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Starcastle Citadel album cover
2.98 | 110 ratings | 13 reviews | 9% 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

Line-up / Musicians

- Terry Luttrell / lead vocals
- Matthew Stewart / guitars, mandolin, vocals
- Stephen Hagler / guitars, vocals
- Herb Schildt / synthesizer, organ, piano, Mellotron, Oberheim
- Gary Strater / bass, Moog pedals, vocals
- Stephen Tassler / drums & percussion, vocals

Releases information

Artwork: The Brothers Hildebrandt

LP Epic ‎- 34935 (1977, US)

CD Renaissance Records ‎- RMED00129 (1998, US)
CD Rock Candy ‎- CANDY051 (2009, UK) Remastered (?)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy STARCASTLE Citadel Music

STARCASTLE Citadel ratings distribution

(110 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (40%)
Collectors/fans only (15%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

STARCASTLE Citadel reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by corbet
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.
Review by Sean Trane
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.
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"

Review by Proghead
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.

Review by hdfisch
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!
Review by ZowieZiggy
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).

Review by ghost_of_morphy
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.

Review by stefro
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.


Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars Change in time

On Citadel, Starcastle feels somehow more at home than they did on the previous Fountains Of Light which to me is best viewed as a transitional album between the Symphonic Prog of the debut and the more Prog related AOR style showcased here. The universally made comparison with Yes is definitely less natural here, and it would be better to compare the music on Citadel with that of other American bands like Saga, FM, and Kansas of the late 70's/early 80's. The downside of sounding less like Yes is that they sound more bland.

Citadel is a far cry from the band's excellent self-titled debut. But judged for what it is, it is not that bad. I think it is fair to say that Starcastle was ahead of their time and pointed in the direction that many Prog bands would take in the 80's, streamlining their sound and exploring more commercial pastures.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
2 stars Starcastle previous record, Fountains Of Light, showed the band stuck in a rut: it proved the group could not evolve in prog terms to outgrow their idols of Yes, nor become something different enough to stablish themselves as entity of their own. To worse thing even further the timing could not be less ideal for prog acts in general: 1977 was the year of the rising of punk rock as the new media darlings and the commercial explosion of disco, viewed (wrongly) to many as a rival of rock. Prog music had become passÚ. If it was hard year for prog giants, imagine for young struggling ones that had yet to make any impact on the musical scene. So Starcastle might had looked around and saw several american groups with a certain prog credentials started to go commercial and having a steady, growing success, like Journey and, specially, Styx. Superstars of the moment - Kansas in America - would go on this way also, but only much later.

So their third effort is a transitional album. There is still a lot of Yes-sounding stuff, but there is also more commercial tunes like Can┤t Think Twice and Could This Be Love. Actually I think the pop stuff was not really bad and showed some promise. Maybe a way out. After all, if that worked for Styx, why not for them? But somehow that would not happen. Citadel went largely unnoticed and their next, Real to Reel, would put an end to their career for the next 30 years or so.

Conclusion: as all Starcastle albums, this is not bad. It has some nice tunes, but not much more than that. This is more interesting for historical reasons than for what the band left in musical terms.

Rating: 2,5 stars.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Starcastle was accused of being a "Yes" clone band, and unfortunately, they never rose to the legendary status that they might have deserved if they had been able to continue in the same path they were headed in their first three albums, especially their first. Their debut album sold quite well and was able to get some airplay, but their following albums didn't do as well because of their reputation of being a clone band. But, they were stellar musicians, and if you are looking for a great 70's progressive band that you might have missed, you might want to check out Starcastle. Their music is bright and positive sounding, with a lot of keyboards and synths and great guitar solos.

For their 3rd album, the original line-up was still intact ( and would be for their fourth album also). Lead singer Terry Luttrell was recruited from REO Speedwagon in their early days and he does have a high voice very similar to Jon Anderson's, except it was a little bit weaker and was often supported by the other members of the band, thus a lot of their music had some very nice harmonics, and such is the case on this album. Matthew Stewart and Stephen Hagler shared guitar responsibilities and their style is quite bright and open, and even they were able to sound a bit like Steve Howe at times, but they also had their own distinctive style. On Citadel, their guitars many times can be a little hard to distinguish from the keyboards however, where on their debut album, the differences were more distinctive. Herb Schildt was responsible for most of the keyboards, organs, mellotron and synths, and was definitely a master of the keys. His playing is probably one of the most unique sounds in the band as he didn't really have the same pompous style of Wakeman or Emerson, but definitely came up with some great keyboard riffs that seemed to stand out more than anything in the group's sound. On top of this, Gary Stratter played bass and Stephen Tassler played drums and percussion, and even though they made up a top notch rhythm section that was able to handle the tricky meters and tempo changes quite well, their sound didn't always stand out quite as much because of the bright sound that was always achieved in the mixing of the bands albums, and this album definitely suffers a bit because of that.

This brightness in the sound in Citadel also accounts for the fact that the tracks sound a bit too much alike. At the first several listens, it is difficult to pick out much of a diverse personality between the songs. It takes several listens to begin to pick out the different melodies and traits of each song. Citadel was the first Starcastle album I owned, and even though I generally liked the sound, it took me a few years to finally get familiar with the songs, because I also felt it all sounded too much the same. Once I did get familiar with the music though, I started to appreciate it more, and the things that weren't so obvious started to become quite amazing to me. While it is true that the album is not as good as the first two, it is still quite excellent once your familiarity with it grows. Nothing on here matches the genius of "Lady of the Lake" or other tracks on the debut album, but they are still very progressive and fun to listen to, especially if you are craving something different to listen to from that era. On Citadel, there are some standout tracks that are quite good including "Shine on Brightly", "Wings of White" and "Evening Wind" which are the most progressive tracks here. The record company had also started to penetrate the band's sound on this album however and was able to convince the band to do a couple of more radio friendly songs like "Can't Think Twice" and "Could This Be Love?", neither of which really was successful from a single or radio friendly point of view. Still, I think this is a valiant effort for the band and it might be just the right thing to fill that 70's symphonic prog hole that you might be feeling. I know, once I became familiar with the music, that it brought me a lot of enjoyment back in the day when dinosaurs were the main mode of travel and Fred Flintstone was a likeable, state-of-the-art kind of a guy and not the current US Attorney General.

After this album, Starcastle was able to release one more album that was an almost complete sell out. After that, they went into hiding until after the current decade started. I admit I never heard their album released in 2007 "Song of Times" and someday I might break down and hear it, but as far as the 70s were concerned, this was the last great album by a great band.

Latest members reviews

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 3, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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