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Landmarq Solitary Witness album cover
3.33 | 65 ratings | 9 reviews | 17% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1992

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Killing Fields (4:51)
2. Forever Young (8:51)
3. April First (4:53)
4. Foxing The Fox (4:24)
5. Terracotta Army (6:35)
6. Freefall (3:32)
7. Tippi Hedren (7:40)
8. After I Died Somewhere (3:32)
9. Suite - St. Helens (9:40) :
- a) Release
- b) Reprieve
- c) Rebirth
- d) Reprise
10. Borders (5:00)

Total Time: 60:18

Bonus track on 2002 reissue:
11. Suite - St. Helens (Alternate version) (5:26)

Line-up / Musicians

- Damian Wilson / vocals
- Uwe D'Rose / guitars
- Steve Leigh / keyboards
- Steve Gee / fretted & fretless basses
- David Wagstaffe / drums

- Ian Salmon / guitar (6)

Releases information

Artwork: Willebrord Elsing

CD SI Music ‎- SIMPLY FOURTEEN (1992, Netherlands)
CD Cyclops ‎- CYCL 116 (2002, UK) With a bonus track and new cover art

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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LANDMARQ Solitary Witness ratings distribution

(65 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(17%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (34%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

LANDMARQ Solitary Witness reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. LANDMARQ's first studio record was produced by Clive Nolan and Karl Groom. There are some excellent tunes on this record as well as some that are simply ok.

"Killing Fields" falls under the latter category, Damian Wilson's vocals are the main focus on this one, with a tasteful guitar solo 2 minutes in. "Forever Young" is a really good song. It's a feel good tune with light guitars and keys. The vocals stop as were treated to a long instrumental section. "April First" is another fantastic song that is an instrumental. The guitar melody really brings to mind CAMEL. "Foxing The Fox" features guitar and synth runs throughout with theatrical vocals.

"Terracotta Army" is slower paced with vocals and a heavy beat throughout reminding one of a marching army. "Free Fall" is another great instrumental featuring a cool guitar melody throughout. "Tippi Hedren" and "After I Died Somewhere" are ok songs. "Suite: St.Helens" is CAMEL sounding again with some great vocals that come into the song halfway through.This song is quite uplifting at times. "Borders" is a light , upbeat song.

Overall a good release that fans of Neo should love. This is worth checking out.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Since my experience with Landmarq newer album "The Vision Pit" that disappointed me even with some more spins, I gave up with the band after a friend of mine lent me this debut album. Wow! It's totally different experience as I found this album is much more inspiring and therefore much more attractive than the "Vision Pit" album. Through "Solitary Witness" Landmarq delivers what neo prog music should perform. Yes, the music is basically keyboard driven and it flows in natural way from on segment to another with relatively smooth transition pieces. The opening track "Killing Fields" (4:51) clearly demonstrates what good neo prog music should sound. It blends keyboard work and guitar in a nice way, using tight basslines. There are also heavy parts delivered by Landmarq through this track, using guitar as a main driver. It flows nicely to next track "Forever Young" (8:51) where the keyboard still serve as dominant factor in rhythm section with some interesting solo. The same vein is replicated nicely through the next track "April First" (4:53).

The fourth track sees the band in different style of music where the guitar is played thicker than the previous tracks. "Foxing The Fox" (6:35) contains keyboard as main rhythm section and the music flows in a style similar to Queen's "Innuendo" (song) especially in the way keyboard is played. But the role of guitar to accentuate the song is very noticeable. The next track "Terracota Army" (3:32) is another good one with good guitar work combined brilliantly with keyboard. "Freefall" is an excellent instrumental work. The most inspiring song is "Suite: St. Helens" (9:40) especially with its brilliant opening using piano touch combined with multi-layered keyboard work with the music that moves dynamically. What follows is a nice guitar solo backed with keyboard as rhythm section. The stunning guitar solo takes long duration augmented by tight basslines until it reaches break at approx minute 3:30 where the music turns to slow with piano and guitar fills. The vocal line enters in mellow style backed by bass guitar and soft piano touch. It's really a beautifully composed music. This is an excellent track, definitely!

Overall, this is an album with a solid composition and excellent performance. Fans of neo progressive rock will definitely love this album. Three and a half star. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW (i-Rock! Music Community)

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This is one of the biggest dissapointments I've ever faced in my prog experience.Having realized that LANDMARQ are considered one of the better neo-prog bands ever and maybe in the top-5 of the 90's neo prog bands,I just wanted desperetaly to check out some of their works.The first I tried was their debut ''Solitary witness'' from 1992.Being already familiar with THRESHOLD,it was easy for me what to expect exactly from Damien Wilson,at least a decent performance behind the microphone.But there are a lot of crimes going on here... Firstly the band tends very much in the commercial sound of neo that to the progressive one.Ok, accesibility is a good thing but not in such range.That fact alone adds a negative point to the band.In most of the songs the band tries to sound more proggy,unfortunately the melodies are forgettable or uninspired...Secondly it's the flat almost amateur sound of the instruments,especially of keyboards and piano or some wind instruments...Don't know exactly what's going on,but to my ears it's like this band has used the most cheap stuff in the market...Too flat noises...And last but not least I personally consider it a crime to have such a great vocalist in the band and not to exploit his vocal skills...The man try to sounds cheesy almost AOR-ish in a lot of songs due to their pop leanings and it's not a coincidence that the best tracks of the album are those,where he explodes his voice in dramatic performance like in ''Tippi Hedren'' (great track) and ''Terraccota army''.It's really a pitty to listen to such a bastardy of a voice.

Of course a couple of tracks can't save this effort and provent me from reccomending this album...For trully innovating inspired neo prog,try COLLAGE,MARILLION,ARRAKEEN,IQ or somewhere else...This is good only for collectors or starters in neo prog...After all these years listening to neo prog,this album doesn't grab me at all...2.5 stars.

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars One can find some very good stuff on this album.

The lead singer is quite performing, and Uwe D'Röse dispatches quite interesting guitar solo. Their overall music is influenced by "Marillion" (Mark I of course) and their more pop- prog sound ("Forever Young" or "Foxing The Fox"). The former is even completed with a very pleasant atmospheric and Floydean guitar break in the middle part which conveys to this song a certain style. One of the best song from this debut. Moving, really (like the short "After I Died Somewhere".

The music is not challenging but running smoothly through your ears; the melodic and more symphonic instrumental "April First" is a perfect example to highlight this. When "Terracotta Army" starts obviously with some Chinese partitions and evolves towards a heavy and slow paced piece of rock. It is very similar to "Kashmir". Even Damien Wilson has some Robert Plant intonations. I can feel the same while I listen to the closing number: it really sounds as a Led Zep acoustic tune. (during the first half mainly). Not bad actually.

There are also some "Arena" friends in here: Groom for the production (but he also brought Damien on board, which was a great idea), Clive Nolan for about half the lyrics and Ian Salmon for a brief apparition. Some fine contribution, shall I say.

There are lots of links to "Pendragon" 's music as well; especially the beautiful and melodic guitar play. Excellent really. But all these musicians are playing their role with enthusiasm and skills.

The short epic "Suite St. Helens" opens on a formidable instrumental part. Another highlight from this album which is from start to finish a well balanced ensemble. Moving and personal vocals, skilled and passionate guitar, a good combination between sung parts and instrumental ones. What else to say?

This work should please any neo-prog fan who leans towards some added symphonic touches. Seven out of ten (upgraded to four stars).

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
4 stars This album deserves much more than a solitary witness!

First released in the early 90's, this debut album by Landmarq is now rather hard to find (at least for a reasonable price). But let us hope that it will be reissued again so that those who have been fortunate to witness it will be less solitary. This is something of a hidden gem of modern progressive music.

With (some?) lyrics by the great Clive Nolan (who played keyboards for Pendragon and later founded the fantastic Arena) and production by Nolan together with Karl Groom (at the time working together with Nolan in Shadowland and later founded Prog Metal band Threshold), Solitary Witness is a strong set of songs with great sound and drama. While firmly rooted in the Neo-Prog family, Landmarq (judging from this album alone as this is so far the only one I have heard from them) has a sound of their own with strong elements also from classic Symphonic Prog. In particular I am often reminded of Camel and the solo work of Steve Hackett. Unlike many Neo-Prog albums this does not have the sound of the 80's, but also not a 90's or 70's sound. Of the "big" Neo-Prog bands, Landmarq perhaps comes closest to Arena and IQ, but not that close.

The vocals here are by Damian Wilson who has one of my favourite voices. Wilson has more recently worked with Rick Wakeman to great effect. Wilson would later follow Groom into Threshold and record two strong albums with them in Wounded Land and Extinct Instinct. With perhaps some minor similarities, the sound of Landmarq is, naturally, quite different from that of Threshold. There are some harder edged sounds here, but Solitary Witness is not at all heavy.

The other musicians involved here were previously unknown to me but they are surely very talented. The lead guitar in particular has a great sound and strongly evokes Andy Latimer and Steve Hackett with its clean and floating sound. Beautiful! The keyboards are often piano which gives this music a classic Symphonic sound. But there are also more modern keyboard sounds common in Neo-Progressive Rock. The bass guitar is often distinctive and not timid. The drums have a somewhat "artificial" sound that was common in late 80's/early 90's. But it does not diminish the overall very appealing instrumental attack.

The mood is often dark but also lighter, almost joyous moods are present on some songs. I like this balance. There is also a great balance between instrumental and vocal material, and between slower and more intense tempos. All in all it creates a varied and appealing set.

The songs are well written and the album opens with the very good Killing Fields. The first vocals on the album when Wilson whispers aggressively (sounds like a contradiction in terms but it is not) "someone - out there" it strongly evokes Arena (but remember this was released before Arena existed). This is one of my favourites here. Songs like Forever Young and the closer Borders are much less dark and more polite and perhaps more typical Neo- Prog songs that are more in line with the sound of Shadowland and Pendragon. Good, but not my favourites here even if Borders rounds off the album very well.

April First and Freefall are instrumentals that function as great interludes. These feature primarily classical piano and lead guitar. The first of these could easily have come from a Mike Oldfield album and the other has guitar work that strongly evokes Camel.

The weirdly titled Foxing The Fox and Tippi Hedren are more in line with Killing Fields again with some Arena-like drama. Terracotta Army has something of an Asian (the place not the band!) sound to it and is a great number propelled by a beat and some harder edged riffing. Again, the vocals are outstanding. The piano ballad After I Died Somewhere also reminds me a bit of Arena with its dramatic and moving vocal performance. Finally, the atmospheric, 10 minute Suite St. Helens is, in a way, a summary of the album and features, again, excellent lead guitar work.

Overall, this is a very good and well composed album that is varied and flows very well from beginning till end.

Highly recommended!

Review by Warthur
2 stars It's no surprise to me that this debut album by Landmarq was recorded with the aid of Clive Nolan and Karl Groom of Shadowland, because the two bands play in what sounds to me like a very similar style - chirpy, upbeat neo-prog which downplays the "prog" end of things and regularly traipses towards simply becoming melodic rock. Vocalist Damien Wilson clearly has a good voice on him but to my ears he never does anything interesting or unexpected with it, and the same is true of the band members and their instruments. On the whole, a competently done album, but a little cheesy and AOR-ish for my tastes.
Review by kev rowland
4 stars It has been a long time since I put this CD on the player, far too long, and it is like returning to an old and trusted friend. Landmarq were formed out of the ashes of Quasar by Steve Leigh and Uwe d'Rose (Steve had previously taken over the keyboards in Chemical Alice when Mark Kelly left to join some outfit called Marillion), along with ex-Quasar vocalist Bob Daisley. Bassist Steve Gee was next to join and after writing a host of material they called on Dave Wagstaffe to complete the line-up. Just as they were recording a demo for Dutch label S.I. Bob decided to leave, and replacement Rob Lewis-Jones didn't want to commit himself. The band now had a deal but no singer! Tracy Hitchings (also ex-Quasar!!) wanted to join the band but the label was loath to have her in a band so soon after releasing her solo album. Luckily Karl Groom (who was engineering the album) had the perfect solution in the vocalist he was working with on another project, Damian Wilson.

Damian is to my ears one of the finest male rock singers this country has produced, and when he joined, the band were ready to set the prog world alight. 'Solitary Witness' was an impressive debut, released in 1992. It combines strong keyboard-led prog with good guitars, intricate melodies, and soaring vocals. Opener "Killing Fields" powers away while "Foxing The Fox" always reminds me of a powerful rushing taken of "Blood On The Rooftops". Clive Nolan and Karl Groom produced the album at Thin Ice and Clive also helped out by providing the lyrics to some of the songs. Landmarq never forget that they are a rock band, and the crisp clean lines of their music cut through much of the over-dramatised music of the time. Even now it has a great deal to offer, and the fact that it has long been unavailable surely means that many will pick up this reissue, featuring as it does a different version of the album highlight "St Helens Suite". I can remember watching the band at The Standard where they were joined by Tracey and Clive, with Clive reading his own lyrics out of the booklet as he couldn't remember them!!

Originally appeared in Feedback #69, Aug 02

Latest members reviews

3 stars This is the debut album LANDMARK in the beginning seemed to be a very promissing band.Having the strong support from masterimind and multiinstrumentist CLIVE NOLAN- brilliand producer and musical instigator of excellent bands and current values as ARENA-his current priority band ,CAAMORA,STRA ... (read more)

Report this review (#260341) | Posted by Ovidiu | Monday, January 11, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I must admit that this is one of the best albums that I have ever listened to. The thing that convinced me to start listening to this band is Damien Wilson's voice and talent. I have heard his voice before on some of ARJEN LUCASSEN's songs. Actually, " ...And The Druids Turn to Stone" is one of ... (read more)

Report this review (#73539) | Posted by vastila | Thursday, March 30, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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