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Quasar Fire In The Sky album cover
3.31 | 33 ratings | 8 reviews | 6% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1982

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Fanfare (0:42)
2. Seeing stars (3:48)
3. Mission 14 (13:21)
4. U.F.O.: (17:57)
a) U.F.O. 5:52
b) Flying 2:51
c) Fire in the sky 5:15
d) Moon 3:59

Total Time: 35:48

Line-up / Musicians

- David Cairns / drums
- Cyrus Khajavi / guitar, guitar synthesizer
- Dillon Tonkin / organ, synthesizers
- Keith Turner / bass, bass pedals, acoustic & electric guitars
- Paul Vigrass / lead vocals

Releases information

LP Q Records QUA-1 (1982)
CD Q Records QUA-1 CD (1990)
CD Progressive International PRO QU1 (1991) USA

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to SouthSideoftheSky for the last updates
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Fire in the SkyFire in the Sky
Progressive France 1995
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QUASAR Fire In The Sky ratings distribution

(33 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(6%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(27%)
Good, but non-essential (45%)
Collectors/fans only (21%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

QUASAR Fire In The Sky reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
3 stars So what happens when one finds and loves an album that has been talked about over the years in nothing but negative light ? You ignore the deaf my friends... Many years back I picked up QUASAR's "The Loreli" which I did enjoy and really got to know Tracey Hitchings better. 10 years later I picked up "Fire In The Sky" which I really like. Okay I'll tell you all right upfront that this album has not been well recorded or produced and carries some sound inadequacies (transferred from vinyl), but the music will overcome this slight frown. I wont spend much space contrasting "Fire In The Sky" with "The Loreli" but just say that it is really a different beast (no Hitchings, 3 different band members) . "Fire In The Sky" dishes out some pretty lush neo-prog vibes with a sound somewhat reminiscent of IQ's "Tales From The Lush Attic" . Pretty much a prototypical 80's symphonic melodic prog rock sound, but there is something magical in this album. For me it is a winner but folks have to give it more of a chance then they have...!

Review by Roj
4 stars Back in the early 80s Quasar were one of the first of the bands that is now dubbed "neo prog", and in my view they were one of the very best. I will always cherish the memories of a special gig in Warrington when I was totally blown away by the band.

Quasar's music is very keyboard-dominated, even Cyrus Khajavi's guitar and guitar synths sound like synths!! Dillon Tonkin really was outstanding on the keys. However, what always stands out for me is that Quasar sound so original, so different. That is a real rarity and it's a terrible shame that the band had such line-up problems. It's really tough to compare them to any other band as a reference, they were so different, although the music is outright symphonic. The sound is very lush with multi-layered keyboards to the fore.

This was Quasar's debut album, and as such is of great importance given Quasar's heritage early in the neo prog movement. Unfortunately it is very difficult to get hold of nowadays. For me, it is much better than the follow-up album, The Loreli.

It has to be said that the production on the album is not good, and this does detract a little. Also, the vocals are not as good as they could have been. Paul Vigrass was a decent vocalist but the recording of the vocal tracks in particular are disappointing. However, the quality of the music is excellent and some of the compositions are really outstanding.

The opener Fanfare sets the tone, this is as typical Quasar as you will find, wonderful synth flourishes over a fast-paced beat backed by swirling synths.

Seeing Stars is a slower piece, again with nice keyboards but the vocals really suffer here.

The real ace in the pack is Mission 14, thirteen minutes of spacey atmospheric symphonic prog that is hard to beat. The piece has several themes which are all of the hiqhest quality. The fast section which closes is absolutely superb, the synth phrasing here regularly brings out the Roj goosebumps. The keyboard playing really is top notch.

UFO is the final track, a seventeen minute epic that is divided into four parts. It's quite laid- back and slow paced, with some beautiful keyboard and vocal passages. For me it's not as good as Mission 14 but still very good. If you are lucky enough to have the cd version of the album you'll get a bonus live version of part of UFO complete with the female vocalist who replaced Vigrass, Sue Robinson. Just listen to how good this is live. Much tighter and powerful. Quasar always were fantastic live, and this shows it.

Quasar still continue to this day, and a new cd is expected soon. If Keith Turner and his new bandmates can produce an album of this quality with state-of-the-art production we will really have something to look forward to.

This is a real gem of an album. You have to overlook the production and you will find an album of real originality to cherish. I appreciate that the production will be enough to put some off. However scratch below the surface of the production and you will enjoy this, if you can find a copy, they are very rare.

Such is this album's personal value to me I was tempted to give the full 5 stars. However, that taking everything into account, I would give this 4.25 stars, rounded down to 4.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars Unidentified flying object

Quasar was formed in the late 70's and even if they to date only have two studio albums in their discography, they have apparently endured as many line-up changes as some of the most prolific and famous Prog bands! Indeed, band leader Keith Turner is the only member who is present on both of their albums. Fire In The Sky was Quasar's debut album and in a way this can perhaps be regarded as Proto-Neo-Prog. However, there is little indicating the release date of 1982. This sounds more like second-division classic Prog; this could have come out of the mid 70's, just as well. The vocals do, however, sound like they were recorded in the 60's! Overall, the album is not very well recorded and the vocals are its weakest link. The voice of singer Paul Vigrass is rather anonymous and his vocals lack power. The mood is rather mellow and the tempo is often slow with only occasional and brief instrumental outbursts. It reminds slightly of the Irish Symphonic Prog band Fruupp, particularly their later efforts, with a slightly Jazz-tinged feel to the vocals.

The album which has a running time of only 35 minutes consists of only four tracks, the shortest of which runs for only 40 seconds and the longest for 18 minutes. The latter is a four-part suite called U.F.O. and the title of the album is taken from the title of one this epic's sections. The album begins with a short keyboard-driven instrumental, a bit like how Camel started their Moonmadness album. This less than a minute long keyboard driven instrumental is actually one of the album's highlights. It has just the kind of energy and drive that the rest of the album would benefit from. This then leads into Seeing Stars (Part 1) which settles into a placid, dreamy pace. (Part 2 of Seeing Stars would later appear on the band's second album, and they were often combined in live performance). Mission 14 is another highlight. This 13 minute plus composition is the strongest of the album's vocal tracks and adopts a more symphonic sound with a stronger presence of keyboards. However, later live versions of the song are better. U.F.O. is a long, multi-part composition that in enjoyable but never truly gets off the ground.

Overall, this somewhat immature debut is by no means awful but instead rather enjoyable even if quite unremarkable and in the end underwhelming. Maybe this would be better with better vocals and production. Quasar would return some seven years later with an altogether different and much better album and then again in the 2000's with live performances and a new studio album is in progress.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars While most progheads are aware of the New Wave of British Progressive Rock through bands like Marillion,Pallas,IQ and Pendragon,there were some ''smaller'' bands earlier to set the seeds of the movement's explosion like Chemical Alice,Twelfth Night,Tamarisk and the presented QUASAR.The band was founded in 1979 in London by bassist/guitarist Keith Turner and singer Mike Kenwright and the first line-up included also drummer Steve Clarke, guitarist John Clark and keyboardist Geoff Banks.Very soon Turner found himself alone on board and a fresh line-up was establuished featuring Cyrus Khajavi on guitars,Steen Doosing on drums, Peter Shade on keys and Paul Vigrass on vocals.This personel recorded the band's debut ''Fire in the sky'' in 1981,released on Q Records and re-issued on CD in 1989 with the presented cover ((the original vinyl release had a different one).

STYLE: ''Fire in the sky'' is one of the best examples of the emerging British Neo Prog sound,balancing dangerously between the raw and the romantic.Highly symphonic and often dramatic,the album is based on the refined melodies,the great breaks and the majestic synths of Peter Shade.Notice that ''Fire in the sky'' contains two grand suites clocking at 13 and 17 minutes respectively.''Mission 14'' is a grandiose 13-min. epic featuring all of the above elements and one of the best compositions to be heard in the whole Neo Prog scene.Extremely lyrical,the track lies somewhere between synth-led complex prog and smooth Symphonic Rock with Vigrass delivering an excellent performance,supported by the pounding rhythm section and the sharp synths,often flirting with electronic sounds in a majestic soundscape.A must to listen!On the 17-min. ''UFO'' the band reaches a more accesible face,though this track is also very intricate and challenging.Again the track is filled with synth effects and keyboard solos,but this time in a smoother way.Lots of soft symphonic textures with intense lyrical moments,atmospheric keys and even some acoustic passages.Vigrass sounds even better that on the first track.Another example of the band's talent and a big slap against the commercial music of the days.

SOUNDS/INFLUENCES: Mid-70's GENESIS seems to be the band's main influence along withe classicism of THE ENID and the electronic soundscapes of VANGELIS,but anyone who have heard even touches of early PALLAS knows what to expect.

PLUS: A trully gifted vocalist who knows when to be aggressive and when to sing calmly. Fantastic keyboard work,among the best to be heard from the scene,with influences from classical,progressive and electronic music.A very tight and raw rhythm section.An extremely talented band,a fact taped in the amazingly well-crafted and arranged long compositions.One of the rare efforts not to be spoiled by the mediocrity of the production.

MINUS: Not much of guitar sounds around.

WILL APPEAL TO:...Fans of the early neo sound:this is a masterpiece for you!An excellent addition also for fans of Classic Symphonic Prog and even lovers of Electronic Music.

CONCLUSION: Seems that the early-80's ''dead'' prog scene has yet much to offer.QUASAR and their debut belong definitely among those lost pearls of underground Progressive Rock music,which deserve a better chance.Extremely highly recommended,this effort belongs to the monumental archives of early 80's prog...5 stars.

Review by Warthur
2 stars Quasar's Fire In the Sky presents a set of the songs that had the potential to be a really nice concept album based around spacey UFO themes. Unfortunately, it's sabotaged by two things; the first is the production, and the second is the weak patches in the compositions.

As far as the production goes, there's no two ways about it: it stinks, and the vocals in particular are very badly affected. The album has a fuzzy, murky sound to it with only a few keyboard-led sections having any clarity to them whatsoever. Consequently, the finer points of the group's performance are obscured, which is a shame from what I can hear they seem like a pretty tight band. When it comes to the compositions, though, there are points where a particular lyrical or musical theme is leaned on a little too heavily - not horribly so, but enough to make me think the songs could have been improved with a bit of polishing.

On balance, I'm inclined to say Quasar's great tragedy was that they went into the studio a little too early; had they spent just a little bit longer smoothing out the rough edges on their songs, and had they held out until they had enough momentum behind them to get a somewhat better production quality on the album, it's quite likely they'll have been able to knock this album up a rank or two. (Granted, I don't know how viable that was given the band's circumstances at the time, but given that IQ, Twelfth Night, and Pendragon were all able to record albums with decent production values on small independent or self-managed labels at around this time I don't think it's an unreasonable expectation.) As it is, they ended up with a product which, despite showing promise, sounds more like a hastily-assembled demo tape than a fully realised album.

Review by kev rowland
3 stars After a gap that is probably the best part of 20 years, Keith Turner and I recently got back in touch again. To celebrate he sent me Quasar's two studio albums, and a live set capturing the band in 2011. So, starting with the very first, I have been playing 'Fire In The Sky' which came out in 1981 so it is now more than 30 years old! The prog scene in the UK really needs to be put into context here, as basically it didn't exist at the time. With the advent of punk, 'prog' was seen as a bad thing by the music press who then decided that it didn't exist. Of course that didn't stop bands from forming and playing, it just meant that it was virtually impossible to get any publicity.

Quasar were formed in 1979 by Keith Turner and Mike Kenwright, but soon the line-up changed quite dramatically so by the time of the release of their debut album only two years later just Keith was left. Cyrus Khajavi came in on guitar and keyboards, Paul Vigrass was vocalist, Peter Ware on keyboards, Peter Shade on vibes and keyboards, Steen Doosing on drums while Keith Turner handled the bass, Moog Taurus and twelve string guitar and provided all the songs.

One wonders what would have happened if these guys had stayed together long enough to properly tour this album as even now it is a joy to listen to. Yes, it does sound dated, but not as much as one might imagine. If I were to take one single album as a starting point then it would probably be 'And Then There Were Three', particularly with some of the keyboard sounds, but in many ways this is an important piece of work as it is one of a small number that was coming out of the underground in those days that would influence those yet to come. Twelfth Night had released a few tapes, and Pallas came out with 'Arrive Alive' in 1981 but IQ, Pendragon, Marillion et al had yet to release an album.

One of the real joys of 'Fire In The Sky' is the confidence of singer Paul Vigrass who really shines throughout. The production is a little thin in places but I found that it actually works really well and adds to the 'other worldy' aspect of the album as a whole. Coming to this album 'fresh', as I hadn't previously heard it, I found it quite surprising as I hadn't realized that the band had a male lead singer in the early days. But the dynamics in the band work incredibly well and given that this was an independent release more than 30 years ago is something that should be recognized. If you go to the band's website you can play all of the songs, so why not go and discover some prog history?

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars UK band QUASAR, these days relocated to the US, was formed in the late 70's. Following a just about total line-up alteration they recorded and released their debut album "Fire in the Sky" in 1982, a production that have subsequently been reissued on CD. The version this review describes is a digital promo for the latter, which in this particular case is worth noting.

Musically we're dealing with a band bound to be placed in the neo progressive sphere whether you'll like it or not. A UK band releasing their debut album in the early 1980's with symphonic progressive rock as their chosen style will always end up with this categorization by way of history. In this case to some extent due to style too, admittedly.

Following a very nice, energetic symphonic introduction, Quasar heads straight into the more accessible field of neo progressive rock on this album. The compositions are light, soft and smooth in construction, with a fairly typical melodic lead vocalist supported by what appears to be a fairly traditional instrument foundation. No major alterations in pace or intensity, no drastic thematic developments or traits otherwise distinctly out of the ordinary. Apart from the keyboards that is. Richly layered, soft keyboards coat and cover the arrangements, sometimes opting for a few dramatic flourishes but first and foremost melodic, harmonic and accessible. At least as the music comes across on this edition. Epic length Mission 14 is the main exception to this description, and as such also a standout composition on this album as far as I'm concerned. I might also add that the compositions as such, even if of a kind and character that invites to the neo progressive tag, draws their influences from the symphonic progressive rock of the 70's. Just like the majority of the other bands given the neo progressive description at that time.

What may be lacking in my own and others understanding of this version of Quasar's debut album is that it appears to be lifted from a less than perfect source. The amounts of hiss and clicks that is a presence throughout suggests that the source for this CD has been a vinyl LP, and one played a few times at that. Which isn't the perfect source to use when you want to reproduce the sounds of a sophisticated band. Details disappear, especially when I get the impression that this wasn't a high budget recording in the first place.

The promo edition I got contained two bonus items: Fire in the Harmony, an alternative version of the latter two parts of Quasar's UFO cycle (tracks 6-7 on the original LP) and UFO, all four parts of the UFO cycle combined into a single track. The former is the most interesting of the two, as the female vocalist present on this take and the subtly more guitar based arrangement (unless I'm much mistaken and misheard) does add more vitality to this composition.

As long as you can live with the technical shortcomings of the CD edition of Quasar's debut album "Fire in the Sky", it is a nice trip into the gentler parts of early 1980's symphonic progressive rock, neo progressive or not, but if you want to get a presumably superior listening experience, the original vinyl LP is the one to go for. If you can find one of good quality and are willing and able to pay the price of such a presumably rare item that is. Be that as it may be, this is still a fine example of smooth, elegant and highly accessible early 1980's progressive rock.

Latest members reviews

2 stars For a long time the only reference I'd had from Quasar was that many members of Landmarq played there, although none of them were in the original line-up. This record is exactly what one would expect from a young British progressive band from the early eighties: neo prog music to the bone. The c ... (read more)

Report this review (#141562) | Posted by Prosciutto | Tuesday, October 2, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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