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Pell Mell

Symphonic Prog

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Pell Mell Moldau album cover
2.90 | 15 ratings | 3 reviews | 27% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1981

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Moldau Part one
2. The farmers wedding
3. The hymph dance
4. Moldau Part two
5. Gliding
6. Dark valley

Releases information

LP Cain #CL 5821

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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PELL MELL Moldau ratings distribution

(15 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(20%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (20%)
Poor. Only for completionists (13%)

PELL MELL Moldau reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars This German band released some good albums during the early seventies. After a debut on the hard edge of the symphonic prog, their next two releases were borrowing classical themes mixed with some prog sauce and the combination was quite good. They tried to perpetrate the experience during their last studio album, but the mayonnaise was not as tasty.

Two important band members: Schmidt and Pusch were using the Pell Mell name again with the help of Fricke (guitar) and Rehlich (bass).

The result is actually very pleasant. This might well be their most symphonic album of all. Very much early Genesis oriented, the closing epic Dark Valley is one of the best songs they have written. Sophisticated, very melodic, it features some wonderful and tranquil passages. Those are extremely pleasant to listen to: you just need to press the start button and listen to this enjoyable instrumental piece. Excellent, really.

The opening suite Moldau is another epic. It is more ELP-ish driven, and sounds at times German oriented. Kind of military march or so. The tact and subtlety of Dark Valley is not really reproduced and this long song (almost nineteen minutes) is not thrilling; at least for about eight minutes.

It is the moment for the gentle music takes back its prerogative and again, it is another fine symphonic moment, close to From The New World or Rhapsody for the classical atmosphere.

This album would have been a very good one if only Dark Valley would have had greater counterparts. But the short and repetitive Gliding and the average Moldau prevents me to rate this album with more than three stars. But it is still a good surprise.

Review by kenethlevine
2 stars With limited success during the decade made for prog, PELL MELL surprisingly and valiantly tried again in 1981, with this one off built around a reworking of Smetana's Moldau, which they had themselves already reworked on their debut "Marburg". What is most surprising is how this ever saw the light of day, not because of any quality issue per se, but because it seems quite unaware of the new order in popular music. By and large, "Moldau" sounds like it could have been released several years earlier, so those afraid of 1980s synths and drums need not be perturbed. Vocals are also absent, and guitars both acoustic and electric play a greater role than in earlier Pell Mell offerings.

Only 2 lengthy tracks and one brief ambient interlude comprise the disk, again boding well for the prog purist. The title piece is stretched out to 18+ minutes, reprising the main theme several times around a few other modestly appealing segments, including a light marching style and a crystalline lead guitar outro. "Dark Valley" begins with a passage that is a little too reminiscent in meter and melody to that of "Moldau", but elsewhere are quieter synth passages coupled with acoustic guitars, reminding me of a cross between ELOY's "Colours" and "Planets". A strummed acoustic guitar/fuzzy yet succinct lead guitar combination sounds like YES' "And You and I" meets JADE WARRIOR, in which the bass in particular is worth singling out. I even hear the tune of GRAND FUNK "I'm Getting Closer" in the whirring synths that appear in the last 4 minutes atop some rather lovely electric piano.

With the above pedigrees, the album is certainly not a bust, but "Moldau" lacks the suspense of ELOY, the complexity of YES, the reflections of "JADE WARRIOR", hooks of GRAND FUNK! The addition of even sparse vocals would have helped bring a focus to these agglomerations and some needed drama, and shown that the group wasn't just presenting a few last ideas or the sake of it. Like the bio says, the magic was gone by now, even if the chops were still pleasant enough. 2.5 stars rounded down.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Pell Mell's "Moldau" is a truly remarkable record. When I saw that it was recorded in 1981, and read in the band bio that "the old magic was gone", I wasn't expecting much, but boy, am I ever pleasantly surprised with this album.First off, "Moldau" is in part a homage to Pell Mell ... (read more)

Report this review (#1405930) | Posted by presdoug | Tuesday, April 28, 2015 | Review Permanlink

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