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Gabriel Bondage

Crossover Prog

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Gabriel Bondage Angel Dust album cover
3.27 | 17 ratings | 4 reviews | 29% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1) Babylon
2) First Stone in a Pyramid
3) You and the Wind
4) Take My Eyes
5) Ladies and Gentlemen
6) Bondage
-Rust Flakes
-Implosion Islands
7) Sing Me a Song

Line-up / Musicians

Rex Bundy (lead vocals, guitar, 12-string guitar, drums, piano, effects)
Tony Stram (vocals, bass, keyboards, programming),
Larry Biernacki (vocals, guitar, mandolin),
Bill Wisniewski (lead vocals, backing vocals, saxes,flute,clarinet)
Ron Schwartz (piano, synthesizer, Hammond organ, programming)

Releases information

LP Dharma 1975 # D-804

Thanks to chris s for the addition
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GABRIEL BONDAGE Angel Dust ratings distribution

(17 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(29%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(29%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

GABRIEL BONDAGE Angel Dust reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by seventhsojourn
3 stars Having delved briefly into the history it seems Gabriel Bondage was a Chicago-based outfit, active between the years 1973-81, that formed when lead singer Rex Bundy recruited bassist Tony Stram from a local Pink Floyd tribute band. In their early days they supported Rush and a couple of their personnel had also played with future members of Chicago. They actually cite Chicago as one of their main influences along with the likes of Genesis and ELP but just don't expect anything like that here. Their own music is very folksy, mainstream even, and personally I think they sound more like a soft-prog Crosby, Stills & Nash than anything.

'Angel Dust' was the first of their two albums in the mid-seventies, the second being 'Another Trip To Earth' which was released in three different colours of vinyl. A third album was planned but had to be shelved when the Dharma label folded and, in spite of Dharma's collapse, the label refused a buy-out of the band's contract by Columbia. Both albums hint at a blending of the sacred and the profane with the colloquial references to drugs in their titles and the religious subject matter of some of the lyrics.

For example 'Babylon' is a song that to me portrays the deterioration in man's character with the Babylon of Revelation serving as a symbol of the US. The opening bars remind me of 'Sandman' by America (I was sad to hear that Dan Peek had died at the age of 60 in July this year) except it soon gets spacey with wind effects, saxophone and droning synthesizer. It has a majestic air that's filled with some rather overwrought vocals, and these give it a theatrical dimension that suits the theme of human perspective set against that of a supernatural power.

'You And The Wind' is vaguely reminiscent of Simon & Garfunkel's 'Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme' complete with mandolin, harpsichord and flute, while 'Ladies And Gentlemen' progresses from its subdued CSN beginnings of acoustic guitar and spidery flute to surging Mellotron that's perhaps in imitation of The Moody Blues. These guys seem to have been aiming for some kind of ambitious English-American crossbreed but there's not quite the former's distinctive harmonies or the latter's cosmicism, nice though the music is.

The West Coast spirit is completely abandoned on the free-roaming terror of 'Bondage', a chaotic-sounding piece and the only track that lives up to the kind of PCP-induced nightmare hinted at in the album title. It sounds like a battle being fought deep in the psyche and involving malevolent sax and aggressive riffs. Apart from this track 'Angel Dust' isn't exactly overburdened with progressive moments and the religious nature of several songs may put some listeners off. However if you're looking for music that inhabits a melodic world somewhere between prog rock and folksy West Coast then the fat lady has well and truly sung.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Chicago-based religious-inclined (and not necessarilly Xian) Art Rock band, formed in 1973.The core of the group was multi-instrumentalists and vocalists Rex Bundy and Tony Stram, guitarist Larry Biernacki and flutist/sax player/singer Bill Wisniewski.For their first album they were supported by drummer Tony Antinarelli, keyboardist/guitarist Conrad Green and keyboardist Ken Sadjak.''Angel dust'' was recorded at the Castle Studios in Chicago with Zaido Cruz helping out on backing vocals, while most of the material was written by Rex Bundy.It was released in 1975 on the obscure US label Dharma Records.

With a fair interest in religious themes and plenty of biblical references in the lyrics, Gabriel Bondage produced a rather soft Progressive Rock with commercial leanings, a bit similar to Canadians KLAATU.The opening ''Babylon'' has a dramatic BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST/VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR atmosphere, led by grandiose keyboard textures and melancholic sax playing by Wisniewski, followed by the folky ''Pyramid'' and its interesting flute parts combined with Bundy's acoustic guitars.''You and the Wind'' is a laid-back but rather uninteresting ballad in a STYX vein with mandolin and piano in evidence, while the acoustic workouts continue with the accesible ''Take My Eyes'', that has a Gospel approach during the chorus, led by the Christian-inspired lyrics, its orchestral arrangement and the good guitar solo.Same mood with the first track of the flipside, as ''Ladies and Gentlemen'' has a calm atmosphere, characterized by the mellow piano lines, the multi-vocal harmonies and the acoustic textures.With the long ''Bondage'' the group manages to skip into more YES/VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR-influenced territories with a nice opening instrumental part full of complex guitars and saxes, which will show up again later after an unecessary break.Good instrumental ideas, accompanied by synths and a solid rhythm section, and expressive vocals proove that this piece is one of the best ever written by the band.The folky inspirations return with the flute/mandolin-driven ''Island'' and its repetitive atmophere, while the closing ''Sing me a song'' has again a definite BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST ballad-esque approach with melodic saxes and keyboards next to a sensitive voice.

The two long tracks of ''Angel dust'' along with the nice closing ballad show that Gabriel Bondage were able to produce something really good.However the album is mainly dominated by the rural influences and the music is mostly too soft for its own good.I would recommend this to starving collectors of Progressive Rock or someone wanting to enter the prog realm in a safe mode...2.5 stars.

Review by Progfan97402
4 stars This album really took me by surprise. Another Trip to Earth featured the wonderful "Take it on a Dare" (sounds like a totally progged version of Styx with James Young singing lead), but much of the album really left me with a stomach ache. it's understood why that album is so maligned in prog circles. I get the impression they're not exactly sure what to play..

Their previous offering, Angel Dust I really feel is MUCH better overall. The music, for the most part is more genuine prog. Some of the music is acoustic, sounding like a totally progged Crosby, Stills & Nash. There's some great stuff on here like "First Stone in the Pyramid" and "You and the Wind", plus the prog suit of "Bondage". Love the use of mandolin here. The only song I can do without is "Take My Eyes". This is a seriously underrated album. I guess if you heard Another Trip to Earth and thought it was lame, your impression of the band is not going to be favorable, but I found Angel Dust surprisingly great, one of the more underrated albums I have heard.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Make that 3.75 stars. I recently picked up this LP and was initially enthused. Upon observing the sparse and lukewarm review treatment this album has garnered on PA, I was hoping to be more favorable. I can't help gushing a bit. Prog., my first musical love as a teen, has conquered my heart ... (read more)

Report this review (#1976240) | Posted by steamhammeralltheway | Wednesday, August 8, 2018 | Review Permanlink

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