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Fireballet Night on Bald Mountain album cover
3.55 | 109 ratings | 19 reviews | 25% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Les cathédrales (10:16)
2. Centurion (Tales of the Fireball Kids) (4:46)
3. The Fireballet (5:15)
4. Atmospheres (3:40)
5. Night on Bald Mountain (18:55) :
- a) Night on Bald Mountain
- b) Night-Tale
- c) The Engulfed Cathedrale
- d) Night-Tale (reprise)
- e) Night on Bald Mountain (finale)

Total Time 42:52

Bonus tracks on 2014 CD remaster:
6. Robot Salesman (1977) (4:40)
7. Pictures of a City (live 1974) (11:19)

Line-up / Musicians

- Jim Cuomo / lead vocals, drums, timpani, xylophone, vibes, glockenspiel, bell tree, gong, tubular bells, finger cymbals, triangle
- Ryche Chlanda / acoustic & electric guitars, electronics, backing vocals
- Brian Hough / Hammond, pipe organ, celesta, backing vocals
- Frank Petto / acoustic & electric pianos, ARP 2600 synth, Oberheim sequencer, electronic strings, Mellotron, backing vocals
- Martin Biglin / bass, bass pedals, 12-string guitar, backing vocals

- Ian McDonald / flute (4,5), alto saxophone (1,5), producer

Releases information

Artwork: Ron Levine

LP Passport Records ‎- PPSD-98010 (1975, US)

CD Inner Knot ‎- IAK-CD-7555 (2014, US) Remastered by Larry Fast with 2 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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FIREBALLET Night on Bald Mountain ratings distribution

(109 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(25%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

FIREBALLET Night on Bald Mountain reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
5 stars Superbly crafted 70's mellotron/moog laden progressive rock gem with great artistic expressionism and full instrumental interplay. "Night On Bald Mountain" was produced by KING CRIMSON's Ian McDonald who also contributes some sax on the album. Musicianship on this album is simply awesome with some of the most scrumptious interplay you have ever heard. Opening number 'Les Cathedrales' is absolutely in the same brilliance as early GENESIS with the most captivating and delicate of melodies. This five member band incorporate some wonderful musical instrumentation including xylophone, glockenspiel, chineese bell tree, gong, finger cymbals, tubular bells, triangle, hammond organ, pipe organ, celeste, mellotron, moog , Taurus pedals, and everyone's favourite... electronic devices. Vocals are quite well done with some great lyrics as well. "Night On Bald Mountain" contains 2 epic tracks and a couple of shorter but well pieced tracks. For those lucky enough to have snagged a copy of Setticlavio Record's (Italy) re-released CD pressing can also enjoy their second album as well... 7 extra bonus tracks from the album titled "Two Too" (1976)... although it is always nice to have this bonus material is ranks much lower IMHO than "Night On Bald Mountain" which is a great album and in my opinion an essential piece of Prog Land history !
Review by lor68
4 stars Except on the weak production (by excluding this fact, you can rate this l.p. as "4 star and an half"), this 70's US work based upon the famous suite by Mussorgsky is excellent and with a personal imprinting of its own, despite of his clear reference to such symphonic works by YES. The excellent use of analogical keyboards such as "Mellotron" and "Mini-Moog", makes this album very captivating and quite essential in every "Progressive discography".
Review by erik neuteboom
3 stars The debut-album "Night On Bald Mountain" from 1975 (produced by Ian McDonald from KING CRIMSON glory) is a bit unknown beauty, other USA prog rock bands NETHERWORLD and LIFT got far more attention from the prog fans all over the world. The twelve compositions (including seven bonus tracks, "all killers, no fillers" would Greg Walker from Syn-Phonic say) contain alternating and captivating music with strong echoes from early GENESIS and also GENTLE GIANT and YES. But many twists and turns give the music an original approach, including exciting arrangements from classic composers (MUSSORGSKY and DEBUSSY). The singer sounds powerful and has a wide range, the 'vintage' keyboards are very lush with spectacular synthesizer solos and the guitar work has a beautiful, 24- carat symphonic tradition. Highlight on this splendid CD is the epic title track (almost 20 minutes): wonderful changes of climate, great breaks, impressive pipe organ (evoking "Close to the edge" from YES) and beautiful HACKETT-like guitar work. Also worth mentioning is Ian McDonald's contribution to this album, he plays flute on two tracks and saxophone on two tracks, his sound is very distinctive. Highly recommended!
Review by Proghead
4 stars Another one of those little-known American prog rock bands, I noticed this country's prog rock scene consisted of very few bands that actually made it big, only KANSAS did, because they included uniquely American elements in their European-influenced prog sound. Most of the other bands were unlucky, only having small, local or regional labels back them up (good examples go to acts like CATHEDRAL or BABYLON) or they had to privately issue the album themselves. There were a few that were lucky to get on major labels, giving them at least a small chance for national exposure like STARCASTLE (Epic Records), HAPPY THE MAN (Arista) or ETHOS (Capitol), but of course, you know how American radio was to prog in the second half of the '70s (not exactly the most friendly, and they'd prefer the most AOR stuff from KANSAS).

FIREBALLET at least had the decency to record for Passport Records, a small label that at least was able to distribute nationwide, and had quite a few great prog acts on its roster (ARTHUR BROWN'S KINGDOM COME, CAPABILITY BROWN, NEKTAR, SYNERGY, BRAND X, etc.). As for the rule of American prog (with a few exceptions, of course), most of these bands were either from the Midwest or the East Coast, and FIREBALLET was no exception, they hailed from New Jersey, which was also the home to Passport Records. "A Night On Bald Mountain" was their debut, and best known for being produced by Ian McDonald, who was previously a member of KING CRIMSON, and later a member of the multi-platinum selling AOR act FOREIGNER (a band that I don't need to explain to those who have even the slightest knowledge in FM rock).

The band consisted of drummer Jim Cuomo, keyboardist Bryan Howe, guitarist Ryche Chlanda, keyboardist Frank Petto, and bassist Martyn Biglin, all credited to vocal duties aside from the bassist, and Cuomo was the guy responsible for the lead vocals. His vocals tended to be on the dramatic side, and he had to try to imitate a European accent.

To me, I thought the album sounded like GENESIS or YES playing the Mussorgsky and Debussy songbook. In fact the title track, of course, is the band doing a version of Mussorgsky's famous work, but they also included some Debussy in there too. I kept hearing how this album is a Mellotron masterpiece. Don't buy in to that, the Mellotron is used nowhere as many claim, I mostly hear it on the short "Atmospheres", that's it, really. I more hear the RMI electric piano/harpsichord, ARP 2600, and Hammond organ. "Les Cathedrales" find the band borring a theme from George Martin's "Theme One" (the one VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR covered as a single they released in 1972, and included on the American LP of "Pawn Hearts"). "Centurion (Tales of the Fireball Kids)" is a prime example of Jim Cuomo being dramatic in his vocals. Somewhere you hear a theme from Holst's "The Planets". Of course the band went and tackled on Mussorgsky's famous work, stretching around 18 minutes, the title track is a prog version of that work, but near the end, the band seemed to abandoned rock and put emphasis on pipe organ and more classical structures.

Around this time, Passport Records started promoting the Sansui QS quad-stereo unit (you can see this promo also on Synergy's Electronic Realizations For Rock Orchestra), from my understanding you can only get quad stereo from these titles if you owned a Sansui quad (and also my understanding was that reel-to-reels were better at quad than LPs).

Unfortunately the only way you can get this on CD is through a Brazilian label called Rock Symphony which they also paired their second album Two, Too (which is usually regarded as not so good as their debut, but I hadn't heard that album). Passport Records went belly-up around 1988, making many titles difficult to get reissued if they weren't on other labels (BRAND X was on Charisma in the UK and NEKTAR was on BELLAPHON in Germany, so that's why those titles ended up on CD reissues).

To me, I think "A Night on Bald Mountain" is a decent enough prog album, but I wouldn't call it essential. I think my problem is I preferred the band when the classical influences aren't as so obvious.

Review by Progbear
2 stars More overrated Ameri-prog. Yes, there's Moogs and Mellotrons galore, but that's really all this has going for it. Unlike a lot of bands that plunder from one or two famous British bands exclusively, they seem to snag a little bit from as many as they can: a smidgen of Yes here, a daub of Genesis there, a dash of Jethro Tull, a pinch of ELP, a wee dram of Van der Graaf Generator (the main theme from "Darkness 11/11" turning up clear as a bell on "Les Cathedrales". Add a heavy dose of 70's cheese (the kitschy classical quotes, the strident "ah ah" vocals on the long title suite, the corny fantasy/medieval lyrics) and you're left with an album you're embarrassed to let your friends know you listen to. Extra demerits for the back cover, with the band in SCA outfits, probably the most stereotypical prog band photo ever (well, up until the dominance of cheesy fantasy-metal acts like Rhapsody, anyway).
Review by Mellotron Storm
2 stars 2.5 stars. Man this was a disapointment. I certainly don't mind bands that are derivitive, but to be polite these guys have borrowed more from other bands then they have come up with on their own. The whole record, save for the song "Atmospheres" seems so uninspired.

And don't believe the mellotron hype either, according to Planetmellotron the only song with mellotron in it is "Atmospheres". And I do feel that this is the best song on the record, it's quite beautiful with gentle vocals and piano.There is a definite YES / GENESIS vibe going on, with some Classical music thrown into the mix. It's not a bad record, but I can't recommend it.

Review by Alucard
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars 'Night on bald mountain' was released in 1975 by the US band 'Fireballet'. The record, which was produced by Ex King Crimson Ian McDonald mixes influences and citations from 'Genesis', 'Yes', 'ELP' and 'King Crimson' together with their own compositions centered around the main theme of Moussorsky's 'Night On Bald Mountain', into a symphonic firework. Not unlike 'The Flower Kings' some years later , 'Fireballet' knows how to place a good citation or a 'In-The-Manner-Of' passage without getting too heavy or iconoclastic and combines them with interesting material.

'Les cathédrales', a dynamic track, starts with a heavy intro followed by a moody atmosphere supported by keys and cymbals. A moog line, and some Howish guitar lead into the main theme, build around an ELP (Tarkus) citation. A short instrumental passage for sax and distorted guitar leads back to the main theme, followed by a 'Genesis' citation ('Fountain Of Salmacis') , a quiet choir passage and ending with another 'Genesis' citation from 'Foxtrott'.

'Centurion''s theme is introduced by the Moog, reminding again ELP, followed by a guitar solo and a reprise of the main theme and ending with another ELP (BrainSalad Surgery) citation .

'The fireballet' an uptempo track, is dedicated to 'Yes', with a brillant 'Yes-like' mulitpart vocal arrangement, followed by 'Genesis' and a 'Ekseption' moods and ending with a classical march for acoustic piano, the best track on the record.

'Atmospheres' , a Tresspass-Genesis-like track builds up a moody athmosphere featuring the 12 string guitar.

Side two contains the long suite 'Night On Bald Mountain', build around the main them of the Moussorsky composition, and the weakest track on the record. It lacks the tension of the shorter tracks on the first side. The track starts with a citation of the Moussorsky main theme, followed by a long instrumental passage, that leads into the melody of King Crimson's 'Epitaph' (with different lyrics) another long instrumental passage including a sax solo, some Hackett & Howe guitar, a citation from 'Close To The Edge', a reprise of the 'Epitaph' theme and ending with some heavy Uriah Heep organ.

A brillant record and a lesson in Prog at the same time!

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars This album is a great travel in time for me. I purchased it a the time of release after having read the review of "Piero Kenroll" in "Télémoustique" a Belgian weekly magazine in which six pages were dedicated to rock music. His review was so favourable that I rushed out to buy this record (at Metrophone in Brussels for the old Belgian readers of this site...).

He was basically writing that this album was a musical kaleidoscope of the great prog bands of the early seventies. And he was no wrong of course.

"Les Cathédrales" is a long and complex song which is fully Genesis and KC oriented (their symphonic side). Very powerful intro, lots of rhythm changes, beautiful key passages, great sax. Vocals are not really convincing but they aren't too many.

"Centurion" is almost a tribute to ELP while Yes sits just around the corner during "The Fireballet". The voice being a real clone to Jon's one, the guitar fully in Steve's style. This might have been "Starcastle" raison-d'être.

If you like "Trespass" then there is no reason that you won't be attracted by "Atmospheres". Full of tranquility, this nice acoustic piece would have perfectly fit on this great album. Flute and mellotron are just beautiful. I like this song very much.

The long epic song is a prog approach of a well-known classical piece of music written by Mussorgsky. Not being an adept of classical music, I have no clue how the original sounds but I have spun this version an awful lot of times.

Each movement flows very well one into the other. The beat is mostly rather rocking and powerful during the first half. This type of interpretation (and at times the keys sounds) will automatically remind you the ELP style of music. The light and subtle part "The Engulfed Cathedrale" is fully Yes oriented ("Close..." or "Ritual") gives us a wonderful symphonic break. Towards the end of the song, a great cresendo featuring some "Child In Time" elements is even featured. The finale is a pure jewel of a melody.

I believe that this part of the album is just great. A wonderful epic. Not very original of course, but wonderful.

In those days, no mention of plagiarism, just a great overview of different prog styles. This album has not aged very well, I'm afraid. I cannot imagine the reaction of a proghead discovering this album in 2007 but it reminds me so many souvenirs that I tend to be very indulgent with it (as I will for several other albums, for the same reasons).

If you like Yes and you are not too harsh with bands emulating this great and influent one, you will be very pleased with this record.

Four stars.

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Good but Not Original or Essential

Since I remember, people has mentioned FIREBALLET as one of the most outstanding USA Symphonic bands, and mention "Night in the Bald Mountain" as a true masterpiece, well, until last week, I had only heard fragments and one or two times a full album in a friends house, and sounded OK.

So after some years I decided to buy the album and found a copy of the 1975 - 1975 version with seven bonus tracks, must say that I'm not so impress, it's true that the guys show great musicianship and presents us some good ideas, but they are not able to keep a good balance, mixing excellent material, with songs that border cheesiness and are derivative to an extreme, so without more talking, let's check the tracks.

The album is opened with "Les Cathédrales" which introduces the listener to a good Prog opener plethoric of guitars, organs and radical changes which go from a heavy start to an atmospheric mood reminiscent of Genesis, more obvious when they almost copy parts of Fountain of Salmacis plus a couple more GENESIS references, 100% Prog, pretty good but anything except original.

After the tem minutes opener, it's time for "Centurion", a pompous track in the vain of ELP but even closer to TRIUMVIRAT, the vocal section is somehow disappointing, because Jim Cuomo looses the perspective and the key at some points. Followed by ore ELP references, the song goes till the end with some interesting changes.

"The Fireballet" opens with a very FOCUS influenced introduction that seems taken from "Moving Waves", but suddenly a chorus interrupts what sounded very coherent, maybe I'm too harsh, but the vocal work sounds less than average. Then comes an instrumental break with clear ELP similarities (again) but less inspired, the chorus keeps coming back and sounds worst every time. The final section mainly in piano gives a boost to a mediocre track.

"Atmospheres" starts clearly based in GENESIS, it's nice, soft but lacks of energy (which is the main attribute of the band), the arrangements are very good, but after a couple minutes turns into too predictable and bores a bit.

Well, the center piece of the album is "Night on the Bald Mountain" and FIREBALLET hit us with everything they have, now the band achieves what I expect from a Prog band when covering a classical theme, the band does all the job, almost no orchestral additions and they still accomplish success..But hey, isn't the first change a copy of Karn Evil 9 followed by another copy of "The Magician's Birthday"?

What the hell, it sounds great and we know that their strength is not in the originality. Several changes, more references to another bands (King Crimson included) and dramatic moments make of this 18 minutes track a good Prog moment.

As usual will avoid reviewing the bonus tracks, because I like to listen the album it was created to be released and to be honest, the extra material is way bellow the level of te original release.

Now how to rate them? Four stars is too much because something so derivative can't be considered remotely essential, but two stars is way too little for such adisplay of musicianship, so I will go with 3 very solid stars that could be 3.5 of the system was able to accept them.

If you're a fan of te 70's, you will like this album, and could add an extra interest making a trivia contest with your friends trying to find the references.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
2 stars Very interesting prog band from the USA. It is only a pity they never fulfliled their obvious potential. This first album clearly shows a bunch of very capable musicians trying hard to emulate their heroes and - at the same time - deliver something of their own. This second part is hardly achieved, but I believe that, giving time, they would eventually come up with something really strong and original. But, alas, that was not to be.

So what we have here? A very well done collection of prog songs, albeit highly derivative too. Produced by ex King Crimson and future Foreigner member, Ian Mcdonald (certainly one of their heroes who gets a special prasing mention on the album´s credits), it has quite some fine moments, although the excess of quotes (raging from Yes to ELP to Uriah Heep and King Crimson) is a bit annoying after some time. You can tell their influences easily and very often it seems they cannot make up their minds if they want to be Yes, ELP or Genesis (Atmospheres is pure Genesis around Trespass period).

In the end you get the feeling they could do a lot more if they only had persisted on this path for one or two more works. For what they have left, Night On Bald Mountain is promising, but nothing more than that. Their excellent musicanship and good taste is enough to warrant 2,5 stars, but just that. Don´t expect anything original or new, but rather a bunch of skilled guys completely in awe for their idols.

Review by b_olariu
4 stars Fireballet is an underrated american band from mid '70's. They released only two albums, one of them is this one entitled Night on bald mountain, this would be the first one from 1975. A pleasent surprise for me, after I saw how low rated are both albums, specially the second one. Well we not talking here about some masterpiece or something close, but a very pleasent and enjoyble album. Fireballet are influenced from the british masters like Genesis and Yes . Genesis come in mind when I'm talking about this first album and Yes. Arrangements almost like on these bands, some of them I swear are from Genesis ( Nursery cryme era or Foxtrot) ex is the piece Atmospheres, american aswer to Genesis, and Yes, specially at choruses. The music is far from being bad, but is not realy special either that some of the rewievers consider this album to be, ok is well played and has it momets, but something is missing. Symphonic prog is all over the album, but is not so consistent like other american prog albums from that period. All 5 pieces stands as good for me, one of them , the title track is over 18 min of symphonic journey, the rest are ok. So, I will give 3.5 stars, and because I'm a symphonic lover among other subgeners and above all this album is not boring I would give another half star, so 4 stars, but is less intristing and catchy than other 4 star albums that I've given here in prog archives.
Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Night On Bald Mountain is the first of only two albums released by Fireballet, a prog band in the symphonic vein from the USA, but this album has more in common with the UK prog scene than the kind of bands that were coming out of America in the seventies. A five piece band, Fireballet have the benefit of two keyboard players alongside their guitar /bass/drums line up. Flute and alto sax is added by Ian Mcdonald of King Crimson fame who also produces the album, admittedly doing nothing more than an adequate job.

Five tracks in total, though a later Cd edition has the benefit of the addition of seven bonus tracks. The previously mentioned UK prog scene influence is noticeable in the Yes and in particular Genesis influences. Listen to Atmospheres twelve string guitar arpeggios and flute for a strong pastoral Genesis feel in particular. The first four shorter songs, although Les Cathedrales does reach the eleven minute mark are all worthy additions with lots pleasing instrumental interplay, particular in the duel keyboard team of Bryan Howe and Frank Petto who should please vintage Hammond, Moog and Mellotron lovers. It has to be said that the vocals are not the bands strongest point though.

Les Cathedrales makes a fine opener which after an atmospheric start turns into something that sounds a bit like Theme one by Van Der Graaf Generator in places, that is until it develops a bit of a reggae theme, thankfully short lived. It's a song of many twists and turns with some nice light and shade touches.

The undoubted album highlight though is easily the title track. At almost nineteen minutes long it's a relatively undiscovered epic and prog gem. Though there's more bombastic moments it works particularly well in the quieter parts where ethereal beauty are the keywords. Some of the backing vocals bear more than a passing resemblance to Uriah Heep and Mcdonald adds some sax flourishes. Once again though it's the keyboard work that makes it such a strong piece, with some particularly enjoyable and powerful pipe organ and Hackett-esque guitar work.

This Cd will no doubt be very hard to find these days but despite not being an outright classic lovers of seventies symphonic prog will find much to enjoy here and would be advised to grab it sharpish if lucky enough to come across a copy.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Short-lived US band from New Jesrsey, performing in a Classic Prog vein in the mid-70's.They consisted of Jim Cuomo on vocals/drums, Bryan Hough and Frank Petto on keyboards, Ryche Chlanda on guitars and Martyn Biglin on bass/12-string guitars.Their debut ''Night on Bald Mountain'' was released in 1975 on Passport Records, produced by Ian McDonald of King Crimson's fame and recorded between February and April of 75' at the Broadway Recording Studios in New York.

The 10-min. opening cut ''Les Cathedrales'' sets definitely the lines of Fireballet's music.Filled with odd time signatures, complex breaks but also harmonic pieces, the track offers plenty of enjoyable moments and sounds like Steve Howe and Chris Squire of YES jamming with Tony Banks of GENESIS, delivering great bass and guitar work along with diverse keyboard and piano lines.''Centurion'', although shorter, doesn't seem to change the fate of the album.GENESIS/YES-influenced Progressive Rock with good multi-choirs and and a great energetic feeling with some full space for instrumental madness, where organ and synths are prominent.''The Fireballet'' on the other hand has some very strong YES influence, where Cuomo sound much like JON ANDERSON along with same influence on the multi-vocal parts, bass and guitars.This time ''Atmospheres'' is fully GENESIS-inspired (''Trespass'' era), a soft prog ballad with an ANTHONY PHILLIPS-like smooth guitar delivery and calm piano along with the guest appearance of Ian McDonald on flutes.The grand 19-min. epic ''Night on Bald Mountain'' was Fireballlet's approach on the classic Mussorgsky piece and of course the most ambitious composition of the album.But while this one contains some quite grandiose and ground-breaking musicianship for the time, today it sounds less fresh but certainly not dated.Fireballet kept the basic structure of the track, adding their own personality through the massive use of analog keys, mostly huge-sounding organ and synths parts along with the needed piano parts, to come up with a decent effort, characterized by a cinematic sound.A couple of moments recall the evident DEEP PURPLE influence of the band as well and the performance of Cuomo reaches some high level.

File next to other great US prog bands such as CATHEDRAL, ETHOS, BABYLON or STARCASTLE.Nice and complex Symphonic Rock with some fine arrangements and great ideas throughout, where personality is an unknown work.Warmly recommended to fans of the Classic Prog age.

Review by VianaProghead
4 stars Review Nº 670

Fireballet was a progressive rock band that put out two studio albums in the mid of the 70's, their debut "Night On Bald Mountain" from 1975 and their second "Two, Too?" from 1976. They set themselves apart from most prog rock acts of that era, mostly simply by being from America, putting them alongside such vaulted acts as Kansas and I guess Styx too. Their music was quite British, often reminiscent of many other classic progressive rock bands from that era like Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, Van Der Graaf Generator and Emerson Lake & Palmer. I can also see some reminiscences of Nektar. And at times, Fireballet sounds to me some a weird version of Gentle Giant, replete with various time changes, counterpart keys and guitar riffs, and even some odd sound effects in the middle. However and despite they've been strongly influenced by the British progressive rock, their music also had a typical 70's American touch.

Their debut "Night On Bald Mountain" is their best release and can be counted along with Cathedral's "Stained Glass Stories", Mirthrandir's "For You The Old Women" and the first five studio albums of Kansas, as one of the most worthwhile albums of American 70's progressive rock music. The band had strong vocal harmonies and two players on keyboards. Their musicianship was also from first class, and their very complex music also demanded it to be so. Thus, you can expect on "Night On Bald Mountain" a lot of terrific organ and synth work, thanks to the two keyboardists featured in the band, along with some sax and flute, played by the guest musician and producer Ian McDonald from King Crimson, which also produced the album. All this together adds a nice extra dimension to the sound of the album.

The line up on the album is Ryche Chlanda (backing vocals, acoustic and electric guitars and electronic devices), Brian Hough (backing vocals, Hammond and other organs and keyboards), Frank Petto (backing vocals, acoustic and electric pianos, synths and Mellotron), Martyn Biglin (backing vocals, bass and 12 string guitar) and Jim Cuomo (lead and backing vocals, drums and percussion).

So, "Night On Bald Mountain" is the debut studio album of Fireballet and was released in 1975. The album has only five tracks. The first track "Les Cathédrales" is a little masterpiece in itself, featuring colourful instrumental keyboard passages and great vocals. It begins with soft keyboards and acoustic guitar and sounds like a cross between Genesis, Flash, or early Yes, until both a sax solo and electric guitar pop up, which gives the track almost a Van Der Graaf Generator's vibe. The players used a wide range of different sounds and keyboards, just like any other real symphonic progressive rock band should do. Producer Ian McDonald also played sax on this track. The second track "Centurion (Tales Of The Fireball Kids)" is less than half the length of the opener and still is equally complex and grand. Here, the band takes on an almost "electrified ELP" sound, with terrific fuzz guitar leads playing counterpoint to Keith Emerson's like "pomp" keyboards. The third track "The Fireballet" combines many classical elements. The title of the song was originally by Modest Mussorgsky, the gentleman, who also originated "Pictures At An Exhibition" of ELP. It has clear inspirations from their British models, Genesis and Yes, with sophisticated brilliance. The fourth track "Atmospheres" is basically an acoustic guitar song, with pastoral sounding piano and keys supporting a soft vocal melody, reminding me of something that may have appeared on the "Nursery Cryme" or "Foxtrot" albums of Genesis. It leads smoothly into the title track extravaganza. The fifth track is the title track "Night On Bald Mountain". This is an epic suite with nearly nineteen minute, consisting of five parts. It's an elegant, grand and wonderfully ambitious track. It's also a prog rock lover's dream. It has many twists and variations on different themes, creating a spirited roller coaster ride through the prog territory. Each musician shines in the different sections. Regardless, sax makes another short but welcome appearance on this track as well, so even a touch of Van Der Graaf Generator pops up. As I'm unfamiliar with the work of Mussorgsky, the composer of this classical track, I can't make a judgment whether Fireballet, with all their twists and turns and mood shifts and intricate arrangements, gave the song justice. All what I know is that it sounds good to me.

Conclusion: Recorded originally in the short lived "stereo-quad" format, which fortunately, is still quite playable on the stereo turntables, Fireballet puts in a credible and often ambitious performance in their debut studio album. Producer Ian McDonald comes out from behind the board to add his talents on flute and sax on a few numbers, too. As one might expect, the use of two keyboardists gives this album a heavy flavoring of Mellotron and especially Moog, and it works to great effect in conveying the sweep of the title piece. This debut album from Fireballet has one interesting and enjoyable collection of tracks, and I highly recommend it for all prog rock lovers, like me. If you like 70's symphonic progressive rock, then you needs to add this to your collection. This is a very pleasant album and never tedious, really.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

3 stars FIREBALLET - Night On Bald Mountain (3,25 / 5) This is a rather good material, with some nice melodies (especially opening track "Les cathédrales ", that remindes me the beggining of 'Theme One' by VDGG). But only good, not essential. After hearing this I hardly remember some delighted music m ... (read more)

Report this review (#442229) | Posted by imnotfashioned | Tuesday, May 3, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars First time I listened Fireballet - Night on Bald Montain song was in 1977, I can remember till now. Great suite, very long, classical adaptation with vocals, keyboards and several atmospheres, one must! This song played in one FM station in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, called "Eldo pop FM", on 9 ... (read more)

Report this review (#252204) | Posted by codd | Sunday, November 22, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Pretty enjoyable on a number of fronts once you get over the thievery at work here. Imagine a soup comprised of the early, more straightforward VDGG stuff with Trespass/Nursery Cryme-era Genesis and you come up with the first Fireballet album ... with more than a few melodies and riffs actually l ... (read more)

Report this review (#212013) | Posted by Steven in Atlanta | Tuesday, April 21, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is considered something of a lost gem of 70's Symphonic Prog. The music is quite good and well written; the first song 'Les cathédrales' is full of tasty analog synth leads intermingling with very good guitar leads. A weird spoken-word segment in the middle of the track is quite off-putting ... (read more)

Report this review (#201835) | Posted by AdamHearst | Thursday, February 5, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars NIGHT ON BALD MOUNTAIN IS AN ABSOLUTE MUST HAVE FOR ANY PROG FAN ! "Night On Bald Mountain" was produced by KING CRIMSON's Ian McDonald who also contributes some sax and flute on the album SUPERBLY CRAFTED IN EVERY WAY IAN MCDONALD TRULY SHINES ON THIS ALBUM as well rychie c ... (read more)

Report this review (#92550) | Posted by APleasantSymmet | Friday, September 29, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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