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Quasar Fire in the Sky album cover
3.59 | 44 ratings | 9 reviews | 7% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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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

- Paul Vigrass / lead vocals
- Cyrus Khajavi / guitar synthesizer
- Dillon Tonkin / organ, synthesizers
- Keith Turner / bass, Moog bass pedals, 12-string guitar, composer & producer
- David Cairns / drums

- Pete Ware / Minimoog
- Steen Doosing / drums
- Peter Strade / vibes, keyboards

Releases information

Artwork: Keith Turner

LP Q Records ‎- qua-1 (1982, UK)

CD Q Records ‎- qua-1 CD (1990, UK) New cover

Digital album

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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QUASAR Fire in the Sky ratings distribution

(44 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(7%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (41%)
Collectors/fans only (16%)
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
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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
4 stars Quasar's Fire In the Sky presents a set of songs which together form a concept album based around spacey UFO themes. For a long time I'd had a decidedly mixed opinion of it - on an objective level, the production quality isn't that great and the compositions are rather cheesy, but on the other hand there's an undeniably haunting quality to the material here which keeps me coming back even when I've thought I'd put the album behind me, and over the years it's ended up growing on me as a result.

The production quality issues are at least excusable. Before Pendragon established Toff Records, before IQ formed Giant Electric Pea, at a time when arguably only Twelfth Night and Pallas out of the neo-prog crowd were showing a similar level of initiative in terms of going a bit further than just circulating demo tapes, Quasar established their own label - Q Records - to put out their own album. It's understandable, under such circumstances, without even an established indie label behind them that the production quality isn't pristine.

I'd previously been under the impression, as many seem to have been, that the album was recorded and came out in 1984; but whilst Quasar did (briefly) have the backing of Elusive Records, a sub-label of EMI set up by Marillion and Pendragon's manager, they didn't actually record the album under those auspices, instead cutting a new version of the song Fire In the Sky for the Fire In Harmony sampler album which, alongside Pendragon's Fly High Fall Far EP and The Jewel album, would prove to be Elusive's only release as EMI and other major labels began to lose interest in neo-prog. (If you need proof that Fire In the Sky hailed from 1982, look up the album's entry on, where you can see for yourself images from a 1982 copy clearly showing the date and the Q Records branding.)

Although knowing that doesn't change the objective quality of the production, it has inspired me to listen with a somewhat more generous ear, and on doing so I have detected subtleties to the music which I hadn't previously given Quasar credit for. As such, I think it's an album well worth taking in for anyone who is interested in the roots of the neo-prog movement.

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.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars To prepare yourself for the sounds you will hear on this album one would do well to listen to the 1974 pop hit "Magic" by future prog sessions musicians, PILOT. This album sounds just like it, voice, etc.

1. "Fanfare" (0:42) breakneck speed synths on display. (4/5)

2. "Seeing Stars" (3:48) opens with a little CAMEL and VANGELIS mixture before drums drop in to signal full band foundation for backing delicate singing of Paul Vigrass. Spacious keyboard based rock music behind this Bobby Vinton-like voice. After Paul's two verses and choruses the synths take over to close. (8.25/10)

3. "Mission 14" (13:21) a great prog groove established from stealing the music beneath GENESIS' "take a little trip with Father Tiresias" from "Cinema Show" the get-go over which some nice impassioned vocals and instrumental soli are delivered. A nice instrumental section begins in the fourth minute to include a nice Prophet 5 and electric guitar solo. Just enough gear and directional shifts to keep it interesting and never let it get boring, though it is a little too reliant on the Cinema Show sound and structures. (26.5/30)

4. "U.F.O.": (17:57) : (32.5/40)

- a) "U.F.O." (5:52) the vocals work better as the musical backdrop thickens and fills. (Bad choice for whatever effects they're running Paul's voice through.) Sounds like a blend of PILOT and SUPERTRAMP for the first half, then GENESIS-lite (Wind and Wuthering era). (8.25/10)

- b) "Flying" (2:51) sounds quite a bit like a passage from PATRICK MORAZ's Story of I or a CAMEL/GENESIS "Naminanu." Constant with no changes start to finish. (8.25/10)

- c) "Fire in The Sky" (5:15) PILOT + BUGGLES and/or Ambrosia. (8/10)

- d) "Moon" (3:59) opens with an engaging foundational riff before Paul adds some unusually relaxed and unassuming vocals. This is nice! Then there is a more bombastic bass-infused finale. (8/10)

Total Time: 35:48

B-/four stars; a solid and interesting contribution to the early neo-progressive genre which suffers from a little simplicity but is definitely worthy of a listen for your self. Too bad about the poor sound engineering of Paul Vigrass' vocals.

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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