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Crucible Tall Tales album cover
3.87 | 82 ratings | 18 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1997

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Over the Falls (7:07)
2. The Poet Liar (5:02)
3. Find the Line (4:07)
4. Lords and Leeches (11:23)
5. In Ancient Tongue (3:09)
6. The Salamander (4:54)
7. Land for Sale (4:50)
- An Imp's Tale :
8. Twice Upon a Time (3:49)
9. Adrift (3:04)
10. Stone of the Wise (2:27)
11. The Mortal Flaw (5:00)
12. Nomad Brad (1:28)
13. Release the Imps (3:03)
14. Day of the Hunting Dwarf (2:19)

Total Time 61:42

Line-up / Musicians

- Bill Esposito / lead vocals
- Dan Esposito / lead & rhythm guitars
- Tim Horan / piano, Hammond organ, acoustic guitar, flute, composer
- Chris Kasidas / bass
- Tony Cappellina / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Robert J. Miller Jr.

CD self-released (1997, US)

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CRUCIBLE Tall Tales ratings distribution

(82 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(49%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (1%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

CRUCIBLE Tall Tales reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Greger
5 stars Once in a while you get to hear something that is pure magic from the first listening. When I first heard this CD, it was one of these moments. A really terrific high quality album indeed! The music is very 70's oriented, and it's a mix between GENESIS, JETHRO TULL, KANSAS, MARILLION, RUSH, STYX and YES with loads of Mellotron and long epic tracks. The talented keyboard player Tim Horan writes all songs. The superb singer is reminiscent to Geddy Lee of RUSH or Steve Walsh of KANSAS. The lyrics as well as the cover is fantasy related with fantasy characters and fantasy tales á la J.R.R. Tolkien. This CD has all you could ever want from a progressive release and a little bit more. If only CRUCIBLE had been better known this could have been a future prog classic. Not a single bad track, with "The Poet Liar" and the epic closer "An Imp's Tale" as the absolute highlights. I sincerely wish that CRUCIBLE would make many more albums in the future. Hear my prayer! Buy this CD, you'll love it! Probably it won't leave your CD that often, as it really grows on you with every listening. Highly recommended!
Review by lor68
3 stars Well in controversial situations like this one, which this ensemble from Connecticut called "CRUCIBLE" brought about by means of this derivative work, the ancient Latin should have screamed: "AUREA MEDIOCRITAS"!! That is "Tall Tales" is a remarkable work, but too much emulating the sound and the inspiration as well, regarding of albums like "Wind and Wuthering" by Genesis...a 2 stars and an half score should be better probably;even though anyway their last suite-" An Imp's Tale" - is well arranged and performed. The other tracks are a kind of "melodic Spock's Beard", in a lighter vein, that remind me of Styx and AOR Kansas, for which I don't get crazy (much better for example such "Progressive Kansas" in their debut album or inside "Leftoverture", in comparison to the whole AOR production, Styx-like, but it depends on my personal tastes as usual). Their delicate songs are acceptable and often better than the majority of such "insipid" Neo-Prog stuff from the UK!!

It's good for your "less involved" moments of your life!!

Review by Marcelo
4 stars When I listened to this album by the first time, my impression was "Mid-GENESIS adding the RUSH vocalist". It could be a simple definition, but CRUCIBLE has another influences (some KANSAS, a little bit of JETHRO TULL), and sounds really good!

I think there's a big difference between "derivative" and "imitative": In the first case, music has influences from well known bands (generally the "monsters") and, in the second, music or style or execution is just a copy. OK, "Tall Tales" is a derivative album, inspired in '70s progressive sound and very well done.

The longer tracks ("Over the Falls", "Lords and Leeches" and -specially- the 21 minutes magnificent suite "An Imp's Tale") are the most complex and changing numbers -and the best-, while the rest is nice and accessible (even the very simple instrumental "In Ancient Tongue" and the AOR piece "The Salamander", this one including some reggae rythms).

A pleasant album for proggers who love seventies' music. Not an incredible stuff, but very nice. Recommended.

Review by silvertree
4 stars Very interesting album. It is true there are some similarities with Genesis but not that much. The rhythmic guitar (electric) is quite predominant in the sound. But there's a lot of analogue keyboards as well as the traditional flute which does remind me of Jethro Tull. Nothing extraordinary you would say, but then how many bands are that extraordinary ? All the musicians play well but no instrument really stands out. That's okay with me. Definitely recommended.
Review by NJprogfan
3 stars The album starts out fine with "Over The Fall" having a very Genesis sound courtesy of Tim Horan's Bank-like choir mellotron, more musical then lyrical it's the best track on the album. What comes after, "The Poet Liar" and "Find The Line" have a quasi mellow Rush-like sound with Bill Esposito's voice sounding like a cross between Peter Hamill and Geddy Lee. Both songs are decent. "Lords and Leeches" has a Kansas sound with Banks style keyboard flourishes, again lyrics dominate. "The Salamander" is a credible instrumental. "Land for Sale" has a Rush-like sound similar to tracks 2 and 3. Mellow, and somewhat memorable. "An Imp's Tale" is their "Supper's Ready" a 21-minute song broken up into several parts. Everything on the track is played expertly, with nice flute work. But what boils down for this track and the whole album for the most part is music that doesn't stick in your head, even after just playing it. As a group the musicians can all play their instruments with professionalism, can mimic their heroes with aplumb and the singer with a voice that has a limited range, is quite adequate. But taken as a whole, it's not a fine wine but a diet Coke. If you're into a different type of neo, this might be a good album, maybe a four stars, but if you're looking for something different from the rest of the neo-pack or just hate neo, it's two stars. I'll place it into the middle a give it a solid three.
Review by ClemofNazareth
4 stars It’s really too bad these guys didn’t stick with their careers as a neo-symphonic band. Their legacy will apparently remain one really excellent album (this one), a so-so one (‘Curtains’), and some impressive appearances on their resume - BajaProg, NEARfest, ProgDay among them.

The Rush influence is very strong and undeniable throughout this album, particularly in the vaguely mystical lyrics, Bill Esposito’s vocals (exactly what Geddy Lee would sound like with testicles), and the spacious arrangements that manage to sound meaty without overwhelming amounts of fluff, percussion, or extraneous trappings.

Right from the opening “Over the Falls” the band establishes their credibility as a fastidious studio group with very precise tempos, guitar and bass laying down a wall of sound without dominating the lighter flute and intricate keyboards, and Esposito weaving tales in a strong and ear-pleasing voice.

The flute is most prominent on “The Poet Liar” and the Imp’s Tale multi-sectioned second half of the CD, while keyboards dominate on “Find the Line” and the guitar/bass duo make up the bigger part of the lengthy and varied “Lords and Leeches” (although the multiple tempo transitions here give each band member an opportunity to contribute).

“In Ancient Tongue” features guitar and eerie keyboards in almost an Opeth (Blackwater Park) or Green Carnation (Acoustic Verses) kind of way – a very calm and intoxicating tune, although it does seem slightly out-of-place on this album. I believe there may also be a bit of dulcimer on this track, but the liner credits don’t call it out so maybe not.

“The Salamander” and “Land for Sale” are pretty unexceptional, very smooth keyboard/guitar interplay and solid vocals, but these two tracks seem to kind of fade into the woodwork between the lofty “Lords and Leeches” and the Imp’s Tale.

And speaking of Imp’s Tale, this is a very entertaining twenty-one minute, seven-part fantasy tale that even Arjen Anthony Lucasse would have been impressed with. The story is fiction noodling and not really of any particular consequence, but the music is quite good. The guitar work here is much closer to metal or neo-progressive, the tempos vary but are generally more aggressive than on the rest of the album, and the singing is really kept to a necessary minimum so the instrumental passages can be highlighted. This is the kind of work most progressive music nuts got hooked on in the first place; Crucible are clearly true believers and are offering up a solid testament to their ‘faith’.

This is a very solid four star work. It probably would be five were it not for the couple of rather bland tracks in the middle, and the too-obvious Rush influence. Those things aside, a highly recommended work, and a great addition to any collection.


Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars When you listen to the very first notes of the opening number and the so recognizable keys sound, you can say : "here is another "Genesis" rip-off. And so it is.

But you might have read already some reviews of mine in which I tell that I can be rather indulgent with such bands. After all, "Genesis" is one of my top two beloved bands. Once in a while, I just feel like listening to some approaching music. Like the one featured in "Over The Falls". But this filiation won't last for one song only. Even if "The Poet Liar" is more personal a song, the complex rhythm comes straight from the masters. Some flute break will only add to this feeling. Still, very pleasant.

I guess that in these circumstances, a song as "Lords And Leeches" is a highlight. But the more I listen to this album, the more I wonder why "Crucible" is considered as symphonic prog. Or each of "Genesis" oriented band should be featured in this category.

The music from "Tall Tales" is good but totally lacks in personality. This type of music is far from being disagreeable but there are really little to discover. Perfect to accompany you while driving on the road because if you really put too much attention, you might get irritated.

To vary a bit, we'll get some rocking-reggae mood with "Salamander". Some sort of "Police" track. But "Police" invented this style. Of course, "Salamander" also features some great keys break but still, derivative is the word.

There is even an epic piece clocking at over twenty minutes and divided into seven parts. I guess that this sounds familiar to you, no ? Keyboards being pretty much similar to the great model. But no flowers here. A good piece of music but a complete rip-off.

If, like me, you are rather a nostalgic person, you might well be satisfied with this album. Some more personality would have been more than welcome. This album holds no bad tracks, that's for sure. It is fully neo-prog (and there is nothing wrong with neo-prog, don't get me wrong).

Three stars.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is a modern symphonic rock band coming from Connecticut,formed in the 80's by Tim Horan (keyboards), Tony Cappellina (drums) and Danny Esposito (guitars),when they were teenagers with bassist Chris Vescera (brother of Mike Vescera,ex-Yngwie Malmsteen and Loudness) joining soon after.After a couple of line-up changes/additions and a turn to a more classic-oriented prog style (as CRUCIBLE played a more hard-rocking prog at their early years),the band find their way to their first self-release ''Tall tales'' in 1998.

STYLE: Definitely with an eye on 70's tradition,CRUCIBLE sound very modern but also vintage at the same time.Easily acceptable but musically demanding symphonic rock is what the listener wll meet if purchasing this album.The songs are short in their majority with an evident song orientation (except the long epic '' An Imp's Tale'') but the arrangements are in a typical progressive style with smooth interplays,the use of a variety of analog keys and the obvious influence of 70's prog monsters.You will not face any complex combinations or electric outbursts,the musicianship on ''Tall tales'' is quite calm and soft but carefully arranged.

INFLUENCES/SOUNDS LIKE: Imagine the pastoral mood of circa 70-75 GENESIS combined with classic rock side of KANSAS in their softer moments with a singer sounding a lot like GEDDY LEE with a dose of GABRIEL-icism.Modern prog bands that recall CRUCIBLE are SPOCK'S BEARD, PUPPET SHOW even some ENCHANT traces.

PLUS: Nice arrangements overall with the band not having composed a weak track or being too excessive.Fantastic performance and excellent use of analog keyboards (heavy doses of Hammond organ,mellotron,Fender Rhoads piano and moog synth) by the talented Tim Horan.Trully strong vocals by Bill Esposito,who has a style of his own.A pleasant 70's nostalgic atmosphere and by no means a bad copy of the past transformed into our age.

MINUS: The strong doses of vocal work might not be every prog rock fan's taste,especially those into more instrumental works.Horan seems to be the center of the band and the other musicians seems a bit lost in his shadow.Especially the work of guitarist Danny Esposito is hardly noticeable despite being quite strong.Abscense of a total winner track among the good compositions.

WILL APPEAL TO: Lovers of the classic 70's sound,but the album could be a good welcome to newbies of the progressive style of rock.

CONCLUSION/RATING: A very pleasant listening,''Tall tales'' by CRUCIBLE won't ever be categorized as a masterpiece of progressive rock music,but it will definitely be among the greatest releases of 1998 with a nice nostalgic taste.3.5 stars it gets in my books along with a strong recommendation.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Slow Neo Symphonic Prog that (for some) overuses melody themes and is more than (not my opinion) influenced by good ol' Gen. Not that this does matter a lot in my rating system, because I don't play this game of stealing ideas, clone bands etc. I've just lost rather lengthy review (I know, this is quickly becoming cliché, how many times I've had this ? About 10x/410 reviews), so again - you'll not be blessed (or damned, depending on how you like my style) by 300-words review, but instead with a short one. Which ends right


5(-), because listening this 8th time in a row isn't just as good as the first one. There's really no bad track, which I see as big advantage. When you expect them to fall, they surprise you with yet another sound, another chord, solo etc and story can continue.

Review by Gerinski
4 stars Surprisingly good for a debut, I fully endorse that despite its release date, this album be tagged as Symphonic Prog and not as Neo-Prog. The sound is closer to the 70's classics than to Neo.

This could be described as a seemingly strange combination of mid-70's Genesis with modern Rush, but no worries, this is not a clone of any of the big ones. The prominent keyboards of Tim Horan use a lot patches sounding like Tony Banks in Gabriel-era Genesis and this gives it a vintage feel, but the music itself is more modern, when it reminds of Genesis it's more like the period of Wind and Wuthering or And Then There Were Three. The Rush feel comes mostly from the voice of Bill Esposito which is a kind of mellow Geddy Lee, without the harsh screaming tones of the canadian, but also because some vocal melodies are similar to the softer tracks of mid-modern Rush. We can also feel some similarities with Kansas and Jethro Tull, and with the lesser known Iluvatar, and in fact the voice is like a mix of Geddy Lee and Iluvatar's Glenn McLaughlin.

The rest of the instruments play very competently but in a balanced way, without any of them particularly standing out.

The compositions are symphonic but with a modern touch, no bombastic moments and not much self-indulgence here even if we have a nice 21 minute suite divided in 7 parts. All the tracks are really good without actual weak moments, maybe the weakest track for my taste is the reggae-oriented The Salamander which is not bad anyway.

It's not far from deserving 5 stars, but the reason why it does not reach them is that even if all the music is really good, the compositions are somehow less inspired than those of the symphonic classics. There is no track which can be considered a timeless masterpiece, and as another reviewer put it, "even after some listens the music does not stick to your head". Sure enough if you let it spin enough it finally sticks and grows, but it's true that in the beginning it all sounds very good but nothing so outstanding as to make you think "whaw!".

But I have no hesitation in giving it 4 solid stars and strongly recommending it.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Imagine a blend between the sounds of Discipline's debut album and Genesis' A Trick of the Tail, with the lyrical subject matter geared much towards the latter rather than the former: there you'll have a fairly good idea of the sound of Crucible, who like Discipline straddle the worlds of symphonic prog and neo-prog and are happy to pick the best ideas from both subgenres in producing their whimsical fairy tales. The Esposito brothers are the star players on this album, with Dan Esposito proving a capable guitarist in the Steve Hackett/Steve Rothery vein, whilst Bill Esposito has the vocal presence of a young Geddy Lee (but not quite such a high voice). Not game-changingly original, but very capably composed and delivered nonetheless.
Review by b_olariu
4 stars Crucible were one of the top symphonic prog acts from late '90's early '00 releasing two albums and then gone into oblivion. Thir first album from 1998 is a damn great one in every aspect, both musicaly and lyricaly. Tall tales is the name of the album with an excellent covert art. This is one of the most exciting records I've heared in long time, even is almost 15 years old this record never stops to amaze me every time I've listing to it. Combining symphonic prog passages a la Genesis Trick of the tail era with arrangements taken from Rush Hemispheres perios, Tall tales is a total winner. Bill Esposito vocal parts remind me a lot of Geddy Lee from that period fiting like a glove in the kind of music they offer here. Complex instrumental passages, the keybords sounds vintage like overall sound of the album, but in a modern way aproached here, never boring a moment. The guitar , druming all is top notch. From the opening track Over the Falls with nice ans mooth Horan's keyboards passages, through the Lords and Leeches and ending with epic piece An Imp's Tale divided in smaller parts this album is a killer one. Very good are the vocal parts, the guitar ones and the keyboards, really strong and inventive, with a clear '70's sound. Dan Esposito guitar is all over the places, showing that he is for sure a very strong and talented musician. All in all a great work by this band, the for some reasons never made it in prog scenes. 4 stars , reacommended , excellent album.

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Utterly solid debut from these Connecticutians, strongly in an old-fashioned symph vein aptly described as "a very symphonic prog sound while avoiding the overdramatic feel that plagues much of the neo-progressive movement". In fact this is the kind of act a promoter wouldn't book in front of Rush or Yes for fear of upstaging them.

Mind you, absolutely nothing musically new appears among the attractive and good-sounding set, but there are some really fine moments on Crucible's Tall Tales if uncorked and given a chance to breathe. Recalled are a host of familiarities such as Saga, Genesis, Marillion, and Bill Esposito's unmistakable Geddy Lee nasopharyngeals. But unlike with most of the other impostors out there, these tributes are welcome and tastefully done. Lead composer Tim Horan's keys (not to mention Dan Esposito's guitars) snare our attention for 'Over the Falls', and near-perfect 'The Poet Liar' might've been a hit if people had been listening to prog in the late '90s. 'Lords and Leeches' has a nice Americana vocal-pop appeal and includes Horan's squealing lead, 'Land For Sale' evokes early Rush, and seven-part 'An Imp's Tale' is the compositional highlight.

While not in the same creative league as a Wobbler or a Tangent, for most proggies Crucible will fit like a cherished pair of elderly shoes-- three concrete stars.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars I feel like I've been having a throw-back week listening to Prog-Metal(HEAVEN'S CRY) and Neo-Prog this past week although I see CRUCIBLE is listed under Symphonic now. The vocals are certainly the focus of this American band with fairy tale lyrics and a sound that instantly brings GENESIS to mind. I've really enjoyed this album. I have heard the over 21 minute suite "An Imp's Tale" before on the Prog Day '98 disc I have which of course is a live version.

"Over The Falls" opens with piano as the mellotron rolls in then relaxed guitar followed by drums before a minute. GENESIS certainly comes to mind with the pulsating keys which is such a feel good sound for me. Vocals after 2 1/2 minutes and I really like the sound a minute later with the organ, vocals and mellotron. Love this stuff. "The Poet Liar" is a top two track for me. It's the only track that brings JETHRO TULL to mind and no not because there's flute, it's on the heavier sections. I do like the contrasts between the heavier passages and the beautiful pastoral sections. There is some nice flute late. "Find The Line" features laid back drums, piano and vocals early on but it does get a little fuller. A nice intricate guitar solo ends it.

"Lords And Leeches" opens with vocals and a relaxed sound but how good is this when the mellotron arrives 2 1/2 minutes in. Pulsating organ follows. A synth solo 7 minutes in as the drums and bass help out. A guitar solo before 8 1/2 minutes followed by organ and vocals. "In Ancient Tongue" is an instrumental that opens with what sounds like mandolin but check out the mellotron before 1 1/2 minutes. Nice. "The Salamander" has a reggae vibe to it with vocals. That vibe stops after 1 1/2 minutes as the vocals become more passionate. Contrasts continue though. "Land For Sale" is my other top two track. I just really enjoy the emotion in this one. Piano and drums standout early with intricate guitar as reserved vocals join in. Emotion 2 minutes in with floating organ. Back to that vocals, drum, guitar section as themes are repeated. Great song!

"An Imp's tale" is divided into seven parts. It opens with "Twice Upon A Time" where we get a strong GENESIS vibe then the vocals join in. There's some beautiful acoustic guitar on the "Adrift" section as the vocals join in. Such a gorgeous sound 2 1/2 minutes in. "Stone Of The Wise" is more uptempo and powerful with vocals as the mellotron joins in. "The Mortal Flaw" has powerful organ that floats in as the vocals arrive. It changes quickly though as vocals continue followed by pulsating organ then a guitar solo. "Nomad Brad" features flute and acoustic guitar to start then the organ, drums and bass take over. The flute is back before this section ends. "Release The Imps" is more powerful with guitar and drums as the mellotron drifts in then vocals. Lots of synths follow after the vocals stop. "Day Of The Hunting Dwarf" ends the suite and the album in an uplifting manner. An emotional yell and guitar before 2 minutes before a calm ends it.

This has been a pleasure both musically and lyrically, a real escape.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Start with a sound foundation of Gabriel-era Genesis, substitute the vocals with Triumph's Rik Emmett (with little or no vocal harmonies by the way), sprinkle in some Kansas-like guitar riffing, add some Jethro Tull flute, and finish it all with a much crisper modern sounding production, and you ... (read more)

Report this review (#2440790) | Posted by Squire Jaco | Monday, August 24, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Excellent debut album from Crucible, blending elements of Genesis, Tull and Rush with occasional nods to other 70's non-prog bands (I'd love to hear them cover "Carry On Wayward Son", let's put it that way). Keyboard nuts should appreciate this album (as soon as it begins, one is reminded of Tony ... (read more)

Report this review (#211391) | Posted by Progatron | Wednesday, April 15, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Probably closer to 4.5 Stars! If you're a fan of Genesis's early work, then you will certainly find this at least interesting, if not love it. I fall into the latter category, admitting this is one of my favorite progressive-rock albums of recent years. The Genesis comparison becomes immed ... (read more)

Report this review (#100014) | Posted by zap_niles | Thursday, November 23, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I haven't written a review for a while, but it's essential to set the story straight on this album. First of all, if you like 70s style symphonic prog, you need to get this album. It's excellent: the writing, musicianship, and engineering are all terrific. The best comparison would be mid-70s Gen ... (read more)

Report this review (#76182) | Posted by | Monday, April 24, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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