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Third Ear Band

Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

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Third Ear Band Necromancers Of The Drifting West album cover
2.74 | 8 ratings | 3 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1997

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Abelard And Heloise (36:55)

Total Time 36:55

Line-up / Musicians

- Glenn Sweeney / drums
- Paul Minns / oboe
- Richard Coff / violin & vila
- Ursula Smith / cello

Releases information

Labels : Sonic Book ‎? SONIC.005, Blueprint ‎? BP310CD, Voiceprint ‎? VP607CD

Soundtrack for German Television

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THIRD EAR BAND Necromancers Of The Drifting West ratings distribution

(8 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(29%)
Good, but non-essential (57%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (14%)

THIRD EAR BAND Necromancers Of The Drifting West reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars A never-released-before-this album, A&H is the soundtrack made for a German TV film Unlike the Materiali Sonori albums released a decade earlier, this is a very worthy original TEB release that honours the name, much more so than the second incarnation did, especially that the line-up is one that was not yet heard of in other works. Indeed, besides Sweeney and Coff, we find Paul Minns and Ursula Smith, who hadn't recorded together in the historical albums, with Mel Davis having already left the band and Dave Tomlin is not yet in the band; all of which gives a unique interest to this work. Released in 99 on the Blueprint label (a sublabel to Voiceprint) without much explanation (expected from VP) in a very sober but solemn artwork, this is a six-movement piece that totals 36-mins+, and musically, it hovers between Alchemy and Elements, while it has some sombre elements that their future Macbeth release will be famous for. Ranging from just over three minutes length (part 3 & 4) until 13-mins+ (part 1), the suite is obviously meant to be listened as a whole, even if the parts are somewhat disjointed, probably on the account that the music had to be edited to fit the TV movie's needs. The mood is quite medieval and early-classical, despite also bearing some slight raga influences, and if you liked their first two historic releases, this is a sure bet to hit the bull's-eye.

On the concept side of the film and music, this is about XIIth Century French philosopher and theologian Pierre Abélard and his wife Heloise Fulbert and their relationship ruined by the clergy. Soooo, A&H is a full-blown TEB album, like The Magus (released the following year) is ione as well, and it might've been their second album (therefore preceding Elements) had it seen the light of day. The album's release comes over two years after oboist Paul Minns' death, and it can be seen as a posthumous homage. If you can't find the minimal Blueprint release with the superb blue artwork, you can always turn onto the Hymn To The Sphynx 2001-released compilation, where it is stuck in the first side on a collection of second-era tracks, which, while interesting by themselves, don't do the A&H suite much favours. So if you're not really a second-era TEB fan, you might want to search this release (especially for the neat artwork), but if you like both eras, then the choice is obviously reversed.

Review by philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Third Ear band "eastern" & ethnic influences have gone in this little release entirely devoted to the dark age of medieval universe. The rhythmical arrangements are less omnipresent than previously, the basic structure is not really rock but the members success to operate an incredible creepy, atmospheric and acoustic atmosphere with chamber music instruments (with cello, oboe, violin parts...) Reissued recently this album prefigures the sound of Macbeth and the experimentations in pagan, occult medieval music. Not "Third Ear Band" best effort but an original side of their music after their outstanding progressive & "eastern" influenced album called "Alchemy"
Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Music for drastic interrogation

Recorded in Munich for German television this album was the soundtrack for a film of the tragic medieval love story between Abelard and Heloise. It consists of 36 minutes of oboe and strings with occasional percussion. While I generally enjoy setups like this I find much of this album to be amazingly grating and irritating. It starts out fairly well but by the halfway point it became apparent that Special Ops could use this material to get information from just about anyone. Repetitive or seemingly so, often abrasive, emotionless (to me) and just plain maddening, the album is one of the few employing the noted chamber instruments that I have been unable to enjoy. I would suggest this album is for the hardest core TEB/experimental music fans and caution others to proceed carefully. I do love the album cover though. 2/10

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