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AIRLORD

Symphonic Prog • New Zealand


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Airlord biography
Airlord was formed in Wellington in 1976, played the pubs and flew to Australia the following year, recorded an excellent albeit ignored album, "Clockwork Revenge", and disbanded in 1978. The group failed to secure a large New Zealand audience, largely because they performed original material. Airlord had to escape to Australia to earn a decent living, and although they were never a top draw card across the Tasman, their lifespan was a lot longer than had they stayed in New Zealand.

In 1979 after Airlord had disbanded, Steve MacKenzie and Alan Blackburn formed Machine with Tony Jax on drums and Steve Kulak on bass. They released one single in 1981 called "They Destroy Me".

Before Airlord, Steve MacKenzie had teamed up with Reece Kirk to form a duo called Friends. They released two singles, one in 1974 and the other in 1975. Reece had also released a single by himself in 1972.

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3.28 | 24 ratings
Clockwork Revenge
1977

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AIRLORD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Clockwork Revenge by AIRLORD album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.28 | 24 ratings

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Clockwork Revenge
Airlord Symphonic Prog

Review by maryes

4 stars AIRLORD "Clockwork Revenge" provoke in my mind a sensation of happiness... and at the same time of sadness... I can explain ; the happiness is due to the fact that I stay perplexed of how rich the progressive music was in the 70's, when I discover a "lost pearl" like this album and the sadness comes to the fact which on those days was very difficult record an album (due the high cost of vinyl), a fact which made simply disappeared a countless treasures like this... very different of today, by the advent of cd and digtal records process. Aside these lamentations, talking about the disk in question, is a very interesting album, mixing the most varied influences passing through several styles of progressive music. Already in the first track "Clockwork Revenge" you can feel a "taste" of GENESIS ( mainly in the lead vocals ), FRANK ZAPPA ( listen the children's choir ) and a great similarity with the musical lines of YEZDA URFA ( obviously a band which probably they don't know ). In the track 2 "Pictures In A Puddle" in their first and bucolic part reminds me STRAWBS and in a breaf and more heavy passage the band sounds like J. TULL or maybe GENTLE GIANT. The track 3 "Ladies of the Night" seems to me like a FRUPP reminiscence. In the other tracks you can find another influences, like in the track 5 "Out of the Woods" again the J TULL flute and pastoral scenery ( very close to Bennefit phase). In a general way, although this album don't represents none newness, but, is a very good work with beautiful arrangements ! My rate is 4 stars !!!

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 Clockwork Revenge by AIRLORD album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.28 | 24 ratings

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Clockwork Revenge
Airlord Symphonic Prog

Review by sl75

4 stars I'll half-claim this for Australia, since they moved here seeking, if not fame and fortune, at least a somewhat more hospitable environment for their music than they could enjoy in New Zealand, and recorded their entire discography (ie this album) while over here. And it's one of the best albums to come out of the local scene - easily the best of the small handful of local releases in the symphonic subgenre. Yes, I can also hear the very strong influence of early 70s Genesis (though with far more prominent guitars, and somewhat lower profile keyboards), on which basis other reviewers chide them for a lack of originality. Well, even if one does take strong cues from another established band, writing an effective nine-minute symphonic mini-epic is still a very different proposition from writing an effective three-minute three-chord garage rocker - an undeniably high level of musicianship and imagination is still required. The bottom line is every song on this album is an excellent composition, whoever wrote them and however strong their influences. Hey, it's better than the album the real Genesis put out that year! The opening title track stands out for it's uber-theatricality and hyperactivity - it's disconcerting on first listen, but an effective introduction that immediately marks out the band for their skill and ambition. Following up with the initially more pastoral "Pictures In A Puddle" is a good choice.

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 Clockwork Revenge by AIRLORD album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.28 | 24 ratings

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Clockwork Revenge
Airlord Symphonic Prog

Review by topographicbroadways

4 stars There seems to be a lot of 'Genesis Clone' accusations aimed at this album. Though i can see where they are coming from to hold it against such a strong album is quite ridiculous. At times the Genesis influence is quite clear, such as the comedy vocals at the beginning of the opening track Clockwork Revenge. The vocals in Pictures of a Puddle have a very Phil Collins style about them, in both the sound of the voices and style of the harmonies. Both of these opening tracks are very strong and put the album off to a great start, with the heavy rock finale to the opener, and a distinct folk influence to Pictures of a Puddle.

In my opinion the albums albums finest piece is Ladies Of The Night, which features one of the finest guitar solo moments that deserves to be heard by any fan of Prog music and Rock guitar, aswell as memorable atmospheric keyboard and vocal performances.

The other songs on the album feature fairly simple arrangements but very atmospheric playing, Earthbound Pilgrim and Out Of The Woods bring back the acoustic folk influence with strong vocal harmonies accompanied by ambient guitar sounds.

Airlord on this album produce a fairly traditional Symphonic sound with an extra spark with the feature of 2 Electric guitars which gives the songs a heavier feel. The Guitar playing gives the album some of it's best moments especially the solos found in Ladies of the Night and Out Of The Woods.

This effort shows Airlord are perhaps the great forgotten symphonic band, producing only one album in 1977 they seemed to release a masterpiece into a scene that no longer existed. This album can easily stand up to the better known classics of the era and it's unfortunate lack of production value is only a minor flaw in a fantastic piece of Symphonic Prog.

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 Clockwork Revenge by AIRLORD album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.28 | 24 ratings

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Clockwork Revenge
Airlord Symphonic Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

2 stars New Zealand has not produced many progressive rock bands. It is a kind of an oddity on our beloved planet. And I am not meaning this in a negative way.

Airlord released their one and only album in 1977. It did not become a commercial success and it is truly an obscure album. Partly because of the quality of the music and partly of the lack of commercial success.

The music here is pretty much similar to Genesis, the Peter Gabriel era. But there is also a lot of folk-rock, the 1970s era rock and blues connotations here. The music is heavier than Genesis, that's for sure. The quality is pretty OK. The title track is the strongest track with it's clear references to Peter Gabriel and Genesis. The rest of the material is pretty anonyme rock with blues and folk-rock influences.

This album does not capture my attention at all. I do not find anything really bad about it. It is just an album which falls to the bottom of the list of many, many high quality albums in this genre. 2 or 3 stars ? I give it two stars just because I am not in any way captivated by this album.

2 stars

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 Clockwork Revenge by AIRLORD album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.28 | 24 ratings

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Clockwork Revenge
Airlord Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Airlord is an unnoticed band from New Zeeland who release only one album in 1977 named Clockwork revange. The music of this unknown band is Genesis orientated, quite good in places but not outstanding. They play uptempo with nice arrangements , even the voice of the main singer is almost one on one with Peter Gabriel. Some pieces worth mentioning as good, like the opening track Clockwork Revenge, the voice here is an odd one , sounding like a clown , but not irritating to my ears and the longest from here Ladies Of The Night, the rest are so so, not really bad but not special either. So if you want to discover some bands from the other side of the earth try Airlord, a band that didn't make it in music for some reasons and remain an obscure band from the late '70's, but, with all that worth some spins from time to time. 3 stars good but non essential.

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 Clockwork Revenge by AIRLORD album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.28 | 24 ratings

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Clockwork Revenge
Airlord Symphonic Prog

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars What can I say. Airlord is a total Genesis Peter Gabriel era clone. This doesnīt make them bad though. Just unoriginal. The cloning is down to the lead singer sounding like Peter Gabriel. Or almost! Because he is a bit out there if you ask me. Try and imagine Peter Gabriel on amphetamine singing the Robbing Hood part of the Battle of Epping Forest on double speed after inhaling a baloon full of helium. This is how he sounds in the first song. Itīs not that exagerrated in the other songs though. All songs sound like Genesis though there are no mistaking.

The sound quality is ok without being impressive. Typical second division prog bands from the seventies.

Airlord is for Genesis what Druid and Starcastle is for Yes. Whics means that they are good imitations of the original, but because of that they never rise above the mediocre both in terms of quality and longivity.

The conclusion is 3 stars and itīs a small 3 star rating. It could have been 2 stars if my mood had been bad today. So as you can imagine Iīm not too impressed.

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 Clockwork Revenge by AIRLORD album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.28 | 24 ratings

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Clockwork Revenge
Airlord Symphonic Prog

Review by Joolz
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A great benefit of the internet is that many long lost records are being (re)discovered. This little gem is from an antipodean band who would likely have received no exposure in the northern lattitudes. Which is a shame because their only album is of great interest to those who like the Genesis side of 70s Prog, awash with memorable melodies, inventive arrangements and a high standard of musicianship. The sound is warm and friendly in typically 70s fashion, well produced but not stifling the natural flow of ideas.

There seems to be two main singing voices, one of whom sounds like an early Peter Gabriel on steroids, while the other is a plummy tenor akin to Ray Thomas. Fortunately, the latter is the more prominent, and with some excellent rich high harmonies the Moody Blues comparison is quite striking, nowhere more than the superb Out Of The Woods. Guitars dominate the instrumentation, often with acoustic varieties providing excellent rhythmic support. Both guitarists get the chance to shine with some excellent lead runs and solos, though just occasionally a little extra spark of inspiration would come in handy. Keyboards largely fulfill a background role, mostly filling in the gaps, but the rhythm section is very good and the bass is especially inventive and forward in the mix.

The standout songs are also the two longest - Ladies Of The Night and Out Of The Woods - each succeeding in combining wonderful songwriting with changeable 'symphonic' arrangements and scintillating rock-guitar work-outs. A couple of masterpieces there, and the rest of the album isn't far behind, except perhaps for the story-telling opening track which tries much too hard to recreate the battle of Epping Forest with overblown vocal theatrics! The finale (You Might Even Be) returns to a similar style but is more successful in marrying the theatrics with a strong sense of melody.

Despite the Gabriel-like vocals, this is no Genesis clone but an interesting, superior venture into their territory, quite at home with the likes of Fantasy or England. Had it been produced five years earlier it may well have made an impact. In retrospect, a terrific album that will appeal to lovers of Classic Prog and well worth the effort to seek it out.

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 Clockwork Revenge by AIRLORD album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.28 | 24 ratings

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Clockwork Revenge
Airlord Symphonic Prog

Review by Carl floyd fan
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Sometimes there is a reason certian albums remain obscure while others are being labeled as gems. The reason this album remains an unknown is it simply is not very good. It is far to similar to genesis and came into the game way to late (1977) when music was in sore need of originality. The lyrics aren't theatrical, just plain goofy. They really ruined the mood for me on multiple occasions and were far to awkward.

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 Clockwork Revenge by AIRLORD album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.28 | 24 ratings

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Clockwork Revenge
Airlord Symphonic Prog

Review by Progbear
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Make no mistake, this New Zealand group (recording in Australia) were clearly influenced by Genesis on their one and only album, CLOCKWORK REVENGE. In fact, with the raw twin-guitar attack, the electronic combo-organ and the stripped-down production, they almost sound like a garage-rock version of Genesis. The campy, crazed title-track-with lyrics about an army of wind-up dolls attacking an old lady-is practically Genesis meets Pavlov's Dog with roaring hard rock guitar and manic, tremulous vocals. The rest of the album isn't quite so out-of-control, but maintains an air of theatricality in the multiple voices (both guitarists sing) and some of the darker subject matter in the lyrics (particularly the harrowing, Mellotron-laced "Pictures In A Puddle").

Not enough originality to make this a must-own, but for fans of this type of music, this is one of the better items in this style.

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 Clockwork Revenge by AIRLORD album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.28 | 24 ratings

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Clockwork Revenge
Airlord Symphonic Prog

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is progrock from Wilmington, New Zealand, the other end of the world for us Dutchmen! This five-piece band that was rooted in '76 and disbanded in '78 has delivered an amazing album. 1 - Clockwork revenge This is an impressive opener that has a fluent rhythm, sensational synthesizer flights, great duo-guitarwork (both guitarplayers has their own sound) and very distinctive duo- vocals (one sound as 'the Very Down Under nephew of Peter Gabriel). The final part includes a powerful, very biting guitar solo. 2 - Pictures in a puddle The first part is very mellow with emotional vocals, soaring keyboards and acoustic rhythm- guitar, then a mid-tempo featuring fiery electric guitar and beautiful choir-Mellotron drops. 3 - Ladies of the night It opens with a slow rhythm and a bit folky climate, then lots of shifting moods including majestic choir-Mellotron waves and fiery and biting, wah-wah drenched guitar soli. The excellent duo vocals give an extra dimension to the music, very disctinctive! 4 - Earthborn pilgrim This is a mellow song with twanging guitars, good vocals and in the end a bluesrock inspired guitar solo. 5 - Out of the woods A very alternating track that ranges from bluesy to mid-tempo delivering a splendid build- up guitarsolo, from sensitive to howling and biting, accompanied by lush organ waves. 6 - Is it such a dream? Here the string-ensemble and a sensitive guitar perfectly blend, in the end there's a biting electric guitar solo. 7 - You might even be Another very alternating track, the vocals reminds me of the early Peter Gabriel ("Nursery cryme"-era), the duo-guitarplay is very strong, supported by a dynamic rhythm-section. The final part contains the sound of many 'laughs', this emphasizes the original approach from Airlord. THIS BAND HAS DELIVERED A GREAT, VERY UNIQUE ALBUM!


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