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WIDDERSHINS

Gandalf's Fist

Neo-Prog


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Gandalf's Fist Widdershins album cover
4.02 | 40 ratings | 3 reviews | 32% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2022

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Sacrament (7:04)
2. Widdershins (13:32)
3. The Haruspex (8:26)
4. Dreamcatcher (5:24)
5. Wisp (6:56)
6. Man of Signs (8:21)
7. Witchmonger (4:18)
8. Cave (19:45)

Total Time 73:46

Line-up / Musicians

- Dean Marsh / lead vocals, guitar, banjo, mandolin
- Luke Severn / lead vocals, keyboards, narration, percussion
- Stefan Hepe / drums
- Keri Farish / vocals
- Ben Bell / synths, vocals
- Chris Ewen / bass

Releases information

Label: Plane Groovy Records (Vinyl), Self (CD)
Format: Vinyl, CD, Digital
November 21, 2022

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
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GANDALF'S FIST Widdershins ratings distribution


4.02
(40 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(32%)
32%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(30%)
30%
Good, but non-essential (28%)
28%
Collectors/fans only (8%)
8%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

GANDALF'S FIST Widdershins reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars More 1970s worship from Cumbria's #1 Tolkien tribute band.

1. "Sacrament" (7:04) Heard it before. In 1972. By URIAH HEEP or BLUE ÍYSTER CULT, I'm not sure which. I think both. Or maybe Spinal Tap. Nice rendition. Nice gritty Hammond. A band who owes a lot to late 1970s THIN LIZZY and AC/DC. (12.25/15)

2. "Widdershins" (13:32) pretty solo piano opens this one. (Is it in D minor like "Lick My Love Pump"?) Singer Keri Farish gets the first shot at lead vocal. It's a sincere attempt at storytelling that she's emoting over. At the end of the third minute the full band kicks in, establishing a steady sonic landscape that sounds as if it came right out of a theatric stage production from the West End. Keri continues her sincere Yvonne Elliman performance. Little heavy musical interlude in the seventh minute before downstepping to a slow piano-led chord progression for the eighth in which guitarist Dean Marsh lays down a decent solo with some David Gilmour/John Sykes panache. Mid ninth minute we're up and running again. More fun Hammond soloing in the 13th minute before everything stops for 30 seconds of odd quiet time. I guess they were just giving time for the audience to offer some warm applause. (26/30)

3. "The Haruspex" (8:26) a heavier, spooky Hammond-dominated opening is paused for odd sprite-like synth noises before female 'tron choir banks enter and the real song is established for Keri Farish's heavily effected voice to sing. Very nice drumming, bass, and Hammond on this one. Guitar solo in the fifth and sixth minutes sounds just like Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser. The vocals sound like Ozzie coming out of the body of Loverboy's Mike Reno. A top three song for me. (17.75/20)

4. "Dreamcatcher" (5:24) piano and jazzy fretless bass support Keri singing another sentimental vocal. Her emotions feel pretty heart-felt. (Good performance.) Nice ballad with fitting Whitesnake-like guitar wailing away. (8.75/10)

5. "Wisp" (6:56) opens with some rolling soundscape like a CURE song. Then Uillean pipes enter. Engaging melody established by the male lead singer for the first verse. This is followed by "Don't Fear the Reaper" guitar arpeggi with pipes for a brief bridge before returning to a fuller instrumental field for the second verse. The next bridge then goes for djenty power chords to establish a heavier sound before finally divulging the chorus within a medium-to-heavy weave. I feel as if I'm listening to a new take on BÍC's "I Love the Night." At 4:56 there is a stop before aggressively strummed acoustic guitar launches us into a Irish reel for the finale (with a different male vocalist--Luke?--in almost Ian Anderson-like). Interesting song. Another top three. (13.25/15)

6. "Man of Signs" (8:21) introspective piano and strummed electrified acoustic guitar open this once before male vocalist (and haunting Greek chorus choir) join in with their interesting vocal performance. A shift into fourth gear in the sixth minute provides a bouncy gallop for Marsh and Severn to duel their guitar and Hammond, respectively. The persistent dominant presence of the piano and acoustic guitar certainly give this one a different feel from the others. Weird end with bass and cymbal. Interesting. (17.5/20)

7. "Witchmonger" (4:18) another Celtic-infused song--the vocal is even organized like a folk song--with the whispery lead vocal of Dean Marsh. Not really a very good song--unless you like Fish-Marillion. (8.25/10)

8. "Cave" (19:45) all of the great sounds of the early pioneers of heavy rock/"Heavy Metal" in the proggy setting of 1980s compositional styles. I find the guitarist dueling with himself eighth minute laughable. And "Would you stir up Widdershins?" definitely deserves multiple repetitions and tubular bells. Isn't the arrangement in the 13th minute straight out of some classic song from the 1970s? Haven't puppet themes been worn out? Then a switch to "mediŠval" mode for the 15th minute. Classic gothic storytelling! (Or else classic Spinal Tap.) And what's with the three-minute computer synth piano & strings piece tacked on to the end? Shouldn't this be listed as a separate song? (34/40)

Total Time 73:46

Well produced and, I'm sure, well-intended retro rock. Everything that was great about the 1970s pioneers of heavy rock is present here--including an outstanding, if familiar-sounding, lead vocalist.

B-/3.5 stars; a nice addition to the retro-prog/rock loving music collector's music collection.

Review by kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Reviewer
5 stars I missed out on the early Gandalf's Fist albums ? one day I will make the effort and get hold of them ? but when I came across 2016's 'The Clockwork Fable' I was just blown away, and there is no doubt it is one of the most impressive progressive albums released in the last decade ? a perfect blend of storytelling and wonderful music. Since then, I have kept an eye out for their releases, and am now listening to their latest, 2022's 'Widdershins'. They are firmly set as a six-piece with newest recruits, keyboard player Ben Bell and singer Keri Farish who joined for 2019's 'The Clockwork Prologue', both contributing to the writing, while the rest of the line-up is still multi-instrumentalist Dean Marsh, singer Luke Severn, bassist Chris Ewen and drummer Stefan Hepe.

The music is complex, bringing in elements from different areas, so one never knows where it is going to lead, but it is likely to be unexpected and always a lot of fun. Some prog seems almost lightweight and transparent, but this is deep and weighty, with a lead singer who provides plenty of drama as she lives the story she is singing. Ben is happy playing piano or synths, but he also has a great touch on Hammond, and it is when that is to the fore that they are at their most Uriah Heep, but there is also plenty of folk and 70's prog, while the layerings and arrangements are massively complicated. This really does feel like music from a bygone age as the care and time which has gone into it is substantial. This is not quick throwaway music, but something which has been crafted and nurtured, honed and polished until there is nothing else which can be done as it shines brightly in the darkness.

We have loads of dramatic contrast, multiple singers as both Dean and Luke also take lead roles at times which given the dexterity of Keri shows the depth they have at their command, so much so that Tim "Ripper" Owens is involved in opener "Sacrament" but only on additional vocals, not lead. As with the other albums of theirs I have heard, there is a great deal to take in, and one only gets the full beauty and depth of this on the fourth or fifth time of playing, after which it happily stays on the player as it is packed so full of drama and presence. Yet again Gandalf's Fist have produced an album which is absolutely essential for those who enjoy their prog to be meaty and bold, never settling in one direction or form, but going where the story leads, never holding back or being constrained in any way.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Review #117 Gandalf's Fist are not getting older; they are just getting better! I found out about Gandalf's Fist with the release of A Forest of Fey, and I have been following their releases ever since. I thought that they reached their highlight with the release of The Clockwork Fable, ... (read more)

Report this review (#2853523) | Posted by The Jester | Monday, November 21, 2022 | Review Permanlink

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