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Gandalf's Fist


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Gandalf's Fist Road to Darkness album cover
3.75 | 100 ratings | 10 reviews | 18% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. No Place Cyclone (2:30)
2. Emerald Eyes (4:36)
3. Conjurer of Cheap Tricks (1:45)
4. Into the Dark (incl. Emerald Eyes reprise) (7:28)
5. Twilight at the Gates of the Prism Moon (3:26)
6. The Sulfur Highways of Io (4:34)
7. Untrodden Ways (3:52)
8. Road to Darkness (5:34)
9. The Council of Anderson (6:23)
10. Assorted Lunatics (2:56)

Total Time 43:04

Line-up / Musicians

- Dean Marsh / vocals, guitars, bass, synth, percussion
- Luke Severn / vocals, narration

Releases information

CDr self-released (June 28, 2011, UK)

Thanks to windhawk for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy GANDALF'S FIST Road to Darkness Music

GANDALF'S FIST Road to Darkness ratings distribution

(100 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (34%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

GANDALF'S FIST Road to Darkness reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Gandalf's Fist is another one of those bold gambles that a prog fan will occasionally dare to consider, a leap of faith as IQ would state in a musical form whereby a hitherto unknown entity has enough non-tangible appeal to elicit interest. Peculiar in being a duet with a multi- instrumentalist (Dean Marsh) and a vocalist (Luke Severn) and yet well within the very familiar Pink Floyd confines of musical trippiness, this is one of those typical progressive (old-school) journeys that is well crafted, with superb sound and production, great covert art and some damn fine songs clearly infused by the spirit of Pink Floyd, not the shabbiest of influences out there. The obligatory spaciness is there in spades, synths fluttering wildly in the mix, breezy guitar ramblings and some rock solid drumming. This is best exemplified by the seductive opener, a lush atmospheric intro that truly mesmerizes. Hypnotic soundscapes and electronic creativity. On the shimmering 'Emerald Eyes' the mood goes fluidly into interstellar overdrive (excuse the obvious pun) and firmly grooves deep within the warm Floydian zephyr. The serene vocals are mostly soft and vaporous, just like the Dave Gilmour we all know and love. A tortuous lead guitar foray stamps the deal quite succinctly, actually different from the Gilmourian experience. Sensitive voices, seducing with a scat female aria (yum!) and cloudy wisps of instrumental prowess. 'Conjuror of Things' is weirder, solemn and brooding, exotically decadent like a soundtrack to a warped movie ('The Wizard of Oz ?, I was waiting for a prog artist to cover such a classic story, bedtime fodder for the children) , except here, the arrangements take a multitude of swings and swerves , often dizzyingly so!

'Into the Dark' is the lyrical foundation of the theme espoused by the two artists and it succeeds in being both breezy and intense. It's the longest rack at a scant 7+ minutes but what a stunner! Folky essences collide with wider symphonic catharsis, sideswiped by some clever 'rock' moves! Excellent stuff, this! This is one of those 'sleeper' tracks so common in prog , divulging its real merits only after multiple listens. Deft is the drumming here (and everywhere really), foxily beefing up the opaque soporifics and boldly foraging forward. 'Twilight'' is a much more experimental composition, an astute platform for a sizzling and lengthy axe solo to freeze the mind into a moment of bliss. Lots of air and fluffy clouds in this one. When a track starts off with a succulent bass motif, you know the blood will be boiling! 'The Sulfur Highways of IO' clearly flees any form of timidity, very 'stoner' in the special effects department, velvety carpets of sound and exceptional singing. A massive bluesy solo on the 6 string sets a cool, English country rhythm that is most appealing.

'A ballad you ask? 'Untrodden Ways' is a gentle folk lullaby with medieval overtones (flute and mandolin like guitar), a plaintive voice drenched in serene abdication. When you least expect it, the tune swings into raucous bullying, like at the Middle-Ages banquet hall where the drunken bearded troubadours hang out!

The title track veers into another domain, deep musical adornments emit an almost electro- jazz feel, careening synths speeding like Formula One car, never out of control. Brooding, foreboding and dark are the contrasts, spooky muffled and mangled vocals. The next level is the ultra Pink Floyd finale, all blended craftily and finalizing this track as another massive highlight.

'The Council of Anderson' is even better, a looping melody that sweeps ahead, unafraid, bluesy, breezy and resolute. Luke's vocals positively shine a voice that will need to be noticed by all. The bass, drums, keys and guitar work by Dean is compelling and often, well beyond the boundaries of sheer brilliance. The fretboard solo finale is whopping!.

'Assorted Lunatics' puts this puppy to rest, comfortably numb and utterly content. This brief piece is the most obvious Ummagumma here, floating sounds and fleeting voices, celestial, dreamy and effective.

A thoroughly enjoyable outing that will provide a great many future listens. Every track a delightful nugget of pleasant familiarity and highly creative material that stretches the boundaries of Neo or Space, quite originally under the circumstances.

5 Gloomy Avenues

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The ink of the print of ''The master and the monkey'' hadn't even dried, when Gandalf's Fist decided to release their second album.''Road to darkness'' was written, recorded and released in a period of six months, the actual date of launching was July 1st, 2011.It was a thematic concept, based on a song Dean Marsh wrote a few years back and led to a spacey storytelling/adaption of ''The Wizard of Oz'', refering for the case to a girl transported to a world of aliens.The music was completely written by Marsh, while the lyrics were split between Marsh and Luke Severn.

The English duo took a turn with this album, facing basically the old PINK FLOYD stylings and building their sound on the principles of the legendary British Psych/Space Rock band.''Road to darkness'' is a much more focused work with no surprising stylistical twists, it's a fairly Psychedelic/Space Rock album with some resemblances to MAGUS, characterized by the intensity of the lyrical content, the slow tempos and the melancholic guitar solos.The music comes as an amalgam of electronic textures, GILMOUR-ish soloing and atmospheric guitar/keyboard instrumental parts with a doomy sound, however the use of effects and the instrumental distortions classify this one as a quite modern-sounding effort.Vocals are the low point, far from clean, featuring an odd raspy accent at moments.So, the true value of the album is mainly based on the musical content, which is pretty cool, albeit far from original.The mix of strange ambiences, guitar sounds and electronic vibes, which pop up here and there throughout the album, remind me also of Italians DAAL.But the overall mood is heavily FLOYD-ian, the slow rhythms, the sensitive voices, the spacey soloing on guitars and the atmospheric synths complete series of emotional soundscapes.''Untrodden ways'' is the only track, retaining some of the rural tension of the previous release with the display of recorders and the strong acoustic enviroment.

Second work by Gandalf's Fist, fairly following the 72'-77' PINK FLOYD era.Good Psychedelic/Space Rock with a few experimental switches to Electronic Music.Pretty fine and recommended effort.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Well. Gandalf's Fist second effort is finally available in my home country. The fact that such obscurity is gives me hope about the prog situation in Mother Russia, which, as I've always sadly argued, for its size, is seriously low on prog. Anyway, Road to Darkness sounds like a mix between leth ... (read more)

Report this review (#1303586) | Posted by Progrussia | Tuesday, November 11, 2014 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I don't know what to make of this album. I really wanted to like it - loved the cover of the album and with a name like "Gandalf's Fist" I thought this could be something special. The music is almost experimental in nature. It's kind of like a seriously stoned old Pink Floyd. The problem that ... (read more)

Report this review (#992525) | Posted by sukmytoe | Saturday, July 6, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I very recently discovered this band after one of their tracks was featured on the Covermount CD on latest issue of 'Classic Rock Presents: Prog Magazine' ? now simply called "Prog". I originally bought the issue on the strength of hearing a new track from north west proggers 'It Bites' and w ... (read more)

Report this review (#660643) | Posted by JontyCollinson | Friday, March 16, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Hello, my name is Dr. Ball. I came across Gandalf's fist a little over a month a go when my nephew George returned from his vacation in the Lake District with good news. Knowing I was a great lover of prog, George sent me this wonderful album and have been hooked on it ever since! This album ... (read more)

Report this review (#594939) | Posted by Dr Ball | Friday, December 23, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I found Gandalf's Fist on Last FM and checked them out and have to say there one of my favourite new bands on the scene, they take the classic Pink Floyd sound and give it a twist, they mix classic space prog with dark almost sabbathesk riffs and even add in elements of folk and 80's heavy metal ... (read more)

Report this review (#588745) | Posted by Rushfan47 | Thursday, December 15, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I've actually listened to this a few times now and think it's a very good neo-prog concept album, based around a space-rock re-telling of the wizard of Oz. If you like Pink Floyd, you'll probably enjoy this as it's very floydian in places, however there's a lot more on offer - hard rock, a folky ... (read more)

Report this review (#581939) | Posted by ProggyDave | Sunday, December 4, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars If one excludes the strong Floydian influences that resound on most of the songs, I am afraid that this album has little else to offer. Most of the songs seem to be designed to build a sedated, downbeat and watery atmosphere, with layers of filtered vocals and effected guitars dictating the over ... (read more)

Report this review (#580030) | Posted by lukretio | Friday, December 2, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Pink Floyd has a lot to answer for. That include inspiring a couple of guys up in Cumbria to get together and come up with this album. An album that starts with a Meddle - A Momentary Lapse Of Reason pastisj, female soul singers included. Thankfully, this album takes a couple of detours away f ... (read more)

Report this review (#527027) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Monday, September 19, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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