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CASTANARC

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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Castanarc biography
Obscure neo-proggers from the UK mid-80's scene, CASTANARC only stuck it out for four albums. The sound is a mixture of GENESIS and YES, but the vocalist sounds so much like John Waite that if you're a fan of his or the BABYS, it can tend to be a distraction. However, the music is more keyboard-oriented and less guitar-dominant than MARILLION, and reminds at times of SAGA. Overall, CASTANARC is a fairly decent neo-prog band, comparable in quality to PALLAS or PENDRAGON and not as good as JADIS. "Journey To The East" is a real cult prog classic and is a great album to sit and listen to.

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  • Peyote Journey to the East, 1984

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Buy CASTANARC Music


Journey to the EastJourney to the East
Kinesis 1997
Audio CD$298.90
$15.72 (used)
This Island Love 7 Inch (7This Island Love 7 Inch (7" Vinyl 45) UK Pyramid 1989
Pyramid
Vinyl$5.78 (used)
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CASTANARC discography


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

3.74 | 30 ratings
Journey to the East
1984
4.05 | 16 ratings
Rude Politics
1988
2.59 | 11 ratings
Burnt Offerings
1988
3.10 | 11 ratings
Little Gods
1989

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

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

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
This Island Love / Heroes
1989

CASTANARC Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Burnt Offerings by CASTANARC album cover Studio Album, 1988
2.59 | 11 ratings

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Burnt Offerings
Castanarc Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

2 stars By the end of 84' Duty and Kirkland left Castanarc and the remaining trio decided to carry on by writing new material.Without any financial income they were forced to perform on jam sessions and in 1986 they signed a new contract with RCA's branch label Cue Rain, which would re-issue ''Journey to the East'' with an extra track.In 1988 a first attempt on re-reaching the public was made through the offering of a limited cassette entitled ''Burnt offerings'', which contained previously unreleased material plus reworked songs.

The familiar style of Castanarc is still present, a dreamy and lyrical Neo Prog with GENESIS and PINK FLOYD influences, although delivered in a much more personal way.The album contains the first ever song written by Holiday and Powell, ''Timespan'', which is pretty similar to late-70's GENESIS with poppy tunes surrounded by theatrical vocals and elaborate breaks.''Taliesin'' is another piece dating from Castanarc's early days, closer to British Folk Rock with sensitive vocals and acoustic guitars along with some surprising violin.The mid-80's tracks, recorded during the group's transitional period, are coming in an ambiental mood with spacey keyboards, expressive narrations and orchestral textures in a vey calm and atmospheric enviroment.The closest piece to Castanarc's debut is the very PENDRAGON-like ''When doves become eagles'', a smooth lyrical song with romantic vocal lines, mellow drums and discreet synthesizers.

The same compilation of songs was reissued on CD ten years later on Khepra Records with an alternative, remix version of the classic track ''Peyote'' from Castanarc's debut (included also in the original cassette) plus two songs in demo versions from the later Castanarc albums, ''From shadows'' and ''The dream''.

This is an album rather serving the scope of re-defining a group returning from its darkest period than a regular work by a band and, if seen as so, it is an interesting, archival effort.Propably an excess to be part of anyone's collection, but lovers of Neo Prog, die-hard Prog archivists and, of course, Castanarc followers will be rewarded by its atmospheric tunes, if purchasing...2.5 stars.

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 Rude Politics by CASTANARC album cover Studio Album, 1988
4.05 | 16 ratings

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Rude Politics
Castanarc Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Castanarc's second album finds their sound evolving significantly over their debut. The major change is in the use of keyboards and synthesisers on the part of David Powell and Steve Beighton, which are often much more in tune with the sounds and textures of synthpop than classic prog, allowing Rick Burns' atmospheric guitar work and the occasional keyboard flourish to keep the neo-prog side of the band's sound going. The end result is an intriguing hybrid sound - soft, calming, even at points romantic - which suggests the sort of combination of prog chops and cutting-edge sounds which would pay off in spades for Porcupine Tree a few short years later. Not for neo-prog purists, but a very interesting album nonetheless.

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 Journey to the East by CASTANARC album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.74 | 30 ratings

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Journey to the East
Castanarc Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars An enchanting release from the first wave of neo-prog, featuring a sound a lot like early Marillion but with a more pronounced Yes influence - particularly when it comes to Mark Holiday's vocals, which include more than a few hints of Jon Anderson's delivery. Paul Ineson rivals Steve Rothery when it comes to long, drawn-out David Gilmour-inspired guitar solos, whilst the keyboard work of David Powell is a constant feature of the album, and is rather charming. Whilst I wouldn't put the album in the top flight of neo-prog releases from the era, it's most of the way there, and they certainly don't deserve the comparative obscurity they seem to have fallen into compared to the likes of Pallas, Solstice and other neo-prog also-rans from the period.

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 Burnt Offerings by CASTANARC album cover Studio Album, 1988
2.59 | 11 ratings

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Burnt Offerings
Castanarc Neo-Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

3 stars This music continues to confuse me since I've get to know it. It's soft neo-prog I suppose (nothing synthy like Pendragon, or dark as Arena), but there's something absolutely unique. Each song is started by... well, intro, ranging from about 10-30 seconds. Directly first one is crazy enough to make me interested in. But music itself is weak. Too shallow to be special and too influences by era from which this albums emerges (oh yeah, I'm another one who hates sound of 80's, so be it then).

3(-), Pleasant melodies, there's no dispute in it, but not much on this release. Maybe their other ones are better.

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 Little Gods  by CASTANARC album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.10 | 11 ratings

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Little Gods
Castanarc Neo-Prog

Review by robbob

3 stars Well, a decent album. Very easy listening songs . Nothing complex here. Good elaborated melodies but to short to make a really artistic evaluation.

Good songs,very melodic and pleasent.

Arrangements are quite good but there is a lack here of strength and emotions, so finally you find a quite boring album

For the ones who like the ligther side of neo prog a good album. For the ones who are searching for simmilar to the most creative and complex bands of the area such as old Marillion,IQ or Pendragon i think they are going to be a little dissapointed.

I don,t know to say if it was good that this one was their last album or not but the time orientation was in the line of light prog...so i wouldn,t expect then a very good next album.

3 stars(2,5 really)

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 Rude Politics by CASTANARC album cover Studio Album, 1988
4.05 | 16 ratings

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Rude Politics
Castanarc Neo-Prog

Review by bensmeel

5 stars I was surprised not to find a review for this album, since it's one of the best albums in progressive rock. A bit Pink Floyd / Porcupine Tree like, but with a very own style. It has a very tranquil atmosphere, with occasional heavier parts. Songs that you can really dream away at without falling asleep. Occasional tribal-like rhythms keep it interesting. I don't know what more to say, except but buy it now!

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 Journey to the East by CASTANARC album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.74 | 30 ratings

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Journey to the East
Castanarc Neo-Prog

Review by loserboy
Prog Reviewer

4 stars CASTANARC's "Journey To The East"" is a real classic and is one of those light hearted progressive rock recordings with highly memorable songs. Standout for me here is the absolutely beautiful soft voice of Mark Holiday who I would say has one of the top voices. CASTANARC are a neo-prog act but never get too synthy for my liking instead delivering a gentle but complex offering which I am sure will please all prog heads. They never get too loud or out of control and keep focus on building vocal harmonies and beautiful sonic architecture. At times I think "Journey..." carries a slight Alan PARSONS touch. "Journey To The East" is a real cult prog classic and is a great album to sit and listen to.

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