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THE BROADSWORD AND THE BEAST

Jethro Tull

Prog Folk


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Jethro Tull The Broadsword And The Beast album cover
3.27 | 429 ratings | 50 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 1982

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Beastie (3:58)
2. Clasp (4:18)
3. Fallen On Hard Times (3:13)
4. Flying Colours (4:40)
5. Slow Marching Band (3:40)
6. Broadsword (5:03)
7. Pussy Willow (3:56)
8. Watching Me Watching You (3:41)
9. Seal Driver (5:10)
10. Cheerio (1:10)

Total Time: 38:49
Bonus tracks: (remastered - 2005)
11. Jack Frost And The Hooded Crow 3:21?
12. Jack-A-Lynn 4:40?
13. Mayhem, Maybe 3:05?
14. Too Many Too 3:27?
15. Overhang 4:27?
16. Rhythm In Gold 3:07?
17. I'm Your Gun 3:18?
18. Down At The End Of Your Road 3:32?

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Ian Anderson / flute, acoustic guitar, vocals
- Martin Barre / electric guitar, acoustic guitar
- Gerry Conway / drums, percussion
- Dave Pegg / bass, mandolins, vocals
- Peter-John Vettese / piano, synthesizer (1,13,16)

Releases information

LP Chrisalis-CHR 1380P (2002)
CD Capitol/EMI (2005)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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JETHRO TULL The Broadsword And The Beast ratings distribution


3.27
(429 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
12%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
36%
Good, but non-essential (34%)
34%
Collectors/fans only (15%)
15%
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)
4%

JETHRO TULL The Broadsword And The Beast reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I cannot agree with the notion that this is a "bad" album. I think that long-term Tull fans will not be disappointed by excellent material such as "Beastie," "Clasp," "Fallen on Hard Times," "Broadsword," "Seal Driver," and "Cheerio." Sure, the sound is a little updated, and no longer truly ground-breaking, but much of the magic of earlier classics like Aqualung and Thick as a Brick, in my opinion, had as much to do with the times, and the musical boundaries that were then being broken, as with the music. You can't bring back the past (or keep "Living in the Past"), nor should we expect bands to never "progress" beyond their 70s parameters. (Hence the name of our favourite genre!)

Anyway, I'll step down from my soapbox, and conclude by simply saying that this disc is worthy of inclusion in your Tull collection -- not as good as some of its predecessors, perhaps, but still quite good. It's certainly miles ahead of the two albums that came immediately before and after it: see my review of "Under Wraps."

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Send comments to Peter (BETA) | Report this review (#16705) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, January 02, 2004

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
2 stars 2,5 stars really!!!

I don't see many improvements on this one as to the previous two albums. But a lot of Tull fans look at this one with sympathy: I think it is because of the artwork sleeve , because the music here is average and sub-par to Horses or Song From The Wood albums. As one will see with the next awful album Under Wraps , Tull is in a transitional phase and searching themselves and their sound on different songwriting styles and this makes all abum from Stormwatch onwards until Crest Of A Knave (where they decided to stick with a rawer hard blues rock sound) album rather unfocused, tentative , unsure and directionless! Even such blatant try at commercial music (Pussy Willow) sound completely unfresh and un-inventive!

To be approached with care , but most die-hard fans can easily enjoy the album if they are not fussy and demanding on quality!

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#16706) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, February 05, 2004

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The previous record "A" made a major change among the Tull work: the presence of modern futuristic keyboards sounds, which fitted very well with their more conservative style. Unfortunately, Eddie Jobson did not continue with Tull, so the next keyboardist involved had to be very talented to replace Jobson. Thanks God, Tull hired Peter John Vetteese, and actually it is hard to find a better keyboardist than Vetteese to reproduce the Jobson's style. His very varied futuristic keyboards palette fits very well here with the prog hard rock tendency; there are many excellent keyboards & piano parts here. Martin Barre's electric guitar is quite aggressive, expressive and melodic, but not too much so that the flute, the acoustic guitars and the keyboards really have enough room. The tracks are very melodic & catchy, not extremely progressive, and Anderson's lead vocals are excellent, as always! The drums and bass do a good job. All the tracks are excellent. I have to mention the tracks are really accessible: it is one of the most accessible Tull albums! The songs are catchy, and even many metal fans could easily like this record.

Rating: 4.5 stars

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#16710) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, April 11, 2004

Review by daveconn
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars One of the drearier isles in the great sea of TULL, or so it always seemed to me when the thin sound escaped from its gruelish grooves. Fortunately, "The Broadsword And The Beast" is far better fare on disc; it might even be a minor revelation in remastered form. Some have heard in this effort the old magic, though I bade those ghosts goodbye with "Stormwatch". TULL greeted the '80s with new players, new toys (synthesizers), and a harder edge that led to the heavy metal confusion of later years. Gone were the once rich tones of Ian's voice, lost to overuse, and what remained in its stead was a thin, tired but still familiar singer who struggled to compete with his own busy arrangements. Effects sometimes mask its miserable state, but mostly IAN writes around it. As for the album itself, "The Broadsword And The Beast" is broken into two halves: Beastie and Broadsword. The opening "Beastie" is a psychological study of our own demons, stalking the listener like a slow and heavy Rover. "Broadsword" is the worn and weary warrior setting off for what may be a last great epic adventure. (I used to play this in college on the radio station nobody listened to because we had it on those prerecorded cartridges that were easier to queue up. And because I like it.) These are the two great pillars of "The Broadsword And The Beast", in the shadow of which loom such pretty flowers as "Pussy Willow" and "Clasp".

Taken in toto, "Broadsword" is one of the band's best albums from the '80s, though the decade couldn't hold a collective candle to the '70s (in my opinion). However, compared to their next album, "Broadsword" sounds like "Songs From The Bloomin' Wood". "Watching Me Watching You" sets the stage for that album, the brain of TULL implanted in a cyborg's body (although little on Under Wraps is so clever). I may warm to "Broadsword" yet, since "Seal Driver" and "Fallen On Hard Times" have nearly won me over the last two times I've heard them, the sinew of "Heavy Horses" hidden under their modern armor. But the elegiac tone is unshakable ("Slow Marching Band", "Cheerio"), and the phenomenal feats that came so easily in youth would be hard-won from now on.

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Send comments to daveconn (BETA) | Report this review (#16712) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, May 01, 2004

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Again Jethro Tull returned more determined than ever. BATB is a great album, probably warranting 3 and a half stars. Some of the songs really do smack you straight between the eyes.' Fallen on Hard Times' my persoanl favourite.' Seal Rider' is also good on the back end of the album. Not to be defended, the artwork is really good.The tempo of the album is comfortable and it seems to be overall very pleasing on the ear.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#16714) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, August 12, 2004

Review by Muzikman
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars As the remastered series of JETHRO TULL albums continues with great success, another round is ripe and ready for the picking. They come out three at a time and we are nearly through the entire JT studio albums at this point.

The 1982 release "Broadsword and the Beast", as with many of the JT recordings, takes a few listens to settle in and grow on you. This release is loaded with bonus tracks, eight of them, and they are all excellent, actually comprising another album of material. Since these were the pre-CD days, they could not fit all of these songs onto one LP, it would have been a double LP, and obviously, that was not in the contract with the label. Well we are the lucky chaps now, finally hearing all of the sessions recorded in 1982.

Once again, Ian Anderson put together one hell of a band. He managed to persuade drummer Gerry Conway (Cat Stevens) and bassist Dave Pegg (FAIRPORT CONVENTION) to join the proceedings with himself and Mr. Barre in the studio. The ensuing sessions proved to be quite fruitful for the ever - changing JETHRO TULL camp. Thank the dear lord that Ian and Martin stayed together through the merry go around of musicians over the last thirty some years. I cannot imagine how JT would have survived without them.

"Broadsword" and "Seal Driver" comes popping out at you as the best tracks, with all of the powerful Barre pinpoint blues-rock influenced riffs and the regal medieval and Celtic influences lurking in the foreground as usual. The music is delightful, very much JETHRO TULL in one their finest hours no doubt. The bonus tracks are most certainly a "bonus," and I will not dub them as bogus tracks on this release. All eight are very strong tunes, with a great undertow of bass and drums brought to a steady boil with rock solid keyboards and guitar, finished off with superb vocals from Mr. Anderson. My favorites are "Jack A Lynn," "Jack Frost And The Hooded Crow" and "Mayhem Maybe," which has a wonderful old time Irish toe-tapping atmosphere all around it that puts a smile on your face and in your heart.

Yes indeed folks, yet another wonderful remastered album complete with the witty liner notes we have come to love from Ian. It will be a sad day for this lad when the reissues stop coming to my mailbox so I intend on relishing every one of them until the entire lot is complete.

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck-http://www.muzikreviews.com

June 26, 2005

Rating: 9/10

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Send comments to Muzikman (BETA) | Report this review (#37750) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, June 26, 2005

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars In the fall of 1981 the recording sessions started for a new album. Martin Barre and Dave Pegg stayed on, while keyboard player Peter-John Vettese and drummer Gerry Conway (he worked with Cat Stevens) joined. Over the four years to come Peter-John would become a very influential member of the band and contributed so much to the new album, that he was credited for it on the cover. His arrival coincided with a very fruitful period of songwriting. A few months later a series of twenty songs were recorded, from which ten were selected for the new album "The Broadsword And The Beast". Nine of the unreleased songs would later appear being included on the "20 Years Of Jethro Tull" box set: 'Jack-A-Lynn' (beautiful one dedicated to Ian's wife!), 'Too Many Too', 'Overhang', 'Down At The End Of Your Road', 'I'm Your Gun', 'Mayhem, Maybe', 'Motoreyes', 'Rhythm In Gold', 'Jack Frost And The Hooded Crow', all now extra tracks on the new 2005 remastered edition! What a stunning gift to all the JT fans!!

The media regarded 'Broadsword' as the album that dragged Tull into the 80's, and yet the band had achieved their goal of making what could be regarded as a CLASSIC, traditional Jethro Tull album.

A bloody pirate-Vikings-invaders ship afloat on the high stormy seas. and a terrific winged- beast with a great broadsword.

Great songs from JT: in particular The Clasp, Flying Colours, Broadsword, Pussy Willow, Seal Driver.

Excellent, naturally!!

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Send comments to Andrea Cortese (BETA) | Report this review (#45421) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, September 04, 2005

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars By the time this album was released, punk and new wave dominated music industry all over the world. Many prog bands collapse, musically, or being influenced with the stream power of new wave and punk. I only had a chance to spin the cassette of "Broadsword and The Beast" one time only and put it back at my rack. I'd rather listening to Marillion's "Script For A Jester's Tear" or "Fugazi" which were released around the same period. That was the time when my conviction about prog rock existence diminished except for Marillion (and later I knew IQ, Pallas, Pendragon as well). In an article featured at our local news paper KORAN TEMPO dated 15 April 2006 there was an interesting short review about Marillion Script that well describe the early 80s era. The article, written by this site's Prog Reviewer kunangkunangku (Purwanto Setiadi) clearly stated that it's hardly denied that Script stand out to tell the world that the kind of music they play and those who inherited does still exist in the global wave of punk and new wave. Thanks to Marillion who saved prog music in the tough times of early 80s and also thanks to EMI, a major label who dare to take Marillion with that kind of music which has become legend in the prog community!

Well, that long introduction might give you the right context by which Broadsword was issued - not giving you long excuses on why I rarely listened to this album. If you face the same situation like me in the early 80s while you had better option in the kind of music you like, you might have done the same think like me. Probably. Broadsword is not a bad album at all but it's weak as compared to early work of the band and about the same quality with previous album "A". The difference with "A" is that this album has more dazzling flutework overlaid on top of electric instrumentations like keyboard. "Fallen on Hard Times" is a good rocker with beautiful rhythm and aggressive flute work. "Flying Colours" is another interesting track. Almost all songs are composed in the same style. "Broadsword" is also nice one with powerful vocal of Ian Anderson and of course his flute work. One song that bores me is "Pussy Willow" especially on its repeated chords which do not show any variety of music.

Overall, it's not the best album to start with Jethro Tull even though this is not a bad one. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Posted Friday, April 21, 2006

Review by Raff
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I first saw JT live when this album had just come out, so it has a particular meaning for me. At the time it was hailed as a return to form for the band after the patchy (though pleasant) "A", and in many ways this is actually true. Some of the songs featured in "The Broadsword and the Beast" can stand proudly among the band's classics, so much that they are still very often included in their live setlists. Then, in the history of Tull's wildly floating lineups, the one assembled here by mastermind Ian Anderson (one of the finest songwriters in rock music, let's not forget about that) is without a doubt one of the strongest, with a rock-solid rythm section provided by Fairport Convention bassist Dave Pegg and drummer Gerry Conway. Young keyboardist Peter-John Vettese injects a dose of modernity in the proceedings with his use of various synthetisers - though, of course, he is no match for his predecessor on the "A" album, the incomparable Eddie Jobson. Anderson's only constant sidekick for over thirty years, the criminally underrated Martin Barre, provides his usual blend of elegance and fiery, bordering-on-the-metallic electric guitar licks.

The record is split into two parts, "Beast" and "Broadsword". Personally, I have a certain preference for the first side, which contains some of the album's standout tracks - namely the driving "The Clasp", with its haunting flute riff, and opener "Beastie", with its majestic intro and powerful chorus. "Fallen on Hard Times" is another strong, bluesy number, remarkable for its thought-provoking, socially-aware lyrics; while "Flying Colours" is a quieter, more meditative song. "Slow Marching Band" is, in my opinion, the weakest track on the album - a rather nondescript, forgettable affair.

On the "Broadsword" side, the track of the same title might very well be a Viking war hymn, complementing the intriguing, rune-enhanced cover artwork perfectly. Anderson's vocal performance is unusually powerful here, supported by the brooding, dirge-like rythm and majestic sweep of the keyboards. The folky "Pussy Willow" is probably the catchiest song on the album, though I prefer the instrumental version. Then comes the most controversial track of all, the electronic tour de force "Watching You Watching Me", where the synths work in unison with the vocals to imitate the noise of a running train - probably hated by most fans at the time, but interesting in its own peculiar way (I've never been one against experimentation, as long as it is reasonably successful). After the classic JT rocker "Seal Driver", the album closes in style with traditional concert closer "Cheerio", a short yet strongly evocative piece, where the keyboards sound eerily like bagpipes.

The remastered edition of "The Broadsword and the Beast" comes with what is technically another CD's worth of bonus tracks - no less than eight, previously only available on some JT rarities collections. For the most part, these songs are in no way inferior to the ones on the original CD - from the folky number "Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow" to the romantic "Jack-a-Lynn", to the haunting "Too Many Too" and out-and-out rockers "Overhang" and "I'm Your Gun".

Even if this album may not stand on the same level of the band's Seventies masterpieces, it is nevertheless a more than worthwile effort, with the presence of those bonus tracks definitely enhancing its appeal for all lovers of JT's work and of great rock music in general.

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Posted Monday, July 03, 2006

Review by b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I cannot agree with the term that this is a "bad" album. I think Tull fans will not be disappointed by excellent material such as "Beastie," "Clasp," "Fallen on Hard Times," "Broadsword," "Seal Driver," and "Cheerio." So i said this is a strong Tull album, maybe didn't has the impact to the public like '70 stuff, but the times were changing. The musical market were full of heavy metal on one hand, on the other the new wave took is own place. A great album, he deserve a better view by the people who really knows music, not some crapy reviewers. Corect me if i'm wrong....4 stars

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Posted Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Review by Australian
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars "The Broadsword and the Beast", is different(not very though), I'll grant you that. But is it really all that bad? Maybe, but to me it's still enjoyable as any Jethro Tull album. Its just one of those albums I like but I know that it isn't all that great, just like 'Super Furry Animals stuff.' I enjoy listening to such albums, but I don't necessarily take them too seriously. One think I thought good in early Jethro Tull was that the overdrive guitar was not too overused, but here its everywhere, this is heavy metal Tull. I hate to say it but "The broadsword and the Beast" is basically a dumbed down version of 'Heavy Horses.' The irrespirable folk-structure of early Tull is diluted somewhat here but it shines through on a couple of moments, which coincidentally are the highlights of this album.

Songs such as "Fallen on Hard Times", "Slow Marching Band" (nice song), "Flying Colors" (sounds a bit like "Wind Up") and "Pussy Willow" are some fun and enjoyable Jethro Tull tunes, bearing resemblance to the Tull of old. While other songs can be.not so great, but are in no way un-listenable. The concept of "The broadsword and the Beast" is as the title suggests, Beasts and related things. The concept is basically expressed in the album opener "Beastie" and also "Broadsword." I don't know about you, but there seems something really synthetic about "The broadsword and the Beast." This feeling deters me somewhat, but when I get into it I'll soon forget about any such small detail.

1. Beastie (3/5) 2. Clasp (3/5) 3. Fallen On Hard Times (4/5) 4. Flying Colours (4/5) 5. Slow Marching Band (4/5) 6. Broadsword (3/5) 7. Pussy Willow (4/5) 8. Watching Me Watching You (2.5/5) 9. Seal Driver (3/5) 10. Cheerio (3/5) Total =33.5 divided by 10 (number of songs) = 3.35 = 3 stars (being generous today) Good, but non-essential

"The broadsword and the Beast" is a good album, trust me. It may not live up to the grandeur of 'Thick As A brick' or 'Aqualung' but it's still good! "The Broadsword and the Beast" granted Jethro Tull success in both the UK and US reaching number 27 and 19 respectively. The album also established Jethro Tull as a hard-rock group. I'd recommend "The broadsword and the Beast" to any hardcore Jethro Tull fan, beyond that its best to stay away. The expanded/remaster version of "The broadsword and the Beast" comes with 8 bonus tracks, talk about great value!

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Posted Monday, September 18, 2006

Review by Chus
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars This is just so monotonous, boring and cheesy that the amazing album cover can't even save it. At least to me.

It's not that bad, either, but considering that A was at least entertaining in the rhythm section and melodies, in here you're not going to find any complexity in tempo and meter, not even in melodies and harmonies (perhaps Cheerio). The darned drums are so programmed that I wonder if Ian just incorporated the drum machine instead of Gerry Conway, thus Gerry is just waiting for his paycheck; the whole thing is based on BD-snare- BD-BD-snare pattern (correct me if I confuse terms, I'm not exactly an expert in drumming). Where's the flute? was it being repaired?; only about 3 songs here have flute, yet not as much. "Watching Me, Watching You" it's perhaps the most entertaining song here (the "stares!!" chants are catchy, I reckon); but then again is an electronic-based song with cheesy production. "Beastie" is AOR at it's best, while "Flying Colours" starts all right, but progresses in the same way. "Pussy Willow" is beautiful, though, but the ending is in the same formula as the rest. "Broadsword" is catchy, and you could say it's an electroinc scottish ditty, but not really progressive at all. "Slow Marching Band" is the folkiest and most pastoral piece, but (but again!, too many "buts" in this review... or "Too Many Too" (I couldn't resist it!)) radio-friendly again, slow and monotonous, and while "And Further On" had an interesting bridge, in here there's no such thing. Probably the less uninteresting song of the whole is "Seal Driver", but just because it casts an amazing atmosphere, yet, musically, it's no wonder, even when there are some charming segments in it. The "Clasp" has some interesting rhythm and "Fallen On Hard Times" is known for it's vocal harmonies sang almost a capella.

2.5 stars rounded to 2. Do not start with this album... only if you're familiar with Jethro Tull's prime.

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Posted Saturday, November 25, 2006

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Since the start of their career, it is the very first time that the Tull waited for two years to release an album (if you do not consider the video "Slipstream" released ,in 1981.

After such a disaster as "A", the Tull could only produce better. The layout of the cover is pretty good far from the clean and medical, cold artwork from "A". Is this an indication ? I hope so.

When you spin it and listen to "Beastie", the opener, you understand immediately that the synth/pop era is (hopefully) gone. This is a good old Tull tune : hard rocking with great guitar from Martin. The good old days are still back with "Clasp" : aerial intro, some synths and medieval flavour, but it is rocking all right. Still a bit remininscent of "A". "Fallen On Hard Times" : is strong and powerful as the Tull can get. "Flying Colours" and "Slow Marching Band" are a pop/rock numbers which are not too bad : mellow at times and rocking at others. A bit too much FM/ synth oriented though to my taste.

"Broadsword" is another good track: great guitar work from Martin, the song is built crescendo and is quite hard and catchy. "Pussy Willow" is one of the tracks I prefer (actually, so far I have not heard a weak track). It is true though that the album seems to be quite formatted : most of the songs are built on the same scheme and might lead to a feeling of repetiveness and boredom.

"Watching Me Watching You" is again a bit reminiscent of "A" with its predominent synth. It is the only weak song here. "Seal Driver" is my favourite song of this album : great melody, nice piano playing and superb guitar solo. What else do we need from the Tull ? Strong rythm ? You get it as well ! Spacey and dark flavour ? There you go ! A great Tull moment again ("A" is definitely forgotten).

"Cheerio" is not really a song. This short track though will close their concerts for quite some time (just to say goodbye).

This album is hard rocking for most of the time (so were "Heavy Horses" and "Stormwatch"). As most of their remastered albums, there are lots of good bonus tracks (almost half an hour here) which are very welcome. Much, much more than fillers or curiosities for the majority of them.

"Jack Frost..."has some Oriental flavour and has a complex structure. The "musical" influence during the last vocal part will partially ruin this song. "Jack A Lynn" (or is it Jacqueline ?) is a mellow acoustic ballad, quite different from the album atmosphere (maybe that's the reason why they decided not to insert it). The last third of the song is INCREDIBLY good (IMO). "Mayhem Maybe" is what I call a medieval Tull song, or countryside or ... Well you have the idea and know my meaning about those ones. I can live without them. "Too Many Too" remind me of Genesis from the weak era (when they were three, you know...). "Overhang" is a heavy song. Middle to slow tempo at start. it shows the all mighty Tull. "Rythm In Gold" is another of the great bonus tracks, really. There were lots of lost jewels from these sessions (IMO). The last two are not so good though : "I Am Your Gun" is quite average and "Down..." is rather poor ("A" oriented which says sufficiently about my feeling). Three stars but, again, I might come back later and upgrade this one as well. Great bonus tracks.

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Posted Sunday, January 21, 2007

Review by ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars So I’ll admit to this being one of those albums I bought mostly because I thought it had a cool cover. I never was much of a Tull fan, although at the time this released ‘Aqualung’ and ‘Heavy Horses’ were still in pretty heavy rotation on my turntable. Ian Anderson is such an imposing character in all things Tull that one really has to be a fanboy or a hardcore audiophile to notice significant distinctions in many of their albums.

The thing I like about ‘Broadsword’ is that this isn’t one of those albums. Anderson is clearly bent on putting out something that is commercially palatable, and it shows from start to finish. In this case I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, as the songs here are all very engaging. I hadn’t played this album in over twenty years until a few weeks ago. I’ve replaced a few long-lost 8-tracks with CD versions of several Tull albums lately, but still have this one in the original vinyl and decided to give it a few spins. I’m kind of sorry I let it gather dust for so many years.

“Beastie” is a bit of a departure from the Tull I remember as a child, with its very eighties-sounding synthesizers and Barre’s excellent but rather basic guitar work. The drums are nothing to write home about either, but put together the parts work well and this is a pleasant if rather average number for the band.

I can’t remember if “Clasp” was a single, but I think it might have been. Got radio play back in the day anyway. This is a bit closer to traditional Tull, with plenty of Anderson’s flute and a more complex tempo. Anderson also abandons the singing style on “Beastie” in favor of his more bard-like singer-storyteller voice. I guess the piano here is electric, or sounds like it is anyway. “Fallen on Hard Times” was the best-known song off the album in the eighties, a short and tightly arranged flute number with those oddly harmonized refrains that sounded quite a bit like Mark Knopfler and company’s numerous Dire Straits albums from around the same time.

“Flying Colours” reminds me of Elton John’s ‘Honky Château’ for some reason. Maybe it’s the piano – it’s not the vocals for sure; but “Slow Marching Band” is pure Anderson folk-song stuff. “Broadsword” is another Dire Straits-sounding track for me, which probably has something to do with the production. I’m guessing some studio rat would know why. Then “Pussy Willow” for another more traditional-sounding Tull number.

“Seal Driver” doesn’t do much for me even now except for Barre’s guitar, which is crisp and makes up for the extended and rather boring instrumental fills that make this sound longer than it really is. The keyboards on “Watching Me Watching You” are actually kind of annoying, and frankly I don’t really like this track much. The back side of this album is clearly inferior to the front. I wonder if the band was a bit desperate for material, which may be the case considering they only put out a few albums in the eighties and the follow-up to this one (‘Under Wraps’) also sounds rather uninspired.

The album doesn’t have all the bonus tracks that the CD reissue does, so the end for me is the farewell “Cheerio”, which fades out much as the band would for the next few years.

This wouldn’t be at the top of the list of my favorite Jethro Tull albums, but then again I’m not a huge fan anyway. It’s a decent album, but the cover art belies the uneven contents, and overall this is probably a three star effort at best. Oh well, it’s been nice to listen to it again for a few spins after all these years, and I imagine it’ll work its way back into my turntable’s rotation for frequently now that I’ve ‘rediscovered’ it. Worth picking up if you’re a Tull fan, but not essential by any means.

peace

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Posted Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Review by The Whistler
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Broadsword and the Beast is the last in a long line of lasts (a title once bestowed upon Heavy Horses, but I'm better now). It is the last of the "medieval/folk trilogy" (which did NOT end with Stormwatch, as most people say...or Horses, which some people say). It is the last time that Marty gets a noble sounding guitar solo in. And it's the last goode olde fashioned prog album from a goode olde fashioned prog band. Uh, "probably..."

Broadsword sometimes takes a little heat for being an electronicky record, which it is. But at its heart, it's a spiritual brother to Songs from the Wood. In fact, if the Stormwatch lineup, a much more organic group, had recorded the Broadsword material, that would have been a perfect closer to the decade.

We open with "Beastie," one half of the title tune. It's a fairly savage rocker, thumping along with the same steady power of a "Minstrel." And it contains that solo I was talking about, Barre's last, painful stab at medieval catharsis.

"The Clasp" is the long lost cousin of "Velvet Green." Same mandolins, same pipe organ sound, just through an electronic encoder. "Fallen on Hard Times" is our obligatory blues piece, and it's pretty darn good. I love the build from no guitar to acoustic to electric.

"Flying Colors" is another driving rocker. But not quite as good as "Beastie." It's much thinner, and has some dorky keyboard effects in the middle. "Slow Marching Band" makes up for it though; one of the best songs off the album. It's a very Celtic ballad that would have been perfect on something like Stormwatch. In fact, it's a lot like "Elegy;" very sad and quiet, acoustic at first, then building into electric. UNLIKE "Elegy" however, there's no overbearing orchestra, and Barre's guitar never sounds intruding. Fantastic.

I'm not quite as fond of the second side. "Broadsword" is a fairly good Viking number, when it sticks with atmosphere. There's a guitar solo in the middle that everyone raves about, but I just don't see it. I actually find that it spoils the slow, quiet mood. But "Pussy Willow" is probably my favorite song on the album. It's another sad, quiet number, and I actually think that everything absolutely works. I don't even mind the weird laughing effects as the song closes.

"Watching Me Watching You" is a sort of new wave style of song (I guess; I've never been clear on what the "new wave" is, but that's what everyone else calls it). It's not the greatest song on the album, but it's actually kind of interesting. The paranoid vocal delivery is hilarious (the "Black Sunday" school of thought). "Seal Driver" is an okay song that goes on way too long (that "No Lullaby" school of thought again). There's a pretty good layered guitar solo in the middle though.

"Cheerio" is a nice little closer in the vein of "Grace." Very short and sweet. Not quite as good as "Grace" of course, but it fits in with the album very well.

Now, this album is a lot better than I give it credit for. For one thing, I love the mood. It's dark, but not in a created dark way like Stormwatch, or hopelessly dark like Minstrel (although it is sometimes dry like Minstrel). It's more of the simple light on the outside, but knowing dark on the inside kind of Heavy Horses kind of dark.

Also the good numbers are very, very even. I give honor of "best song" to "Pussy Willow," just because it's the most natural sounding, but it might as well have been "Slow Marching Band" or "Hard Times" or even "Beastie." But there are still some problems with the album that we can't look over (aside from the obvious).

I'm not a fantastic fan of the lineup. It's a dull, sometimes lackluster lineup; even the A lineup was more interesting! Dave Pegg was never my favorite bass player, and Gerry Conway, his drummer buddy from Fairport is just "okay." Vettese is not my favorite keyboard player by any means. Marty's is leaning towards a more generic sounding guitar; in fact, if the record weren't still so varietous, he would probably be horrible. My biggest problem is Ian; he doesn't give us a good flute solo on the whole album! Of course, the flute intros ("Clasp," "Hard Times, "Marching Band") are all great.

Look, if you want some dark atmosphere that makes good use of synths, try Pink Floyd. That's not Tull's cuppa joe. If you want some Viking rock, go with Rainbow. But there's still something special about this album; if it had had one outstanding flute solo, or was just recorded by a more natural sounding lineup, there's no way in hell it would have gotten less than a four from me. I definitely prefer this over Stormwatch, and...and...oh, screw it. What am I talking about? Bar "Seal Driver," there ain't a bad number on this thing, and even that's "okay." If I can't grow up and look beyond the electronic trimmings (and, all things considered, they're very subtle, probably owing more to the "boring" lineup than anything else), I don't deserve to be a diehard Tuller. It lacks the overblown theatrics of Songs From the Wood, or the subtle accoustics of Minstrel in the Gallery, but it's got...I dunno, subtle theatrics, if you can imagine. A four; a weak four, but a four none the less.

And even if you don't love it, come on. It's better than Big Generator, right?

(Broadsword is generally considered to be a treasure trove of bonus tracks of a Warchild-esque variety. And I'm not going to disagree. All this crud was recorded by Ian in between points A and B-roadsword, with his "Wakeman-esque" synths. "Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow" might be the most successful marriage of folk and synth. It's a driving folk rocker about, what else, Christmas? "Jack A Lynn" is a very folksy, very downbeat, very good, electrono ballad, although the acoustic version (found elsewhere) is probably better. One of the two Jack songs is the best (I don't know which, depends on my mood), but the rest aren't bad. "Mayhem Maybe" is a very folksy track, all flutes and mandolins and sprites. The tune isn't quite as strong though. Rocker "Too Many Too" is a little too monotonous, but "Overhang" is great, a really depressing medieval rocker about, uh, just look at the title, you'll figure it out. Great lyrics. The next two, "Rhythm In Gold" and "I Am Your Gun" are more on the monotonous side, but at least they lay down a decent groove. "Down At the End of your Road" is roughly the same, except that the lyrics are hilarious. After all this, I can easily cement the remaster's rating to a very solid four. The bonus material isn't quite as strong as Warchild's, but, the album itself is stronger than 'Child, so shut up.)

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Posted Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Review by fuxi
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Now this is just too sad for words, and the sorry tale begins with the cover art. While Jethro Tull albums had featured humorous drawings of the band from the word go, and TOO OLD TO ROCK 'N' ROLL had even depicted Ian Anderson as a cartoon character, BROADSWORD was the first time the band got the look of trashy fantasy fiction or second-rate heavy metal. (STORMWATCH had looked cheap as well, but BROADSWORD takes us to a new level of cheesiness.) And to make things worse, the music sounds horrible too. None of the tunes stand up to scrutiny, except for 'Fallen on Hard Times' (subtle but depressing) and 'Watching You Watching Me', which was criticised (unfairly, if you ask me) for sounding un-Tull-like, as the accompaniment consists mainly of synthesizers.

Apart from Ian, Martin Barre was the only member left from the 1970s band, but his contributions to BROADSWORD are simply painful to hear, especially if you consider the marvellous solos he contributed to AQUALUNG, WARCHILD, MINSTREL etc. (Fortunately, Barre would regain his strength a few years later, on CREST OF A KNAVE.) And what's all this poppycock about pirates and Vikings - were Jethro Tull really turning into Spinal Tap?

So what is the poor listener left with? Yes, you're right: this is the one Jethro Tull album where the bonus tracks are much better than the original material. At least five of them I usually enjoy, although some go on too long. 'Jack Frost' and 'Mayhem Maybe' sound particularly lovely, and 'Jack A Lynn' comes close to being superb. As a consequence, I find myself wavering between two and three stars.

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Posted Thursday, August 16, 2007

Review by febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
5 stars AN ADMISSION OF GUILT! NOT REALLY!

You know the meaning of the guilty pleasure! when you love something dearly that has been bashed or is ut down usualy by the well meaning masses or elites. I don't know of liking BRADSWORD AND THE BEAST qualifies as a guilty pleasure, but i will come out of the closet for this album!!

If i have to take only ONE JT album with me on my way to exile or desert island, this is the one. AQUALUNG? no! TAAB? nope; maybe STAND UP? sorry! JETHRO TULL way past their creative peak or goden age? not a chance! BROADSWORD AND THE BEAST is their summitt, their Eldorado! There are 9 songs an this album ( not counting the 39 seconds long CHEERIO), they are not good , they are excellent. 3 of them; BEASTIE-CLASP-BROADSWORD would feature on my best-of JETHRO TULL compilation. SEAL DRIVER is my ...FAVORITE...JT song! No less!

This is a very rocking album, maybe the hardest they would record. No , don't get scared, it's not with this album JETHRO TULL would put down METALLICA, but MARTIN BARRE is all over the place. Not only that, but he is providing the best riffs and the best solos he ever recorded on a TULL album.Just listen to BROADSWORD or SEAL DIVER! BARRE is absolutely sublime.

New changes of musicians have affected one more time the line-up.Solid drummer GERRY CONWAY has taken over MARK CRANEY! The 'A' special guest'' EDDIE JOBSON, true to his word,left and was replaced by PETER VETTESE. The sound of the album remains modern, but less mainstream than on A. Old elements of TULL music are back such as the acoustic guitar and the mandolin but mixed with modern technology such as- sometimes- synth drums or sequencers to great success.

What makes the album great is also somewhat the athmosphere that prevail through the album such as in the opening BEASTIE. This is not simple hard rock by any means; it's well arranged with tasty keyboards creating this mysterious musical landscape, well in the spirit of the magnificent cover artwork. The rythm section is very tight, not outwordly, but providing a solid foundation to this rocking album.

8 bonus tracks -no less- have been added to the remastered version of BROADSWORD and as in any JT new release, they are all of great quality. What's worth noticing, they are different from the main album as it is a trip back to the old JETHRO TULL sound of old. A lot of acoustic or medieval goodies like JACK FROST,JACK A LYNN or MAYBE MAYHEM will bring you back to STAND UP time. I understand they were rejected by IAN ANDERSON when it was time decide on the tracks that would feature on BROADSWORD as they would not have mixed very well with songs such as BEASTIE or WATCHING ME WATCHING YOU.

There is nothing subpar on this album, the original one neither among the bonus tracks. I can understand that some JT fans are not fond, for example, of the drum synth on WATCHING ME, but that's part of a new experience, and a successful one at that!

But how not appreciate such magnificent tracks such as the grandiose SLOW MARCHING BAND or the wonderfully sounding CLASP? This is JETHRO TULL at his best! One of my 50 all time favorite cds.

4.5 for the ''original'' album + 0.5 stars for the bonus for a full total of....

5 STARS!

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Posted Sunday, August 26, 2007

Review by clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars

Lovely album, and in my opinion quite underrated. I understand the most people will dislike 80's sounds - synths, production. My first impression was: this album is somewhat entertaining, but after scratching the surface it's somewhat hollow and weak. But...after repeated listenings, it started to grow on me...and not because of catchy melodies here and there, not because I , Jethro Tull fan, got used to the songs, no...it's because the songs actually have that depth...they just need to be listened more thouroghly.

The album is not short of emotions too..some melancholy, on the rain streets in the 80's scenery. Political and economical turbulences of the era. It's authentic. And good. Drums are great, guitar too, everything is cleverly produced - this is the best you can get from that 80's production in a prog rock.

There are no fillers. Some tracks are a bit weaker, like this albums is weaker in general, compared to the most successful Tull's albums, but it's far from being bad. Meditative Broadsword, elegic Slow Marching Band, essential Pussy Willow...every song with something decent to catch your attention - after careful listenings. Watching Me Watching You using the same little trick band used in Heavy Horses, in the song Mouse Police, that overdubbing of melodies, in this case synths, not vocals. It's hard to say whether is the song in 4/4 or 6/8...it's an electronic delight. But I can understand why it's not appealing to some people. However, this is good album.

It seems bonuses in re-issue(s) are quite worthy to get. Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with them, so my rating applies to the original album.

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Posted Sunday, January 06, 2008

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Taking a stab

By 1982 the musical world that had let an album like Thick As A Brick flourish had long disappeared. Audiences, press, labels and bands had all changed by the turn of the decade. So how about this classic band? After a turbulent second half of the 70s and already having entered the 80s with album album that met with mixed reviews this was going to be an album to watch if only to see what was going to happen.

Style wise, this is almost the Tull we know and love. Less progressive and less bluesy, Tull seems to have taken a turn for the heavy here. This album comes off almost as hard rock or some kind of metal with it's rocky riffs and heavy hooks. The 80s have also brought about the use of that new wave synth, with Tull employs carefully and well, many songs using it as a backing instrument that enforces (but doesn't take over) as the spine of the song. The tracks are all shorter and there's no epics or huge concepts to be found here. The music has been made more accessible, but it still keeps it's charm. The choruses are catchier and the hooks are more. The flutes still exist but are made a bit more sparse. A lot of things changed here - but not for the worse.

The tracks are still played with a degree of excellency. They may be shorter, but they're not bad. The solos are winding and the vocals keep their emotion. As evident in the opening track Beastie the band has made a move towards the heavy. The trudging track with it's repetition of the chorus is more typical than Tull is used to, but it's good none the less. Other very worth while tracks on the Beastie side of the record include the heavy and rocking Clasp and the mid paced powerhouse Fallen On Hard Times which makes excellent use of the backing vocals to make for a very pleasant track.

The Broadsword half of the album is the same yet different. Somewhat more expectant of the 80s sound, tracks like Watching Me, Watching You make greater use of the synths as they actually become a pressing point in the song. Still, there's hard rock moments in songs like the (often overlooked) single Pussy Willow and the impressive Seal Driver. The opener to the side, Broadsword shows a vocal style familiar to Tull fans but with a more distorted guitar and a sharper synth than many may be used to.

In the end this is an interesting transition album for the band. We all know what came after this one after all. 1984 would see the birth of their album Under Wraps which is one not usually met with praise. This is a very good album, reminiscent of their older works (but not at all similar) thanks to some of the musical pieces and the very nice sleeve. Not recommended for those looking to get into the more Progressive Tull, this one is certainly recommended for fans of the band. 3.5 stars! A very good album which may have trouble finding friends outside the circle of Tull fans, but Tull fans will find a forgotten gem with this album. Recommended, but not as your first foray into the Tull canon.

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Posted Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Review by LiquidEternity
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars By this point, the band seems to have lost almost all of their steam.

I have to give them props, yes, for adding moody synthesizers to their sound. It's a risky, bold move for a folk band to not only go from being an unplugged band to a plugged one, but to go from being a folk band to a synthesizer-driven rock outfit. Naturally, it alienated a number of fans, and in truth, it detracts a lot from the energy and impact of their music. Rather than upbeat and energetic, we get melancholic and mellow tracks slowly churning. The flute kind of melts away more often than not, though the guitars do their best to step up and fill the gap. Overall, though, the song structures are much simpler than can be found on any Tull album before this one.

As far as individual songs go, many are simply uninteresting and nothing new. The album only picks up much steam in the semi title track, Broadsword. A cheesy sort of keyboard noise powers this almost power metal track, hurling twinned guitars above like anthemic announcers of epic importance. The song then becomes Pussy Willow, a driving song with some really nice piano and a quality vocal line. That track, then moves into Watching Me Watching You, a creepy song with a lot of interesting vocal bits. Those three songs, however, are really the only highlights on this album, which just seems to be music produced by a band a ways past its due.

In all, this album is almost not worth the money except to serious Tull fans, though the three track spread at the beginning of side two does give it a bit more pull. If you aren't terribly familiar with the band, start with the 70s and work your way forward into the 80s products.

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Posted Thursday, October 02, 2008

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Ooh, I love this album. Especially if you put it in context. In 1983 it was hard to believe any band would release an album like this: high caliber prog fok, very 70´s style (albeit with some modern synthesizers sound here and there). It was a bold movement, for it surely would meet with some hostile reviews. But the results were worth it and far better than the weak A (1980).

Ian Anderson found the right line up here: with Dave Pegg on bass he reconected himself with his folk rock roots, and with Peter-John Vettese he found someone who could dealt with the latest keyboard and programming technology without deforming the song´s strutures. The guy was a fine arranger and could handle things very well: the album sounds more updated for the 80´s. But it is still the old Jethro Tull we all loved. Very few classic bands could claim that at the time.

Even now I think the album stood well the test of time: Ian Anderson is very inspired, the band is good shape and the songs flow evenly. Production is good, but although I don´t own the new remastered version, I recommend you get that one: the sound is actually better and you also get some good bonus tracks with it. The Broadsword And The Beast may not be a classic in the same vein as their best 70´s output, but it comes close. Four stars.

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Posted Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
4 stars The best Jethro Tull album from the 80's

Jethro Tull's discography is a bumpy ride with many ups and downs. The Broadsword And The Beast is certainly one of the ups and by far their best 80's album. The previous A had been a bit of a down after the very strong triology of Songs From The Wood, Heavy Horses, and Stormwatch in the late 70's and the next one, Under Wraps, would be a major down. The A (for Anderson) album was originally intended as an Ian Anderson solo album, so in a sense Broadsword And The Beast is the true follow-up to the excellent Stormwatch and it deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Heavy Horses and Stormwatch (and it is even better than Songs From The Wood in my personal opinion!).

The songs all have strong melodies and several songs sound like real Jethro Tull classics. The instrumentation and vocals are great. The synthesisers may sound a bit thin and minimalist at times, but the bass, drums and guitars don't have the typical 80's sound that killed so much music around this time. Indeed, these instruments have a powerful and full sound. The genuine and "warm" sound of the vocals, flute and acoustic instruments contrasts perfectly with the electronic keyboards and electric instruments giving it an interesting sound. Almost like a futuristic form of Folk music! And it rocks hard at times too.

Cheerio has become a closing number on the bands concerts and for that it fits perfectly. The CD version has several bonus tracks that are great as well. Jack A Lynn is one of these and when I saw Jethro Tull live on their acoustic tour a few years ago they performed this song. Quite a surprise I would say, but the audience loved it!

Broadsword And The Beast is one of the best albums by a classic prog band released in the early 80's. Highly recommended!

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Posted Sunday, December 21, 2008

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars It was 1982 and much had changed in popular music, for both the player and the public, and if anyone was acutely aware of this it was Ian Anderson. As he puts it; "The new tools of the trade which had emerged at the beginning of the '80s were there to be tried and tested - just as we had tried the world's first production synthesizer back in 1972 on the 'Thick as a Brick' album - the fiddly little buttons, gobbledygook instruction manuals, and the strange new world of floppy discs, bits, bytes and sample rates had to be navigated".

Yet balancing the cyberspace polish of this album is the organic and folksy acoustic aspect so important to this band's sound, and it turned out to be a very nice blend. Occasional flashes of high school and hair metal are spotted but I give them a pass on that, it's Tull after all. And it certainly out-progs most of their subsequent releases. Stripped-down and flashy power-rocker 'Beastie' is fun in a Van Halen kind of way, mildly catchy if unremarkable. But the mist and mandolins come out for 'Clasp', a fine number with a spritely flute and some old-style Tull modulations. The world gets a stern but sympathetic talking to from Anderson in 'Hard Times' with a Cat Stevens-style lyric, 'Flying Colors' addresses issues closer to home, and 'Slow Marching Band' pays tribute to a fallen love.

Getting a touch more serious and solemn is 'Broadsword' as a warrior prepares to protect the shores of home, followed by frilly fantasy 'Pussy Willow'. The almost Gary Numanesque 'Watching Me Watching You' is fresh and wonderful, juiced with sequencers, robotics, bizarre urban daydreams and Ian's unexpected flutters, and the record ends with two sailor's tunes, 'Seal Driver' and 'Cheerio'. Typically good bonus tracks include 'Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow' [later to appear re-recorded on their Christmas Album], first-rate acoustic Gaels of 'Mayhem Maybe', catchy and rather prog 'Overhang', and political commentary in 'I am Your Gun'.

An album that took me awhile to accept with its Dungeons&Dragons cover and unashamed jump onto the cold, Energizer Bunny bandwagon that was the 80s. But in retrospect, Broadsword is a perfectly fine record that has something for everyone.

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Posted Sunday, February 15, 2009

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars False Advertising

I remember well the disappointment felt by my fellow Tull fans back in the day who thought the delicious artwork here would permeate the slab of vinyl inside. It didn't exactly work out that way. It is not even the period production sensibilities or increased electronics that killed Broadsword, as these same tactics would be doubled down on the following and much better album "Under Wraps." It instead is the lifelessness of the songs, the apathetic performances, and the boring, pedestrian drum tracks that strangle any chance of the songs moving somewhere interesting. Song after song usually begins very promising, an example being the moving intro to "Flying Colours." But almost without exception, wait and listen as the stock rhythms and structural clichés eventually take over until you get to the repetitive choruses which are completely devoid of any surprises or Tullish character. The entire album feels like a contrived, calculated work attempting to appeal to who they figured their market might be at that time---give them some Dungeons and Dragons artwork, some metalish guitar, maybe try to grab that band's fans, etc. It's fine when the music happens to be good, but here, I just can't understand what others find appealing about a single track. Only about 2% of my ratings are one-star so I am not a person who hands them out like candy on Halloween. I give them out to recordings which leave utter disappointment in my craw more than any other resounding feeling. This is an album whose centerpiece, the title inspired "Broadsword," sound more like a Spinal Tap Stonehenge parody than a serious effort by such a talented group of people. What is really sad is that even Stonehenge, a parody by a group of comedians, sounds more believable and is more satisfying than Broadsword. Sorry to drop a one-bomb, but I can find nothing here which I would even recommend "to fans."

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Posted Saturday, March 06, 2010

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
3 stars After Under Wraps, this is my least favorite Jethro Tull album. But being a Jethro Tull album, it does have it's merits. All of the somgs have that Tull spirit. There are some good prog moments, there are some good rock moments. There are some good folk moments. But nothing on the album jumps out and says "listen to me again".

There is some interesting tom tom work by drummer Gerry Conway on Clasp. Beastie has some nice moments. And Pussy Willow and Seal Driver are not bad songs. Broadsword, a song that seems to be a favorite among some fans, is a tiresome dirge, and brings to my mind some of the lesser neo-prog bands.

Maybe if I were just into Dungeons & Dragons.

2.5 stars, rounded up.

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Posted Thursday, March 11, 2010

Review by TGM: Orb
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Broadsword And The Beast, Jethro Tull, 1982

1982's decidedly commercial Tull album is a minor enigma; most of the songs are decent enough, with special attention to keeping them well-spaced and internally diverse. What starts off as an admirably neat style of writing becomes obsessively restrictive by the end of the record. Every track is given a small, low-volume, usually calm, instrumental intro, when Anderson's vocals appear tamely, following which most of them turn into sort-of rockers with either a fade or a jab at the end. The sound is very shiny, and Anderson's synths leave a lot to be desired. Despite impressive pedigrees, I can't think off-hand of a moment when either Gerry Conway or Dave Pegg stand out (looking really hard, the bass at the end of Seal Driver is nice). But still, the songs are decent enough.

Three more or less solid starting tracks; Beastie is at heart a fairly plaintive foreboding rocker buffed up with novelty vocal effects and cool synth manipulation. Insertion of the guitar solo somewhat hamfisted but the riff is good enough in a dim way. The Clasp has rather more atmosphere in its two folksy bookends (with a bit of fretless bass?) and a general folk rhythm; social critic lyric one solid enough. Intentionally vague protest song Fallen On Hard Times points the finger non-specifically at unpopular politicians (at least it's not the music business), lots of fun as a song but seems remarkably disingenuous. Anderson's husky voice and the delicious twang on the acoustic which translates to a bend on Martin Barre's lead work very well.

Flying Colours is more personal and even borders on genuine, despite the rather dry cliché as metaphor. All band members flourish unimpressively on a single theme in the middle. Barre, as usual on this album, picks a rather conservative classic rock tone which, like Anderson's lyrics, voice and writing is distinctly safe.

Two central songs are the two most individual; Slow Marching Band is a bit of a power ballad, but the use of some decisively fortissimo piano notes and the switch of the softer bookend to the conclusion offers it a sort of differentiation from the rest here. Lyrics vague but moving. Broadsword is a piece of atmospheric rock with a Nordic mood and lyrics refreshingly in the honest realm of absolute fantasy rather than the real world viewed through all-softening lenses. Barre's solo here easily the best of his contributions to the album.

Thereafter, quality is rather less assured; Pussy Willow is a moderately catchy little piece with an overly bright little instrumental bit in the middle not deserved by this surprisingly misty and subtle example of commercial 80s pop/rock. Watching Me Watching You is hilarious. Approach to something like disco rather novel and entirely mismatched; reckon Anderson's probably aware of this, which makes it even funnier. Seal Driver is as flavourless as the rest of the album with a rather lightweight faux-jam in the middle but also lacks any particular decent melody (unless you think that awfully gaudy guitar line counts?), so is more or less obviously the runt of the litter.

Cheerio. One of the band's less involved folksy buh-byes. Hardly leaving with Grace (genetic predisposition to cheap puns... sorry, folks).

Remaster comes with more bonus tracks than you can shake a stick at and slightly more boldness and personality than the album itself; Jack Frost And The Hooded Crow and Jack-A-Lynn decidedly good and none of the others are particularly feeble. Perhaps the sheer volume of material you'll get makes this one of the more necessary remasters for hardcore fans.

Basically noodle-free, yet still somewhat flavourless collection of finely arranged and well-written 80s rock songs. At worst, this shows the reduction of a previously poly-faceted and deliciously subtle if occasionally misdirected Tull to one rather calculating and carefully concealed personality; at best, it's a collection of good songs which are more-or-less nice to listen to. Far too carefully cut to be either a classic or a train-wreck.

Rating: 8/15, Two Stars... could well be a 10/3 stars effort with the choice cuts of the bonuses. Favourite Track: pfeh... um... pick one of the folkier bonuses or maybe Fallen On Hard Times

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Posted Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Review by lazland
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars One of the most pleasurable consequences I have had in converting my vinyl to digital has been the opportunity to listen to this absolute gem again, after far too long.

This is, arguably, Tull's last really crucial and high quality studio LP. What followed wasn't necessarily bad, but certainly was nowhere near the essential nature of this.

I always enjoyed Tull more with their folk influences to the fore, rather than the bluesier side. For such people, this album certainly does not disappoint.

This has some absolute crackers, and high amongst them are the title tracks themselves. Beastie starts proceedings off, and rips along at a fair old pace. Broadsword is a somewhat more thoughtful affair, and also, to these ears, manages to perfectly combine the new synth approach perfectly with more traditional Tull sounds. Barre certainly never sounded better.

Pussy Willow has its tongue firmly in cheek, and is a rip roaring barrel of fun.

My favourite two tracks from the album, however, are the slower ones, namely Slow Marching Band, and Cheerio, the latter of which is still a live favourite to this day.

There are a couple of throwaway tracks, Watching Me, Watching You, which I never liked, and Seal Driver, which is more accessible, but not classic, on side two.

However, overall, this is, to these ears, a near perfect combination of what Anderson was trying to attain at the time. A more modern and commercial approach with the more traditional sounds and elements so as not to completely alienate his loyal audience. On that level, it works very well, and I have no hesitation in awarding four stars.

For those of you who have never sampled the delights of this band, or who have only ever listened to Thick As A Brick, then I would heartily recommend this album as a good starting point.

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Posted Friday, October 22, 2010

Review by Matti
COLLABORATOR Neo-Prog Team
3 stars JETHRO TULL's best era ended with Stormwatch in 1979. Albums like A (80) and Under Wraps (84) are generally considered among their poorest, but between them came an album that many fans respect, despite the fact that it marked a new sound featuring layers of synths, that stay quite on the background, however - and hardly any flute. There were changes in the line-up, for example Pete-John Vettese arrived on keyboards. I admit I don't like that sound as much as the one in e.g. Songs From The Wood (78), but it doesn't manage to ruin this album either. Here and there the synths actually help to create strong atmospheres, most obviously on 'Seal Driver'.

What saves this album is the level of songwriting. Some songs are weaker, what else, but on the whole it's an energetic, at times hard rocking and adventurous (almost fantasy-spirited like the great cover art) cycle of songs with strong Celtic Folk flavour, even if the sound is sadly less folky. It's perhaps too easy to imagine this album being much better if its sound reminded Songs From The Wood or Heavy Horses, and Anderson played more flute, and maybe with less heavy drum sound, and so on. But then also its uniqueness in the JT discography would diminish.

My favourite tracks: of the faster ones, 'Clasp' and 'Pussy Willow', then there's 'Slow Marching Band', an anthem-like finale of the first vinyl side; the aforementioned 'Seal Driver'; and the brief little epilogue 'Cheerio'. Judged against the time, the early eighties, a fairly good album and frankly better than many later JT albums, but of course there are numerous classic JT albums I would recommend before this one. 3- stars.

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Posted Monday, August 15, 2011

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
3 stars "Broadsword and the Beast" is an 80s album with an 80s sound that Jethro Tull were literally forced to embark on. Even the stage show changed with cheesy rigging on tall ship masts and massive boat settings. Of course it didn't work and Anderson cheerfully refers to this Tull period as the 'Spinal Tap' stage show. In the liner notes he is also quick to add that the band were replacing intricate compositions into short choppy pieces with neat straight on time sigs. He mentions how the synths dominated the 80s and the band had to follow suit in order to be contemporary. Tons of synths haunt the album as usual for the 80s but the flute hovers over all to ensure that trademark Tull sound is maintained.

When I bought this I was drawn into the iconic cover art and it looked like this would be a classic heavy guitar album, but of course the very opposite is the case. Martin Barre's guitars are overshadowed by all the synthesizers and 80s effects and it is disappointing. One thing that really throws me on this album is that none of the songs measure up to any of the classic Tull tunes in fact I couldn't pick a single song that deserved to go on a Tull compilation, unless 'Beastie' could be squeezed on, perhaps the album's best song.

The remastered Cd is worth grabbing though as for a change the actual bonus tracks are excellent and way better than the album material. There is about an album's worth of bonus tracks and they are heavier and more compelling than anything on "Broadsword". For instance the guitar heavy 'Jack Frost And The Hooded Crow' is a killer track and this is followed by the excellent 'Jack-A-Lynn'. 'Too Many Too' has a catchy hook but there is a brilliant sound on 'Overhang' that captivates. Other bonus gems include the classy 'I'm Your Gun' and a nice melodic closer with 'Down At The End Of Your Road'.

So after the disappointment of the album proper, the bonus tracks jarred me back to life and made me happy that I actually bought the Cd. So I am in a quandary here. I am supposed to be reviewing the album but end up reviewing the bonus tracks which are worthy of 4 stars by themselves. I will have to settle for 3 stars as this album is nowhere to the standard of the Tull I have been used to over the years.

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Posted Friday, March 16, 2012

Review by stefro
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars After the success of 1981's 'Conan The Barbarian' - the film that launched a certain Austrian strongman to superstardom - the 1980's would see Hollywood enjoy a brief sword & sorcery phase, producing a number of titles that included the likes of 'Dragonslayer', 'Legend' and 'Ladyhawke' to name but a few. Wizards, trolls, unicorns and pixies were all the rage, and this fad is reflected in the title and concept of Jethro Tull's 14th studio album, 1982's 'The Broadsword & The Beast'. A highly-successful release, this album would prove to be one of Jethro Tull's better sellers(especially, for some reason, in Germany) blending the acoustic folk style of their late-seventies material with a slick, contemporary rock sound which finds synthesizers and drum machines added to the mix, much like on 1980's previous studio release 'A'. As a result, 'The Broadsword & The Beast' does sound rather dated, arguably even more so than the group's earlier material thanks to the atypically 1980's production sheen. Occasionally, the slick 1980's coating does jar rather awkwardly with the more folk- orientated moments, yet for the most this is by no means a poor album. Opening track 'Beastie' starts proceedings in energetic fashion, featuring a crisp and catchy melodic chorus and Anderson's vocals in a gruffer-than-usual style, whilst the moody, synthesized introduction of 'Clasp' brings to mind the likes of The Alan Parsons Project and mid-eighties era Tangerine Dream before Anderson's compressed flute and acoustic guitars burst into life. It's an odd mixture of the old and the new, the blend continuing on the mid-paced 'Fallen On Hard Times', one of the album's five singles, and the mournful and folksy 'Slow Marching Band' which briefly reaches back to 'Songs From The Wood'. The ill-advised hard-rock balladry of 'Broadsword' proves one the album's lesser lights, the ugly mixture of synthesized guitar solo's and rasping flutes clashing badly, yet for the most 'The Broadsword & The Beast' manages to navigate its awkward AOR folk-rock course without too many more awkward moments. Its all a very far cry from 'Aqualung' and 'Thick As A Brick', and whilst it's hardly essential Jethro Tull it is arguably one of the group's best post-seventies album's. Latter efforts such as 'Crest Of A Knave' and ' Rock Island' would, as an example, veer much more towards the hard rock style glimpsed here, with the law of diminishing returns unfortunately applying to both. Some call 'The Broadsword & The Beast' the last great Tull album, and whilst that description is somewhat misleading - this is by no means a great album - it is partially true. A decent effort then, but definitely one of the group's lesser albums. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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Send comments to stefro (BETA) | Report this review (#862497) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, November 19, 2012

Latest members reviews

2 stars 80s Tull. They go together like chocolate & asparagus. The production on this album is naturally very 80s sounding which is fine if you are Rush in 1982, but Jethro Tull did not come into the new decade gracefully. 'A' was like a bad omen which along with this album and especially it's foll ... (read more)

Report this review (#1156592) | Posted by Prog 74 | Tuesday, April 01, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Jethro Tull adapting to the 80s managing to simultaneously keep their identity. 80s synths are brought in by the much maligned Peter vettese but these are played tastefully and mixed with a generous proportion of mandolins, flutes etc in folksy passages. And all of this is held to together by ... (read more)

Report this review (#996534) | Posted by Tull Freak 94 | Friday, July 12, 2013 | Review Permanlink

2 stars The incredible fall of Jethro Tull. The band join the 80s with the awesome A album. But the awesomeness not lasted. No, not praise them too soon. Without Eddie Jobson, the band lose the balance between keys and folk, becaming cheesy and monotonous. Beastie is the first and bestie track ... (read more)

Report this review (#991836) | Posted by VOTOMS | Thursday, July 04, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A new incarnation for Jethro Tull and one that I really like in this album. "Beastie" - Dealing with phobias and fears - Love this one. It is not Tull of old however it's good rocking Tull. "The Clasp" - very much more keyboard orientated incorporating the sound of Tull albeit a much modifie ... (read more)

Report this review (#942779) | Posted by sukmytoe | Thursday, April 11, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Well, well, I add here my five cents to this... I look over some of the reviews and a few of them is not too fair to this record. I heard it right after it went out at those times in '80s. In fact it was the first LP I have from JT at home (no, I heard a few of their records before, but only fr ... (read more)

Report this review (#721432) | Posted by Libor10 | Tuesday, April 10, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is a really splendid, warm album and deserves at least 3 stars. It was an 80's album, so typically there are some more electronic and synthesizer sounds but the mixture with some folk acoustic instruments is nice and refreshing. Indeed, the arrangements in the opener "Beastie" along with the ... (read more)

Report this review (#349595) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Friday, December 10, 2010 | Review Permanlink

2 stars The infamous (with some exceptions of course) 80's decade brought up lots of changes in the musical scenario. Suddenly, long, complex compositions and virtuosity were no longer the hip of the day. Punk and New Wave had emerged and several prog bands had to make adjustments to their sound so as ... (read more)

Report this review (#278452) | Posted by Morningrise | Sunday, April 18, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars After the let down of "A", I was very pleased when I first heard Broadsword and the Beast. It has 4 5 star songs (Beastie, Clasp, Slow Marching Band, and Broadsword), 2 4 star songs (Falling on Hard TImes, and Flying Colors), and the rest are at least average Tull songs. (I am rating the o ... (read more)

Report this review (#277895) | Posted by mohaveman | Wednesday, April 14, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The first and only album i've got by Jethro Tull, which is unfortunate because i'd like to get more just haven't got round to it. The cover is the main reason I bought it i thought it was the most striking (at least out of the ones in the store) with the strange goblin (looks a bit like Ian Anderson ... (read more)

Report this review (#267159) | Posted by deathlifereborn | Saturday, February 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The Broadsword and the Beast is for me a very good album, maybe it has the sound of 80's but that is not necessary bad. Songs still have the Jethro Tull sound in them. Mine favourite here is Broadsword. Maybe for someone Broadsword is not some great musical achievement but for me it is more than ... (read more)

Report this review (#259941) | Posted by Archangel | Friday, January 08, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I need a sharpening stone for my flute! Ok 80s new kind of music and maybe Ian is really too old to rock, but surprise B&B is a recall to the past, in a certain way it remind me something about old good JT, oh there isn't a shining gem like the 69-72 Tulls, but is near the post Brick and Minist ... (read more)

Report this review (#187305) | Posted by Erik Nymas | Wednesday, October 29, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Broadsword, in my opinion, is as strong as any Tull album in it's own way. Though gone are the epics (as seem to be favoured by many Tull fans in the PA), but what you get instead are tighter songs that get to the point and won't beat you over the head with the same motif for 15 minutes. The ... (read more)

Report this review (#78663) | Posted by TOD KREMER | Thursday, May 18, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars the broadsword and the beast is a very irregular album, it got some extraordinary songs, and some disappointing tracks... generally i used to hear the A side, it got the bests songs of the album, like "the clasp", "fallen on hard times", the emotive "flying colours", and the nice and simple "s ... (read more)

Report this review (#73943) | Posted by frippertronik | Monday, April 03, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars One of my absolute favorites by JT! This is more pop than prog but all in all not one weak song here. All easy to recognize with original melodies and arrangements. I compare this one to "Roots of Branches" but this one has more element of recognition in each track due to playful melodies, and ... (read more)

Report this review (#69153) | Posted by | Sunday, February 12, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This is the biggest backward step Tull ever did. Commercial over produced crap at its best. The only Tull album not produced by Anderson and songs like "Pussywillow" almost make me puke in their saccharine sweet melodies and lyrics. What was Anderson thinking after the superb "A" release? This ... (read more)

Report this review (#57772) | Posted by | Friday, November 25, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars In my view, the best Tull album ever, as excellent melodies and lyrics were allowed to stand without Anderson's indulgent abrupt changes of mood and rhythm, "cheeky" lyrics, and overly long instrumental breaks. There are ten strong songs here, with "Broadsword" the evocative masterpiece, conju ... (read more)

Report this review (#16720) | Posted by | Friday, April 15, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Excellent album - sure to appeal to fans of neo-prog and symphonic prog. This is the first Tull album to feature Moog-style solos, and the guitar work is highly intricate. Songs are well-crafted, tight and not as folksy as on some previous releases, the production is great, and as usual there ... (read more)

Report this review (#16717) | Posted by EMinkovitch | Wednesday, January 12, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Sure, it's no Songs from the Wood or Aqualung, but I still thoroughly enjoy The Broadsword & The Beast. It will always be overshadowed by their 70s work, but I think it's a great folkish album with some 80s (synthesizer) influences. Broadsword and Pussy Willow are in particular wonderful songs ... (read more)

Report this review (#16716) | Posted by Rob The Good | Wednesday, January 12, 2005 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Always pretty over-rated in my opinion. Whilst a couple of tracks are quite driven and work well (just "Beastie" and "The Clasp" really) the rest is pretty drab with some horribly bland synth sounds. The cover is always referred to as being superb too, but I've never liked it at all - far too ... (read more)

Report this review (#16715) | Posted by | Monday, September 06, 2004 | Review Permanlink

3 stars As the reviews indicate, a controversial album. IMO there is enough good JT material here to merit 4 stars and certainly Ian's lyrics (always a Tull strongpoint) are right on form. BUT the CD quality is truly dreadful. DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY: a re-master will no doubt be along sooner or later. Until ... (read more)

Report this review (#16707) | Posted by Silk | Saturday, February 07, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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