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CITADEL

Starcastle

Symphonic Prog


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Starcastle Citadel album cover
2.96 | 57 ratings | 10 reviews | 11% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Shine On Brightly (5:14)
2. Shadows Of Song (5:08)
3. Can't Think Twice (3:51)
4. Wings Of White (4:48)
5. Evening Wind (5:27)
6. Change In Time (4:31)
7. Could This Be Love (3:23)
8. Why Have They Gone (6:53)

Total Time: 39:15

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Stephen Hagler / guitar, piano, vocals
- Terry Luttrell / vocals
- Herb Schildt / organ, synthesizer, piano, keyboards, mellophonium, mellotron
- Matthew Stewart / guitar, mandolin, vocals
- Gary Strater / bass, guitar (bass), keyboards, vocals, moog synthesizer
- Stephen Tasster / percussion, drums, vocals

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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STARCASTLE Citadel ratings distribution


2.96
(57 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(11%)
11%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
32%
Good, but non-essential (37%)
37%
Collectors/fans only (21%)
21%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

STARCASTLE Citadel reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by corbet
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars If the music you listen to has to be "bad-ass" or have some sort of tough attitude in it in order for you to take it seriously, then don't bother ever picking up this album, or any Starcastle album for that matter. These guys are big, fuzzy pussycats and they sing about love and light and things that shine with love and light and so forth. But, if you can deal with the overwhelming positivity of it all, you will be rewarded with some breathtakingly beautiful music. Some of this album could be called "power-pop" I guess, in that the songs are relatively concise and serve mainly as vehicles for gorgeous vocal harmonies; and the lyrics may be too much for some people (light and love and shiny falcons...). However, back to those gorgeous vocal harmonies. Where did these guys come from? Every song without exception delivers faultless harmonies that shine forth like beams of light through the fog -- and the instrumental interplay beneath is always exciting. I don't know about everyone else, but that kind of thing really does it for me. So, in a weird world, I consider Starcastle a top-notch band, and I highly recommend any of their albums to the open-minded listener.

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Send comments to corbet (BETA) | Report this review (#7049) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, January 19, 2004

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
2 stars Third Starcastle album, and the least we can is that the band's love for Yes' music is not fading away. What to say more about this album, outside its impressive (but still flimsy and almost ridiculous) artwork? Remember that I must write at least 100 words to voice visibly my opinion. OK, all jokes aside, we're still dealing with a very competent would-be Yes music that should please most undiscerning progheads. Despite some relatively commercial attempts like Could This Be Love or Can't Think Twice, but it's not like Starcastle was "selling out" either. Sooo, Citadel just another run-of-the-mill Starcastle album, although at the time, the band had no idea their nest album would be a total sell-out and that even the band members wouldn't look at fondly in the next decades.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#7050) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The lead singer sings like Jon ANDERSON's. The bassist sounds like Chris SQUIRE's and has the same sophisticated style. The keyboards sound a bit like Rick WAKEMAN's, especially the moog. The guitar is quite more modest than Steve HOWE's.

It explains why this group is the most close to YES. Even the backing vocals sound like YES'. This record is not as best as the 2 first ones, mainly because of the less elaborated keyboards and composition complexity. The bass is still very solid, complex, tireless, full of bottom. The lead and backing vocals are still excellent. The guitar is a bit too shy. Drums too. This album is less progressive than the 2 previous ones, but better than "Real To Reel"

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#7052) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Review by Proghead
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Third album by this Illinois band featuring ex-REO Speedwagon vocalist Terry Luttrell. This album is somewhat of a letdown compared to their first two. It's still quite good, and if you like the YES-like progressive of their first two, you'll like this one as well. But the band started to do somewhat shorter compositions, with two rather straightforward pieces, "Can't Think Twice" and "Could This Be Love". These two songs were obviously the wish of Epic Records to have the band record something the radio might play. But there's still some good prog stuff here like "Shine On Brightly", "Evening Wind", "Change in Time" and "Why Have They Gone". Even if these songs are still progressive, they seem a bit simpler, overall, than the stuff on their previous albums.

The album cover is from the Brothers Hildebrandt (Greg and Tim), who are themselves, the biggest name in sci-fi and fantasy artwork (including Star Wars movie posters), although "Citadel" seems to be the only rock album cover they ever done. While this album is fine enough, you can tell this is the sound of a band under pressure by a well-known and greedy record label (Epic Records), which is to only get worse with their 1978 followup, "Real to Reel". "Citadel" is STARCASTLE's last worthwhile album, but of course, start with their first two albums first.

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Send comments to Proghead (BETA) | Report this review (#7053) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, May 07, 2004

Review by hdfisch
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars This one by the "best Yes-clone band" is a very weak and pop-ish one compared to their first two albums. Although guitar,bass,keyboards and vocals are very similar to Jon Anderson's, the overall quality of the songs are much below the worst stuff by the original band. Actually I'd rather compare them here with later outputs by STYX. The music here,although being quite nice to listen does not sound much progressive at least to my ears. Songs that are a bit better than the rest are "Change In Time " and "Why Have They Gone ". For fans only!

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Send comments to hdfisch (BETA) | Report this review (#7054) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Unlike Yes, each "Starcastle" album sounds the same They are not bad to listen to; but even if vocals are close to Jon's ones (except on high notes), they sound like a poor man's Yes.

Actually, I discovered three good songs on this album. The opener featuring Wakeman-esque keys, even if it is not as strong as their first two of the genre (opening numbers I mean). This one sounds more poppish, straight-forward. "Change in Time" is a sweet and gentle song as the model produced a few. The end though is rather wild : reminds me "Heart Of The Sunrise" (which is a rather strange combination).

Finally, the closing number is my favourite. Probably the closest exercise to a good YesSong (as "Starcastle" has produced some). The bass play here is really good but we are pretty close to a pastiche.

The rest of the album is divided into average pop / rock songs ("Shadows of Song", "Can't Think Twice", "Wings of White" with a great guitar solo which is not so frequent in the Staircastle" repertoire but with childish lyrics and a boring melody. The very low of this album is "Could This Be Love". The monotone vocals start to be irritating and boring.

This is an easy listening album with average compositions (nothing as such as "Fountains"). Average rating. Two stars (and a half if I could use this rating).

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#133964) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, August 20, 2007

Review by ghost_of_morphy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars If there is one thing that is almost guaranteed to make me disagree with a review, it's saying that a band sounds like another band. I usually can't hear it. I may like the band, and I may like the band that whose sound it is claimed that they are mimicking, but the differences always seem to far outweigh the similarities.

There is only one real exception to that. Whenever I listen to The Flower Kings, I hear echoes of just about every symphonic and eclectic band that put out an album in the '70's.

Which brings us to the review of the day, a look at Citadel by Starcastle. Starcastle is usually accused of being a band that copies the sound of my own favorite band, Yes. So let's examine tis album and see why I disagree with that assessment.

Here are the factors that would lead you to think that Starcastle is a Yes clone.

1. They are definitely playing prog with a strong symphonic element to it. Citadel is not as proggy as the first two albums. I'd classify it as prog pop instead of symphonic prog, but the symphonic element is still there. Yes very rarely strayed into pure prog pop (Wondrous Stories being the only notable example from the '70's lineup) whereas Citadel only goes beyond prog pop in the last two tracks. Still these musical genres are kissing cousins, and I can understand why people would focus on this as a similarity.

2. The keyboard player does have some chops. What surprises me is that people compare him to Wakeman. Again, I don't hear it. Wakeman has a much more subtle, richer, and more tasteful style on the keyboards. They are very different. Why, if you are going to compare Starcastle to Yes, don't you mention Moraz instead. While I wouldn't say that Schildt sounds like Moraz, they do have a couple of traits in common, most notably the way they use mechanical sounding, repetitious riffs to create atmosphere, which you can hear in tracks like Could This Be Love or Why Have They Gone. (Wakeman tends more to chords or to riffs that shadow and then play off of what another instrumentalist is doing.) But when I listen to Citadel, Schildt's keys remind me most of what Pete Bardens of Camel was doing in the same period. Indeed, Highways of the Sun could pass itself off as a Starcastle song, while something like Why Have We Gone could easily have been done by Camel.

3. Both Yes and Starcastle feature high pitched lead vocals and vocal harmonies. I personally don't think that Luttrell sounds much like Anderson, but they both sing in a high register.

4. Both bands have a reputation for positive energy in their music. I've always thought that this reputation is a bit of a stretch for Yes. The Yes Album and Going For The One are both charged with positive energy, but most of the rest of the '70's albums have portions that are considerably darker. Starcastle, on the other hand, owns this category. Every song on Citadel is upbeat, happy, and positive.

Ok, having gone through all of that, let me explain some of the ways in which Citadel doesn't sound at all like Yes.

1. There is no Steve Howe in Citadel. The guitars are competent enough, but you won't get either the virtuosity or the variety that Steve brings to Yes. Simple riffs, an occasional solo and some rhythym work are the order of the day on Citadel.

2. There is no Chris Squire in Citadel. One of the defining characteristics of Yes's sound is the dominant bass that gives the rest of the band a solid musical foundation on which to build. There is little of that here (although Starcastle tries hard on Shadows of Song).

3. There is little virtuousity in Citadel. Yes goes out of it's way to feature it's members as individuals, and they are each given a time to shine. Starcastle focuses much more on an ensemble sound, even though there are the odd solos here and there.

4. As I said earlier, Yes and Starcastle are really working in two different genres, even though they are related. Yes is an iconic symphonic prog band, whereas Starcastle is exploring prog pop in Citadel almost exclusively. So Citadel has no epics, no classically inspired passages, and nothing really experimental or challenging in the music (although it is still progressive.)

If I were going to compare the sound of Starcastle to another bands sound, I would point to the albums that Camel released in the same time period that Starcastle was active, Rain Dances and Breathless.

Ok, that's a very lengthy introduction to my views on the sound of Starcastle. So let me be brief in telling you how good this album is.

It's good. It's not a masterpiece. It's not a must have heard album. Many of the songs are so positive and upbeat that they become cloying on repeated listens (Shine On Brightly and Could This Be Love and Can't Think Twice all fall on this category.) But they are still good songs, and Why Have They Gone is a notch above good. So I'll give this one three stars. It's an album you'll be glad that you bought, but it's not one that you will put on all that often.

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Send comments to ghost_of_morphy (BETA) | Report this review (#157501) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, January 03, 2008

Review by stefro
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Starcastle's last worthwhile album before the disastrous pop-rock of the career-killing 'Real To Reel', 1977's 'Citadel' nevertheless features the American outfit inching towards a more streamlined sound. Thanks to the pressure exerted by their label, the glutinous production sheen applied by badly-chosen ex-Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker, the rising success throughout their homeland of fellow countrymen Journey, Boston and Foreigner and the punk rock explosion taking place over in Britain, this was a make-or-break moment for the group. Although their self-titled debut from 1976 had sold well, follow-up release 'Fountains Of Light' hadn't quite fulfilled the commercial expectations of CBS records and the relative failure of 'Citadel' would therefore give Starcastle very little room to manouvere. Unfortunately, by 1978, the Starcastle story had run it's sadly-truncated course, the group extremely unhappy with their final album which they believed didn't represent their musical ideals at all. Thankfully, 'Citadel' does retain many of the ingredients that made their original albums such delightful guilty pleasures for progressive rock fans, the six-man outfit's 'Americanized' take on the classic symphonic style popularised by British genre titans Yes still prevalent despite the fact that the album is made up entirely of standard-length songs. Somewhat disappointingly there is no sparkling epic in the mould of 'Lady Of The Lake' or 'Fountains' here - a result of CBS' interference - yet the gleaming synthesizers and soaring vocal harmonies that characterized their best work is still in check. The album's first half is definitely the stronger, opening track 'Shine On Brightly' a piece that wouldn't sound out-of-place on either of 'Citadel's predecessors, whilst the bouncy neon rhythms of 'Can't Think Twice' provides a rare glimpse of the group's new poppier direction rubbing off well on their unashamedly progressive inclinations. There are many, or course, who believe Starcastle were just a American Yes-clone, and it's easy to see why, yet there is so much more to this underrated group. Alongside the likes of Journey, Styx and Kansas, they were on the key American groups, essentially blending the intricate complexities of British groups such as Yes, Genesis and ELP with the fist-pumping simplicity of anthemic American rock. Of their contemporaries, however, Starcaste were undoubtedly the most overtly progressive. Those who have yet to explore the delights of Starcastle are urged to investigate their first three albums, all of which should delight fans of classic-style progressive rock. Although certainly not their best, the elegant, instrumentally complex and gloriously upbeat 'Citadel' does provide a worthy denouement for a group who, simply put, didn't get the recognition they fully deserved.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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Send comments to stefro (BETA) | Report this review (#719858) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, April 09, 2012

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3 stars Starcastle got frustrated with the low sales figures for their first two albums and tried to become more radio friendly. There are still some good songs here, but the album is definitely fluffier than the first two. The trend went further into the bubble gum pop collection with the next album ... (read more)

Report this review (#37417) | Posted by digdug | Thursday, June 23, 2005 | Review Permanlink

2 stars STARCASTLE's "Citadel" album is essentially a collection of upbeat prog/pop songs with YES leanings. Actually, if you enjoy STYX pop and ASIA's mid-80's stuff, you should find this enjoyable. The vocal harmonies are pristine, the keyboards are plentiful, and the drumming can be intricate ...b ... (read more)

Report this review (#7051) | Posted by altaeria | Saturday, April 03, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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