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CASINO

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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For those of you unaware of the CASINO project, it features a superb line-up including Geoff MANN (vocals), Clive NOLAN (keyboards), Sylvain GOUVERNAIRE from IRIS (guitar), and Karl GROOM (guitar). "Casino" is a classic concept album which was recorded by some of the top Brit-prog artists in the early Nineties. All the lead passages are very crisply executed, with large amounts of solos and melodic interludes. It's an allegory about a spiritual being who sacrifices himself to deliver those in bondage to gambling at a casino, set over a really tasty keyboard heavy neo-prog back drop. The music is full neo prog with thick keyboards that should be enjoyed by fans of PENDRAGON, IQ, ARENA, SHADOWLAND and GALAHAD. TO GAMBLING AT A CASINO!!!

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CASINO discography


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3.63 | 57 ratings
Casino
1992

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CASINO Reviews


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 Casino by CASINO album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.63 | 57 ratings

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Casino
Casino Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars One of Geoff Mann's final project sees him team up with Clive Nolan and a stellar range of musicians from other neo-prog groups in order to produce a one-off concept album. The story is essentially a sermon, getting across the basic ideas of Christianity as Mann (who was a Church of England vicar when not fronting prog bands!) understood it.

The story is put across through the use of an allegory in which the world is a great big casino, and we're all punters who are doomed to lose if we keep playing long enough - but the mysterious Stranger comes to visit and suggests that there may be a world outside the casino, which we could all enjoy if we just put down our cards and follow him. Fairly standard stuff, but the story is told with a greater degree of humour and wit than a lot of Christian rock so it doesn't come across nearly as preachy as it might have done. In fact, I'd say this album is Mann's greatest accomplishment as a frontman and a lyricist, conveying the religious ideas which were important to him in a compelling and entertaining way which is enjoyable to listen to even if (like me) you don't share his religious convictions and aren't open to being persuaded otherwise.

However, musically speaking I find the album's a little lacking. The Steve Rothery-esque presence of Arrakeen's Sylvian Gouvernaire is beneficial, but slightly underused, whilst Clive Nolan's keyboards are prominent and, unfortunately, more than a little cheesy and unoriginal. On the whole, I'd agree with psarros that the overall sound is like a mixture between the occasionally schmaltzy Shadowland and Mann-era Twelfth Night.

On the whole, I'd say this album is a fairly average neo-prog album which claws out an extra star for itself thanks to an inspired vocal and lyrical performance from Geoff Mann. As mentioned, Mann would cash in his chips with the great croupier in the sky shortly after completing this project, and whilst I wouldn't say he hit jackpot with it, I'd say if you're into his vocal style you'll find Casino a sure bet.

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 Casino by CASINO album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.63 | 57 ratings

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Casino
Casino Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Casino were a one-shot project formed by members of the UK Neo Prog scene.Led by Twelfth- Night singer Geoff Mann and Shadowland/Pendragon keyboardist Clive Nolan,the band included also Arrakeen's guitarist Sylvain Gouvernaire,Shadowland's bassist Karl Groom,Pallas' keyboardist Mike Stobbie,Twelfth Night's drummer Brian Devoil,Threshold's bassist Jon Jeary with also some help from various guests.The eponymous album saw the light in 1992.

The style actually recalls a lot of SHADOWLAND and TWELFTH NIGHT music.Take the grandiosity of SHADOWLAND's albums,mix it with the atmosphere and nerve of TWELFTH NIGHT circa-Fact and Fiction and you are really into it.Long tracks with bombastic synths,even some spacey passages here and there,big time keyboard soloing and a Geoff Mann being a highlight behind the microphone,delivering both angry and sweet vocal lines.The guitar work is a bit on the background,quite sensational though in the familiar style of Gouvernaire.Symphonic influences also pop out here and there in a dreamy version at the lighter moments.The compositions are not overly complex,they are more based in atmosphere,grandiosity and the impressive vocal spectrum of Mann without being that accesible.

Noone knows really if this was a super-group to stay,as''Casino'' was one of Geoff Mann's last recordings,he sadly passed away the next year due to cancer.Yet this album still remains a nice work of sophisticated Neo Prog and a top in both Mann's and Nolan's discography.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 Casino by CASINO album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.63 | 57 ratings

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Casino
Casino Neo-Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars Play on!

Casino is a kind of "super group" of Neo-Progressive Rock with members better known from bands like Arena, Pendragon, Threshold, Twelfth Night and Pallas. My CD version of this sole album by Casino - which was hard to find and very expensive - has a sticker on the front that mentions all these bands. Pretty much the entire elite of Neo-Prog right there! Surprisingly, Shadowland is not mentioned which might have been an even more relevant reference point considering that both Clive Nolan and Karl Groom are part of both Shadowland and Casino and also considering that the Casino album must have been made around the same time as Shadowland's Ring Of Roses (both albums being released in 1992) while neither Arena nor Threshold had released anything yet at that point.

Nolan is a man with many different talents and many different musical projects in which he can make use of them. Casino is one such project and here Nolan provides the music and lets Geoff Mann handle the lyrics and vocals. There is a concept behind the album revolving around gambling and addiction, it is quite brilliant! Both the subject matter and the actual music is dark and in that sense, and really only in that sense, similar to Arena, the hard edged sound of that future band is completely absent here. The music of Casino actually reminds me a bit more of Pink Floyd than of many Neo-Prog bands. The dark mood reminds me of the great Animals album. Also, you will not find any overly sing-a-long-friendly choruses here like in many of Shadowland's songs, for example.

Casino consists of only six tracks, four of which are over ten minutes in length. Several tracks include extended "soundscapes" with pieces of conversation, sampled sounds of slot machines, etc. further reminding me of Pink Floyd. Some of these bridge passages are perhaps slightly too long, but they do help to tell the story and set the mood. The only song here that I don't really like is Stranger which sticks out like The Proles on Rick Wakeman's 1984 album to which it even bears a slight resemblance in style! This song doesn't really fit in on the album.

Despite some minor flaws, Casino tells a quite intelligent story by quite intelligent means. Like all of Clive Nolan's projects Casino is a first-class production; very well made and sonically faultless. Also, like most other Nolan projects it tends to grow on you with each listen. I used to rate this with three stars, but over a long period of time I have returned to this album many times and at some point I decided to raise the rating to four stars.

Highly recommended!

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 Casino by CASINO album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.63 | 57 ratings

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Casino Neo-Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Casino is a magnificent album. A perfect combination of great musicanship and insightful lyrics. This project led by Geoff Mann (vocals, Twelfth Night) and Clive Nolan (Keyboards, Pendragon, Arena) was recorded in 1992 and had a stellar backing band that includes such brilliant musicians as Sylvain Gouvernaire (from the legendary french neo proggers Arrakeen), Brian Devoil (Twelfth Night) and Karl Groom (of the prog metal Threshold). Unfortunatly Mann would die from cancer a little after this album was recorded ending any chances of a follow up. However, he did left a great CD before he was gone.

This is a concept album in which he sees the struggles of life through the eyes of a man consumed by the vice of gambling. Like he did in Twelfth Night, his lyrics are deep, thoughtful and often disturbing. His vocals are perfect for this kind of music and with the help of such great player as Nolan, he produces a tapestry of emotions and pictures. Nolan is responsible for some fine prog music since the 90´s and this is no exception. His songwriting skills are a perfect match for Mann´s words. Even if you´re not the kind to follow concepts, the music is still enjoyable and moving. And with a team of such gifted musciains, how could they go wrong? The right production also helps a lot.

It is a pity that this album never receiveived the attention it deserved at the time (one of the worst possible years for releasing prog music). But I´m glad to see that it stood well the test of time and it´s a fine document of the genious of both Geoff Mann and Clive Nolan. You should hear on its entirely to get the whole message. And it´s a must have for any neo prog fan or anyone who likes to listen to good music with some really meaningful words that goes with it. Highly recommended

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 Casino by CASINO album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.63 | 57 ratings

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Casino
Casino Neo-Prog

Review by progrules
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Years ago I bought some samplers of the late SI, a Dutch progressive label who tried to promote progressive music in the early nineties. Their first sampler contained a song of this album, I thought it was one of the better tracks on the sampler and when I saw the album a while later in the CD-store I noticed it was considered the best progressive album of 1992. So I thought, well that can't be bad, let's take it. After a few spins at home I was somewhat impressed by the whole thing. It was a conceptalbum about a gambling addict in a casino. The most weird aspect of it was that the band (which was actually a sort of project) was also called Casino as well as the album.

But anyway it was a nice one to listen to, if I played it I had to hear it all because of the concept idea. And every time it was a joy, so that's logically 4 stars

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 Casino by CASINO album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.63 | 57 ratings

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Casino Neo-Prog

Review by Hét LICHAAM

3 stars It's not a concept album as we know in these days. It's a long way from Ayreon, Queensrÿche even Iron Maiden (sevent son). But I like it. Always remember the time when it was recorded. I've got some problems with the number called Stranger. The singing is like a whale in heat. But overal it's a nice album, and yes, you will hear some keyboards. Like the others said, it is a pitty that Geoff Mann past away. The man had a vision about music.

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 Casino by CASINO album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.63 | 57 ratings

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Casino Neo-Prog

Review by tpek

1 stars I don't like this record at all. Maybe neo-prog is not for my taste, but this record lacks some sort of innovativity and freshness. First song is ok (even though the drum work is _awful_) but after that it just gets boring... and yes, there is one song going in 7/8 (at least for one part), and of course with a very great and overused musical idea: "I have this riff in 4/4, but we can take one eight from the end of every bar so it will become 7/8 - which is more progressive than my left breast hair, which talks to me at night ." Well, the song is called Crap, so what do you except?

Oh, excuse me, I forgot the word 'game' from the song title. Crap game."Crap. Game.

Maybe Clive Nolan & co. should take some acid?

ps. Jesus Christ - I just realised this album was released in 1992, but the sounds are straight from a cheesy, plastic mid-80's pop album. Pure awfulness.

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 Casino by CASINO album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.63 | 57 ratings

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Casino Neo-Prog

Review by Fishy
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This was meant to be some kind of a reunion of the best line-up of Twelfth Night. The reunion thing didn't work out, only ex-vocalist Geoff Mann and the drummer Brian Devoil turned up for this album. Casino is a concept album written by Clive Nolan (Pendragon, Arena, Strangers on a train) and Geoff Mann who has a great voice sometimes reminding of Peter Hammill. In 1993 Geoff passed away so this is one of the last albums on which he appeared. For years he had been recording rock albums with his bands "A Geoff Mann band" and "The Bond", this album was his long awaited return to the world of progressive rock. Listening to this wonderful album makes you aware that it's a shame the project wasn't able to record a second album. You'll notice influences from Twelfth Night and Marillion. Due to the excellent Gilmourlike guitar playing of Karl Groom, The Wall from Pink Floyd also comes to mind. The other guitarist on the album who's guitar lines do sound even more emotional and melodic, is Sylvain Gouvernaire, known from the French band Arrakeen and Iris. There's also influences from Shadowland and even a bit of Arena but one can expect this as you know Nolan is a key-member of those bands. Throughout the whole album you can hear repetitive percussion and ambient keyboards, a bit like the work of Steve Reich. Maybe this is what makes this album special and original. This is progressive rock as it was meant to be. It progresses from traditional prog rock to a musical adventure with lots of gentle interludes and big outbursts. It needs a few spins till the long album with lots of moods and flavors starts to grow on you. Only "Crap game" and "Stranger" can be played separately, the 5 long epics which are divided in several parts only make sense as part of the album. Once you 've found your way in the concept, you'll discover a very clever and enjoyable prog album. I suppose you could write a book about the subject of the lyrics. The Casino thing could be seen as a symbol for capitalism and the main character could be seen as some kind of Christ who opposes to the system and get thrown out of the casino but maybe everyone hears a different story. One thing is sure : vicar Geoff Mann couldn't do a better statement before he died. And now for the weak spots. Eventhough the album was released in 1992, it suffers from some eighties diseases like predictable bass lines and irritating electronic drums which were frequently used during that era, also the production is sounding rather flat when compared to actual standards. But on the whole, fans of Arena, Shadowland and Twelfth Night should check this one out. Maybe due to the small record label who released the album when it came out, this work of art never earned the recognition it deserved

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 Casino by CASINO album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.63 | 57 ratings

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Casino
Casino Neo-Prog

Review by loserboy
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This is one of my most favorite neo-prog recordings of the '90's. The late Geoff Mann is joined by a host of prog friends making this album larger than life. Obviously one of the biggest influences on this recording comes from the excellent keyboard work of Clive Nolan (PENDRAGON). CASINO deliver some of the tastiest prog created in the '90's and is very original in its own state. This is a true concept-like album focused on the addiction and abuse of gambling and alcohol. In many ways this is Geoff's greatest moment in the recording studio and his lyrics and vocals reach an all time high in my opinion. At times I get a strong MARILLION and PINK FLOYD feel to the recording, but the majority is pure magic and original.

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