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Black Bonzo

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Black Bonzo Lady of the Light album cover
3.90 | 116 ratings | 11 reviews | 31% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2004

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Lady of the Light (7:03)
2. Brave Young Soldier (9:08)
3. These Are Days of Sorrow (6:42)
4. New Day / Intermission (4:13)
5. Fantasy World (6:45)
6. Freedom (3:20)
7. Sirens (4:53)
8. Jailbait (4:19)
9. Leave Your Burdens (4:03)
10. Where the River Meets the Sea (7:54)

Total Time 58:20

Line-up / Musicians

- Magnus Lindgren / vocals
- Joakim Karlsson / guitars
- Nicklas Ahlund / organ, piano, Mellotron, synthesizers
- Patrick Leandersson / bass
- Mike Israel / drums & percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Niklas Karbin-Hedqvist

CD B&B Records ‎- BCD005 (2004, Sweden)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy BLACK BONZO Lady of the Light Music

BLACK BONZO Lady of the Light ratings distribution

(116 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(31%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

BLACK BONZO Lady of the Light reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by erik neuteboom
4 stars Incredible, this is a Swedish five piece band from 2004 but it could have been an UK band from the very interesting Early British Progressive Rock Movement in the early Seventies! From the very first moment Black Bonzo takes you on a trip to the wonderful sound of the late Sixties and early Seventies with strong hints from early Uriah Heep (Hammond, vocal harmonies) but also echoes from The Moody Blues (Mellotron) and Argent ('heavy progressive' with Hammond organ and harder-edged guitar). The ten compositions sound warm, harmonic and varied featuring pleasant vocals and lots of majestic Mellotron waves and powerful Hammond organ runs along some fiery electric guitar. My final rating alternates between 3 and 4 stars but because of the Mellotron and Hammond organ I award Black Bonzo with a fully deserved 4 stars, WHAT A WONDERFUL AND WARM, VINTAGE KEYBOARD DRIVEN PROGROCK!!
Review by Heptade
4 stars This record is bleeping incredible. Of all the "retro-rock" bands I've heard, ie Darkness, Datsuns, Hellacopters, The Soundtrack of Our Lives, and the proggy ones like Wobbler and Anglagard, this is easily the most authentic sounding band, but one doesn't get a feeling of listening to recycled riffs or ideas while enjoying this record. It's almost like a time warp back to the era of glitzy capes and giant backdrops. The production is incredible, being a combination of crystal clear modern sounds with the feel of Seventies keyboards and drums (the snare sound is straight out of 1975). The comparisons are easy- this band is basically the new Uriah Heep, although traces of Queen, Deep Purple, Status Quo and even softer groups like BJH and the Moodies pop in and out, mainly in the very majestic mellotron sections. But Heep is no doubt the overriding influence. The opener, Lady of the Light, showcases the beat from Easy Livin', and is one of three rockers ("Freedom" and "Jailbait" being the other boogie fun tunes) buried amongst the ponderous, pompous mid-tempo prog pieces. Delicately plucked acoustic guitars, bluesy electric solos, classy, David Byron-esque lead vocals and extensive use of multi-part harmonies, and lots (and lots!) of organ solos are other distinguishing characteristics of this fine record. I don't think any fan of Seventies rock and roll can afford to be without this CD.
Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. BLACK BONZO are from Northern Sweden and play a seventies style brand of music.

Heavy on the hammond organ with harmonies give them a URIAH HEEP sound, there is no questioning that, especially on the first song "Lady of the Light". The singer is a very good vocalist, definitely one of the bands strengths. I love his voice on "Brave Young Soldier" and the mellotron is played on these first two songs as well.

I'm reminded a little of Nicklas from ANEKDOTEN when he sings on "These Are The Days Of Sorrow". It's actually a fun song, lots of organ. His vocals on "Freedom" really sound like Freddy Mercury. "Sirens" has an "In The Court Of The Crimson King" vibe, and is mellotron drenched. "Jailbait" has a DEEP PURPLE feel because of the organ. Nice guitar solo as well in this one.

If you want to take a trip back into the early seventies check out BLACK BONZO, these guys do it right and they do it extremely well.

Review by Kotro
4 stars Echoes of Prog Giants

ExittheLemming's review of this album has provided, in an amusingly sarcastic fashion, a clear indication of what is to be expected from Lady of the Light - classic prog revisionism. Yet unlike my fellow reviewer I don't think this is bad at all. Scandinavia has been an excellent breeding ground for the modern incarnation of progressive rock, and retro-prog is not, in any way, a lesser genre. What greater homage could these young men, born in the age of punk, metal and grunge, pay the prog giants of the past other than revamping their sound for modern audiences, while keeping the flame of days long gone? As far as I'm concerned, let the adoration begin!

An phantasmagorical keyboard intro, straight out of a 70's horror B-movie, opens the album's first track, Lady of the Light - it is soon hijacked by a Nice-ish Hammond solo accompanied by guitar, soon followed by a cavalcade of guitar, drums, and Mellotron very reminiscent of Uriah Heep's song Easy Livin'. Majestic vocals kick in, while the music proceeds in its lightning-fast pace. Great Hammond work (hello Mr. Emerson) and backing vocals. After the second repeat of the chorus the song skips to a quieter, spacey section dominated by the keyboards, with piano, Hammond and Mellotron in the spotlight, and softer, warmer vocals that give way into a melody that will certainly bring Echoes to your mind or, even better, ALW's Phantom of the Opera. Soon the initial faster-paced section reprises, proceeding into the drum solo that brings the song to a close. Brave Young Soldier follows immediately, again opened by an eerie keyboard atmosphere. A funky line slowly makes its way to centre stage. Vocals kick in, softly accompanied by some rich sounding Hammond in the background. A delicate acoustic guitar provides an interlude between these calmer first sections, which end in a great keyboard drenched section, which suddenly bursts into another faster-paced section where the guitar really shows off. Great drumming as well. This isn't just cold emulation, you can feel the emotion in the air. The quieter opening section returns to bring the song to an end. We get another Hammond opening a la Keith Emerson and the Nice with the next track, These Are Days of Sorrow. It's a more upbeat track than the previous two, with the whole band in good form, but again with a seemingly predominance of the keyboards over the guitar, used solely for rhythm purposes. Here we go: another keyboards solo, with just a few guitar licks accompanying it. An entertaining track, indeed, but that seems to just drag for a bit too log. New Day follows, opened by some great vocals and the omnipresent keyboard soundscape. It's another up-tempo track, featuring some more keyboard soloing and a great chorus to sing along to. Intermission is a small guitar driven instrumental collated to New Day that just serves as an interlude to the album. Although by no means bad, it does appear superfluous. Fantasy World follows, nicely opened by a guitar solo (I honestly don't see the Brian May comparison). It is indeed one of the most guitar driven songs on this album, but once more its function is more rhythmical - we still get some good riffs and some pleasant, if unimpressive soloing. Vocals are once more very good, especially in the emotional final chorus. If I didn't see the Brian May comparison in this track, you can really hear Freddie on the following one, Freedom, itself reminiscent of early Queen, with a simple classic rock structure, great piano and heavy guitar work (and a bit of that Phantom of the Opera melody in the riffs). There is no point in denying it - Sirens sounds like a track King Crimson could have used on one of their first two albums, instead of Epitaph or In the Wake of Poseidon. The clue here is the rich, heavy sound of the dominating Mellotron, and the languorous vocals. Still, the faster drumming gives it some more punch than those two KC classics. Some interesting acoustic guitar work and a good Hammond solo contribute to add some Black Bonzo flavour to it in order to disguise the dominance of the Crimson mood. Jailbait is an excellent hard-rock track that sees the band entering Deep Purple territory here - it's one of those fast paced rockin' tracks that serves so well as an encore to an exciting live performance, with its great line "Rock and Roll/Saved my soul!" (so true) that will have you jumping around and banging your head like a maniac. A church organ solo makes the transition from this upbeat, fast-paced track to the initially slower and more sad Leave Your Burdens - but that only last until the chorus, where the song acquires some emotional majesty with some great hard riffin', heavy keyboards and a martial beat. It features another of the rare guitar solos ending this grandiose chorus. The initial structure then repeats (to our great pleasure), this time followed by a keyboard solo accompanied by some great heavy riffs, that bring the song to a sudden end. Where the River Meets the Sea ensues, the only true ballad of the album, and one of its highlights. Beginning much too slowly and quietly, with some soft and warm vocals and keyboards, it soon gives way to an outstanding chorus, featuring a beautiful choir. A delicate piano solo marks its middle section before the magnificent reprise of the chorus. A Mellotron in heard in the background, accompanied by some delicate guitar licks, as the music fades slowly into a keyboard-created wall of sound giving way to Lady of the Light Revisited, a slow tempo piano and vocals reprise of the opener's chorus, that thus brings the album to its end.

Overall, a very good album that I believe most fans of 70's classic heavy prog rock will cherish deeply. Sometimes the songs may drag for a bit longer than they should, which ultimately makes this album a bit longer than ideal. I would also have liked to have heard a bit more from the guitar, but the keyboard work is simply impressive. Vocals and drumming are also top notch. One thing one should all bear in mind is that, regardless of the obvious inspiration and emulation of the sweet sound of the 70's, these are still all original compositions, and good ones too. To call this music plagiarism is a bit unfair - good works get plagiarized, great works inspire - and this was the case. If it is true that Black Bonzo may have had a bit to much to drink from the fountain of classic Prog, the fact is I don't see anything wrong about it. If this was made in the 70's it would be an outstanding record - 30 years later, I don't really see how it can cease to be so. Flawed but still extremely satisfying.

Review by CCVP
4 stars Lovely lady

Since the early 2000's, there have been a huge array of bands and artists that have provided an interesting revisiting of the classics in many genres of music and progressive rock is mo exception. The so-called retro-prog bands have, for quite some time, brought back the music from the lost decades of when progressive rock was at its peak and Black Bonzo is one of those bands.

Borrowing inspiration from the hard rock bands of both the traditional rock and the progressive rock scenes, Black Bonzo manages to, at the same time, make some kind of music that is familiar to many but is still fresh and intriguing. Through all of Lady of The Light you feel as if this music came straight from somewhere between 70 and 75, due to the combination of vintage instrumentation, the compositions themselves and the lyrics.

The carefulness of trying to sound as a classic progressive rock band, however the questionability of its quility or lack of thereof just by the way the band itself sounds, becomes a secondary issue as the music begin to play. The level of compositions surpass any issue I have with the Black Bonzo's decision of sounding old. The sheer quality of the progressive rock they present in the debut album should serve to quiet those who dislike this class of progressive rock.

Besides sounding as if the music is 40 years old, the lyrics also appear to be plucked from somewhere back there. The fantasy and epic lyrics are a perfect match for the band's music, playing a considerable part in their retro outfits.

Bonzo's style of progressive hard rock can be described as some kind of mixture between Byron-era Uriah Heep, Mark 2 Deep Purple, King Crimson around 1969 and 1970 and Rainbow. In fact, all those bands influenced Black Bonzo both in the intrumental section and in the vocal department, with the exception of Rainbow because Dio's vocals are simply impossible to mimic. Of all of those influences, Uriah Heep is the most proeminent of them all. Every song has some Heep touch and the vocals, specially, are similar to Byron's singing style.

Although the album a whole is very well balanced, round and most songs are very good, some stand out more than others. Those highlights of Lady Of The Light are the opening (and title) track, Brave Young Soldier, These are Days of Sorrow, Fantasy World, Leave Your Burdens and Where the River Meets the Sea. In the band, the highlights are, without a doubt, the keyboards, specially the organs and the mellotrons, which are placed perfectly in every song.

Grade and Final Thoughts

Black Bonzo's first release is one of many exaples of retro-prog done right. The music is familiar, but it is not the exact same thing as some other band or artist. If you like hard rock as it were back in the 1970's and progressive rock, look no further than this band.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars One of the real good bands of the new decade,Swedish prog/art/heavy rockers Black Bonzo come from the cold city of Skelleftea and were formed in 2003.Heavily influenced by the heavy rock acts of the 70's,they enter the studios to prepare and record their debut ''Lady of the Light'',which was ready just after a year.The albums was released on B&B Records,a label created exclusively for the distribution of Black Bonzo albums.

This has to be one of the best retro-sounding albums on market,everything in this album recalls the golden era of the 70's and you could even bet this album was made back then.Hints of legendary names like URIAH HEEP,DEEP PURPLE,ATOMIC ROOSTER but also KING CRIMSON and BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST are all over the place.Additionally this album contains it all.From complicated Art Rock/Prog with lots of changing moods to powerful heavy rockers with high enery and will please any fan of Progressive Rock music.Even singer Magnus Lindgren sounds a lot like David Byron of URIAH HEEP.The overall style is on the heavy side of prog with plenty of rhythmic parts,rich content and expressive vocals with also a touch of Symphonic Rock on the instrumental passages.The constant use of analog keyboards,mainly strong Hammond organ but also loads of mellotron,is absolutely magnificent and professional and this is one of the best keyboard performances to listen to today,without any kind of virtuosity or self-indulgence.Most of the tunes here are quite accesible,the listener can follow the album from the start to the very end easily and a full hour of extremely pleasant dynamic Prog Rock is in front of you.

A surprising debut by a band without big experience,''Lady of the light'' is propably among the best retro-sounding efforts of the modern Progressive Rock scene,it comes highly recommended by my side,but do not expect something really original.Just powerful Heavy Prog music of the highest quality.

Latest members reviews

2 stars This mongrel will fetch some stick 'Lady of the Light' - This is a superb opener and displays what a fine grasp these young Swedes have of the recording techniques and equipment that were employed in the creation of all your fave Prog masterpieces of yesteryear. It does have a refreshing 'moder ... (read more)

Report this review (#169625) | Posted by ExittheLemming | Saturday, May 3, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I like this record very much. It reminds me at the old days with fantastic hammond organ Progrock Music. I think about such bands as URIAH HEEP, PROCOL HARUM, DEEP PURPLE or YES in the end of the sixties or the beginning of the seventies. And there is more than 66 % URIAH HEEP Music (from the ... (read more)

Report this review (#68867) | Posted by wolfram.e | Thursday, February 9, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Hi Progers! Please pay attention to this underrated gem! The overal sound has many Uriah Heep resemblances but with more sophistication, brilliant musicianship by all members, specially the keyboard player. He uses vintage keyboards including the Mellotron and delivers at least 2 ripping organ ... (read more)

Report this review (#59704) | Posted by elpprogster | Thursday, December 8, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Just exellent work. A sound I havn't heard in a long time. Vintage sounds and equally brilliant compositions on this album beggar belief that Lady Of The Light is actually a 2004 album and not a 1972 release. ... (read more)

Report this review (#46113) | Posted by | Friday, September 9, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars One cannot speak here about a group which makes an original music but of a group which makes very very good music; a music which comes us the Seventies and like output from a machine to go up time. Certainly a defect for some. But me I find this disc a very excellent successor of the large albums ... (read more)

Report this review (#37141) | Posted by | Tuesday, June 21, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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