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COMEDY OF ERRORS

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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Comedy Of Errors biography
Comedy Of Errors were a Glasgow-based progressive rock band formed in January 1984 with Joe Cairney (vocals), Jim Johnston (keyboards), John MacPhee (drums), Mike Barnard (guitars) & Steve Stewart, soon replaced by Mark Spalding (bass).

Their first recording was a demo called "Ever be the Prize", and was recorded at a studio in Blanefield (Scotland) in 1985. They recorded a number of songs with Rog Patterson (of "Twice Bitten" fame) as producer, which were then further refined with the assistance of Mike Bentley and Niall Mathewson (Pallas). These were released as a "mini album" in 1986, strongly influenced by Pallas or Abel Ganz style.

In 1987 when Mike Barnard left the band, Barry Henderson joined the band on bass while Mark Spalding played guitars. This line-up recorded the demo tape called "24 Hours" in November 1987 at Evenload Studios in East Kilbride. This was later combined with the mini album to form the band's only CD release under the french MSI label. Unfortunately, the quality of this release is very poor, being a direct transfer from vinyl, rather than master tapes. This is compounded by the fact that "The Student Prince Part One" has been omitted and replaced by an inferior version of a track from earlier on the disc.

A change of direction was heralded in in 1989 with the arrival of new lead vocalist John Cowden, replacing Joe Cairney who went on to join the Fire Brigade. The demo tape "Hold On" was recorded at Evenload Studios (East Kilbride) in May '89. The band were playing more standard rock songs, which were more suited to the new vocalist. They played regularly around Scotland, and then quietly disappeared from view.

: : : Yves Le Perchec : : :

Remarkably though, the story does not end there, and in 2011 Comedy of Errors reformed. As the band's official website succinctly puts it:

"One man however kept faith in the original concept, dropped out of the prog scene completely, stayed in his room, kept writing new material and revising songs and waited.and waited.His name I don't recall but that's not important right now. Suffice to say it was hoped these mini-rock symphonies would, at some point in the future, see the light of day and find an appreciative audience. And so it was, thanks to those who kept faith in the music, the new incarnation of COMEDY OF ERRORS came to release their debut album ' DISOBEY ', a difficult birth, a long time in the making, but well worth the wait."

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Fanfare & FantasyFanfare & Fantasy
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$13.99 (used)
DisobeyDisobey
Original recording
CD Baby 2011
Audio CD$14.98
$11.95 (used)
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COMEDY OF ERRORS shows & tickets


  • Comedy of Errors at Parktheater, Alphen aan den Rijn on 26 Sep 2014

COMEDY OF ERRORS discography


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COMEDY OF ERRORS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.90 | 207 ratings
Disobey
2011
4.13 | 353 ratings
Fanfare & Fantasy
2013

COMEDY OF ERRORS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

COMEDY OF ERRORS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

3.38 | 29 ratings
Comedy Of Errors
1988

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

2.42 | 3 ratings
Ever Be The Prize
1985
3.33 | 3 ratings
Mini Album
1986
5.00 | 1 ratings
24 Hours
1987
0.00 | 0 ratings
Hold On
1989

COMEDY OF ERRORS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ever Be The Prize by COMEDY OF ERRORS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1985
2.42 | 3 ratings

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Ever Be The Prize
Comedy Of Errors Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars This Scottish band contributed in its own way to the revival of British Prog in the 80's, even if they had to wait for over 25 years for their official debut.Named after William Shakespeare's eponympous play, Comedy of Errors were formed in 1984 in Glascow, centered around keyboardist Jim Johnston, also with John MacPhee on drums, Steve Stewart on bass, Mike Barnard on guitar and Joe Cairney on vocals.Stewart was replaced by Mark Spalding in 1985 and the same year the band recorded a 3-track demo at a studio in Blanefield, Scotland, entitled ''Ever be the prize''.

They did not have a very original sound and the two short tracks recall early MARILLION in a very ''He knows you know'' style.A fast rhythm section is surrounded by brilliant keyboard flashes with playful notes and angular solos, while the guitars appear mostly as a supporting instrument.Cairney's voice really shines in the opening ''Dreams that count'', while the following ''Beat the lights'' is totally instrumental Neo Prog with a semi-dramatic atmosphere and a tapping groove all the way.The 7-min. title track shows Comedy of Errors' true potential.Atmospheric Neo Prog with a balanced style, featuring some spacey keys among the most edgy executions and a nice middle break with strong GENESIS influences in a kind of theatrical style.Guitar becomes more prominent with a great solo by Barnard and the energy of this piece is along the lines of underground British Prog of the 80's, a piece with an intricate mood and sufficient instrumental work.

As none of these pieces ended up in any of Comedy of Errors' future, official releases, ''Ever be the prize'' belongs among the highly collectable cassettes of the period.Grab it if you can, this is decent Neo Prog to say the least with good arrangements and memorable tracks.

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 Fanfare & Fantasy by COMEDY OF ERRORS album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.13 | 353 ratings

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Fanfare & Fantasy
Comedy Of Errors Neo-Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars It's a wonderfully crafted neo-prog album!

Comedy of Errors is not a new name for me but ...honestly I only knew this album very late or roughly around a month ago. It blew me away at first spin and I kept playing the album over and over with no sense or indication of getting bored with the music. Yes, it's a pure neo prog music they play here in this album and the music is very close with what Pendragon and not quite close with Marillion. It's really mind boggling from start to end. The opening track "Fanfare For The Broken Hearted" (9:06) starts off beautifully with powerful vocal of Joe Cairney and its ambient musical background in neoprog typical flow. There are no dynamic punch throughout the song but for sure there are beautifully crafted segments and transitions presented by the band from start to end especially with its inventive keyboard effects as well as thinly mixed guitar work. Vocal is the dominating factor in this track even though it is backed up beautifully with great composition. The guitar solo is really stunning and mixed softly in the music. It's a very cool opening track. really!

The next track "Something She Said" (7:17) continues with a kind of Van der Graaf Generator style but composed with simpler one so that it can be accepted by most music buffs. Again, the keyboard played by Jim Johnston plays significant role to shape up what an excellent compositions are - he sometimes maneuvers through a piano work to augment vocal line which still holds an important role. The semi staccato style combined with inventive keyboard work at the background have made the song sounds even wonderful and makes me willing to replay the song for the sake of ultimate enjoyment. Oh man ... I love the keyboard work as well as stunning guitar solo.

" In A Lifetime" provides me like a break with a nice opening of ambient keyboard and Hackettian guitar - but then the music provides a dynamic punch followed with a powerful vocal line that reminds me to Pendragon music. There are simple riffs as the music goes accompanying the vocal in relatively medium tempo style. There are nice breaks and transition pieces in this relatively short track.

"Going For A Song" starts off with guitar fills that reminds me to the style of Hackett followed with vocal line - makes the music flows in ambient style. The intro part is nice and it is a reminiscent of Genesis music. As the music moves into complex arrangements, the keyboard takes full responsibility to provide the rhythm section altogether with guitar work to accompany vocal line. Again I enjoy the intertwining roles of guitar and keyboard that are wonderfully played throughout the interlude parts. Mark Spalding is an excellent guitarist.

"Merry Dance" is relatively a short track but it has a very nice grooves and rhythm section that provide an excellent platform for the vocal to shape an overall melody line. The keyboard solo is also stunning during the transition pieces. Guitar is played differently right here. There are keyboard work that sounds like a mellotron at the background that makes the song like a vintage symphonic prog music. It's a nice song.

"The Cause" starts with a blast of music that suddenly goes silent followed with an ambient music comprises soft keyboard work and Floydian guitar solo. The vocal enters in the vein of Pendragon singing style. The vocalist has a great voce as well as excellent accentuation throughout the song. "They separate religion ...they separate the schools" he sings nicely. I think his singing style is really cool throughout this song especially when it is then followed with great guitar solo and nice keyboard at background. There are parts with a bit complex in terms of arrangements where the tempo suddenly change into a faster one with powerful singing, inventive keyboard work and excellent guitar riffs. The keyboard solo that follows is really cool. This might be the best track from this wonderfully crafted album! The bass player also given a chance to perform his solo as transition to a long stunning guitar solo (a bit raw than previous solo in previous tracks - but it's really cool!(.

I am not gonna review all other remaining tracks but for sure this is a masterpiece neoprog album one should have. The fans of symphonic prog would also love this album as well. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 Fanfare & Fantasy by COMEDY OF ERRORS album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.13 | 353 ratings

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Fanfare & Fantasy
Comedy Of Errors Neo-Prog

Review by jmeadow

4 stars Comedy of Errors' second album is more technically accomplished than their debut, but it lacks some of the vulnerability and raw emotional edges that made their first album such a stunning listen.

Nevertheless, this is a very good album; lyrics that explore grown-up themes of love, loss and disappointment, as well as politics in The Cause, are set to great prog music that combines rock power chords and beautiful keyboard melodies.

Comedy of Errors are on an amazing journey; after a near-twenty year hiatus they've released two brilliant neo-prog albums in two years. I can't wait to see what the future holds for this band.

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 Fanfare & Fantasy by COMEDY OF ERRORS album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.13 | 353 ratings

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Fanfare & Fantasy
Comedy Of Errors Neo-Prog

Review by M27Barney

4 stars I took a punt on this, I added it to my wish list for Solstice after doing a symphonic prog top CD's for 2013 - and this one looked promising. So I listened , and Yeah - for a debut listen for me this CD REALLY appealed to me. I like the singing and the lyrical content (which is unusual for me as of late) but the sort of feeling the CD had (somebody called it "dad Prog", because of it's feel-good essence?). Anyway, I can see how those who like edgy, and more avant-garde stuff would REALLY HATE THIS! However, it's appeal was evident from spin one for me, as it's basis is surely Genesis/Yes/ELP/Camel from the early seventies mixed with a more modern neo-prog element. Don't get me wrong - this band is not a tribute band of any-kind, they manage to sort of merge several influences to create very pleasant catchy-prog! Track's 2 and 9 are the best I think but the CD has an overall consistency that is refreshing. There are No "Skip-button" moments with this CD. It has some very fine Guitar solos in several styles. It also has nice keyboards (especially organ and mellotron/string synth). It has an anti- religious track (The Cause) with thought provoking lyrics (take-note Mr Morse)! I think that this may be a band that are going places (musically that is) - I hope that they are more adventurous with their next release and produce the pomposity that Pallas would have done if the record company would have allowed it!!! I can't give it the full five stars because too many tracks have a fade-out (and no EPIC) and I don't like that - FINISH TRACKS OFF don't fade them away it's far too popish !!! So lads if you read this, brush off the mellotron and pomposity power chords and get writing that epic that takes the symphonic prog scene by the scruff of the neck and shakes it to it's foundations!!

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 Fanfare & Fantasy by COMEDY OF ERRORS album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.13 | 353 ratings

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Fanfare & Fantasy
Comedy Of Errors Neo-Prog

Review by lazland
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I purchased this early last year, mainly because some of the reviewers I most respected on the site were positively raving about it, and compared this Scottish outfit to a certain Mr Dick era Marillion. However, owing to a combination of factors, it found itself after a couple of listens consigned to the cd shelf, not to be heard again until the last week, or so. I picked it up again to remind myself of the reason it went away, unreviewed.

Firstly, let me say I do not really get the Marillion comparison. Indeed, on parts of the (overly) lengthy opener, Fanfare for the Broken Hearted, Joe Cairney reminds me far more of Ian Broudie, he of Lightning Seeds fame, and this is not meant disrespectfully, either. For most of the remainder, the Pendragon influence is so abundant, I had to remind myself that I hadn't put on an old copy of The Jewel or Kowtow by mistake.The opener reminds me as to one of the main reasons this cd was put back on the shelf. It is well played, suitably moody, and bombastic in parts, but awfully formulaic as well.

Something She Said wears its early 70's influences on its sleeves, and is noteworthy for Banks-esque keys a la Trespass, but also, and mainly, a rather beautiful lead guitar by Mark Spalding. My interest began to be slightly more piqued by this track, because it did rather take me back to those halcyon days in the 1980's when first hearing Pendragon and IQ.

Indeed, that is really what I take from the remainder of the album. It is most clearly a work of passion, well performed, and well produced, from a band who take as their lead the artists we now call neo-prog, but were, at the time, merely at the vanguard of a prog rock revival. I was there, and loved every second of it. What I feel with Comedy of Errors is that they have merely put out better produced stuff, not surprisingly given the 30 year gap, but there is absolutely nothing here which inspires or moves me. It is neo prog by numbers, albeit well filled in numbers. Take The Cause, a track which opens with huge promise lyrically and musically with a heavy hint of Celtic imagination and atmosphere, which, sadly, descends into something that can only be described as the noise of a band trying to out Trespass Trespass. When that passage morphs into a gorgeous lead guitar burst, I really found myself wishing as to what this band would sound like as a truly original outfit, because the nucleus is most certainly there, and this track proves it. Oh well, it took Pendragon a good three albums, I suppose.

Back on the shelf, I am afraid. Three stars for this, a perfectly good album, which you will find yourself thoroughly enjoying when playing, but a masterpiece? An album which is going to take the genre to ever new heights? No, not a bit of it.

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 Fanfare & Fantasy by COMEDY OF ERRORS album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.13 | 353 ratings

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Fanfare & Fantasy
Comedy Of Errors Neo-Prog

Review by Progrussia

4 stars Fanfare and Fantasy is a rare case when an album that is more sprawling than its predecessor (Disobey, which is not half bad either) is even catchier and more immediate. Songs are longer (half are over 8 minutes long), but so are the solos and melodic hooks. Comedy of Errors brings nothing new to neo-prog, though it has a powerful and punchy production, and treads the familiar genre grounds - the broken heart romantic, the whimsical and politically indignant, the pompous balladry and the Celtic touches (the band is from Scotland). But the lads deliver their stuff with such energy and conviction (if not exactly fastness and brevity), that its infectious.

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 Disobey by COMEDY OF ERRORS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.90 | 207 ratings

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Disobey
Comedy Of Errors Neo-Prog

Review by jmeadow

5 stars Comedy of Error's debut album is a great, great record. This is an album for grown-ups, an introspective and emotionally honest reflection on opportunities foregone, aging, love won and lost. The music is fantastic and the album also contains some of the most effective and effecting lyrics I've ever heard.

The opening track Disobey is a searing and defiant take on the unfulfilled promise of lives wasted through non-jobs, dead end jobs and no jobs, set against fittingly hard but melodic prog music: 'This evening Mr Palmer called, with his gold gilt calling card/He said he'd like to meet you, because he thinks you could be had/ BUT remember telling stories, and remember playing games/And remember falling for falling in love, when you know she's never ever ever, ever coming back again/Disobey'.

The real masterpiece of the album is the four song sequence The Student Prince. Ok, this certainly has echoes of Genesis's Foxtrot and Marillion's Misplaced Childhood, but if you're going to lean on the past, why not lean on the best?

The Student Prince is a poetic reflection on the disappointment of a life that hasn't turned out as hoped (And what are you trying to say with your life? Who is it you impress? One day will be now tomorrow, so we can't just rehearse/I can't see how the world will know you, and who would want to? When you don't try). But, like the title track, this song sequence is defiant and ultimately triumphant. And all set to some truly beautiful, enigmatic prog music.

For me, this brilliant album is right up there with Marillion's Misplaced Childhood as one of the very best neo-prog records. Absolutely essential.

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 Fanfare & Fantasy by COMEDY OF ERRORS album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.13 | 353 ratings

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Fanfare & Fantasy
Comedy Of Errors Neo-Prog

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars An excellent album!

With their return in 2011 with "Disobey" I really got interested in Comedy of Errors, a band from the United Kingdom who saw the light back in the 80s, and came from the ashes a couple of years ago creating excellent music, neo-prog at its best. That's why in this 2013 I got interested once again in their new production, entitled "Fanfare & Fantasy", which I will review right away. If you like symphonic or neo prog with cool concepts, then you will enjoy this 9-track album that has a total of 66 minutes.

It kicks off softly with "Fanfare for the Broken Hearted" a song that by the way, can work as a hymn for people who has had a experience like this (broken heart) recently. The first seconds are just words but little by little the instruments enter and the music is beginning to build up structures. Of course, the work of keyboards is primordial here, creating the nuances and atmospheres that are brightly accompanied by guitars and Joe Cairney's great voice. After two minutes drums appear and the music simply flows, creating a very solid piece of progressive rock, which has different episodes, soft passages, emotional ones, faster moments, so it pleases everyone. "Something She Said" continues with this well crafted album, I say this because all the pieces are carefully composed and structured, they were careful with their decisions, that's why the album is so good. In this song the neo prog sound is always evident, but there are some passages where the music might turn more in the vein of the 70s symphonic, mainly due to the great use of keyboards. Worth mentioning that the songs are great with or without vocals, I love Cairney's voice, but I also love the instrumental passages.

"In a Lilfetime" begins with acoustic guitar in a soft way, then little by little keyboards and guitars join, and after 40 seconds the voice does the same along with the bass and after a minute and a half the music changes and becomes rockier, catchier without a doubt, but pretty cool. "Going for a Song" starts very charming, with a delicate sound, but a minute later the music changes, becoming vertiginous and with much more punch, a neo prog track in the wide sense of the genre. So here you will have almost 9 minutes of excellent music, showing off the compositional skills of the band. This might be one of my favorite tracks here.

"Merry Dance" is shorter but exquisite as well, here I love the guitar sound and how all the musicians gather and create a solid structure, whose main "riffs" are easy to remember; the drums are also great, as well as the keyboards as background. The following one is "The Cause" which has a somber 5-second start, and then it vanishes and a brand new passage begins with acoustic guitar and keyboards, so little by little the song flows and progresses, creating emotional moments in which the voice sounds louder, touching our nerves. But later, the music is faster, the emotions increase, one can feel powerful, like wanting to go out and run, run out from our cages, and this is how I feel due to the great performance in this song, especially keyboards and guitars.

"Time's Motet and Galliard" has a long keyboard start, and after two minutes the music changes a little bit but remains with the same essence. Actually, this song is clearly divided in two parts, the first one I assume is the instrumental, while the second begins just before the fifth minute, in the vein of Yes-Wobbler (a wide gap, actually) very symphonic, but soft, never bombastic. "Remembrance" is the shortest track of the album, lasting only 4 minutes. This is a soft song, a ballad-like track that will make you think and have a nice and relaxing time.

On the other hand, "The Answer" is the longest track with 10-minute length, and the final one. This song is simply amazing, wonderful, the best way to finish this excellent album. Here they do have a bombastic beginning, fast sounds, vertiginous moments made by the great keyboards, but here what especially caught my attention was the sound of the bass, the notes/lines the bass man plays are truly great, very suitable for the music. After the first minute the music changes, becoming softer and thoughtful, but a minute later it changes again and the full energy is brought back. But guess what, it slows down again, now with the vocals and the atmospheric keyboards, so here you will have a feast of changes that are the sum of what Comedy of Error's music is about, first class neo-prog.

I loved this album, and now I am struggling to know which of the two recent CoE album Is my favorite, because I also love Disobey. This album is highly recommendable for fans of neo prog and symphonic. My final grade will be 4 stars, almost perfect.

Enjoy it!

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 Fanfare & Fantasy by COMEDY OF ERRORS album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.13 | 353 ratings

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Fanfare & Fantasy
Comedy Of Errors Neo-Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

3 stars I thank Comedy of Errors for some really good music. Though wasn't the record even enough and a pair of bad songs lowered my review to three well decerved stars. The album "Fanfare & Fantasy" from this year is Comedy of Error's second plate and I think they are better than many other neo-bands, a genre I don't use to like very much. The album has a blue artistic cover and the band shows us a long row of long songs to enjoy in our own ways. Sometimes I think this is too sugary and it feels like the singer either hasn't got his own style or I don't like some of his variations. The music has many ingredients I like such as sweaping long melodies and great vocals but it also happens I feel they could have done it more specificly in their own way.

"Times Motet and Galliard" is my favourite here, a calm and lovely tune with a lot of inspiration from the Renaissance and perhaps the Medieval times. Vocals here are also great. "Something she said" is a bombastic masterwork, with instrumental splendor and edge. Three other songs are also more than good: "Fanfare for the Broken Hearted", the calm opener with a great musical space, "The Cause" and "The Answer". The record isn't helped by the miserable "In a lifetime" where the vocals feels like Dream Theater and "Remembrance". Perhaps I don't think Comedy of Errors should do short "radio" songs. I think you can also listen to "Going for a song" or "Merry dance" but with less joy than my recommended tracks. One of the best things with this music is, even if I have complained about it, the vocals. This is my rating on every song:

Times Motet and Galliard (9/10), Something she said(9/10), Fanfare for the broken hearted (7/10), The Cause(7/10), The Answer(7/10) Going for a song(6/10), Merry dance(6/10), Remembrance(4/10) and In a lifetime (4/10)

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 Disobey by COMEDY OF ERRORS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.90 | 207 ratings

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Disobey
Comedy Of Errors Neo-Prog

Review by Progrussia

3 stars Comedy of Errors, suddenly resurfacing after a long hiatus and in a fine form, have an easily recognizable 80s neo prog-new wavish sound, enhanced with arena hard rock (with some guitar heroics) and traces of renaissance and Celtic folk. The focus here is on melody rather than complexity or originality. But this in no way means that the sound is simplistic. There are lots of instrumental details going on behind the beat, and the production is loud and clear making everything audible in a correct listening device.

The drawback is loose structuring, sometimes resulting in a loss of song coherence. Some songs feel like a series of melody fragments, catchy enough and rearranged throughout in a number of ways, but just following one another without a strict structure. This can be seen in the 25-minute 4-part epic, The Student Prince (each part basically is a separate song), which is apparently intended as a sort of magnum opus, but as I've read, was developed for so many years during the band hiatus, that it lost some of coherence. You have to listen to it 10 times, before you can remember the songs well enough to fully play them in your head, which to me is a measure of a great song.

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Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to easy livin for the last updates

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