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Alan Reed

Crossover Prog

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Alan Reed Honey On The Razor's Edge album cover
3.54 | 39 ratings | 5 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2017

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. My Sunlit Room (4:08)
2. Razor (3:46)
3. Cross My Palm (5:47)
4. Leaving (4:30)
5. The Other Side of Morning (8:52)
6. The Covenanter (4:53)
7. Used to Be Someone (6:02)
8. Northern Light (4:06)

Total Time 42:04

Line-up / Musicians

- Alan Reed / guitars, basses, bass pedals, drum programming

- Christina Booth (Magenta) / vocals
- Monique Van Der Kolk (Harvest) / vocals
- Laetitia Chaudemanche (Weendo) / vocals
- Jeff Green / lead guitar
- Claude Leonetti (Lazuli) / Léode
- Mike Stobbie / keyboards
- Steve Hackett / harmonica
- Scott Higham / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Graeme Bell for PlanetTwig

CD White Knight Records ‎- WKCD0317 (2017, UK)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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ALAN REED Honey On The Razor's Edge ratings distribution

(39 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (38%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

ALAN REED Honey On The Razor's Edge reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by lazland
4 stars Alan Reed releases his second solo album, Honey On The Razors Edge, and a mighty fine work it is, too. The former alumni of Pallas and Abel Ganz proves beyond doubt that he is capable of producing music that is relevant and vital to the genre we love, as it continues to grow in the 21st Century.

A word of warning. This is not a traditional neo prog album, by any stretch of the imagination. It is far more than that. It is the sound of an artist determined to grow beyond his roots, and with the capability to surprise, as well as delight us.

The album cover itself gives us a clue as to what follows when the disc is inserted into the player. Spartan, yet majestic in its simplicity.

Reed has assembled a very capable group of collaborators to share his vision, and I especially enjoy the contributions of Scott Higham on drums, whose work with Pendragon was superb, and the gorgeously talented Monique Van Der Kolk, with backing vocals returning the favour Alan did her excellent band, Harvest, who I have championed on this site. We also have a turn by Steve Hackett & Christine Booth, amongst others. A very special mention is due to Mike Stobbie on keys, Reed's old bandmate, whose layers are extraordinary.

The album bookends, My Sunlit Room, and Northern Light, are, perhaps, about the most recognisable blasts from the past. The opener fairly races along, and most reading this review would recognise immediately the need for a bolt hole from the pressures of modern life, a sunlit room where one can be oneself in peace. The album closer, Northern Light, transports you to a Scotland, Nordic lands, and Europe we share and hope will bring us together in troubled times, and the wall of sound is reminiscent of days of Pallas yore. Razor is a dark, edgy, affair, but the album really comes alive with a blast of sound in Cross My Palm, full of screaming guitars and lush sounds. There is also a good, old fashioned, rocker in The Covenanter. Stobbie is exceptional on this.

The star, though, throughout, is Reed's voice. Leaving is a track which demonstrates this to great effect. There is a fragility in this track, with Reed and backing vocals putting together a piece with fantastic keys and pipes effects creating a lush Celtic vision of love and separation. This theme is continued, beautifully, in the words, music, and themes, of a love in danger of exploding into war, The Other Side of Morning. This is intelligent rock music, featuring a heavy bass lead overlaying keys, Higham's drums, and acoustic guitars creating an emotional nine minutes of music. At the heart of it, as with all of the rest, is Reed. As much as I love his music with his former bands, I truly believe he has taken his song craft and vocals to a higher plain on this work. There is also one thing for sure. Personal experience is at the core of this, as with the best songwriters works. The contrasting moods are a joy to listen to.

However, all of the above utterly pales into insignificance when Used To Be Someone fills your senses. If I hear a better track in 2017, then it will be a damned special affair. Celtic, emotional, lush, full of crackling sound and emotion, this is so achingly beautiful as to defy mere words. When I first played this a couple of weeks ago, my wife came into my study, stood listening without a word, and, when the last notes had disappeared into the ether, informed me that this was one of the most lovely songs ever. It really is so achingly beautiful, and Reed sounds so fragile over a lilting guitar solo, before the track explodes into a rush of sound and emotion, as the story of a love thrown away takes you to a different existence altogether. Simply bloody wonderful, and quite staggering. Thank you, Alan.

I think this is the sort of album this website was born to highlight. Progressive music that will appeal to both purists and those, and there are many, who want a wee bit more than clever time changes, and think that artists who are progressive, should, ahem, progress. Alan Reed delivers, in spades, and I despair that it will never receive the attention it truly deserves. Treat yourself. It is available via Caerllysi Music, and well worth your ten quid.

Four stars for a fine album, and highly recommended.

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Scottish composer and musicians Alan REED is best known for his 24 year long tenure as the front man for progressive rock band Pallas, a tenure that ended as abruptly and surprising for Reed himself as for fans of the band if my memory serves me well. Since that event a few years back Reed has launched a solo career. "Honey on the Razors Edge" is his second solo album, and was released through UK label White Knight Records.

Fans of progressive rock in general and neo progressive rock in particular should take note of this easy to like and very well made second solo effort by Alan Reed. While I find the subset of progressive rock explored to not be limited to neo progressive rock as such, and some songs may have something of a more mainstream touch to them too, I rather suspect that the key audience for Reed as of 2017 will be those whose taste in progressive rock tends to hover around the neo progressive landscapes. A strong album though, and one that warrants a check by those who tend to enjoy the more accessible parts of the progressive rock universe in general.

Review by kev rowland
4 stars It must be nearly 25 years since I first came across singer Alan Reed, probably with Clive Nolan's project 'Strangers On A Train', although it could have been Abel Ganz. This far along it's difficult to be sure. Alan of course made his name with Pallas, with whom he was frontman for more than 25 years, but he has always kept working with Clive as well, and earlier this year took one of the lead roles on 'King's Ransom'. The album starts with a strong keyboard pattern, and my immediate thought was, "Surely that's not Mike Stobbie?", but yes, it is, and a quick check of the musicians saw some other very well-known names such as Jeff Green (guitars), Steve Hackett (harmonica), Scott Higham (drums) and a few guest singers such as Christina Booth from Magenta.

There will be many who will be bundling this album into the neo prog scene, but his place in that sub-genre is probably more due to history than it is to the reality of what is featured on this album which sits best within crossover, moving between genres but always providing plenty of melody. One of the real joys of this album is that it doesn't seem like a solo album, but like a band effort, with Jeff in particular being given plenty of room to show his style. But, it's not all bombast, as Alan has a deft touch on guitar himself, and when the fancy takes him, shows a far more pastoral side. This is an album of great depth and breadth, and at the very heart are the pure clear vocals of Alan, capturing the listener and taking them on a journey. I enjoyed his solo debut, but this follow-up contains far more powerful and strength within it. Superb.

Review by aapatsos
3 stars Having been impressed by Alan Reed and co. watching them on stage last year, I listened with interest to his second solo release. The energy that he brings to stage can be also found in the studio recordings, be it in the form of a powerful riff, an inspired keyboard line or an emotional ballad. Although contemporary in sound, ''Honey on the Razor's Edge'' brings with it a strong 80's resemblance to artists such as Peter Gabriel or David Sylvian, an alternative rock vibrato and late 90's Porcupine Tree and Arena heaviness. Alan's unique, theatrical singing makes the album quite different from many ''crossover'' prog releases, despite it being fairly accessible as a whole. It is quite difficult to compare this album directly to anything else I have listened to recently, while still honouring standard Neo-Prog ingredients (mainly on the keyboards) and more contemporary folk references in the vein of Karnataka (''Used to be Someone'', ''Northern Light'').

Absolute stand-outs are ''Cross my Palm'', which reminds me of Queensryche's 'Rage for Order' innovative tempos and ''The Covenanter'' with excellent percussion. The honey of the album is in the middle part; the beginning and ending stand well on their own but do not contain as equally impressive ideas.

This is a near-excellent release and something different out there that deserves your time. 3.5 stars

Review by friso
3 stars Alan Reed was the singer of Pallas during its glory days around the turn of the century. I've gotten quite fond of his sentimental voice and powerful, yet whimsical way of singing. On his second solo album we hear a type of crossover prog that is part pop-rock, part neo-prog. The record has an outstanding production sound and the first three tracks are really good. 'My Sunlit Room' has great synth works and counter melodies. 'Razor' has tribal rhythms and a nice suspense, the poppy vocals really shine here. 'Cross My Palm' is a great slow burner with strong guitar lines - perhaps the song that sounds most like Pallas. The fourth song 'Leaving' is an acoustic ballet type song and here the pop elements get a bit too cheesy for my tastes. I just don't believe the in honesty of a chorus like that. The nine-minute song 'The Other Side of the Morning' is again very mellow, the opening reminds me of Genesis' acoustic tracks like 'Cinema Show'. With a little less feelgood moments this would have made a nice track, the ending section is quite impressive. Towards the end the album the pop elements keep disrupting my enjoyment, though the rockin' 'The Covenanter' has a nice original up-tempo flow to it. Had the album kept up the level of the first three songs - which you should add to your playlists - I would have given it four stars for sure. Recommended to fans of Pallas, crossover prog and the lighter side of neo prog.

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