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Willowglass Book of Hours album cover
3.80 | 116 ratings | 16 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2008

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Argamasilla (11:04)
2. Willowglass (4:02)
3. The Maythorne Cross (10:39)
4. Book of Hours (7:13)
5. The Labyrinth (16:50)

Total Time 49:48

Line-up / Musicians

- Andrew Marshall / electric, acoustic, 12-string & classical guitars, bass, keyboards, flute, drums & percussion
- Dave Brightman / drums

Releases information

CD Self-released - WGCD002 (2008, UK)

Thanks to erik neuteboom for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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WILLOWGLASS Book of Hours ratings distribution

(116 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(58%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

WILLOWGLASS Book of Hours reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by erik neuteboom
4 stars

Because of the lush Mellotron sound on Willowglass their wonderful eponymous debut CD (2005), I was very curious to this new album that was released in 2008. Well fellow symphomaniacs, again this is Vintage Keyboard Heaven with frequent use of the unsurpassed Mellotron and analogue synthesizers like the Minimoog (and the ARP Pro Solist?). During my first listening session I already conclude that multi- instrumentalist and prime mover Andrew Marshall has matured in writing compositions during the 3 years between his two CD's, in my opinion the five compositions (between 4 and 17 minutes, running time around 50 minutes) sound more elaborate and varied than on the first CD. I like the contrast between the bombastic keyboards and the warm twanging 12-string and classical guitar and the flute, in the alternating piece The Maythorne Cross you can even enjoy a medieval sound. In the titletrack the Hammond sound evokes the early Procol Harum, wonderfully blended with a classical guitar (in the vein of Steve Hackett) and the Mellotron and Grand piano. My highlight is the long final song The Labyrinth: an intro with warm classical guitar in delicate interplay with the violin-Mellotron, then lots of shifting moods (featuring an impressive church-organ sound, sensitive electric guitar, majestic choir-Mellotron and fluent synthesizer flights), culminating in a splendid final part with a slow rhythm that gradually changes into a bombastic atmosphere delivering very compelling 24-carat symphonic rock with bass pedals, choir- Mellotron, pitchbend driven Minimoog runs and sensitive electric guitar, I am in Vintage Keyboard Heaven!

What a beautiful symphonic rock, highly recommended to all vintage keyboard aficionados and symphomaniacs!

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars I wasn't expecting much from this release, I thought it would be filled with mellow all instrumental music. Well I promptly had my doors blown off. WILLOWGLASS is the project of multi-instrumentalist Andrew Marshall, and he offers up some vintage seventies-like instrumental music that is as close to perfect as you can get. GENESIS came to mind the most but also CAMEL, and the mellotron samples are all over this album. I like the fact that this album is 50 minutes in length as well.

"Argamasilla" opens with a GENESIS-like soundscape and tons of mellotron.The tempo picks up before 1 1/2 minutes where it reminds me of CAMEL.The mellotron is still flowing. A calm with bass before 3 1/2 minutes and the mellotron is so majestic. Guitar after 4 1/2 minutes as the sound gets fuller then the tempo picks up again. Banks-like organ followed by a mellotron-storm that last to the 8 minute mark. That GENESIS sound is back and it sounds so beautiful with the mellotron. "Willowglass" features 12 string guitar and lots of flute throughout. Oh yeah and mellotron. "The Maythorne Cross" opens with flute as piano and mellotron come in.This sounds so amazing right here. It settles after 3 1/2 minutes as a recorder comes in then it picks back up again. Flute after 5 1/2 minutes followed by a calm until drums, mellotron and bass kick in. Check out the bass, organ and guitar before 8 minutes. Fantastic ! It ends with an eerie calm.

"Book Of Hours" opens with organ and acoustic guitar. A change 2 1/2 minutes in as the tempo picks up with pulsating organ and light drums. Back to the acoustic guitar 6 minutes in. "The Labyrinth" is the 17 minute closer. Mellotron before a minute followed by guitar and drums. Great sound. The mellotron returns and then synths and drums take over. Silence before 6 1/2 minutes and then it starts to build. Check out the organ and mellotron 8 minutes in. Drums and chunky bass join in as well. Powerful organ before 9 1/2 minutes then piano and melloton take over. Acoustic guitar after 12 minutes as mellotron and drums join in. Incredible soundscape to end it.

I think when I heard about this album originally I was thinking it would be really pastoral and maybe a little boring. Well I was so wrong. Sure it has some beautiful pastoral moments, but this is anything but boring. Andrew is a very talented man both in playing the instruments and also composing the music. Well done !

Review by Menswear
4 stars Welcome to the beautiful album of Willowglass, and yes, it's worth purchasing.

First, give a guy a chance. When I see the label 'Independant', my heart swells with empathy. Wait... What?!? This is all home made? Get outta here! Oh really? Wow, wow and triple wow. This sounds just fantastic, so full and rich! 2) It's way above average some symphonic material we all know and love.

For instance, it's a lot better than Genesis' Wind and Wuthering, although they modestly share the same recipe: 12 string guitars, great sounding mellotron and hammond. But, this album has a LOT of fantasy/ Hobbit-sipping-peacefully-his-tea theme. Although the main theme is Don Quichotte and his faithful Sancho, it brings to my mind much more Bilbo images than anything else, so fans take notice! It's fun to catch some bands that succeed grabbing the feel of an old instrumental classic, and with this one it's a treat.

Simply, this record got my vote for 'out-of-nowhere-but-high-quality' material for 2008. Incredibly rich sound, great atmospheres but a lot of Par Lindh/ Genesis DNA!

Deserves a definite chunk of your attention.

Oh by the way, 1973 called, he wants his sound back!

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Outstanding stained glass -like and typical proggy artwork is the first obvious attraction before even hitting the start button. Willowglass' second contribution is even better than the debut, which was an eye and ear-opening revelation of how great music can still be made today and how amazing the new technology is with one man doing miracles from a home studio and a PC. This is a shimmering affair that breathes new life into a much cherished genre, an instrumental Genesisian adventure = loads of acoustic and electric guitars, tons of luscious keys featuring the emperor Mellotron in all its grandeur and some superb synthesizer work. How can one not be charmed into willing submission? Hey, we all have our own little tastes, quirky at times for sure, even rebellious but this is definitely my cup of tea, I can listen to this simply endlessly. One man multi instrumentalist and wunderkind Andrew Marshall takes us on an astonishing ride, a storybook expression of progressive pastoral magnificence in its most direct form. Gargantuan melodies with titanic waves of that magic choir-mellotron, inspiring the sincerest emotions, subterranean atmospheres and capricious moods. The massive and bouncy "Argamasilla" fires the opening salvo and the passion never relents from there on. "Willowglass" is a pristine shorter interlude espousing the exquisite fragility of flute, 12 string acoustic guitar and of course that "magical mello whirring tron monster", devastatingly effective. Spanning over 10 minutes, "The Maythorne Cross" is a more lugubrious affair, at times veering into more somber horizons, yet still flavored with heady swaths of shimmering splendor. Yes, old boy, it's very characteristically English to say the least, and we should be all very thankful, as this is no hooligan music at all. Very classy, elegant, ornate and ultimately glowing in sheer majesty, with never a dull moment or filler, every note has a meaning and a definition. Yes, there are nods at Camel, Anthony Phillips' acoustic revelry, weighty Hackett-era Genesis intonations, a dash of Canterbury, a hint of Barclay James Harvest (yeah the gushing mellotron parts) as well as some clearly defined Andrew Marshall touches, making this a successful and valid prog statement, with a bright future ahead (hopefully more releases!). The title track is another blissy voyage, with moody organ rolls, soft guitar caresses, waving synths, curtsying trons and redolent piano reflections. The final track, "The Labyrinth" is an epic, nearly 17 minute breeze that manages to symbiotically suggest the true essence of Willowglass' skillful craft, a musical roller coaster that bends from soft to wild while remaining very refined. As our latest PA reviewer wunderkind "AdamHearst "so correctly stated, "this is pure Prog Heaven"! To put it simply, this is shockingly good intense music that deserves to be heard and admired for evermore. After all both sinkadotentree and I couldn't be foolishly errant in our ways, now could we? 5 unquestionable wood tumblers.
Review by BrufordFreak
3 stars While I am choosing to not do a full detailed review of Book of Hours, it is only because the reviewers preceding me have said it all. Beauty reigns supreme throughout this pastoral and melodic CD.

1. "Argamasilla" (11:04) an enjoyable outtake from GENESIS Duke. (16.5/20)

2. "Willowglass" (4:02) acoustic guitars (12-string and 6-) finger-picked and joined by flutes and Mellotron. I like the flute melodies much better than those of the six-string. And the Ant Phillips-like outro. Gorgeous sound palette with not enough variety or development of the two themes. (8/10)

3. "The Maythorne Cross" (10:39) children's instruments in the intro are supplanted by flute and 'tron. The second section gets into KARDA ESTRA-like territory, then we kind of blend it all together in the third minute. Love the use of recorders in the middle (with snare drum military rudiments) but it's all a bit too contrived and too restrained--even when the Hammond and bass begin to "go wild." The ideas here could have been more developed. As it stands, it is just not a coherent or "finished" feeling piece. The whole song feels like a series of rudiments strung together. The song finally gels as it amps up in the final third and lets the Steve Hackett lead guitar wail away, but then there is a really strange ending of space-scape of synths (15.25/20)

4. "Book of Hours" (7:13) organ and guitar arpeggi. 'Tron supplants organ for second motif. This is all very familiar (similar to "Garden" from Andrew's debut album). The entrance of recorder to accompany the acoustic guitar in the next section is a nice change. Organ re-enters and then the full ensemble kicks in with great effect, great warmth, and great cohesion. (12.75/15)

5. "The Labyrinth" (16:50) with opening theme s that sound like they came straight out of GENESIS' 1974-76 period, it then switches to an almost JEAN-LUC PONTY palette before reverting back into the safety of the lush GENESIS palette. Very engaging and satisfying. Not as elegant or filled with clever subtleties in several layers as the Genesis crew would do, but a true step forward in terms of composition sophistication. I think my main frustration with this song is with the high number of riffs and motifs that feel lifted from Genesis songs--not lifted in their exact form but so close, with such little variation, that the source is immediately recognizable and identifiable. The second half feels like Andrew is trying on some of the symphonic bombast that other bands (particularly RPI bands) have gotten away with since 1971 (though in truth it feels more akin to the early works of Ant Phillips and Steve Hackett than their band of origin); it's just a bit much for me. And then the all-too-blatant rip off of Steve's "Shadow of the Heirophant" for the final five minutes is going too far. (25/30)

Total Time: 49:48

While the highs are not quite as high as those few on the group's previous eponymous disc, the consistency is of a much higher level and a noticeable maturation has occurred in both Andrew's song-writing skills and his recording/mixing skill. Also, the drumming/drummer has stepped up a few notches.

C+/3.5 stars; a very nice sounding album that would probably make a nice addition to any prog music collection. I have to admit to my surprise that this album rates lower than Andrew's debut as I feel that Book of Hours is a step forward--an improvement upon all that he released on Willowglass. I guess it is my hope that Andrew moves back toward more of his original ideas for melodies and hooks.

The most important comment I have to make is: I hope Andrew keeps making beautiful music like this for years to come; an album every couple years would be great! Also, keep up the wonderful artwork: it's some of my favorite stuff since Peter Cross' work with Anthony Phillips in the 1970s and 1980s.

Review by russellk
3 stars WILLOWGLASS's second album (actually ANDREW MARSHALL, a talented multi-instrumentalist) is a sharp and tangy adventure into retro-prog. His swirling mellotron and crisp guitar takes you back to the 1970s, whether you want to go there or not. The sounds are pastoral and very pleasant, reminiscent of CAMEL.

Trouble is, after a while you begin to lament the absence of vocals. Without a voice the music must have very strong motifs (ANGLAGARD is an example of a band who does this well, as does MIKE OLDFIELD), and while this album does better than (say) WOBBLER, the compositions do sag somewhat. I can imagine scoring this a star higher for good vocals and lyrics: at best this album becomes wallpaper without them.

To my mind this artist really ought to be a member of a band. What a fabulous contribution to the world of prog he could make surrounded by a few talented bandmates! Nevertheless, this is a worthwhile if unadventurous album, especially impressive coming from an independent.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars For beginning of this two part review, please find their first album. So I continue from last time. Seems like they fixed the biggest thing I hated (well, more like not liked too much as I could if it was different). This album has overall feeling of rocking sound (I wanted to use ".", but I save them for name of songs"). "Argamasilla" (whatever it is) starts instantly, without a second of hesitation and sets the tone for entire song. And has really catchy sound which you'll remember. This I lack in previous record. This song constantly graduates (and sometimes, which is quite strange, also de-graduates). Now, when you say mellotron in recent years, I say this song. And yeah, tune of this song is far better to remember than song name itself.

Eponymous track (or track with same name, self-titled track, Any Namour (I mean Name) You Want) with (oh, by the way, what exactly willowglass is ? When I first searched for info about this music, I typed "willowgrass", not knowing that it actually means something) is pleasant tune. Not much more to be said, reminds me first album. Due to this, no more words needed.

Rest of tracks goes on with as a little bit disappointment for me, because I've expected too much. It's better than first one, but still can't reach my masterpiece's heights. I though that I'll be able to, I even wanted, but, what can I do. So I'll give it 4(+), still 4 star rating, but better than previous one.

Recommended for every mellotron lover.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars As a second one goes, this is a beauty. The songwriting is more mature than on the debut self titled CD and there is more of an own personality even if the influences are just the same as before (mainly mid period Genesis, plus some Camel, Pink Floyd and Yes). Book of Hours is quite more adventurous too. Definitly Andrew Marsahll knows how to produce something fresh and exciting out of his pure dedication to the 70´s prog sound.

The music is totally instrumental and has many wonderful passages, with great Hackett-like guitars, lots of choir-mellotrons and other vintage keyboards, fine flute and even some recorders that sound like those of Gentle Giant here and there. His performances on all instruments also improved as he seems to be more confortable and familiar with the studio techniques. He is really an one man band! (bar the drummer, who is also good) I still think he could have a track or two with vocals (as long as he chose to have a singer as outstanding as he is in the instrumental field), but this CD is still excellent as it is.

If you like 70´s classic prog and is not very concerned about originality, you should not miss this one. Along with Trion and Odyssice, Willowglass is one of the most interesting instrumental prog acts of the new millenium. I really hope they keep pouring CDs like these. Book of Hours deserves a full four star rating.

Review by fuxi
3 stars One man's brave attempt to create an instrumental prog album in the tradition of "The Cinema Show" (at least its instrumental bits), "Los Endos", MOONMADNESS and (for good measure) Rick Wakeman's WHITE ROCK. Andrew Marshall composed and arranged all the tunes, and played guitars, keyboards, bass, flute, recorders and drums. He only needed a more experienced drummer to help him out with (one imagines) the livelier, more complicated bits.

Early reviews in Progarchives were almost invariably positive (the familiar spectre of "vintage keyboard heaven" was raised) so I decided to give BOOK OF HOURS a try, and while it's an immediately likeable album, I found it's perhaps not the "contemporary prog classic" some people seem to take it for.

I find it hard to put my finger on the problem since the album sounds very clean and professional. "Argamasilla", the 11 minute opening tune, certainly sounds pleasant enough, but the same riffs get repeated a few times too often, and Marshall's solos (whether on synth or guitar) sound a tad too glib; they lack a certain degree of agressiveness and never reach the climaxes you're hoping for.

Similar problems plague most of the other longer tracks. If this had been a band playing, each and every soloist would probably have given their best while trying to outclass the others. Since Andrew Marshall is master of all he surveys, there's insufficient tension in the music. (Quite a few of Mike Oldfield's albums suffer from the same problem.) I also agree with earlier reviewers that the absence of vocals is a disadvantage. Marshall is a highly gifted arranger but not a virtuoso of the calibre of, say, Steve Hackett, so you keep waiting for dramatic things to happen. A powerful singer could have made quite a difference.

Nevertheless, there is a lot to enjoy. On "The Maythorne Cross", for example, Marshall plays solos on bass guitar, flute and churchy Hammond organ, and he tops it all by performing the most dramatic lead guitar solo on the entire album. This is undeniably impressive, and it makes you hope he will one day record a true masterpiece. "Willowglass" itself is a lovely acoustic tune, and on "The Labyrinth" there is one truly majestic moment where a church organ suddenly comes in. This particular trick has been pulled off quite a few times in prog history (most notably by the Flower Kings) but I've never heard it done as well as here.

Special kudos to Lee Gaskins for illuminating the CD cover with charming stained glass images based on DON QUIJOTE.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars This album is full of good symphonic parts, especially in the keys department "Argamasilla" or some great flute during the enchanting and 100% "Trespass" oriented "Willowglass".

If you don't like derivative music, I guess that you'd better not listen to this album. It sweats "Genesis" at all time. Well, almost. I wouldn't say that I don't like it, but some forty years after the genuine masters, was it all necessary? I guess not.

The long and middle "The Maythorne Cross" is less catchy though. Little expression, little emotion: just a pleasant juxtaposition of excerpts. No fantasy but symphony. But I'm not really convinced by this number.

Andrew Marshall (the mentor of this "band") gets back to better territories with the title track which is a mellow symphonic piece of music which is quite enjoyable. It holds some lush keyboards, decent drumming and a truly bombastic feeling all the way through.

The epic track is full of "bombasticity" as well. But too much. It is quite elegant but I can't feel any emotion while listening to such a track. In all, this album is pleasant, lacks of vocals to shine a little more and scores no higher than three stars in my books.

Review by colorofmoney91
4 stars Book of Hours is some seriously fantastic instrumental symphonic prog. Back when I first got into prog, symphonic prog was my default choice for progressive rock listening, and so I found this album. Though, I'm no longer a fan of symphonic prog in general, this album is one of the best I've ever heard and really stands out, I still enjoy it even. The music here is very much an amalgamation of all the symphonic prog greats (Yes, Genesis, what have you) and those influences are very apparent when listening. The vintage keyboard sounds are especially appealing to me, and they really draw out that authentic symphonic prog feel. The compositions on this album are decently long, but never drag or get boring. Every track maintains steady flow of impeccable energy that I've found most symphonic prog lacks. This is a terrific listen, and any fans of symphonic progressive rock should definitely allow their ears to be graced with this beautiful and energetic, often ethereal instrumental music.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Willowglass produces some lovely music with great sound, instrumentation, and overall production. Andrew Marshall blends acoustic and electric instruments masterfully, and plays them very well I might add. What prevents this album from being more than just "good", however, is the composition. Ta ... (read more)

Report this review (#1253269) | Posted by brotherjohn | Monday, August 18, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I could conjure up a good variety of influences to describe this album, and the idea of ​​ Marshall's music in general. But other commentators have done very well, before me. In parts, flutes, acoustic and classical guitars, give it a unique baroque and medieval touch. In other secti ... (read more)

Report this review (#1011595) | Posted by sinslice | Monday, August 5, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The Höstsonaten fans won't be disappointed. Why do I mention this Italian band? Because Willowglass is very close to their universe: a subtle, romantic, symphonic music with gorgeous vintage keyboards. All mellotron, minimoog, Hammond lovers will enjoy this opus. This is the second album by th ... (read more)

Report this review (#266493) | Posted by Thierry | Tuesday, February 16, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I have chosen this excellent disc for my first review on Prog Archives. Book of Hours is the most moving and addictive Prog album i've heard made in modern times. I believe that if this album had been released in 1973 it would now be unanimously hailed as a 5-star masterpiece of Symphonic Prog. ... (read more)

Report this review (#201723) | Posted by AdamHearst | Wednesday, February 4, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It's fantasy, as if instruments blend with harmony creating the ideal atmosphere of Progressive Rock I give this album 4 stars. The musical pieces are the ones that you don't wish to finish. I really enjoyed listening to each track, they Involved me with soft tunes and the synthesizers passages. ... (read more)

Report this review (#176542) | Posted by jesus | Friday, July 11, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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