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The Morrigan

Prog Folk

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The Morrigan A Midwinter Spell album cover
2.75 | 5 ratings | 4 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Masque (5:46)
2. Dever The Dancer (4:46)
3. Basse Danse Bergeret Sans Roche et Reprise / Voltas
Susato / Praetorius (17th century dance tunes) (5:39)
4. Good King Wenceslas (4:42)

Total Time 20 minutes

Line-up / Musicians

- Cathy Alexander / vocals, recorders, keyboards
- Colin Masson / vocals, guitars
- Mervyn Baggs / vocals, flute
- Matt Carter / bass
- Arch / vocals, drums
- Dave Lodder / additional guitar

Thanks to SouthSideoftheSky for the addition
and to SouthSideoftheSky for the last updates
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THE MORRIGAN A Midwinter Spell ratings distribution

(5 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(0%)
Good, but non-essential (75%)
Collectors/fans only (25%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

THE MORRIGAN A Midwinter Spell reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars Hidden masque

I am usually severely allergic to Christmas music of all sorts and I have always been a bit embarrassed to admit that some of my favourite bands and artists actually have made Christmas songs and albums (Queen and Jethro Tull are but two examples). Thankfully, the present EP release from The Morrigan is not Christmas music in the traditional sense. We have here four tracks, three of which have been featured already on the band's regular studio albums. The first two tracks are taken from Masque, originally released in 1998, and the third from 2002's Hidden Agenda. I have never thought of these tunes as being Christmas songs, and they were probably never explicitly intended to be so, but they do indeed have a certain wintery feeling (at least when heard in this new context). The fourth track is a previously unreleased version of the traditional Christmas carol Good King Wenceslas and is thus the most "Christmassy" of the four tracks. It is a very nice electrified Folk song in typical Morrigan Folk Rock style.

A Midwinter Spell is the first official release from The Morrigan since 2002 (and their first EP since 1993). It is very nice to have a sign of life from the band. As a "teaser" this EP fills its function quite well as all four tracks are very good and worth having, but for anyone who already has the Masque and Hidden Agenda albums, this EP offers very little new. And for those who don't have those full length albums, I would strongly recommend starting with them rather than with this EP. The Morrigan is a very good and underrated band and their original studio albums are indeed recommended for all with an interest in progressive Folk Rock. This EP, on the other hand, despite generally excellent contents, is not really necessary unless you are a fan or collector (or if you want to give the band your financial support).

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Put me in the Christmas mood!

According to what I've read, this is the first The Morrigan release since 2002 when their latest studio album saw the light. Now in this 2010, they decided to release a four-track EP called "A Midwinter's Spell" in which we will find some Christmas related songs.

This band from the UK have composed great prog folk music, and here we will find that folkish tendencies. It is important to mention that three out of the four tracks were taken from previous works, while the other one is an unreleased version of "Good King Wenceslas", a traditional Christmas carol.

If you want to spend twenty minutes of good winter music, then you are in the right channel, sit comfortable and enjoy this record. The first track is "Masque", taken from the album with the same name. This is an extraordinary composition with an excellent guitar work that in moments remind me of Mike Oldfield. After three minutes the song makes a short stop and vocals appear in a joyful mood.

Next track is "Dever the Dancer", a song that starts slow with some keyboard effects and a delicate female voice. Little by little the music gradually progresses and it becomes more intense, but at the same time you still hear to those beauty sounds made by flute and keyboards, creating a fairytale mood.

"Volta/Basse Dance/Volta" is a beautiful folk composition in which we can appreciate the charm of the wind instruments accompanied by percussion. Anyway, two minutes later electric guitar appears and with it, the mood changes a little bit, becoming darker; however, it later returns to the same joy and beauty it had.

And the last track is "Good King Wenceslas", if you are already familiar with it, then you know what is it about, the difference is that here you will listen to a The Morrigan version, which is actually good.

This is a nice Christmas EP, if you like this season's mood then you will easily enjoy it, if not, then stay away from this. My final grade will be three stars, because I like the music, however, I would not recommend this as a starting point for people unfamiliar with the band, better get a full-length album.

Enjoy it!

Review by J-Man
3 stars A Surprisingly Great Christmas EP

Christmas albums aren't usually something that sit well with prog fans. In most cases, such albums are re-makes of songs we've all heard more than enough times, the music lacks in experimentation, or the album is only created with an intent of making a few bucks off of some unwary fans. And if none of the former apply (which is seldom the truth), the religious message is bound to have bad connotations with a fair number of prog fans. A Midwinter Spell is one of the only Christmas releases where I can honestly say that none of the aforementioned scenarios apply. The music itself is highly-enjoyable symphonic progressive folk, the religious message shouldn't bother even the most militant atheist, and (most of all) it got me in the 'Christmas spirit'. I've had a great time listening to this EP from The Morrigan, and I have a feeling many progressive rock fans would say the same. I know that I'll definitely be pulling out A Midwinter Spell when next Christmas arrives.

The album opens up with the progressive 'Masque', characterized by an excellent instrumental opening and great vocal harmonies. 'Dever the Dancer' is a softer track with terrific climatic builds and stellar vocals from Cathy Alexander. The first two songs are, in my opinion, the best from the EP. 'Volta/Basse Danse/Volta' is a more folk-oriented piece, with obvious nods towards traditional Irish and Celtic folk songs. 'Good King Wenceslas' is ultimately the weakest track here, but it's far from the worst version I've heard of that song. The real worth of this EP lies in the first two tracks, which are filled with top-notch progressive rock music. As you should expect from the musicians involved, the musicianship is impressive throughout. I especially love the frequent vocal harmonies - they enhance the EP significantly. The production isn't bad at all, but it does seem a bit thin and low-budget. It's not a big complaint, though.


A Midwinter Spell is a Christmas EP that virtually every progressive rock fan can listen to without shame, and for that alone, The Morrigan deserves praise. I'd recommend fans of beautiful and melodic prog rock/folk to check this out. As I write this, I've yet to hear a full-length album from The Morrigan, so I can't say if this measures up to their best efforts or not. I'll rate this enjoyable and highly recommendable EP with 3.5 stars. Prog rock fans who want something to play around the holidays should definitely give A Midwinter Spell a shot.

Latest members reviews

3 stars .......And finally..... A Christmas EP you can listen to without hiding behind the sofa. An EP you can play to your friends without disgracing yourself and your family (in ten generations). The Morrigan is one of the better new folk rock bands in the UK. Their sound is pretty much celtic ... (read more)

Report this review (#362153) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Thursday, December 23, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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