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Ben Craven

Crossover Prog

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Ben Craven Great & Terrible Potions album cover
3.89 | 78 ratings | 2 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Diabolique (2:27)
2. Nobody Dies Forever Part 1 (2:37)
3. Aquamarine (5:07)
4. Ready to Lose (6:02)
5. The Conjurer (4:13)
6. No Specific Harm (10:58)
7. Solace (2:43)
8. Nobody Dies Forever Part 2 (1:51)
9. Great & Terrible Potions (9:06)

Total Time 45:04

Bonus tracks on 2011 CD release:
10. Ready to Lose (single edit) (3:39)
11. Nobody Dies Forever (single edit) (2:59)
12. No Specific Harm (single edit) (3:29)

Line-up / Musicians

- Ben Craven / vocals, all instruments (guitar, bass, Hammond, percussion, programming), composer & producer

Releases information

Artwork: Roger Dean

CD Desert Comb Music ‎- DC1006 (2011, Australia) With 3 bonus tracks

LP Desert Comb Music ‎- DC1007 (2011, Australia)

Thanks to windhawk for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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BEN CRAVEN Great & Terrible Potions ratings distribution

(78 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(22%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(49%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

BEN CRAVEN Great & Terrible Potions reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by J-Man
4 stars Despite the old saying that states not to judge a book by its cover, my first thoughts about Great & Terrible Potions were based entirely on its album cover. The excellent artwork - courtesy of none other than the legendary Roger Dean - provides a good insight into the music contained on this disc. Top-notch modern progressive rock is what you should expect from Great & Terrible Potions, and Ben Craven's admirable skills as a musician and songwriter are sure to have him recognized by prog fans around the globe. Believe it or not, Ben Craven actually handles everything related to the music on this album, including the vocals, instruments, and production. One-man acts often have a tendency to feel slightly underdeveloped or immature, but that is not the case with Great & Terrible Potions - this is modern prog rock at its best. Fans of Yes, Spock's Beard, Kevin Gilbert, and Echolyn should take notice.

Ben Craven's strongest asset as a musician is arguably in the songwriting department. Great & Terrible Potions is a fairly accessible album, and it's filled to the brim with memorable hooks, strong melodies, and well-composed arrangements. Ben simply knows how to create memorable progressive rock, and the well-executed musicianship gives the album an extra layer of professionalism. His skill as a guitarist and keyboardist shine especially brightly, and even though the drums and bass tend to take a bit of a backseat on this album, the arrangements never feel uneven. Ben is also quite a talented vocalist with a style that brings prog legend Neal Morse to mind. The production, despite being completely do-it- yourself, still sounds completely professional and it suits the music perfectly. It may be a bit too raw for some listeners, but I think Ben Craven also did an excellent job with this key aspect of the album.

If you're into progressive rock with a sleek, modern edge, it's difficult to go wrong with Great & Terrible Potions. Ben Craven's tremendous ability to combine memorable hooks with complex progressive rock and cinematic orchestral music is astounding, and I'll be keeping a very close eye on where this excellent Australian musician heads in the coming years. This album fits my 4 star recommendation like a glove - this is one of 2011's highlight progressive rock albums, and an essential acquisition for fans of the genre!

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars One of my favorite albums from 2011 was Ben Craven's Great and Terrible Potions, which is a symphonic journey full of exciting twists and memorable melodies. I highly recommend this to fans of Kansas and other such bands that have orchestral finesse but also a penchant for occasional straightforward rock excursions- a real gem.

"Diabolique" The door to the secret chambers creaks open and the sound of an ominous music box leads into a piano introduction. Loaded with organ, punchy bass, and other elements, this symphonic rock overture introduces the listener to one of several melodic themes.

"Nobody Dies Forever Part 1" The first song, with slide guitar and trembling bass leading the way, has a cabaret feel. Craven's voice is clean and low in the verses, but soft and airy in the refrain. A screaming guitar solo finishes things off.

"Aquamarine" Atmospheric keyboards and distant vocals create a tranquil, almost out-of-body experience, as though one is about to kiss death and can see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. A bluesy guitar breaks the spell. The dreamy rock music that follows somewhat references Pink Floyd.

"Ready to Lose" This is a catchy acoustic rock song that reminds me of Spock's Beard on their more acoustic moments. It does become more energized after the first verse, bringing in electric guitars, bass, drums, and a vocoder.

"The Conjurer" Exquisite piano introduces the bittersweet twang of the guitar, and overall, this moves and feels like an opus from the Electric Light Orchestra- it just needs Jeff Lynne's voice and falsetto harmonies to complete it. The guitar solo, however, sets it apart.

"No Specific Harm" The first of two extended songs (and one of the best on the album) has a moody backdrop with grim guitar. As the drums enter, the music seems cinematic, like the perfect soundtrack for an army in a fantasy film marching to battle. The music is painted darkly, with hushed vocals and a very memorable, sinister refrain.

"Solace" As the title implies, this interlude on classical guitar is quite peaceful, warm, and inviting, eventually adding piano and other light keyboards, and finally a heartfelt lead guitar.

"Nobody Dies Forever Part 2" Craven briefly revisits the second track.

"Great & Terrible Potions" The second extended piece, the title track, begins with a natural-sounding voice and piano. The instrumental interlude has a variety of bellicose keyboards. The song also features the skillful lead guitar work the rest of the album has shown previously. The music box plays once more, and the door to this nightmarish, alchemic world is shut.

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