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EARTH AND FIRE

Symphonic Prog • Netherlands


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Earth and Fire biography
This top notch Dutch band from The Hague had their pinnacle during the early Seventies when they delivered some outstanding 24 carat symphonic rock albums. EARTH & FIRE was founded by the twin brothers Chris (guitar) and Gerard (keyboards) Koerts in '68. Soon bass player Hans Ziech, drummer Kees Kalis and singer Lisette joined them. Unfortunately Lisette had to give up singing because of a serious eye-disease and Kees Kalis left. They were replaced by Ton v/d Kley and the beautiful, very sexy Jerney Kaagman. She was a discovery by GOLDEN EARRING singer Barry Hay, they knew each other from the blossoming rock scene in The Hague.

When EARTH & FIRE had a hugh success with three Sixties poprock oriented singles "Seasons", "Ruby is the one" and "Wild and exciting" (in '70 all reached the Dutch Top 5), the band decided to become professionals. Gerard Koerts bought a Mellotron, this instrument changed the Dutch progrock history because EARTH & FIRE used it for a more lush symphonic keyboard sound. Eventually they developed a very unique progrock style (a bit similar to the French progrock band SANDROSE and UK band JULIAN'S TREATMENT featuring lots of organ, Mellotron, strong and sensitive electric guitar and distinctive vocals from Jerney Kaagman. And EARTH & FIRE remained successful with their single releases, the Mellotron drenched "Storm and Thunder" ('72, #6), "Memories" ('72, #1), "Maybe Tomorrow, Maybe Tonight" ('73, #3) and "Love of Life" ('74, #2) all reached the Dutch Top 10. Also the albums in that era sold very well and gained worldwide recognition: "Songs of the Marching Children" ('71, reaching #12), "Atlantis" ('73, reaching #6) and "To the World of the Future" ('75, reaching #7) are considered as 'progrock classics', especially in Japan EARTH & FIRE is even more popular than FOCUS! Gradually their sound turned into more poppy, culminating into the success of the very commercial song Weekend, reaching #1 and remaining 13 weeks in the charts! Also the following albums "Gate to Infinity" ('77), Reality Fills Fantasy" ('79, reaching #2)), "Andromeda Girl" ('81, reaching #12)) and "In a State of Flux" "82) lost most of the symhonic ingredients.

The albums "Song of the Marching Children" and "Atlantis" belong to the best of the Dutch progrock history. The epic title tracks from both albums (between 16 and 19 minutes) are recommended: the sound is very warm and melodic with lots of changing atmospheres, accelerations and surprising breaks. The one moment you hear a mellow organ, twanging acoustic guitars and a fairy-like voice from Jerney, the other moment there are bombastic eruptions with majestic Mellotron, heavy floods of organ and some fiery electric guitar work, topped by the powerful voice of Jerney. By the way, she has been married for almost 30 years with Bert Ruiter, former bass player from FOCUS...!

: : : Erik Neuteboom, The NETHERLANDS : : :
Fan & official Prog Archives collaborator

Earth and Fire official website

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EARTH AND FIRE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

EARTH AND FIRE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.35 | 48 ratings
Earth and Fire
1970
4.05 | 123 ratings
Song of the Marching Children
1971
3.35 | 69 ratings
Atlantis
1973
3.62 | 50 ratings
To the World of the Future
1975
2.58 | 28 ratings
Gate to Infinity
1977
2.12 | 20 ratings
Reality Fills Fantasy
1980
2.09 | 18 ratings
Andromeda Girl
1981
2.13 | 12 ratings
In a State of Flux
1982
2.89 | 7 ratings
Phoenix
1989

EARTH AND FIRE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

EARTH AND FIRE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.53 | 5 ratings
Greatest Hits - Clips, Interviews And TV-Specials
2004

EARTH AND FIRE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 5 ratings
Superstarshine Vol. 2
1975
3.00 | 3 ratings
The Best of Earth and Fire
1975
3.51 | 3 ratings
The Story of Earth and Fire
1976
3.08 | 3 ratings
The Best of Earth and Fire
1979
3.00 | 2 ratings
Greatest Hits
1980
3.93 | 12 ratings
Song of the Marching Children / Atlantis
1987
2.00 | 2 ratings
The Very Best Of
1991
2.25 | 3 ratings
The Singles
1995
3.06 | 6 ratings
3 Originals
1998
3.15 | 4 ratings
The Universal Masters Collection
2002
3.52 | 3 ratings
The Ultimate Collection
2003

EARTH AND FIRE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 2 ratings
Ruby Is the One
1970
4.08 | 3 ratings
Memories
1972

EARTH AND FIRE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Song of the Marching Children by EARTH AND FIRE album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.05 | 123 ratings

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Song of the Marching Children
Earth and Fire Symphonic Prog

Review by progpig66 (arnold)

5 stars A masterpiece of early Dutch symphonic rock. The beautiful voice of Jerney Kaagman, added to the fantastic mellotron-sound of Gerard Koerts and the beautiful fat Gibson Les Paul sound of Chris Koerts'guitar, determined the great sound of Earth & Fire. They delivered some fantastic symphonic rock music, before drifting off to a cheaper sound in the late seventies.

Song Of The Marching Children is their number one masterpiece, which is filled with a brooding gothic atmosphere. Apart from the first two songs and the instrumental "In The Mountains"(can't have been in Holland), all songs carry the same dark atmosphere. "Storm & Thunder" (a true symphonic rock single, that topped the charts!!) is one of the many highlights. I have the Esoteric Record version and that has the original single version as one of the bonus tracks. This edition also provides the best mastering.

Title suite "Song Of The Marching Children" is an oasis of mellotron sounds, that will also appeal to those who loved "In The Court Of The Crimson King". A sombre and depressing march ends this true symphonic epic.

A must in the collection for all those into early mellotron dominated symphonic rock ! As you will see at the end of the rating line, this album was (again) not appreciated by the proggophobic clan of daemacho, waeguk, purplefloydfish, marfish and other sad persons, who all at the same time decided to reward this album with their two star ratings. Again, we wonder: why?????

progpig66.

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 Song of the Marching Children by EARTH AND FIRE album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.05 | 123 ratings

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Song of the Marching Children
Earth and Fire Symphonic Prog

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Specialist

5 stars Not what I expected.........It's much better

Despite the years I've been listening Symphonic Prog, never played special attention to EARTH & FIRE, mainly because the reviews I read spoke about a strong KING CRIMSON influence, and to be honest that's not my cup of tea. But about a year bought several old albums for a very good price, among which I found Song of the Marching Children, which I recorded in my cellular and didn't listened.

Last month I was in a plane and while playing with the phone, found this album and played it...What a great surprise, the sound was simply delightful from start to end, the delicate fusion between Psychedelia and Classic Symphonic caught me from the start. Of course the organ sections by Gerard Koerts impressed me, but the highlight of the album lies in the composition and the delicate voice of Jerney Kaagman.

To be honest I couldn't find any KING CRIMSON reference (thanks God for that), but a slightly JEFFERSON AIRPLANE with Baroque fugues and that acid Hammond so reminiscent of the mid 60's, just a perfect combination of the best of two decades.

The whole album is impressive, but if I have to select my favorites, will start with the magnificent Carnival of the Animals, a song that represents perfectly the essence of the band, being that the music is oriented towards Symphonic while Gerard Koerts with his Hammond and Kaagman take us back to 1965 with such delicacy that I couldn't find any collision of genres.

Also have to mention Ebbtide and that haunting Hammond intro that reminds the listener of Bach. But about the mark of 2:29, Kaagman takes the lead and transports us again to the 60's in Carnaby Street? Baroque and Psyche perfectly blended.

Of course, no review of this album would be complete without mentioning the 18:20 minutes Song for the Marching Children, a brilliant suite that has everything a Prog listener wants to listen, but also the moment in which Jerney Kaagman discovers she's not only a Psych singer with hints of Grace Slick and Mama Cass, but also a fantastic Symphonic vocalist with one of the most solid voices I ever heard.

The rating is easy, 5 solid stars for an almost perfect album.

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 Song of the Marching Children by EARTH AND FIRE album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.05 | 123 ratings

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Song of the Marching Children
Earth and Fire Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Earth and Fire's Song of the Marching Children finds the Netherlands outfit playing in a style reminiscent of the first three King Crimson albums. In particular, the title track's suitably march- like rhythms can't help but remind me of the "Mars, Bringer of War" references on In the Wake of Poseidon, and indeed the album has the same combination of lofty symphonic goals and psychedelic counter-culture hippyism that seems to characterise Wake of Poseidon and Lizard. Whereas Crimson only occasionally tipped their hat to the psychedelic in this phase though (see songs like the whimsical Happy Family on Lizard), Earth and Fire seem much more comfortable with it, creating a mashup of Crimsonian majesty and hippy-trippy playfulness which sets them apart from their influences.

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 Atlantis by EARTH AND FIRE album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.35 | 69 ratings

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Atlantis
Earth and Fire Symphonic Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

3 stars Although still a fine quality album, the third Earth and Fire album `Atlantis' is a little bit unmemorable and slightly dull compared to the stunning two albums that preceded it. The Pink Floyd and Jefferson Airplane influences have had a pinch of the dark majesty of King Crimson thrown on top, and although the album has a gorgeous production, typical talented playing and the usual fine singing from the stunning Jerney Kaagman, it all comes across as a little tired, as if some of the life has been sucked out of the band. Whereas `Song of the Marching Children' showed a huge progression and newfound maturity from the debut album, `Atlantis' seems like `more of the same that worked last time', even if it is still pleasantly listenable.

This time beginning with a side long piece, `Atlantis' is full of imperial sounding guitar and constantly reprised Mellotron themes, jazzy and upbeat sunshine folk, Genesis-like reflective flute and skipping organ, hazy ragged psychedelic pop and grand orchestral arrangements. Lovely Jerney sounds so confident and varied on this! But although certainly ambitious, the piece sounds like a bunch of fragments joined together with no real cohesion or purpose. All those fragments individually sound fine, but it's more like an unsuccessful attempt to recreate what they did so well on the long title track from the previous album. It also has a total dud ending, with no big work up to a suitably powerful climax that the piece really needed.

Despite lovely thick organ, funky wah-wah guitar and a stomping drumbeat, I don't have much love for `Maybe Tomorrow, Maybe Tonight'. I find the chorus extremely cheesy, so it's lucky there's some nice instrumental moments in the brief Brian May/Queen inspired guitar solo in the middle and a little Mellotron in the finale. Not my favourite of their poppier pieces, and I usually really dig those.

Better is `Interlude', a loving restrained and tasteful Mellotron breeze with gentle Pink Floyd-like guitar touches. Truly wonderful! `Fanfare' fades in from this piece with slightly threatening Rick Wright styled organ and downbeat bass, a ghostly and serious vocal from Jerney calling from the background. Slow and heavy commanding guitar riffs punch through the dreamy and sinister Mellotron fuelled atmosphere. There's mucky circus trumpets and snapping percussion similar to King Crimson's `Lizard' on this one too!

The Koerts brothers provide us with another terrific (but far too short!) instrumental in the brooding and dramatic `Theme From Atlantis', full of regal churning heavy guitar melodies. The album wraps on the pretty `Love, Please Close The Door' which alternates between Crimson `Cadence and Cascade'-like dreamy ballad and quirky upbeat diversions. It kind of awkwardly hangs together, but the placid classical acoustic guitar and affectionate vocal from Jerney disguise what is a rather messy and strung-together piece.

My LP copy is actually called `Maybe Tomorrow, Maybe Tonight' and confusingly swaps the first and second sides! The fact that this version is named after the catchy single from the album suggests the record company was really pushing the album based on the hopeful success of that piece! I wonder if it worked?

Although not as good as the previous two albums or the next one `To The World Of The Future', `Atlantis' is still a solid progressive album by a wonderful band. By all means add this one to your collection after those other three, and you'll still have a good quality work that compliments them well, even if it lacks a little of the true Earth and Fire magic.

Three stars nonetheless!

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 Song of the Marching Children by EARTH AND FIRE album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.05 | 123 ratings

BUY
Song of the Marching Children
Earth and Fire Symphonic Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Metamorphosing into a confident and symphonic progressive rock band, `Song of the Marching Children' sees Dutch band Earth and Fire moving on from the punchy pop/rock of their debut album for something more grand and sophisticated. Lead singer Jerney Kaagman stepped up from being the tough sexy seductress to transform into a gothic chanteuse displaying endless variety and maturity, while the Koerts brothers added layers of thoughtful arrangements and emotional depth. With several shorter songs and one side long piece, this album is usually considered the band's greatest musical statement, and it probably remains their most popular album.

`Carnival of Animals' sounds the closest to the previous album, with that same thick organ and a prancing 60's melody. Jerney plays the fairytale princess here, with circus-like melodies and nonsense `Alice In Wonderland' style lyrics reminding again of the Jefferson Airplane comparisons from that wonderful debut.

`Ebb Tide' also recalls the debut album, a soft and atmospheric slow pop/rocker with breezy flute, gentle organ and hazy guitar effects. Like much of this album, there's some oddly unnerving and bleak lyrics. But just listen to how Jerney's voice seems to be right behind the speakers, purring directly into your ear. We can dream, right?

"The blackbird sings her song at dawn...". Brrr...The richly gothic `Storm and Thunder' shows that above mentioned style shift to great and commanding effect. A somber and serious ballad with lush orchestration, Jerney is a dark mistress with haunting vocals (especially powerful on the chorus sections) recalling vivid words of surreal isolation. It's a stirring and grim work of sinister desolation, fuelled by doomy Mellotron, and I'd like to think this track influenced other somber female fronted modern acts like Paatos and Portishead, with the cinematic styled strings heightening the drama and tension in a similar style to much of those artists' work.

Instrumental `In The Mountain' reminds of fellow Dutch proggers Focus, with tasteful virtuoso organ displays and a dreamy floating melody. The guitar work sounds a lot like Andy Latimar with that lovely fluid guitar style he uses in Camel, and strangely, little parts of this track remind me of the psychedelic Beatles track `Flying' and the gentle washing Beach Boys instrumental `Cool, Cool Water'!

The side long epic title track is full of somber symphonic passages and a hazy psychedelic air. A delicate moody introduction, before booming Mellotron strings and oppressive organs blast the listener. There's plenty of pitch-black lyrics, with Jerney's urgent and threatening vocals pleading. Listen to how confident and commanding her voice has become! Marching percussion, bubbling spacey synths, murmuring bass, reflective acoustic segments and a grandiose and dramatic finale - this track really has it all!

Check out one of the CD reissues with the bonus track `Lost Forever' - ever wondered what Black Sabbath might have sounded like with a ballsy and sultry female singer? Look no further! It's got sludgy chugging dirty guitar and classical metal riffs, and sounds like nothing else on the main album. Extra track `Invitation' is a 60's leftover rocker that switches between slightly moody and downbeat verses with a playfully upbeat and sexy chorus.

Like an unholy alliance of King Crimson and Jefferson Airplane, `Song of The Marching Children' is an exciting and intelligent work by a talented band with a hugely charming lead vocalist. The experimentation and symphonic leanings would progress even further on their next two albums, and it remains a hugely important and well-renowned Dutch progressive album. I still hold more love for their energetic debut, which is a very special album to me, but this is anything but a dud follow up! It's a near faultless album, and Mellotron freaks or fans of female-fronted prog bands need look no further!

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 Earth and Fire by EARTH AND FIRE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.35 | 48 ratings

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Earth and Fire
Earth and Fire Symphonic Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

5 stars One of my favourite debut albums, the self titled `Earth and Fire' LP is a riff-heavy, guitar and organ dominated pop rocker with powerful male/female vocals. While the band would later become a more sophisticated and symphonic progressive rock band, at this point they were more of a psychedelic acid-rock unit, like a crunchier version of Jefferson Airplane, with brief Pink Floyd-like hazy atmospheres. Every track has a punchy and energetic sound, female lead singer Jerney Kaagman is a commanding, tough (while still remaining very feminine and sexy) and hugely charming focal point of the group. There's so many catchy riffs and psych touches scattered amongst the tracks, all full of memorable melodies and rough charm.

From the opening seconds of `Wild and Exciting', hard rocking riffs and Jerney's confident vocals punch you straight in the face! A melodic opener that grabs your attention right away with it's power, a catchy and addictive rocker full of wailing guitar solos!

The upbeat `Twilight Dreamer' is hazy and psychedelic, with a stoned acoustic guitar and male/female diversion in the 'There comes Lydia...!' moments! Lovely shimmering organ, and I especially smile in the quiet cymbal and flute breaks.

Cheeky `Ruby Is The One' is a kind of super-sexy lesbian anthem - or at least that's my interpretation of it! A kick-ass adrenaline charged pop-rocker with a killer chorus and a sleazy strut, no surprise it was picked as a single from the album, backed with an equally naughty B-Side `Mechanical Lover'!

`You Know The Way' is all over the place! Beginning with eerie chanted male vocals, the song soon drifts into a dreamy and reflective acoustic ballad with a superb lead vocal from Jerney. Her words are sadly romantic, but with just a hint of slightly more upbeat moments when electric guitar and organ drops in.

The riff heavy `Vivid Shady Land' is one of my personal favourites, with aggressive groovy guitar and forceful male vocals. The middle section is very influenced by late 60's/early 70's Pink Floyd with mournful organ and spacey guitar effects creating a very floating and ambient break. I love the awkward English translated lyrics like `Leaves all smashed on the river side, the trees are burning and they're crying bright', and the upbeat `making love with our minds' chorus bit! It's all full of very uplifting energy.

Both `21st Century Show' and `Seasons' feature Jefferson Airplane/Peanut Butter Conspiracy duel male/female vocals. The frantic guitar driven `Show' has maddening organ, pumping bass and rapid-fire drumming before a jazzy acoustic detour in the middle with beautifully atmospheric flute.

`Seasons' heavy acid pop sound has grumbling bass with a very moving solo spot about three minutes in where it's just Jerney, flute and acoustic guitar together. Her lovely wistful vocal carries the song through to a thoughtful conclusion.

The dirty sexy strutting 7 minute `Love Quivers' has more chunky riffs, machine-gun drumming, playful group vocal chorus outbursts and two mind-blowing spacey organ outbursts that will knock you down - think those early albums by Eloy, Jane and Grobschnitt for similar organ attacks! The whole band gets lots of loose jamming standout moments on this one, and it's probably the piece that most hints at the symphonic progressive direction the band would next head in.

The album ends on a lovely acoustic acid folk ballad `What's Your Name' with fragile male vocals and gentle flute. Positive vibes all around this one.

Although I'm reviewing the LP version, many of the CD reissues have lots of terrific bonus tracks (for once!) that highlight their shift from psych/acid/rock to a more progressive style. `Hazy Paradise', `Mechanical Lover', and the Mellotron fuelled `Memories' are especially impressive, and they compliment the debut album perfectly. In my opinion, the bonus material is strong enough to stand as an album all it's own. So as much as I'm a vinyl junkie, definitely look into one of the CD releases.

Fans only familiar with the later albums from Earth and Fire should not be dismissive or put off by the different sound present on this one. The album is full of terrific playing, exciting arrangements, hugely charming vocals and boundless energy. Every track heads in different directions, there's a real toughness and sense of fun to the performances, and fans of 60's acid rock and psych will finds lots to relish here. To my ears it's an essential album that truly showcases a band with so much promise and potential, and it's one of the first albums I think of recommending to new listeners. Along with Curved Air's `Air Cut' album, `Earth and Fire' is one of my favourite female fronted prog-related albums, and I love spreading the word about this high quality debut, a total classic in my opinion!

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 Reality Fills Fantasy  by EARTH AND FIRE album cover Studio Album, 1980
2.12 | 20 ratings

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Reality Fills Fantasy
Earth and Fire Symphonic Prog

Review by HolyMoly
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl and Canterbury Teams

2 stars Earth and Fire's sixth album was a pretty big departure for them. After enjoying pretty good sales of their first few albums, the band struggled for a couple of years, apparently hitting a commercial low point with Gate to Infinity (an album I happen to love). Disco and Europop had already started to infiltrate the band's sound, but with this 1979 album they went headfirst into commercially-minded pop music. If the very thought of that turns you off, chances are you won't be very sympathetic to this album. But put it side by side with, say, Boz Scaggs' "Silk Degrees", and you'll see it holds its own pretty well in that arena.

And this approach worked for the band. They earned the biggest hit of their career in "Weekend", a track that's admittedly hard to stomach -- very light, fluffy faux-reggae with some of the sappiest lyrics you will ever hear -- but after a couple of years I'm willing to accept it as an occasional guilty pleasure. It's not that typical of the album, either. Sure, every song is silky smooth, slick LA-styled studio pop, complete with disco beats and saxophones. But Earth and Fire never really lost their gift for a good melody and a good chorus, and there is still evidence of that on this album. "Can't Live Without it Anymore" and "Season of the Falling Leaves" are sweet and melancholy, music that takes me back to the summers of my youth. The opening track "People Come, People Go" shows some remaining prog rock inclinations, stretching out to 11 minutes through an elongated intro that slowly builds into the song, and the rest of the song at least tries to build some dramatic tension - though I'd be hard pressed to honestly call this a "prog song" overall. But at least it acknowledges their proggier past.

Overall, not one of their best albums, even from my drooling fan-boy point of view, but it's decent pop music. It doesn't sound the least bit like their early 70s work, so tread carefully if you're coming from that angle. But it's an enjoyable low-calorie listen, with the possible exception of "Weekend". I'm giving it 2 stars, mainly to distinguish it from my 3-star rating of their next album Andromeda Girl, which I enjoy more.

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 Song of the Marching Children by EARTH AND FIRE album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.05 | 123 ratings

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Song of the Marching Children
Earth and Fire Symphonic Prog

Review by HolyMoly
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl and Canterbury Teams

5 stars 4 Stars for the Album, 5 Stars with the Bonus Tracks!

Earth and Fire's second album is their most celebrated by prog fans, and with good reason. The band discovered the Mellotron in a big way prior to this album, and Gerard Koerts uses it to very nice effect in addition to his well-established organ work. Jerney Kaagman has fully matured as a vocalist, and assumes a gothic, icy persona here that is very seductive. They've backed away somewhat from the heavy guitar focus of the debut album, and the rhythm section moves effortlessly into a more symphonic mode as opposed to the blues rock mode of the debut. And yes, there is a Side-Long Epic on side two!

About the title track - It's good, but I personally don't find it to be the knockout punch that it could have been. Definitely a 4-star song, it just doesn't cohere as well as it could, and doesn't leave me breathless by the end (translation: I hold side-long tracks to a higher standard, since they take up a high percentage of the album's running time) .

The shorter songs on side one, on the other hand, are uniformly successful, thoroughly enjoyable and well crafted. "Carnival of the Animals" is a lovably playful ditty, with a skipping beat and some comical oscillator sounds providing links to the sections. Kaagman sings what sound like two different "characters" in the song, one deep and grave, the other high and coquettish. At just over 2 minutes, it's a wonderful little thing. "Ebb Tide" has prominent flute, and shuffles along at a leisurely pace, reminding me a little of Jethro Tull's song "Inside" (which rhymes with "Ebb Tide"... hey! conspiracy time!). And then there's the Gothic single "Storm and Thunder"... ohhh this song is wonderful, probably the album's standout track. Phantom of the Opera-style cathedral organs, a sad, slow melody intoned perfectly by Kaagman, followed by the devastating, loud chorus that repeats until the song fades, carried by thick coats of keyboard majesty and Kaagman's soaring vocal. If you think Annie Haslam is the bee's knees, you should hear Kaagman's performance on this song. The side ends with a short instrumental called "In the Mountains", which reminds me a lot of Focus (e.g. "Focus II").

But we're not done yet. Earth and Fire excelled throughout the seventies at writing strong, catchy singles, and the latest CD reissue includes a couple of these. First, there's "Invitation", and its B-side, a re-recorded and concentrated version of the album's title suite. This single stands as one of my absolute favorite moments by the band -- "Invitation" is absolutely beautiful and powerful, with a chorus that throws in a "trick chord" that just floors me (an E7 with a G# bass actually, but it's HOW they place it that's so great). This was a band that knew how to write a damn good chorus, as they proved again and again. One of my favorite songs of all time, period. The 4.5 minute single version of "Song of the Marching Children" is, in my opinion, even better than the 18 minute version - like they added some extra "oomph" in their playing. Then there's the single edit of "Storm and Thunder", which merely cuts off the long intro from the album version, but doesn't diminish its power. Its B-side, "Lost Forever", is an uncharacteristically simple guitar-riff-based song, more befitting the debut album, but it's still pretty good for a b-side. "Memories" follows, which I understand was one of the band's biggest hits in the Netherlands, and it's not hard to see why. If you ever wondered what an early Motown single would have sounded like with a Mellotron as the lead instrument, look no further than this song. Bizarre, but undeniably catchy. Lastly, its B-side, "From the End Til the Beginning", a spooky gothic Mellotron song that sounds similar to "Song of the Marching Children", but lacks just a little bit of glue to hold it together better. Still, individual passages are really nice, and could have made it a monster song if they'd worked a little more at it.

Though many believe this is the band's "One Shot at Brilliance Before Going Down the Toilet", this album is just another of several great albums by this fantastic Dutch band. This is the first one to get if you love the Mellotron (and who doesn't?), and it is deservedly considered a symphonic prog classic. But don't miss those bonus tracks!

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 Phoenix by EARTH AND FIRE album cover Studio Album, 1989
2.89 | 7 ratings

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Phoenix
Earth and Fire Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Earth And Fireīs "return" in 1989 was in fact little more than a continuation of singer Jerney Kaagmanīs solo career since she is the only original member featured here (no sign of the the Koerts twins) and the songwriting team of Ton Scherpenzeel and Irene Linders is the same as it was her second solo album Run. Having said that, I must admit that the overall quality of the record is far superior than Earth And Fireīs last three CDs. At least this time the music they recorded here is excellent pop rock stuff that have stood much better the test of time (sole exception is Incognito, a terrible pastiche of 80īs cliches, but it is only one out of 12, so it is forgiven).

Her husband Bert Ruiter (yes, the same one who played bass on Focus during their heydays in the 70īs) plays here, but clearly the musical director of the entire disc is ex Kayak and once Camel keyboardist Ton Scherpenzeel. His synths are featured on all tracks, although guitarrist Age Kat does some nice work here and there too. Kaagmanīs voice is on top form here proving once and for all that she is one of rockīs most underrated singers. While it is obvious that some tracks are better than others, they are all of high quality (with the exception of the aforementioned Incognito). I donīt know if this album was a hit, but it should. For it contains at least two sure top ten hits in the form of the opener Good Enough (very much in the vein of Phil Collins early stuff) and the beautiful ballad Keep On Missing You. The different Streets Of Shame and the uplifiting Winds Of Change are also highlights. Productioon is excellent too.

Paraphrasing my good friend and PA colleague KennethLevine, I can say that while this phoenix may not be exactly the progressive rock bird we have expected, what arose from the ashes of the group is still a very nice creature, with much more personality and quality than its forrmer old self from the early 80īs.

Rating: excellent pop rock album. A nice surprise after so much disapointment. For PA, 3 stars.

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 In a State of Flux  by EARTH AND FIRE album cover Studio Album, 1982
2.13 | 12 ratings

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In a State of Flux
Earth and Fire Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Thereīs not much to say about Earth And Fireīs last album. Of the original members, only singer Jerney Kaagman and guitarrist Gerard Koerts remained (his brother Chris had quit after the previous one, Andormeda Girl). This time the band (or duo) seemed to be a little more in tune with the times, releasing a pop rock album full of 80īs synth sounds. However, the record was not a great success and they broke up soon after this CD was released. This comes as no surprise: they had disappointed their original audience far too many times and failed to find a new one. And their insistence in doing disco tracks at this period of time (disco was long passé in 1982) is remarable: just listen to Hide Away.

As usual, the album is not totally crappy, they always manage to write a few good melodies and produce at least one tune that could have been a big hit at the time: I Donīt Know Why has all the right elements to do so, withg a great chorus and strong rhythm. However, for the prog listener, only the instrumental title track may be of interest. And still, itīs not one of their best. Itīs just over the 3 minute mark and itīs more jazz/rock than prog really. The rest of the CD is just forgetable stuff. Small wonder they call it quits after this one...

In A State Of Flux is for collectors and hardcore fans, only.

Rating 2 stars, barely.

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