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Gnidrolog biography
Formed in London, UK in 1969 - Disbanded in 1972 - Reformed briefly in 1999

GNIDROLOG are one of the more overlooked bands that took part in the progressive rock explosion in Britain around 1971-73. Intricate band, with an ecletic music that is very hard to categorize. Their music is a blend of blusy prog, with horn instruments, and intense vocals on top of it. They might appeal to GENTLE GIANT, JETHRO TULL and VDGG fans. Still, pick up "In Spite of Harry's Toenail" or better yet, their opus "Lady Lake", and prepare to be bowled over. After a long (27 years!), GNIDROLOG re-banded and made a new studio album, "Gnosis", in 2000.

See also: WiKi

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Lady Lake ~ Expanded Edition /  GnidrologLady Lake ~ Expanded Edition / Gnidrolog
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In Spite of Harry's Toe-Nail/LIn Spite of Harry's Toe-Nail/L
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Reflex Media 2004
$75.43 (used)
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GNIDROLOG discography

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

3.96 | 183 ratings
In Spite Of Harry's Toenail
4.06 | 345 ratings
Lady Lake
3.06 | 42 ratings

GNIDROLOG Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.67 | 17 ratings
Live 1972

GNIDROLOG Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

3.98 | 29 ratings
In Spite Of Harry's Toe-Nail / Lady Lake

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


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Lady Lake by GNIDROLOG album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.06 | 345 ratings

Lady Lake
Gnidrolog Eclectic Prog

Review by Kingsnake

5 stars This is exactly the kind of progressive rock I like to listen to. Flute, guitar, drums, horns, etc. Reminds me of Gentle Giant, Barclay James Harvest, Jethro Tull, Jezda Urfa, Cressida, Caravan and the likes. Not in the vein of the Canterbury sound, but very eclectic and incorporating many, many different styles.

Playful melodies, very tight interplay and outstanding musicianship. Both albums of this band rate very high for me. Of course this kind of music can never reach commercial heights, that will be the reason the band quit after only two albums. But am I glad they at least recorded what they did.

On top of what I already wrote I love the calmer parts, it has a certain folkish and pastoral feel here and there, partly because of the fluteparts.

 In Spite Of Harry's Toenail by GNIDROLOG album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.96 | 183 ratings

In Spite Of Harry's Toenail
Gnidrolog Eclectic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

5 stars Out of the primeval ooze of the big bang of progressive rock in the early 70s emerged an astounding number of bands who were agglutinating hitherto unthinkable musical genres and ideas together in unique and fresh ways. Many of these bands were influenced by each other and those similarities can be quite derivative but every once in a while a group emerged that sounded absolutely unique and while GNIDROLOG were compared to bands like Gentle Giant and Van Der Graaf Generator, they truly were an odd duck of the day. Not only for their wild and outlandish musical compositions but also for the fact that they totally eschewed the use of the keyboard altogether in the days when it seemed like the only constant in prog was the use of healthy doses of synthesized sounds in the form of mellotrons or moog organs with Emerson inspired precision. Not only did the keys not dominate but really no instrument dominated in this band. This was truly a democratic version of a progressive rock band where every tiny detail was cleverly crafted to fit the larger artistic vision and any trace of one member dominating the scene was jettisoned into the musical trash bin.

The twin Goldring brothers Stewart and Colin were destined for an eclectic career after displaying their extrovert tendencies at a young age and gravitated towards music when they learned violin and trumpet however it was when they discovered folk music, that their realities were totally blown away and they would become obsessed with mastery of compositional lyrical content backed up by expressive musical accompaniment. In those days nobody could have predicted just how far they would take their passions including the twins, themselves. As luck would have it, the fertile English music scene was like a field of spring flowers blooming under the regalia of the bountiful sun's rays and the perfect place for the like minded to find synergy in their musical ambitions and talented musicians were creeping out of every nook and cranny of universities, music schools and many a London pub.

As their folk ambitions morphed into the rock arena, the adventurous twins hooked up with a couple classically trained musicians in 1969 to create their first true fledgling of band called GNIDROLOG which is an anagram of their surname plus an extra 'o'. While folk music had inspired them, the twins quickly outgrew it and found a new home in the burgeoning prog scene of the early 70s as the Goldrings (Colin on lead vocals, guitar, recorders, tenor sax, harmonica and Stewart on lead guitar and vocals) would hook up with bassist and cello master Peter Cowling and Nigel Pegrum who would contribute not only the fine tuned percussive section of the band but also delivered wild and virtuosic performances on flute and oboe and occasionally contributed the piano when it was needed. The fact that the members of the band were all multi-instrumentalists earned them comparisons with Gentle Giant with whom they even played however GNIDROLOG proved they were even more eclectic and daring than even the most adventurous prog masters of the days including Gentle Giant as heard on their first of two albums that would spring up in 1972.

IN SPITE OF HARRY'S TOENAIL is a title that tells you that this is going to be a very different listening experience and that's exactly what it turns out to be. While primarily based in English folk music, GNIDROLOG was all about taking simple melodies and eking out every possible way of making them more complex with unexpected deviations from the norm at any given moment making IN SPITE OF HARRY'S TOENAIL a very demanding experience that takes even the most hardened progger quite a few spins to get one's head around as this album throws every single prog trick in the book at the listener in ample unrelenting amounts. The very first track "Long Live Man Dead" begins the album with a near ten minute length track that consists of distinct sections that usher in dissonant distorted guitars and Colin's quite distinct vocal style followed by unusual polyrhythms primarily led by the extraordinary bass skills of Cowling that magically morph from one passage into another while the other band members perfectly synchronize and adapt their prog workouts to the overall sound.

The track "Peter" is the least adulterated on the album that exposes the progressive folk underpinnings of the compositions and the perfect stripped down sound to inure oneself to the idiosyncratic time signatures, twisted polyrhythmic counterpoints and excessively complex chord progressions all woven into somewhat traditionally sounding folk melodies. After this short track though things really get wild beginning with "Snails" which begins with a sultry oscillating rhythm that like a snail slowly creeps in and leaves a slime trail that slowly fades to black. This track really took progressive rock to bizarre new heights for the day with bizarre exchanges between the guitar lines, percussion and vocal delivery and for an unrelenting seven minute and counting straddles between the avant-garde and accessibly melodic. Although it begins as a slow creeper becomes increasingly more hostile and down right jarring with angry sax and oboes fighting it out towards the end until all totally melts down and dysrhythmically dissipates towards in the final moments. "Time And Space" likewise is based on a fairly accessible folk melody with sensual flutes that wouldn't sound out of place on a Jethro Tull album but more pastural and almost sounds like medieval fairytale music that slowly ups complexity and energy until a full progressive rock behemoth is unleashed which ultimately cedes into one of the trippiest bass meets flute segments ever heard. One of my favorite tracks on the album and most contrasting.

The tiny "Who Spoke" is more of a connecting link between the two prog behemoths around it and is a stripped down unaccompanied acoustic guitar folk track with vocals and barely lasts over two minutes. The album ends with the jaw-dropping antics of the near ten minute title track which consists of the two parts "Goodbye - Farewell - Adieu" and "Harry's Toenail." Despite the time length this track contains some of the easiest to digest melodies and find the band playing together like a "normal" folk rock band instead of merely dazzling with polyrhythms and time signatures freak outs. While the beginning sounds a bit like a depressive version of Fairport Convention or Steeleye Span, it picks up steam and enters bluesy rock territory which displays GNIDROLOG's ability to firmly grasp emotional heartwarming melodic prowess as gracefully as they do with their most complex and hard hitting progressive elements. The track continues down a groovy and melodic jam complete with heavy bass, harmonica sections and totally rocking guitar solos that would feel at home on any Led Zeppelin album but ultimately cedes to a crazy chaotic ending that ends as it strikes a single harmonic chord and successfully challenges the listener to question the music they have just experienced.

IN SPITE OF HARRY'S TOENAIL is a bonafide 10 on the progometer having taken me a ridiculous amount of listens to penetrate despite easily accessible melodies peeking around every corner. During the time of release this music went over most people's heads but was quite revered by musicians as this is very much the musical porn that ardent adventurous musicians crave to create. While i began as most do by appreciating the much more accessible "Lady Lake" somewhere along the line HARRY'S TOENAIL surpassed the second installment of 1972 as my GNIDROLOG album of choice and has even become one that makes the desert isle list as these tracks are so beautiful and delicately balanced with the perfect amount of melody, counterpoint, dissonance, tempo changes, thematic displays and lyrical delivery. I cannot think of prog much more complex than what GNIDROLOG created on this ambitious first release. While "Lady Lake" has the superior album cover, IN SPITE OF HARRY'S TOENAIL contains the true progressive gems of their career and one that requires a great deal of effort to truly comprehend. Beyond brilliant and a classic for the ages that was light years ahead of its time.

 In Spite Of Harry's Toenail by GNIDROLOG album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.96 | 183 ratings

In Spite Of Harry's Toenail
Gnidrolog Eclectic Prog

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Formed by the brothers Colin and Stewart Goldring, British outfit Gnidrolog(the name is meant to be an anagram of the brothers surname but if you look closely you'll find it isn't...) issued two albums in 1972 before a lack of commercial success saw the group fragment the following year. Their first, the oddly-titled 'In Spite Of Harry's Toenail'(who the hell is Harry anyway...?) found the group mining a weird, discordant brand of Crimson-and-VDGG-influenced prog, whilst the follow-up, the superb 'Lady Lake', is often mentioned as one of the genuine lost classics of the early prog age. So what the hell happened? Featuring a palpale lack of memorable melodies, a foreboding atmosphere and some oblique lyrical references to god knows what, 'In Spite Of Harry's Toenail' really is a bizarre and not particularly good album, closer in spirit to the likes of The Residents that it is to the likes of Yes, King Crimson and Gentle Giant. Of course, if slow, meandering songs are your thing then this shoud be right up your street, yet the real genius of Gnidrolog can be found on their second and final album, and it is with that record that the uniniated should really start. Unflinchingly weird, this deserves special mention for it's unique sound, but precious little else. And this is coming from a huge fan of 'Lady Lake'. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2015
 Lady Lake by GNIDROLOG album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.06 | 345 ratings

Lady Lake
Gnidrolog Eclectic Prog

Review by Zahler

4 stars Despite Gnidrolog's very sweet approach, I really like their second album, Lady Lake. The easy description of this music is that Gnidrolog sounds like the Wishbone Ash guys singing over (a particularly harmonious and restrained) King Crimson. Although the vocals are a bit too playful at times--the refrain in Ship is pure pop--and some of the final sections of their songs could use more compelling development rather than merely repetition with sound effects (Social Embarrassment), the songwriting is solid, and the album is loaded with infectious horn parts that have a lot of swagger and clever surprises (such as the disjunct vocals melodies in the verses of Social Embarrassment). I tend to prefer much heavier or more symphonic stuff than the type of progressive rock these guys play, so my ability to enjoy this album so much reflects well upon their craft and art.
 Lady Lake by GNIDROLOG album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.06 | 345 ratings

Lady Lake
Gnidrolog Eclectic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Gnidrolog is one of the bands that I really can't get into their music from the first listning. Lady lake issued in 1972 is considered one of the best eclectic prog from ealy '70s. While is ok most of the time this folky jazz/blues type of music doesn't mesh very well to my ears. Something between VDGG eclectic parts with folk passages remind me of Jethro Tull first period around Benefit, horn instruments added in the mix - Lady lake is nothing close to masterpieces as many pretend to be, really, is an ok album with only one great tune, the opening I could never be a soldier, the rest are good but nothing impressive at all. All in all decent and hardly essential, at least to me. 3 stars, nothing more nothing less.

 Lady Lake by GNIDROLOG album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.06 | 345 ratings

Lady Lake
Gnidrolog Eclectic Prog

Review by Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer

1 stars I guess this proved to be a watershed in the Gnidrolog catalogue. A leaky one with dead pigeons floating in it if you ask me.

I was so looking forward to this album when I bought it in 2001. After all, it has a great sleeve doesn't it? What more could you want than a great big hand threatening to strangle the neck of a swan? But it's that old saying... 'You can't judge a book by its cover'...

I'm afraid this review is going to read more like an autopsy report than a musical review.

I've literally nothing good to say about this benchmark of awfulness which was recorded in the 'prog peak year' of '72.

Like most folk, I don't know much about 'Gnidrolog' other than that they're Welsh. But I do know what I don't like. And I'm about to listen to it for another 40 wasted minutes...

Everything I hate about 'prog' is carried out with gay abandon on this recording. Overblown sentimentality, feeble wobbly vocals and straight drumming run rampant throughout this nonentity of ineptitude.

Downbeat to the point of torpor, this is prog by numbers - so run-of-the-mill it's beyond belief. Colin Goldring sounds like he's being given car battery electric shocks to his tongue as he wails and whines through interminably hippy-like forgettable tunes.

The intensely soppy "I could Never be a Soldier' - sets the scene where I find a strange shrinkage of my neck - as if my shoulders are in vain reflex trying to cover my ears for protection. I'm left contemplating World War I in my mind as Goldring 'sings' and leaves me furiously thinking that I could have been stuck in a trench in the Somme with this guy whimpering into his hankie. We'd all have been blown to pieces in 5 minutes with characters like this surrounding us. Actually, come to think of it, we were even without him... Damn...

The longer this album goes on the more it sounds like a slow puncture on a bicycle wheel slowly deflating. A woefully run-of-the-mill recording with no merit whatsoever. Musically bereft of originality coupled with a very weak vocalist makes this one of the poorest and most irritating recordings I've ever heard.

 Lady Lake by GNIDROLOG album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.06 | 345 ratings

Lady Lake
Gnidrolog Eclectic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars A gem of an album that definitely flew under the radar in my day and yet the opening epic, "I Could Never Be a Soldier" (11:39) (10/10), was so familiar to me when I first heard this album a few years ago. It must have received some air play on the local album rock radio stations in Detroit to which I listened. (I actually believe that a local cover band played it during the first dance concert that I ever attended in the seventh grade. The band also played "Maggie May" "Aqualung," "Locomotive Breath," and "(I'm Your Captain) Closer to Home.") The band had some very talented instrumentalists--though the flutist and bass player stand out most for me.

Many of the songs have most excellent horn play--often by multiple horns, one or two soloing, and a horn section supporting the rhythm sections.

2. "Ship" (Colin Goldring) - 6:44 (9/10) 3. "A Dog With No Collar " (Stewart Goldring) - 2:09 (9/10) 4. "Lady Lake" (Peter "Mars" Cowling, Stewart Goldring) - 8:53 awesome jazz-oriented song that turns into a Hammill-VDGG-like insidious slow build to crescendo piece. (9/10) 5. "Same Dreams" (Colin Goldring) - 2:49 (8/10) 6. "Social Embarrassment" (Peter "Mars" Cowling, Colin Goldring) - 6:30 a pre-Henry Cow idea of avant-garde craziness? (8/10)

An excellent album that deserves more attention. Great arrangements, great sound reproduction and engineering, with the rendering of some very creative ideas. A 4.5 star album that I'm bumping up for the sake of exceedingly high creativity.

 Lady Lake by GNIDROLOG album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.06 | 345 ratings

Lady Lake
Gnidrolog Eclectic Prog

Review by beebfader

4 stars ESOTERIC 2012 REISSUE with Bonus TRack

Blending classical training with folk and jazz influences, Gnidrolog produced this their second album in late 1972. The first striking aspect of the music is how well recorded it is, a fine example of the early 70's studio ethic of dry drums and vocals with the other instruments clearly and cleanly placed in the mix. Written entirely by the Goldring brothers Colin and Stewart, `Lady Lake' is an immensely sophisticated and well written album, and whilst the vocals may not win too many prizes, their strident style is ably supported by beautifully arranged saxes, flutes and guitars. Although frequently compared to Gentle Giant, `Lizard'/`Islands' era King Crimson is also close, and the wonderful `McDonald and Giles' album perhaps the closest in style and sound.

The old `Side One' features a trio of songs dominated by the 12 minute opener `I Could Never Be A Soldier', and ending beautifully on the sparkling acoustic and flutes ballad `A Dog With No Collar'. The title track opens `Side Two' in wonderful fashion, as stunningly recorded sax orchestrations compete against each other framed by the confident drumming of Nigel Pegrum (latterly of Steeleye Span). It's a stunning opening, which shows all its Prog credentials by settling down into a slower paced and entirely unrelated vocal section. This is well thought out first generation Progressive music well worthy of your attention, and it is somewhat of a pity that the band dissolved mere weeks after the completion of this album. The album also ends strongly with the repeated multi-layered riffing and Stewart Goldring's wonderfully Frippian guitar solo at the end of `Social Embarrassment', the album's standout track.

A stunningly recorded testament to the original progressive rock movement and a real joy to listen to 40 years later. It also contains the previously unreleased session track `Baby Move On' which is very much in keeping with the rest of the album.

 Lady Lake by GNIDROLOG album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.06 | 345 ratings

Lady Lake
Gnidrolog Eclectic Prog

Review by voliveira

3 stars This is an average album of eclectic, progressive rock has its moments there. However, it did not surprise me.

Gnidrolog may sound appealing to fans of Van Der Graaf Generator and bands like that, but as I include myself in that group, then do not see myself in a very comfortable listening to "Lady Lake", her second album.

Do not get me wrong, the album is good, but does not have "it". But what is "it"? "It" is the thing that pulls you into an album and makes you like it, even if you can not explain. "Lady Lake" hasnīt "it", and that's why I give it 3 stars.

Now I am able to detect very well the main flaw of this album: the vocals. God, these vocals are some of the worst in history! If this were only instrumental album, I would give it a higher rating!

3 stars. A good album, that's all.

 Lady Lake by GNIDROLOG album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.06 | 345 ratings

Lady Lake
Gnidrolog Eclectic Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Gnidrolog is one of the most extraorinary of the numerous early 70's short-lived prog bands who never gained much success. And this (their second and last one - until the year 2000) album is a huge artistic development over their rather disjointed debut In Spite Of Harry's Toe- Nail from the same year, which mixed Gentle Giant -type complexity and Amazing Blondel/ Gryphon-sort of Renaissance music influences. This is not to say that this album is short of anything heard in the debut, but most of all it has maturity in emotional level that was maybe missing earlier. Also the sound is more mature, thanks to a new member on sax & flute. Recorder is a bit less heard this time as the saxophone is used quite a lot, making the music a close relative to Van Der Graaf Generator's, albeit not quite as extreme in progressivity or emotion, though there is plenty of that too. Mostly dark-toned and melancholic.

'I Could Never Be a Soldier' is a magnificent and emotionally powerful prog opus in 11 and ― minutes. The title track is another lengthy highlight, the closest in spirit to VDGG. It's delightful to hear also heartfelt simplicity on a couple of shorter tracks.

As a negative side (and there are only few!), the Goldring brothers are not very talented singers. The voice reminds me of Wishbone Ash. But as a whole this is an all-too-forgotten semi-masterpiece of the era. And with a fantastic cover art!

Thanks to Ivan Melgar M for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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