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GABRIEL BONDAGE

Crossover Prog • United States


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Gabriel Bondage biography
Gabriel Bondage originated from Morton Grove, Illinois, USA around 1973 and continued playing up to 1984. Bands members also had various other side projects up until 1984.Their music can be best described as spacey, great Heavy Prog like organ and keyboard work and along with their UK neighbors, Gravy Train, delivered an underlying religious theme to their music. Most sources show the band formed in 1973 and their first album Angel Dust was in released in 1975. This is seen my many to be their more inferior work. Their follow up Another Trip To Earth was released in 1977 to wider acclaim. They developed quite a strong cult following in the States especially live but sadly never released any other studio albums. The good news is they have reformed and are working on new material, some of which is available on their facebook and myspace websites.

Notable personnel over the years are Ron Schwartz( Piano, Organ & Synths), Bill Wiswiewski( Vocals, Sax & Clarinet), Larry Biernacki( Vocals & Guitar), Tony Stram ( Vocals & Bass), Rex Bundy( Lead vocals,Guitar, Drums & Piano)

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Angel Dust / Another Trip To EarthAngel Dust / Another Trip To Earth
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Bullseye
Audio CD$21.99
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GABRIEL BONDAGE discography


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

2.51 | 3 ratings
Angel Dust
1975
2.15 | 4 ratings
Another Trip To Earth
1977

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GABRIEL BONDAGE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Angel Dust by GABRIEL BONDAGE album cover Studio Album, 1975
2.51 | 3 ratings

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Angel Dust
Gabriel Bondage Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

2 stars Chicago-based religious-inclined (and not necessarilly Xian) Art Rock band, formed in 1973.The core of the group was multi-instrumentalists and vocalists Rex Bundy and Tony Stram, guitarist Larry Biernacki and flutist/sax player/singer Bill Wisniewski.For their first album they were supported by drummer Tony Antinarelli, keyboardist/guitarist Conrad Green and keyboardist Ken Sadjak.''Angel dust'' was recorded at the Castle Studios in Chicago with Zaido Cruz helping out on backing vocals, while most of the material was written by Rex Bundy.It was released in 1975 on the obscure US label Dharma Records.

With a fair interest in religious themes and plenty of biblical references in the lyrics, Gabriel Bondage produced a rather soft Progressive Rock with commercial leanings, a bit similar to Canadians KLAATU.The opening ''Babylon'' has a dramatic BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST/VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR atmosphere, led by grandiose keyboard textures and melancholic sax playing by Wisniewski, followed by the folky ''Pyramid'' and its interesting flute parts combined with Bundy's acoustic guitars.''You and the Wind'' is a laid-back but rather uninteresting ballad in a STYX vein with mandolin and piano in evidence, while the acoustic workouts continue with the accesible ''Take My Eyes'', that has a Gospel approach during the chorus, led by the Christian-inspired lyrics, its orchestral arrangement and the good guitar solo.Same mood with the first track of the flipside, as ''Ladies and Gentlemen'' has a calm atmosphere, characterized by the mellow piano lines, the multi-vocal harmonies and the acoustic textures.With the long ''Bondage'' the group manages to skip into more YES/VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR-influenced territories with a nice opening instrumental part full of complex guitars and saxes, which will show up again later after an unecessary break.Good instrumental ideas, accompanied by synths and a solid rhythm section, and expressive vocals proove that this piece is one of the best ever written by the band.The folky inspirations return with the flute/mandolin-driven ''Island'' and its repetitive atmophere, while the closing ''Sing me a song'' has again a definite BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST ballad-esque approach with melodic saxes and keyboards next to a sensitive voice.

The two long tracks of ''Angel dust'' along with the nice closing ballad show that Gabriel Bondage were able to produce something really good.However the album is mainly dominated by the rural influences and the music is mostly too soft for its own good.I would recommend this to starving collectors of Progressive Rock or someone wanting to enter the prog realm in a safe mode...2.5 stars.

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 Angel Dust by GABRIEL BONDAGE album cover Studio Album, 1975
2.51 | 3 ratings

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Angel Dust
Gabriel Bondage Crossover Prog

Review by seventhsojourn
Special Collaborator RPI

3 stars Having delved briefly into the history it seems Gabriel Bondage was a Chicago-based outfit, active between the years 1973-81, that formed when lead singer Rex Bundy recruited bassist Tony Stram from a local Pink Floyd tribute band. In their early days they supported Rush and a couple of their personnel had also played with future members of Chicago. They actually cite Chicago as one of their main influences along with the likes of Genesis and ELP but just don't expect anything like that here. Their own music is very folksy, mainstream even, and personally I think they sound more like a soft-prog Crosby, Stills & Nash than anything.

'Angel Dust' was the first of their two albums in the mid-seventies, the second being 'Another Trip To Earth' which was released in three different colours of vinyl. A third album was planned but had to be shelved when the Dharma label folded and, in spite of Dharma's collapse, the label refused a buy-out of the band's contract by Columbia. Both albums hint at a blending of the sacred and the profane with the colloquial references to drugs in their titles and the religious subject matter of some of the lyrics.

For example 'Babylon' is a song that to me portrays the deterioration in man's character with the Babylon of Revelation serving as a symbol of the US. The opening bars remind me of 'Sandman' by America (I was sad to hear that Dan Peek had died at the age of 60 in July this year) except it soon gets spacey with wind effects, saxophone and droning synthesizer. It has a majestic air that's filled with some rather overwrought vocals, and these give it a theatrical dimension that suits the theme of human perspective set against that of a supernatural power.

'You And The Wind' is vaguely reminiscent of Simon & Garfunkel's 'Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme' complete with mandolin, harpsichord and flute, while 'Ladies And Gentlemen' progresses from its subdued CSN beginnings of acoustic guitar and spidery flute to surging Mellotron that's perhaps in imitation of The Moody Blues. These guys seem to have been aiming for some kind of ambitious English-American crossbreed but there's not quite the former's distinctive harmonies or the latter's cosmicism, nice though the music is.

The West Coast spirit is completely abandoned on the free-roaming terror of 'Bondage', a chaotic-sounding piece and the only track that lives up to the kind of PCP-induced nightmare hinted at in the album title. It sounds like a battle being fought deep in the psyche and involving malevolent sax and aggressive riffs. Apart from this track 'Angel Dust' isn't exactly overburdened with progressive moments and the religious nature of several songs may put some listeners off. However if you're looking for music that inhabits a melodic world somewhere between prog rock and folksy West Coast then the fat lady has well and truly sung.

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 Another Trip To Earth by GABRIEL BONDAGE album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.15 | 4 ratings

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Another Trip To Earth
Gabriel Bondage Crossover Prog

Review by Progfan97402

2 stars Gabriel Bondage was a band from Chicago that released two albums on the Dharma label. 1977's Another Trip to Earth was their second (and final) album. This was made available on colored vinyl (blue, red, or white, depending on what version you have). It's became a minor collector's item, but hasn't shot through the roof, price-wise.

Mostly this album is worthy for it's opening cut, "Take it on a Dare". This is a truly great, full-on prog number, lots of great use of guitar and synth. It sounds like a more proggy version of their local contemporaries, Styx. Even the vocals sounds a lot like James Young. But the band quickly dropped prog with mixture of country and soft rock, in a not most appealing fashion either. "Long Time"? A country ballad with steel guitar? What on Earth? Most of these other songs might not have the country overtones, but nothing all that great either. "Fallen Angels" is the final piece and at least they try to go back to prog territory, but not as successfully as "Take it on a Dare".

Personally, I find the folky Angel Dust to be the better album. Basically just get Another Trip to Earth for "Take it on a Dare".

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