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Mangrove Touch Wood album cover
2.80 | 25 ratings | 5 reviews | 8% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2004

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Fatal sign (9:54)
2. Vicious circle (5:29)
3. Cold world (6:36)
4. Penelope (7:08)
5. I close the book (5:51)
6. Help me (5:29)
7. Wizard of tunes (8:52)
8. Back again (5:39)
9. City of darkness (8:43)

Total Time: 63:41

Line-up / Musicians

- Roland van der Horst / guitar and vocals
- Joost Hagemeijer / drums and keyboards
- Pieter Drost / bass
- Chris Jonker / keyboards

Releases information

CD Mangrovian Music

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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MANGROVE Touch Wood ratings distribution

(25 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(8%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (38%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (8%)

MANGROVE Touch Wood reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by progrules
3 stars I knew the successor of this album way longer than the debut. I don't really like doing things the reverse way but alas, the damage is done. Doesn't really matter, the advantage is that I hardly could go wrong with this first release because I already knew by Facing the Sunset that Mangrove is an excellent Dutch progband.

That leaves us the comparison with the successor and that's an obvious thing for me. Even though this is a very fine debut it comes nowhere near their second studio album. It's nice in the sense that the potential really shines through already here and then I especially mean their by far strongest asset: the keyboards. And I don't even mean the execution (which is superb by the way) but mainly the terrific little solos these guys write for that instrument. They create a wonderful atmosphere with those instrumental passages and it's the main reason I really love this band.

Highlights are the opning Fatal Signs, Wizard of Tunes (must be autobiographical !) and the closing song City of Darkness. On these three the aspect I described is best present. The other songs prove that they were not fully mature yet because they let their Achilles Heel (vocals) dominate too much on those. And that's immediately the reason I will not give this debut the high score of 4 stars just yet. The successor did get them from me but that was completely justified. If I would also do that with this debut I would simply be overrating so it will be three stars. Still, if you like Facing the Sunset and don't know this one yet, it's recommended.

Review by ZowieZiggy
1 stars Early to middle "Genesis" for the music and general trash for the vocals. These are the basic ingredients you can find while listening to the long "Touch Wood".

The whole of the feeling being remarkably summarized during the opening and "epic" song. The vocal disenchantment is truly unbearable and a real pity. How is it possible? Lots of German bands were having such a problem, but usually Dutch bands could overcome this handicap. But not "Mangrove" apparently.

An average singer would have been more than welcome and this album would definitely have scored higher. But, as such it is difficult to rate it in the high spheres. One could have hoped a more instrumental work, but no: vocals are everywhere and are really painful. Now, when you listen to "Vicious Circle", there is nothing good nor creative to expect. Just a poor "Genesis" clone. Would you believe, with a debut album in 2004?

This pastiche album is quite painful to listen to from start to finish. And I'm not of the most purists from this great site. But still: this band hasn't an inch of personality.

I am quite perplexed with the music performed: I was quite keen on listening and reviewing the band when I saw that it was referenced within the symphonic style and that it has received quite high scores. But these were much too optimistic IMHHO. To listen to the weak "Penelope" put all things into perspective. Press next, really.

The band decided to release a long album (I wonder why) and it dramatically failed. It is frankly poles apart. The worse is probably being reached during "Help Me". These are the only words I can possibly think of while listening to this track. Awful.

And when I heard from the lyrics from "Wizard Of Tunes" the sentence "I don't believe in miracles" I was just voiceless. For sure, miracles didn't show up. Some good guitar though for a few seconds. But is this enough??? Of course there is also a rip off from "Watcher". Stop please! This is enough!

Actually, I really wonder why this band has been placed into the symphonic genre while they fully belong to the neo one. I'll dig more into this with their later releases.

Weak. Pale copy. Inexpressive. Three out of ten but downgraded to one star. The worse neo prog you can expect. is featured in this album.

And I needed more than four hundred words to tell you this!!! Unbelievable.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars From ''Massive Hollowness'' Mangrove couldn't else than move forward.Corrective actions occured regarding the line-up with Eric Holdtman (later he appeared on King Eider's '' Somateria Spectabilis'' album) and Hans van der Linden out of the picture, entering is new keyboardist Chris Jonker, while the band's leader Roland van der Horst took over the vocal duties.The band recorded its official full-length debut ''Touch wood'' at The Farm Studio in Zeewolde, mastered at The Music House in Mangrove's hometown Apeldoorn and released privately in 2004.

These moves by the leading members had more than a positive impact in Mangrove's overall style.The confusing sound of their previous release is subsituted by more-developed and focused compositions with symphonic and Neo Prog inspirations, while van der Horst's voice recalls the vocal lines of ROINE STOLT.The new music side of the band is pretty attractive.Based on the path bands that MARILLION, THE FLOWER KINGS and SPOCK'S BEARD developed over the years, they present long and well-executed tracks with changing themes and moods, quite close to the style of KNIGHT AREA and GALLEON, where melody meets atmosphere meets adventure.The style is modern Symphonic Rock, much based on synthesizers and guitars with sporadic organ and Mellotron washes, not very original but certainly on a higher level than their debut.Interesting melodies, bombastic synth instrumental parts and very tightly connected textures result series of great pieces of Prog music, that can be both deeply lyrical and musically intricate.There is some obvious influence by RUSH in some of the guitar moves, but there are also plenty of nice solos included.This is pretty typical Neo/Symphonic Prog of the modern Dutch school, featuring the principles of the Symphonic Rock genre surrounded by modern elements and a clear production.

I will say this again, The Netherlands appear to be among the top 3 countries regarding Neo/Symphonic Prog acts of decent quality.Add yet another group in the list, as Mangrove's ''Touch wood'' is an excellent album, that is far from personal, but contains tons of extraordinary moments for the fans of the genre.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Latest members reviews

3 stars I have seen Mangrove live twice. And, although the quality of the recording is quit good, they sound better live. The quality of the songs differs, all in all not bad. Best (and great) track in my opinion is City of darkness, with Wizard of tunes as number 2. Fine keyboard- playing by Chris Jon ... (read more)

Report this review (#47920) | Posted by | Thursday, September 22, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Great album! It takes at least five times of concentrated listening to the music and lyrics but then it hits you like a steamtrain! There are interesting mood changes in the music who remind me of bands like UK and King Crimson in the early days. A litlle point of concern is the singing of Rola ... (read more)

Report this review (#28621) | Posted by | Thursday, June 24, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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