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John Holden


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John Holden Rise and Fall album cover
3.72 | 68 ratings | 4 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2020

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Leap of Faith (10:10)
2. Rise and Fall (6:23)
3. The Golden Thread (4:56)
4. Dark Arts (7:06)
5. Heretic (9:20)
6. After the Storm (6:09)
7. Ancestors and Satellites (8:57)

Total Time 53:01

Line-up / Musicians

- John Holden / guitar, bass, keyboards, drum programming

- Sally Minnear / vocals (5-7)
- Lauren Nolan / vocals (3,7)
- Jean Pageau (Mystery) / vocals (2,7)
- That Joe Payne (The Enid) / vocals (3,4,5,7)
- Peter Jones (Tiger Moth Tales, Red Bazar, Camel) / vocals, recorder, whistle (1,7)
- Oliver Day / guitars, lap steel (2,4-6)
- Zaid Crowe / guitar solo (4)
- Michel St-Pere (Mystery) / guitar solo (7)
- Vikram Shankar / piano & keyboards (1-3,5-7)
- Oliver Wakeman / piano & keyboards (3,4)
- Jon Camp / bass (2)
- Billy Sherwood (Yes, Circa, Conspiracy) / bass (4)
- Simon Fitzpatrick / bass (5,7)
- Nick D'Virgilio (Spock's Beard, Kevin Gilbert, Big Big Train) / drums (2,4-7)
- Emily Dolan Davies / percussion (2)

Releases information

Format: CD, Digital
February 29, 2020

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy JOHN HOLDEN Rise and Fall Music

JOHN HOLDEN Rise and Fall ratings distribution

(68 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(29%)
Good, but non-essential (40%)
Collectors/fans only (16%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

JOHN HOLDEN Rise and Fall reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I was really not ready to listen to any new music this year until I was given notice from Bandcamp that John Holden had released a new album. Some of you may remember John's 2018 debut, Capture Light, the one that stirred none other than Maestro Steve Hackett to endorse and proclaim it's success, and an album that earned a B+/4.5 star rating from me. Well, John is back and much of the same amazing guest list from Capture Light is back contributing to eight brand new, amazingly sophisticated, mature, and polished religiously- or classically-tinged songs. Back are brilliant guitarist Oliver Day, singers "That" Joe Payne (THE ENID, METHEXIS, ZIO), Peter Jones (TIGER MOTH TALES, CORVUS STONE), Sally Minnear (daughter of Kerry, has performed with DAVE BAINBRIDGE), and Jean Pageau (MYSTERY), as well as Nick D'Virgilio (TEARS FOR FEARS, GIRAFFE, THUD, SPOCK'S BEARD, MIKE KENNEALY, COSMOGRAF, DAVE KERZNER, BIG BIG TRAIN, THE FRINGE), Oliver Wakeman (yes, THAT Wakeman; YES, STRAWBS) and Vikram Shankar (GRIOT, GRAVITY, LUX TERMINUS, THREADS OF FATE, SILENT SKIES, OUR DESTINY, and single song contributions of Billy Sherwood, Jon Camp (RENAISSANCE), Michel St.-Pere (MYSTERY), and Zald Crowe.

I don't know how John has attracted such a stellar cast of collaborators, but I'm so glad he has: his compositions, so steeped in religious and theatric traditions, are rendered here, as on Capture Light, beautifully, with absolute top quality skill and the highest quality of engineering and production. I usually don't begin writing reviews this early in the year, but this album was an auto-buy for me and has been on regular rotation since it came out a month ago? and I can't get enough of it. Five star songs: 1. "Leap of Faith" (10:11); 4. "Dark Arts" (7:06); 5. "Heretic" (9:18), and; 6. "After the Storm" (6:08).

Four star songs: 2. "Rise and Fall" (6:22), 3. "The Golden Thread" (4:53), and; 7. "Ancestors and Satellites" (8:56).

Review by kev rowland
5 stars Although the name John Holden may be new to many of you, I know the stellar guestlist involved in this album will be extremely familiar. More of them later, but hopefully that namecheck will intrigue you enough to search out what is an incredibly powerful album in so many ways. The other thing people need to do is go to John's website where there are full details of what every song means, how it came about etc. I am not going to try and condense that all within the review, as it is much better for everyone to go and read it themselves as it is the perfect accompaniment to what is an incredible piece of work. John provides guitar, bass, keyboards and drum programming and writes the music while his wife Libby provides the lyrics, and then together with the guests bringing in their expertise and experience these wonderful songs are then lifted to a whole new level. If I were pushed to describe the sound, I would suggest crossover progressive rock that somehow also has a hymn-like quality, and in many ways is quite bombastic while also being incredibly restrained. At all times it is the voices which are front and centre, and the use of different singers seems right in the context of an album which never sounds like a project but always like a solid performance from an incredible band. Every musician is there to do a particular job, and they all relish the opportunity to perform on the material, adding their own flavours yet never trying to dominate. For me, the section on "Dark Arts" that really made me turn my head was some rippling piano behind the main melody which only lasted a few bars yet totally transformed the song.

There is aggression, huge breadth of styles, yet it is always in total control. It may be solemn at times, yet there is a beauty and joy which swells through. I can imagine this being performed in a cathedral and the sounds reaching up to the vaulted ceilings and the reverberations and echoes taking the music to new heights. "Heretic" featuring "That" Joe Payne (The Enid) is incredibly powerful yet delicate, with Sally Kinnear providing some sublime backing and duet vocals. Sheer beauty, nothing less. It is hard to fathom this is just the second album by an independent musician, with no label support, yet surely it can only be a matter of time until he is picked up as this is a superb piece of work which needs much wider recognition.

Oh, those guests? How about Peter Jones, Sally Minnear, Lauren Nolan, Jean Pageau and That Joe Payne on vocals; Nick D'Virgilio on drums; Jon Camp, Simon Fitzpatrick and Billy Sherwood on bass; Vikram Shankar and Oliver Wakeman on keyboards; Zaid Crowe, Oliver Day and Michel St-Pere on guitar! They felt this was an important project to be involved, and your ears are demanding you get in involved with it as well. There is a grace within this album that is palpable. Go to the site, read about the album, then buy it ? you will not regret it.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars John Holden, a name to remember and a prime candidate for an upcoming "I told you so", unleashed his debut album "Capture Light" which not only captured my interest but also shed light on a composer of great talent, with a unique style that is nevertheless firmly entrenched in classic symphonic prog mold. His primary skill is composing melodies that stand the test of effort and time, highly adventurous and creative, encompassing all the recipes of similarly successful British artists (The Enid, Oldfield, Hackett, Bainbridge etc?). His second massively successful attribute is to surround himself with some pretty impressive talents in their own right: Sally Minnear and Dave Fitzgerald from Celestial Fire, Jean Pageau and Michel St-Pere of Mystery, Joe Payne (the Enid), Peter Jones with Camel, Red Bazar and Tiger Moth Tales, Jon Camp (Renaissance) and other names like Oliver Wakeman, Billy Sherwood and Nick D'Virgilio as well as many others. His third proficiency is being a multi-instrumentalist who can handle the Big Four (gt, k, b, drs). Add some fabulous cover art and Presto! A star is born. I am sure he will become a stalwart addition to the prog community in the future.

The 7 tracks presented on his sophomore 2020 recording "Rise & Fall" all gleam with shimmering beauty, heartfelt impact, and technical prowess. Expertly constructed and delightfully scored, the lush style welds music and lyrics that leave a lasting impression, effortlessly gliding into the pleasure nodes, like aural anesthesia. This impression is indelibly stamped on the opening epic 10 minute+ "Leap of Faith", a symphonic/pastoral reverie that has all the sonic beauty one can hope for, an orchestrated adventure featuring Peter Jones' sacral voice, intensified by choral backdrops, adding some light rhythmic muscle, whilst weaving a compelling arrangement that covers all the bases with sumptuous detail. It definitely establishes a "religious" feel, as if playing in some ancient cathedral, where solemn resonance and mystic bliss coalesce.

The title track has Jean Pageau on vocals, in a more conventional neo-prog musical setting, neatly accessible in its simplicity and splendor, with Jon Camp's bellowing bass rumbling underneath. Oliver Day unleashes an echo-laden lap steel guitar foray as well as a more conventional electric solo. Mature and intelligent music. The Golden Thread introduces a duet between Joe Payne and Lauren Nolan, two deliriously suave voices, welded together in a classical setting with loads of strings and Oliver Wakeman's erudite piano. Forlorn atmosphere, grandiose in scope as if some movie soundtrack song, finalized by some cinematographic percussion and choir. The tender placidity is rudely bullied by the appropriately titled "Dark Arts", a somber musical reflection that has buzzing guitars, a deliciously vibrant Billy Sherwood bass ramble with NDV on drums pounding surely. Payne delivers a less spectral vocal, as the piece swirls from soft to hard settings, all slayed by a sizzling Zaid Crowe guitar intervention. A wonderful shift in mood and atmosphere.

"Heretic" is another extended piece that has manifold facets to discover. Joe Payne is in fine voice, ably aided by Sally Minnear, accompanied by Vikram Shankar's deft piano, in a romantically overpowering anthem, soaring together in perfect harmony. A tortuous guitar solo ensues with tough Fitzgerald bass underpinning and jungle percussion as a mid-section before returning to the graceful duet. Thoroughly enjoyable. "After the Storm" is another mood setter, Sally's redolent voice gliding solemnly over the glittering piano and a flashy guitar solo from Oliver Day, followed by a whistling synth line, and back to the pastoral eloquence. The final track is probably the highlight apex, a majestic stamp of genius that engulfs the listener in sheer delight, with an expressive platform of emotional singing by Joe, Jean, Lauren and Sally and instrumental interplay of the highest order. In the mid-section, the chorus soars to the heavens with weaving harmony vocals, intensely evocative. Michel St-Père lights in up with his usual brilliant technique with a swift but expressive blast. This climaxes into a paroxysm of feeling and overpowering lift, followed by gentle outro.

Already looking forward to his imminently to be released next one, where more of the same quality is expected and hopefully, take John Holden' s craft up there with the big boys.

4.5 Up and down buttons

Latest members reviews

3 stars Basically, a disappointment after 'Capture light'. I think that it shows that such an album relies on the tonality of the singers, and this is where it falls down, with too many 'muddy' tones pervading the middle of the album. As an extreme example, didn't Chris Squire choose Jon Anderson because ... (read more)

Report this review (#2436469) | Posted by sussexbowler | Monday, August 10, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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