Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Don Airey

Prog Related

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Don Airey K2 (Tales Of Triumph & Tragedy) album cover
2.90 | 29 ratings | 5 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 1988

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. K2 Overture (3:15)
2. Sea Of Dreams Part 1 (3:13)
3. Sea Of Dreams Part 2 (3:49)
4. Voice Of The Mountain (1:28)
5. Song For Al (Instrumental) (4:11)
6. Balti Lament (1:19)
7. Ascent To Camp 4 (3:25)
8. Can't Make Up Your Mind (4:20)
9. Summit Push (1:19)
10. Close To The Sky (1:25)
11. Blues For J.T. (0:44)
12. Julie ( If You Leave Me) (4:17)
13. Deathzone/Whiteout (8:01)
14. Song For Al (Vocal) (5:14)

Total time 46:00

Bonus track on 1999 remaster:
15. Take Me Home (5:09)

Line-up / Musicians

- Don Airey / keyboards, co-producer

- Gary Moore / guitar (2,5,14)
- Keith Airey / guitar (9,10,13,15), backing vocals (9)
- Laurence Cottle / bass
- Cozy Powell / drums
- Michael Airey / glockenspiel (10)
- Chris Thompson / vocals (2,8,14,15)
- Mel Galley / vocals (3)
- Colin Blunstone / vocals (12)
- Genki Hitomi / vocals (13)
- Ian Harrison / backing vocals
- J. J. Morland / backing vocals
- Gordon Honeycombe / narration

Releases information

Artwork: Simon King-Underwood and Jim Curran (photo)

LP MCA Records ‎- 255 981-1 (1988, Europe)

CD MCA Records ‎- 255 981-2 (1988, Europe)
CD MCK Records ‎- none (1999, UK) Remastered with a bonus track, new cover
CD Music On CD ‎- MOCCD 13276 (2016, Europe)

Thanks to clarke2001 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy DON AIREY K2 (Tales Of Triumph & Tragedy) Music

More places to buy DON AIREY music online

DON AIREY K2 (Tales Of Triumph & Tragedy) ratings distribution

(29 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(24%)
Good, but non-essential (52%)
Collectors/fans only (14%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

DON AIREY K2 (Tales Of Triumph & Tragedy) reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars Journey to the centre of... K2

For his first solo album, keyboard player Don Airey offers us a conceptual album about the mountain in Asia known as K2 - the second highest mountain in the world after Mount Everest. The narration that appears throughout readily brings to mind that of Rick Wakeman's concept album Journey To The Centre Of The Earth (which initially involves a mountain on Iceland). The music itself is actually not unlike that of Wakeman, but more of the 80's than of the 70's variety. Another band that springs to mind when listening to K2 is Alan Parsons Project and, indeed, both Chris Thompson and Colin Bluntstone contribute vocals. Guitars and drums are provided by Gary Moore and Cozy Powell with which Airey had worked previously in Collosseum II and Rainbow respectively. Moore contributes some fine guitar solos, but overall the presence of guitars, vocals and drums is rather scarce and the sound is mostly dominated by Airey's keyboards. Cozy Powell's usually thunderous drumming is not easily detected here and I wonder what he in fact did contribute to the album.

After having worked with such greats as Black Sabbath, Rainbow and Ozzy Osbourne in the late 70's and early 80's, you might expect a solo album in the style of these bands. However, nothing could be further from the truth. This music owes more to Mike Oldfield, ELP and Alan Parsons Project than any of the bands Airey worked on before (and since). The production is heavily rooted in the 80's and the sound comes across as rather dated. Some songs are out-and-out 80's Pop of the worst Alan Parsons sort. Needless to say, this music has little to do with the Jazz-Rock/Fusion or Heavy Rock for which Airey is primarily known. It is indeed admirable that he was able to move outside of his comfort zone, but this venture is not particularly successful despite some nice moments. This release is far from worthless however, but there are many other albums by other artists that achieve the goals Airey set himself here much better.

On the version of this album that I have heard the songs Julie, Death Zone and Whiteout are combined into one long track, and this track holds some of the album's best and rockiest moments (Julie is not among them though). Had the whole album sounded like those best bits this would have been a far better album, but as it stands it lacks direction. Though tied together by a concept, it often sounds rather incoherent and lacking a unified structure.

A decent effort for sure, but not everyone's cup of tea

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Prolific British keyboardist, born in 1948 in Sunderland, and among the most well-known session musicians.Airey's career took off in mid-70's, playing for Cozy Powell's Hammer, later to join Black Sabbath for the ''Never Say Die!'' album.Between 1978 and 1981 he joined Rainbow for a couple of albums, followed by his recruitment on Ozzy Osborne's band in early- 80's.In 1987 Airey helped both Jethro Tull and Whitesnake as a session keyboardist and around the same time he wrote the material of what became his first solo output ''K2 (Tales of Triumph & Tragedy)'', originally released in 1988 on MCA Records.

With help by Gary Moore on guitars, Cozy Powell on drums, Manfred Mann's Earth Band's vocalist Chris Thompson and Keats' singer Colin Blunstone, Airey wrote a concept work around the deadly disaster took place on the K2 mountain between the 6th and 10th August of 1986, leading to the death of five mountaineers, and it is strongly recommended to the listener to follow the concept.The majority of the album consists of short tracks/themes around the fatal event, divided into narrations, bombastic orchestral passages and even some keyboard Fusion with a strong Hard Rock flavor overall.The atmosphere ranges from dynamic grooves to very dramatic solos, highlighted by Moore's exceptional solos and Airey's mournful synthesizers.Only some cheap sounding keyboards and the quite plastic production will spoil the so long very decent material.By the end of the album, just when the events peak their top emotional moments, Airey placed his longer and more sensitive compositions.Sensational vocal parts, orchestral and grandiose keyboard work along with Moore's thrilling trademark solos give birth to the excellent finish of the album and the story.

''K2 (Tales of Triumph & Tragedy)'' serves nicely the purpose of its existence.It is much a product of its time but it is also a very good concept release, where Hard Rock meets AOR meets keyboard-based Prog with a good alternation between different emotions.Recommended.

Review by Angelo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars When this album came out, I had no money to purchase it right away, having just completed my Slayer (!) collection. Later on, I found it hard to get in the local stores, and forgot about it, until about 5 years ago. After searching hard, and not finding it, I finally bought it in digital form online. From the day I got it, I liked the album a lot - although it is definitely an '80s album, it is also a piece of music brought by a fabulous set of musicians. It may not be neo prog, not even prog at all, but it keeps turning up on my playlist, simply because of the great keyboard and guitar work.

Love it or hate it, but this is one of my all time favourites. For not being prog, I'll rate it 3 stars, but on any generic rock or music site, I would have definely given it 4 stars.

Latest members reviews

4 stars As a fan of concept albums, I almost passed on this one based on previous reviews. Now I'm glad I did not. There is some adventurous stuff in here. It is a departure from Airey's metal/classic rock roots, but the music is still dynamic and spirited. If Alan Parson Project circa Eye in the Sky m ... (read more)

Report this review (#299879) | Posted by tkenn | Monday, September 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This is an album I have had in my collection from the day it was released. Let's start with the background facts here. K2 is the second highest mountain in the world and also the most difficult mountain in the world to climb. Even the standard route have several very difficult vertical passa ... (read more)

Report this review (#287033) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Friday, June 18, 2010 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of DON AIREY "K2 (Tales Of Triumph & Tragedy)"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.