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Earth And Fire

Symphonic Prog

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Earth And Fire Gate to Infinity album cover
2.67 | 46 ratings | 10 reviews | 4% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Recognition? (5:30)
2. A Princess in Egypt (2:01)
3. The Joyous Untruth (2:07)
4. Infinity (5:14)
5. A Life-Time Before (2:45)
6. 78th Avenue (3:02)
7. Smile (3:11)
8. Green Park Station (2:59)
9. Dizzy Raptures (3:17)
10. Driftin' (5:36)

Total Time 35:42

Line-up / Musicians

- Jerney Kaagman / lead vocals
- Chris Koerts / guitar
- Gerard Koerts / keyboards, synthesizer, Mellotron
- Theo Hurts / bass
- Ton van der Kleij / drums & percussion

- Raoul Blauw / congas, percussion
- Pieter Jan Blauw / congas, percussion
- Hans Hollestelle / arrangements
- Jaap Eggermont / arrangements, producer

Releases information

Artwork: Cream

LP Polydor ‎- 2925 065 (1977, Netherlands)

CD Polydor ‎- ERC-29246 (1991, Japan)
CD Polydor ‎- 371 914-5 (2012, Netherlands)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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EARTH AND FIRE Gate to Infinity ratings distribution

(46 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(4%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(24%)
Good, but non-essential (41%)
Collectors/fans only (26%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

EARTH AND FIRE Gate to Infinity reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ZowieZiggy
1 stars I guess that any band has the right to decide in which direction they want to go. So, be warned, there is a severe change in the music you will find on this album, when compare to their previous ones.

It sounds as if "Earth And Fire" was willing to investigate world music (well ahead of time). The opening number features a weird beat mixing some disco and Oriental flavours. Hang on...The same disco-ish beat for "A Princess In Egypt" etc. The whole album is unfortunately of the same vein. It is at least as poor as ELO production in the eighties (yes, it is that bad).

The wonderful voice of Jerney is very scarce on this album. I guess that a song as "Infinity" must be considered as the only bearable song form this "work" even if the last part is a complete chaos. There is also "Dizzy Raptures" which features a good guitar solo but it is drowned with orchestrations.

Of course, 1977 was probably not the best year to try and produce a symphonic album as they were used to; but the fall to the abysses is quite abrupt, to say the least. The use of marimba ("Recognition", "A Life-Time Before") won't really being very acurate.

This album has nothing to do with being more commercial or not. "Earth & Fire" wrote great pop prog songs like "Memories", "Maybe Tomorrow" and "Only time Will Tell". These were great songs. What is to find here is extremely poor "music". Just listen to "78th Avenue". Dreadful, my friend.

The fantastic Jerney even sounds as Olivia Newton-John during the syrupous and infect "Smile". Avoid this BY ALL MEANS. If you are looking to some very bad reggae song, you'll get it here as well : "Green Park Station" probably deserves the golden medal.

Do yourself a favour : don't bother with this release (but I have no doubt about that when I see the very few reviews available for this album).

The only positive point with this release is that it is very short (as usual for "Earth & Fire". One star of course.

Review by kenethlevine
2 stars It's 1977, disco and punk have taken over and progressive rock is pariah. "Earth and Fire" could not have pulled off punk very convincingly, so they went disco, and did a decent job at it within the confines of that style. It almost sounds like a different band at times. If the last couple of albums had been hinting at a new direction, this one takes a sharp turn and never looks back.

The group still knows how to juxtapose and blend a variety of moods. Probably the best track is the opener, "Recognition". While not an epic in the manner of the last few albums, it is well developed and contains that sinister air about it. It even includes xylophone. "The Joyous Truth" is a lively instrumental featuring guitar that sounds like organ and organ that sounds like...well, organ. "A Lifetime Before" recapitulates some of the opener, while "78th avenue" is a good pop tune with nary a progressive element.

While changes are expected vis a vis the times, "Gate to Infinity" just doesn't have the consistency of previous efforts even allowing for the stylistic leap or fall. Proceed with caution, for beyond the gate lies disco eternity ad infinitum.

Review by Mellotron Storm
2 stars This is just a write off really. Lots of synths and orchestral sounds along with poppy sounding tunes.

"Recognition ?" has that orchestral flavour as sounds come and go. I don't like this one at all. Vocals after 2 1/2 minutes. "A Princess In Egypt" actually is led by male vocals and it's very commercial sounding. No thanks. "The Joyous Untruth" opens with drums before a full sound arrives quickly in this instrumental. "Infinity" opens with piano and synths. Drums join in. It settles right down then processed vocals arrive 2 1/2 minutes in. "A Life-Time Before" puts the focus on the vocals.

"7, 8th Avenue" features vocals and lots of synths. "Smile" is where they slow it down. Not a fan of this one either. "Green Park Station" is kind of funky with vocals. "Dizzy Raptures" sounds better as she actually sings with strings. "Driftin'" is led by synths early then drums join in. Keyboards are good but I don't like the rest.

Barely 2 stars and the worst that i've heard from this Dutch band. Please stick with "Song Of The Marching Children", the rest doesn't come close in my opinion.

Review by b_olariu
2 stars 2.5 really

Fifth studio album of this good dutch band named Gtes to infinity is a step down after the all 4 previous albums, if two years earlier they release the album that I find the most exciting in manner of composing, symphonic prog , close to Atlantis in greatness, I've rated with 3 and 4 stars those albums, this time in 1977 , Gates to infinity is an almost mediocre album. Again the atmosphere in not bad, some tracks are good enough to be a good album like Infinity or Joyous untruth, but to many time the pieces goes towards pop or even with disco flavours in places, just listen to the single of the album puted on market in 1977 - 7th avenue . The digitalize sound and plastic keys on some parts make me give another 2.5 stars, not the worst album I ever heared but not among the best aswell..Anyway the prestation of Jerney Kaagman is good as always, nice voice, with a lot to offer, is pitty that the pieces doesn't offer a wider possibilities to show her fantastic voice.

Review by HolyMoly
4 stars Four stars, with a disclaimer up front: a large chunk of this album is given to stylings that aren't really conducive to a Prog Rock discussion. My rating reflects my quality assessment regardless of the relevance to Prog. Even though it was the band's prog stylings which brought me into their camp in the first place, this is one of their albums I return to most often. "78th Avenue" and "Driftin" advanced quickly from guilty pleasures to the status of two of my favorite songs of all time.

Side one is essentially a suite of five songs, with the fifth one reprising the first, and the fourth one bringing back some themes from songs 2 and 3. Although the parts are individually very good, they don't really cohere as a suite as well as they could. Still, I love the stately tempo and novel drum beat to "Recognition?", the poppy quickness of "A Princess in Egypt", the ELP-like instrumental "The Joyous Untruth", the... the point is the music is good. A little clunky when thrown all together, but good melodies all the same.

Side two is more controversial. Five pop songs that honestly wouldn't sound out of place on an ABBA record. And I think they're all beautiful. "78th Avenue" was a single, with a disco beat and one of the best choruses I've ever heard. "Smile" is borderline iffy, a sappy ballad with pretty simplistic music, but Jerney Kaagman's guileless vocal delivery saves the day. "Green Park Station" is an impossibly syncopated quasi-reggae-funk number with clavinet, catchy as all get-out even though it's time signatures are pretty complex and hard to count along with. "Dizzy Raptures" is an orchestral-backed ballad, almost classical in its approach. It has a nifty string section in the middle, leading into an emotional Camel-like guitar solo. Nice. And then there's "Driftin'", maybe the best song on the whole album, and the most "prog" song on side two. Starts with a rippin' syncopated synth riff that reminds me of Gentle Giant (e.g. "Free Hand"), has an extended opening instrumental section with echoey guitars not unlike mid-period Eloy, and then goes into a dreamy vocal section with another one of the best choruses I've ever heard. It closes with an instrumental outro again featuring soaring guitars.

For me, this album began as an "ugh... disco", graduated to a guilty pleasure, and currently sits as an album I listen to regularly without apology. If you like late 70s pop music with interesting chord structures and arrangements, give it a try.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars Definitly those were strange times. 1977 was a turning point year musically, although I believe not too many people notice it at the time. Earth And Fireīs Gate To Infinity is too a strange album. They mix experimentalism, pop tunes and disco music all over the CD. Itīs not a sell out: most of the music here is way too different to be played on the radio. The sole exception is 7/8th Avenue, with an infecticious groove and a great chorus. But at 3:02 minutes it is too short. With a little more work this could have been a huge hit in the mold of ELOīs Last Train To London. A real shame.

Ok, most of reviewers here bashed the album senseless. Some were unfair, but I understand them. Gate To Infinity must have been a shock for the fans at the time. Still, more than 30 years later, I much rather judge the record by its musical qualities, regardless the styles adopted. And, believe it or not, the music here is very good: melodic, with fine hooks, very well performed and with a terrific singer to boot. True, there is hardly any īproperī prog parts in here (prog disco counts? Does that exist?). But itīs far from banal or a copycat. The band still made things their way and the experimental parts are plenty. As weird as it is, after a few spins, I still like what I hear. Although some tracks are obviously better than others, none is crap (some would benefit from a little more work like the aforementioned 7/8th Avenue)..

I guess I should recommend this album only for the ones that have a very open mind and like to enjoy fine songs without much prejudice. To my taste, they are excellent. Even in its darkest hour, this band had something special going on.

Rating: good, but not essential in any way. 3 stars.

Review by Progfan97402
3 stars If you're wondering about the cover, it's a real place. This cover depicts the Azadi Tower in Tehran, Iran, which at that time was known as the Shahyad Tower but renamed Azadi after the 1979 revolution to remove any legacies of the Shah.

Anyways, this is basically where progheads jump off the boat as far as Earth & Fire is concerned. They're now a pop/disco act, and I can't deny the disco influence, but in all fairness, side one isn't all that bad. There's that disco element that's sure to scare off progheads, but I'm actually surprise of the proggy approach of much of this side. As a matter of fact, I don't find it any worse than the title track of To the World of the Future, which itself is an odd disco/prog hybrid. Right in between "Recognition?" and "A Princess in Egypt" is a bit of a shot experimental bit. There is also some small amount of Mellotron, but since real strings are used on the album, it's little surprise tron is used so little on this album (but surprisingly, their next three albums, Reality Fills Fantasy, Andromeda Girl and In State of Flux still uses the Mellotron, albums you'd think they'd completely abandoned that keyboard). I actually love side one, might not be quite on the level of Song of the Marching Children or Atlantis, but what is? Side two justifies the reason so many people dislike this album. "78th Avenue" (did Jerney Kaagman have trouble saying "seventy eighth", so she ended up saying "seven eighth"?) is a disco-funk type of song that was released as a single. Not too bad, but I doubt progheads will have much patience for it. "Smile" and "Green Park Station" are just plain awful, the former a cheesy ballad, the latter a lame disco number about a station in the London Underground. "Dizzy Raptures" isn't too bad (which isn't instrumental despite the album credits saying it is), and I thought the closing song, "Driftin'" was rather good, in that similar spirit to "The Last Seagull", but with vocals. I swear I hear Mellotron on this one, but given the album is full of real strings, it's hard telling (most of the rest of the album at least they don't hide it's real strings). One of those albums to get on the cheap. I should know, I got mine for cheap. Following albums, of course are worse. Three stars because side one is actually pretty good, as well as "Driftin'".

Latest members reviews

4 stars Gate to Infinity,is Earth & Fire's last great album.To me this album is much slicker and laid back and mellow,than previous albums.The 16 minute opener is a lovely piece that drifts along very nicely. Yes there are two klonkers of songs,Smile (where nothing happens at all) and Green Park Station ... (read more)

Report this review (#182774) | Posted by gr8dane | Thursday, September 18, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars There is something about this group, which is nearly impossible to find in the US, that I love. It's true that with this record, the group began a slide into more commercial territory but the album is catchy in a grand way IMHO. I would certainly recommend seeking out any of Earth & Fire's rele ... (read more)

Report this review (#31587) | Posted by | Tuesday, May 24, 2005 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Sad but true. The band simply ran out of steam by that time. The album is still very professionally made, with all the marks in place - strong vocals, excellent drumming, great synth/bass/guitar interplay, but the main weak point is the lack of good songs. Recognition? (5:30) still rocks, but t ... (read more)

Report this review (#31586) | Posted by | Monday, August 9, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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