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GRAND STAND

Symphonic Prog • Sweden


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Grand Stand biography
As any GENESIS fan I always find great pleasure in bands are able to work their own compositions with their great influence, but I believe GRAND STAND went a step too far in their debut album, they seem to listen parts of albums from Trespass to Duke and paste some sections randomly.

Surely they are talented musicians, something that can't be denied, but the word originality was erased from their dictionary, during some short moments you feel a breeze of fresh air but when you notice it's clearly taken from Yes or Pink Floyd music.

The worst problem the find is not the more than obvious influence very close to cloning but that when they loose the "inspiration", some sections are repetitive in such and exaggerate way that they insist with the same guitar or keyboard section for long periods of time as when an old LP scratched and the same section kept going over and over, last time I was listening "Condor and the Java Cup" I was tempted to hit the CD player so the needle could advance.

Olov Andersson (Keyboards) and Tomas Hurting (Drums) are involved in a band called MARBLE STANDS since around 1987 but after a short time they changed into GRAND STAND, the first notice I heard from them was in 1998 when they make a GENESIS tribute concert in Helsinki in 1998 with Tommy Erickson from AGENESS singing the Peter Gabriel parts with outfits and all the paraphernalia.

In the year 2000 they release their debut album "In the Middle on the Edge" and the name describes it, they were near the edge of a copyright sue by GENESIS.

Their second release "Tricks of Times" (2003) is a bit different, they combine the GENESIS influence with THE FLOWER KINGS, much better than the first one but still not too original, the sad thing is that they contributed with a very good track called "Stormen" (Tempest) for the ambitious project called "Kalevala a Finnish Progressive Rock Epic" in the same 2003.

If you ask me about their musicianship, I would say they are really good and efficient performers, the quality of their albums is over the average by far, "Tricks of Times" was a great improvement from their debut with a 16:00 minutes epic called "Old Man's Tale" but if they don't leave some influence behind, they won't grow enough.

Ideal for GENESIS die hard fans

Iván Melgar Morey - Perú

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GRAND STAND top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.02 | 14 ratings
In the Middle, On the Edge
2000
4.13 | 39 ratings
Tricks Of Time
2002

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GRAND STAND Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Tricks Of Time by GRAND STAND album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.13 | 39 ratings

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Tricks Of Time
Grand Stand Symphonic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Grand Stand have changed both line-up and some of their musical direction on this follow-up to their debut album, 'In The Middle, On The Edge', which came out in 1998. While definitely a progressive rock band, they have added a more American rock flavour and vocals, something that was missing from the instrumental album with which they announced their presence to the world. That is not to say that they don't produce instrumentals any more, in fact two of the five songs do not contain lyrics (and one of these is nearly ten minutes long), but rather that now they have a singer they are making good use of him!

Opener "Jurassic Spark" shows an affinity to early Genesis, yet also brings in much more modern styles and while contains many progressive themes and styles there are also sections that are much more AOR-oriented. Contrast that to "Words Are Not Enough" that sounds at times as if Camel and Jadis have jumped into bed together while at others using much more jazz-influenced piano chords to create a totally different mood.

I found on playing this album the first few times that they do sound quite different on the songs, as if they haven't totally settled on their own style but want to encompass everything that they like listening to. Not a bad thing for a prog band in many ways. The closing number, "Old Man's Tale", is the longest at sixteen minutes, and contains both very delicate interludes and much more powerful pieces with some great guitar/keyboard interplay, as well as pieces that sound familiar but yet are not (especially if you are a Genesis fan).

An album that is bound to find a lot of favour among the progheads. For more details contact the label at www.progressrec.com.

Originally appeared in Feedback #68, Jun 02

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 Tricks Of Time by GRAND STAND album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.13 | 39 ratings

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Tricks Of Time
Grand Stand Symphonic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars Here is a Swedish band with 2 releases that are both rated above 4 and yet doesn't seem to get any love, probably due to the fact that Grandstand has not followed up with any new material since 2002. Pity, as this was an above-average talented crew, particularly the dynamic duo of the dexterous Olov Andersson on keys and the unyielding Tomas Hurtig on drums, 2 ultra-solid musicians of world class caliber who started out as a Genesis tribute band. Their debut, all-instrumental "In the Middle, On the Edge" is a brilliant example of vocal-less prog with stellar flourishes and convincing compositions. Only an omen of better things to come.

"Tricks of Time" introduces a singer-bassist and a superb guitarist to the mix and the results are worthwhile beyond your wildest expectations. Veteran producer and artist in his own right Hansi Cross handles the production with Swedish precision. The dynamics are impressive right from the whopping opener "Jurassic Spark", lush keyboard patterns with the entire arsenal of instruments out on parade, synthesizers leading the charge on one hand and Michael Renk Jensen's sweltering Fender interventions on the other. The short 4 minute instrumental "Words Are Not Enough" is right out the debut album in terms of style where pounding drums, piano ruffles, organ hustles and synth whistles coexisted so happily. "Waiting for Water" is the most accessible piece here, a moody lullaby with incredible self-discipline, a bellowing guitar screaming above the symphonic oasis, clearly influenced by the legendary Camel. The deliberate pace is gentle and dreamy with an "aaaaah" voice mellotron backing that recalls 10cc' "I'm Not in Love", Renk Jensen explodes oozily like a starry sky of suave sounds while Olov unleashes a sweeping synth barrage that would make the Tony Bankman proud. "Empty Barrels Rattle the Most" despite its rather impressionistic title is a full bore assault on the symphonic senses, the melodies are clear and concise , not too simple or overtly complex but enough technical attention aimed at creating a mood of comfortable numbness. A quiet mid-section with humming pedal-effected guitars recall the finest Hackettisms , floating organ pools shimmering with flute synth patches and then, out of the blue, amid thundering drum/guitar salvos, a slippery Moog solo that devastates all in its passage and a finger-pickin'-lickin' axe solo to wake you up, just in case. If you are a solist then just do it and they both account for themselves rather brilliantly. "Old Man's Tale" is a16 minute epic flight that somehow does not get boring or tiresome because the artists keep things in perpetual effervescence, from the puerile organ intro to the slow buildup using acoustic guitar and finally the outright jazzy "set the controls to the heart of the sun' Latin-tinged main melodic line. Hurtig in particular propels this theme nicely forward, giving the rhythmic foundation for Jensen's excruciating guitar phrasings to flutter above the pulse. Various tempo and mood changes keep everything in breathless expectation, not to say all the piano, mellotron, percussion colorations go unnoticed. They are finely chiseled allies in a cause that is rewarding to the patient listener. Yes, Goran Johnsson is not the finest singer in progland but neither is he the worst, by any stretch. But this is an album that has met universal praise for its quality and can easily rival the venerated symphonic prog classics that adorn our genre. There is something for everyone except for the death-metal aficionado and the popfan for whom this is way too "pretentious" (love that anti-prog word , probably the most flattering denigrating term ever, as if one has to feel sorry for having multiple talents). It's too bad that the band has seemed to have disappeared but in the meantime, "Tricks of Time" will bamboozle your tail, if you get my drift. Nothing weak here at all, just perfect sympho-prog. . 5 aqua halts

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 Tricks Of Time by GRAND STAND album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.13 | 39 ratings

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Tricks Of Time
Grand Stand Symphonic Prog

Review by Makntak

3 stars 'Tricks Of Time' is a pretty simple album by Symphonic Prog standards. None of the songs are particularly challenging and rarely do they rise above average for my tastes The album is characterised by generally slow to mid-tempo pieces that are very keyboard driven. Largely the keys are creating synth-string arrangements to fill the sound whilst Michael Jensen's guitar has a free role to embellish and highlight the strong melodies. The rhythm section is unspectacular but fairly tight and Hansi Cross' production has done a marvelous job on mastering the drum sound which is detailed and spacious in the final mix. I can't say I'm over enamoured with Goran Johsson's singing. He's tuneful enough, but he sounds like he's chewing marshmallows, such is the muffled quality of his voice.

'Words Are Not Enough' (which is instrumental) and 'Waiting For Water' are the two most appealing tracks for me. The former has a 'smooth jazz' feel and a lovely melodic, jazzy solo from Jensen which is echoed by a similarly sweet lead synth, whilst 'Waiting For Water' is a very gentle and mellow piece with lovely melodies in the verse and some majestic settings created by the keys, including a brief moment that recalls 10cc's 'Im Not In Love'. Elsewhere, 'Jurassic Spark' is a decent opener with good Steve Hackett-like guitar solos and the epic 'Old Man's Tale' serves as a stamp of the all-round musicianship of Grand Stand. However, it is not a particularly coherent piece, sounding too often like disparate musical ideas stitched together to form a 'suite'. Not good enough in my book. My biggest gripe is with the overuse of some of the musical ideas in each song. Grand Stand are treading water and stretching their musical ideas to the very limit of interest.

Overall I found this a charming and very polite album to listen to. It's the sort of album you bring home to meet your grandparents secure in the knowledge that it would not offend, but that's also it's problem for me because it doesn't really excite either. Nevertheless with their songs bearing the hallmarks of many neo-prog acts from the '90s, it's as if Grand Stand were unable to see an alternative direction for their own compositions, and if you're a fan of of Late-GENESIS, late-CAMEL, PALLAS, SAGA and maybe IQ, I think you'll find plenty to enjoy in this

Almost a three - 2.75

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 Tricks Of Time by GRAND STAND album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.13 | 39 ratings

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Tricks Of Time
Grand Stand Symphonic Prog

Review by progrules
Prog Reviewer

5 stars When I checked about 350 mp3's from our great site out of all kinds of subgenres back in 2004 the one from this excellent Swedish band (Jurassic Spark) came on top as one of the very very best of them all. I was hugely impressed by the compositional quality of the song and of course also the execution was tremendous. Soon after that introduction I learned about the existence of another smashing track from the Kalevala project (3 cd, see concept albums) called Stormen. After these two I was fully convinced of their enormous talent and had only one goal: to acquire their two albums. The debut was my first conquest, I was slightly disappointed despite the fact it was a very nice album, but I knew these guys were capable of so much more. Recently I rounded off my search for my real target: Tricks of Time. And I'm relieved to say they didn't disappoint me by any means this time. Tricks of Time is a true masterpiece, so far only acknowledged by my PA friend and colleague Tarcisio Moura.

The album starts with the track I already knew and after having heard it for at least 100 times by now I can tell you it still doesn't bore me one bit and that's only achieved by the very best of songs. Jurassic Spark is an amazing composition with perfect alternation of vocals and instrumental passages, exactly how a song should be written, composition to perfection, I can say no less of it. Complex and yet accessible, can only get the full score of course: 5 stars.

Second track is called Words are not Enough, a laid back short instrumental that could well have been a left over from their debut where the style is concerned since that album was fully instrumental albeit just keyboards and this one contains also guitarplay. A wonderful track that gives you the chance to recover after the great opener, 4,25*.

Waiting for Water is the lesser track of this magnum opus but is still very worthwhile to listen to. Being the lesser track is not a shame anyway when the rest is of such incredible standard. For instance the instrumental passages after 3: 30 and 5:30 are excellent, the only real downside is the vocal part that sounds a bit dull. Still 4,25* for this effort.

Empty Barrels rattle the Most turns things up again and is the second almost 10 minute song in a row and is at the same time the second instrumental. Very lively start of the song with great guitar in the first minute followed by varied other instrumental passages most of them pretty energetic. The musicianship is amazing, what a class act this Swedish band is. 4,75*.

Old Man's Tale is the second track that will get the full score from me. It's a true epic clocking over 15 minutes and shows as final proof the full potential of the band. The song starts quiet then gets into a slightly jazzy style for a while. After this the pure prog takes its turn again with again several instrumental bits before the vocals set in at 3:20. Göran Johnsson's voice is the only slight criticism I can think of with Grand Stand. He doesn't have the most exciting voice you'll ever hear but it's not disturbing in my opinion. With this track it's the same as with the brilliant opener: great alternation of vocal and instrumental parts. Guitar and keyboards again shine brightly and deliver simply all you can wish for. And this goes on for the full sixteen minutes, no filler moments !

Recapitulated I can only say the full score is totally deserved. That is if you're not a devoted seventies freak who claims that only in that era the real thing was produced. Because it's always possible to call this great work derivative (Grand Stand started as a Genesis coverband) and therefore not interesting. But if you listen closely and open minded to this album you can only praise it and grant it what it's worth: 5 stars. This is simply how I want a prog album to sound: superb quality in every sense (also production) without fillers and dull moments. Highly recommended for all lovers of extremely melodic music executed in a perfect way. What a shame this album from 2002 is their last so far. How I wish they got back together to make another jewel !

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 Tricks Of Time by GRAND STAND album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.13 | 39 ratings

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Tricks Of Time
Grand Stand Symphonic Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars Very, very symphonic prog.

I first thought this was another Roine Stolt sideproject. This album reminds me a lot about his debut album The Flower King. The most symphonic parts of The Flower Kings and Genesis creative outputs is the most obvious references here. Which is both a compliment and a problem. The music is very, very nice. It also lacks identity. The only Grand Stand DNA profile I can come up with is the vocals. Besides of that, I would probably say The Flower Kings if blindtesting this album. I happens to be a fan of that band so Grand Stand is down my alley.

The music here is symphonic and the sound is modern. There is plenty use of guitars and tangents. Most moog and hammonds. This album has both a modern and a 1970s feel. The song structures is symphonic too with a lot of changing themes. The songs are long and driven by keyboards. Grand Stand is probably more compact than The Flower Kings which at times goes out on a tangent in their song structures. The quality of the songs are good too. Old Man's Tale and Jurassic Spark is the best songs here. I am not convinced that this is an excellent addition to a prog rock collection. If The Flower Kings and Genesis is kings in your world; please add this album and the other Grand Stand album. If not; this album is another good prog rock album. I happens to like it a lot. But I still prefer the originals.

3.75 stars

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 Tricks Of Time by GRAND STAND album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.13 | 39 ratings

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Tricks Of Time
Grand Stand Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

5 stars After listening (and loving) Grand Stand's debut album In the Middle, On the Edge I was really curious what would their sound be with a full band. You know, a group that releases an album with only instrumentals and using solely keyboards and drums and still delivering a fantastic CD out of that is clearly not seen everyday. And I'm glad to say this one does not disappoint you a bit. Their biggest influence is obviously Genesis around the time of Wind & Wuthering plus some Camel, Yes and Pink Floyd thrown in for good measure. But the sound that emerges form it is very much their own.

The vocals are on the weakest part. Not that bassist Göran Johnsson does not sing well, he does have a nice, warm voice (even of with a heavy swedish accent), but it is clear that the band would improve quite a bit if they had a singer as powerful as the players in the band. Aside from that small detail is hard to find any fault with this record: fantastic keyboards much in the vein of Tony Banks and Peter Bardens, fine melodic guitar lines all over the record and a very tight, precise, rhythm section (the drummer is very creative). The arrangements are tasteful and varied. But the group's most notable talent lies on their songwriting: all the tracks are excellent and there are no fillers. In fact, there is no pointless display of virtuosity nor too much noodling.. This is clearly the case of team players

There are no highlights either, as all the tracks flow smoothly when you hear the CD, but I might say I have a soft spot for the instrumental Words Are Not Enough and the beautiful, gentle, Waiting For Water (Johnsson's voice fitting very well here). In fact, the album seems to be shorter than it really is (always a good sign!). The production, done by Hansi Cross, is very good.

Conclusion: an excellent work! It's amazing that not so many people know this gem. I really hope they release a follow up soon. My rating shifts between 4,6 to 5 stars. I'll round up to five, because it fits perfectly with my personal taste. Highly recommended!

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 In the Middle, On the Edge by GRAND STAND album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.02 | 14 ratings

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In the Middle, On the Edge
Grand Stand Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I stumbled upon this album completely by chance. A friend lend me a bunch of CDs and Grand Stand's debut was among them. Lucky me! If I knew it was a guitarless record I would probably not try too hard to listen to it. Being a guitarrist myself I am not particularly fond of keyboards/drums only records. But I've got to admit you don't really miss any other instruments while listening to In The Middle, On The Edge. Besides, this work is far from just another pointless display of virtuosity like so many I've heard before.

The first thing I noticed it the fact that Olov Andersson is not only a fantastic player, but also a good songwriter. Every track is a mini epic on its own. And every note is on the right place, Judging by what I read in Grand Salm's biography, their music is utterly influenced by Genesis. This is not what you hear here, really, at least for my ears. Sure, some of Peter Gabriel's former band influences are evident, but the CD is far from derivative. In fact I found his compositions very pleasant, creative and original. The closest thing I can compare with is the very fine dutch combo Trion, which also uses a lot of analog sounding keyboards as the core of their music. It is hard to believe this piece of work was so recently recorded, for it sounds too much like something coming straight from prog's heyday in the early 70's. And, make no mistake, this is a big compliment.

The first three tracks are good, but the truly gems are the ones from the fourth onwards like the brilliant Triumphant Forrest Going Frenzy and, specially, Minor Mischiefs In Big Ways, an 8 minute masterpiece . All songs are instrumentals and I must say you don't miss any singing either. The production is very good, even if the drums seem to be recorded a little too loud for my taste on some parts, but that's something I can live with. Like any great prog record, the more you listen the more you enjoy it. Brilliant.

If you like very fine, tasteful prog instrumental music, with lots of vintage keyboards this CD is highly recommended. Another nice surprise from Sweden! My rating is somewhere 4 and 4.5 stars.

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 In the Middle, On the Edge by GRAND STAND album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.02 | 14 ratings

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In the Middle, On the Edge
Grand Stand Symphonic Prog

Review by progrules
Prog Reviewer

4 stars For several years now I have been chasing the successor of this debet, Tricks of Time, because I'm 99% sure it's a terrific album. And that's because I love the stream track Jurassic Spark for all those years now and I've heard it's not even the best track of the album. But I still haven't managed to find it but I did run into this one and I'm pretty sure it has to be great as well. I also know their fantastic contribution on the Kalevela project (Stormen) and that song is almost as good as Jurassic Spark so I'm beginning to believe you can't go wrong with these Swedish masters of symphonic prog.

This album starts with a very entertaining instrumental called The Trees and the Chopping Nutcracker. I've been doing a birds study many years ago so I happen to know a nutcracker is a very interesting bird that's only breeding in Scandinavia and a few other countries in Europe. It's related to crows and is only rarely seen in my country so that's why the bird is special to me. Anyway, it's obviously interesting enough for Grand Stand to write a song about. Maybe these guys are nature lovers as well, that would be a plus to me for sure. The song is good enough for a four star rating for me mainly thanks to great keys.

Actually next song is also about a bird and that species is even much more special because it's the super rare and impressive condor from America. The song is called Condor and the Java Cup to be precise and it's another instrumental in roughly the same style with dominant (and excellent) keys. These first two songs are really how I had imagined them, very high quality in both composing as well as execution. 4*.

Third track (The first steps of another Day) is more wind dominated so that's nice for a change. Must be wind imitation on the synthisizer because I read nothing about wind instrument playing in the line up. The sound reminds me somewhat of a song by Galleon, a bit fairytale like but not too cheesy, simply beautiful. 3,75*.

Triumphant Forrest going Frenzy is going back to the keyboards, needless to say it's instrumental all the time because it appears there are no vocals at all on this album and that's a surprise to me because in the songs I already knew by Grand Stand there were both vocal contributions. Anyway, another very fine track and another 3,75* effort.

Minore Mischiefs in Big Ways is another very melodic effort, I have to admit that you will have to love the style if you want to love this album. If you are not into very melodic, laid back keyboard/synth music you'd better forget about this album. It's much of the same in that sense but I have no problem with it as I like this kind of music a lot. Another 4 stars for this lengthy tune.

Ok, I'd better stop the song by song reviewing before I start repeating myself. The other three tracks are of the same level and in the style as above mentioned and deserve ratings between 3,75 and 4 stars as well so that completes this album and I think I have said all there is to be said about it. This Grand Stand is a bit different from the real band it became later on. This is a two men effort and I think they did very well. Recommended for lovers of melodic keyboardplaying like I said. Good stuff. 4 stars.

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 In the Middle, On the Edge by GRAND STAND album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.02 | 14 ratings

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In the Middle, On the Edge
Grand Stand Symphonic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Seemingly dismissed by some as nothing more than unfinished Genesis-style demos, this debut from Swedish band Grandstand deserves, at the very least, a little deeper analysis that will lead to eventual outright respect. Had the nay-sayers spent a little effort in reading the short liner notes (that may be in itself a huge endeavor), they would have noticed the immediate and rather effusive tribute the musicians have expressed in dedicating this work to those prog idols that have inspired them. First conclusion: this is a personal, very non-commercial musical thank you, with kudos and winks to Yes, Genesis, The Flower Kings, Kaipa and Spock's Beard, with no vocals at all, thus eliminating any potential accusation of overt cloning or humdrum repeats of days of yore. Second conclusion: with such obvious working titles as "The Trees and the Chopping Nutcracker", the galloping " Condor and the Java Cup", the puzzling "Triumphant Forest going Frenzy" (sic) and enigmatic "Resting in the Eye of the Riot", there is ample room to take a critical step back, breathe in the air, crack a smile and mellow the bile emanating from the PC keyboard (used to be ink, once long ago!). Keyboardist Olov Andersson and drummer Tomas Hurtig deserve a little recognition (especially in light of the brilliance of their next album "The Tricks of Time") for doing something for sheer FUN! We proggers have this sad tendency of being a little too scientific and rigorous of our genre's expectations and in serious need of a little levity on occasion (thankfully Fish and Tull in a live setting do infuse prog with some humor and even FUN ). And if some do claim this to be "pseudo Genesis outtakes" that were left "unfulfilled", well its way damn better than anything the glory band has done since "Winds and Wuthering". In fact, from the opening notes, it becomes abundantly clear that "In the Middle, On the Edge" is an EXCELLENT instrumental album that has given this relaxed reviewer many a thrill, perhaps even more than the pure symph-prog of "Tricks". Olov is perhaps not as accomplished as Emerson, Fritz, Wakeman or Banks but his solos simply dance over the ivories with utter dexterity and languid passion. Drummer Hurtig keeps a steady propulsive drive throughout. This is not a polished classic but all the tracks are consistently appealing and if "Colbank Hackford" would have authored this gem, it would be have pleased countless incredulous fans and Supper would have been served! We all have our "out of leftfield" favorites, this is one of mine. I had lost this when moving out and about to repurchase it when my "gracious" ex-wife was kind enough to return it to me. You see what FUN can do? 4 reprieves

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 Tricks Of Time by GRAND STAND album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.13 | 39 ratings

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Tricks Of Time
Grand Stand Symphonic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This record was produced by fellow Swede Hansi Cross from the band CROSS.

The album opens with "Jurassic Spark" a song about paranoia. Things get off on the right foot with a 1 minute intro of soaring guitar before the drums and keys come in. Next are the vocals that are well done in this uptempo tune. Some scorching guitar after 4 minutes, and the full sound is beautiful. For about 3 minutes the melody gets quite calm. Nice.Then back to the uptempo sound. Great opening track ! "Words Are Not Enough" is a cool title for this instrumental. Some good keyboard melodies as the drums pound away in this mid-paced tune. There are some interesting drum patterns as well. And the guitar does not disappoint.

"Waiting For Water" is the most commercial track with the title being sung over and over throughout this great song. Nice synths and soaring guitar throughout and the vocals suit this dreamy, lazy melody just fine. "Empty Barrels Rattle The Most" is another instrumental. This one is upbeat with some fantastic drumming.The guitar melodies with background synths are pleasing to the ears, and the song ends with some uplifting, soaring guitar. "Old Man's Tale" is a 16 minute tune divided into 7 sections.There is no mention of mellotron but I swear I can hear what sounds like it. 4 minutes in the vocals and instrumental melody sounds amazing ! So uplifting. Good synth runs later on as well as a nice guitar solo 11 minutes in.

This is a good record and can heartily recommend it !

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