 90210 and Talk? Yep. It is hard to listen ... (read more)

Report this review (#281669) | Posted by mohaveman | Wednesday, May 12, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A band that play just like YES. A style that have a litle bit of first YES releases but with more keyboards sounds. A guitar nothing special but great bass work. Same voice and same sound. I like first YES albuns but this is not a masterpiece just Close to the Edge or Fragile but it's a good s ... (read more)

Report this review (#273008) | Posted by Joćo Paulo | Friday, March 19, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I've always appreciated Starcastle, ever since I first heard this album in the mid-seventies. I was really into Track 1 - Lady of the Lake which seems to be the song they are best known for, but very quickly got into the whole album. I thought Herb Schildt's keyboard and moog synth creations w ... (read more)

Report this review (#235233) | Posted by jasonbass | Wednesday, August 26, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars If you're planning on checking out Starcastle for the first time-- THIS is the album to start with. Very much "inspired" by YES' first four albums, these guys certainly do follow in the footsteps of Jon Anderson and friends --maybe a bit too much-- only without the angular gritty style of a ... (read more)

Report this review (#123167) | Posted by altaeria | Wednesday, May 23, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Although Starcastle are a complete Yes clone, does that mean that they don't have any positive musical qualites? Is originality the ONLY important thing that matters when you listen to music? The fact is, the compositions, arrangements and the melodies on this album are all wonderful and compl ... (read more)

Report this review (#63925) | Posted by erlenst | Monday, January 09, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This is a good album to listen to if you need a big laugh! The music is such an obvious Yes rip-off that it is laughable. No originality, no substance. Listening to these songs conjures up visions of elves and small children dancing around an alter called Yes, bowing to their gods Jon Ander ... (read more)

Report this review (#46451) | Posted by | Monday, September 12, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars First of all it's a flaw to say this band copied off of Yes , because while the voice is similar in style , it's certainly not a clone and while their music may resemble Yes it's actually very different and not only borrows from Yes but also from ELP and I could go on. The bottom line is all r ... (read more)

Report this review (#46427) | Posted by B360Lightning | Monday, September 12, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Yes, Starcastle imitate Yes. No doubt. But, in my opinion, they have added a little something here and there to give the sound their own identity. I love Yes at their best and this is similar but different. Another band that gets lumped in with Starcastle in Yes clone discussions is Druid. I fi ... (read more)

Report this review (#37414) | Posted by digdug | Thursday, June 23, 2005 | Review Permanlink

1 stars One day in '76, I went to my local record store I always frequented and some guy recommended this LP for it's "Yes-like" qualities. So I took it back to the party house I was living at the time and played it with my girlfiend, roomate and fellow prog-buddies. And all we could do was just laugh ... (read more)

Report this review (#7034) | Posted by marktheshark | Friday, April 29, 2005 | Review Permanlink

1 stars A totally derivative USA YES clone, but musically much , much inferior. All I can say is you have been warned. I originally approached this album with a certain degree of anticipation on the recomendation of others, but I was very disappointed, not so much by the music, which was passable, but ... (read more)

Report this review (#7033) | Posted by jheels | Friday, April 08, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Where would starcastle be without Yes? Probably in a garage back in Urbana Illinois, still trying to decide which popular bands' style they wanted to embrace. They chose one of the best when they chose Yes. Not quite the calibur of Yes' super musicians, Starcastle holds their own when it comes ... (read more)

Report this review (#7031) | Posted by | Thursday, October 14, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Compositions - 4.5, Memorable Melodies - 5.0, Inventiveness with a Purpose - 2.5, Vocals - 4.0, Extended Value - 3.5, AVERAGE: 3.9 GENRES: Progressive Rock, Symphonic Prog, Progressive Pop. AOR. SIMILAR BANDS: Yes, Druid, Welcome, Zenit, Alaska, Exodus, Suntower, Ring of My ... (read more)

Report this review (#7029) | Posted by dalt99 | Tuesday, July 20, 2004 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Starcastle's debut album sounds like a possible YES outtakes album -- maybe material that could have ended up on THE YES ALBUM or FRAGILE, but put together before Steve Howe joined the band. It kinda sounds like early YES with less guitar edge and a little more emphiasis on synths. So is it Deri ... (read more)

Report this review (#7024) | Posted by | Wednesday, January 14, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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