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GANDALF'S FIST

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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Gandalf's Fist biography
UK act GANDALF'S FIST is the creative vehicle of duo Luke Severn and Dean Marsh, with varying musicians, compatriots and otherwise like-minded people affecting the proceedings apparently. And while their MySpace site inform that they currently reside in Mordor, Cumbria in England is the home turf of this act. Which may or may not be a contradiction in terms or a specification of the former, depending on point of view.

After five years of wandering to and from the studio and the literary heritage of good, old Tolkien, this creative duo decided it was time to fire up their respective creative engines, and set them to work producing material. The result of this process appeared in the shape of a concept album: The Master and the Monkey.

With their creative enginges still humming in harmony, another project was kicked off right away. And in 2011 Gandalf's Fist had their sophomore production ready, this one called Road to Darkness. What the future holds in store for this creative duo, apart from flogging ridicilous amounts of ale and indulging themselves in Tolkien's fantastic universe yet again, remains to be seen. If enough people like what they have done and perhaps even consider sending some money their way, they may be able to finance even more music in the future. Perhaps even a few ales to go, for recharging their batteries after long, draining studio sessions.

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A Forest of FeyA Forest of Fey
Import
Gandalf's Fist 2014
Audio CD$9.98
Road to DarknessRoad to Darkness
Gandalf's Fist 2012
Audio CD$8.98
$58.94 (used)
A Day in the Life of a Universal WandererA Day in the Life of a Universal Wanderer
Gandalf's Fist 2013
Audio CD$9.98
The Master and the MonkeyThe Master and the Monkey
Gandalf's Fist 2011
Audio CD$10.98
$65.94 (used)
A Day in the Life of a Universal Wanderer by Gandalf's Fist [Music CD]A Day in the Life of a Universal Wanderer by Gandalf's Fist [Music CD]
Gandalf's Fist
Audio CD$24.67


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GANDALF'S FIST discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

GANDALF'S FIST top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.25 | 25 ratings
The Master And The Monkey
2010
3.78 | 67 ratings
Road To Darkness
2011
3.65 | 51 ratings
From A Point Of Existence
2012
4.10 | 65 ratings
A Day in the Life of a Universal Wanderer
2013
4.01 | 76 ratings
A Forest of Fey
2014

GANDALF'S FIST Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

GANDALF'S FIST Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

GANDALF'S FIST Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

GANDALF'S FIST Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.83 | 6 ratings
Emerald Eyes
2011
3.33 | 6 ratings
Stakes At Low Tide
2011
4.22 | 14 ratings
Songs From The Solway
2011
3.32 | 12 ratings
The Wizard's Study
2011
2.00 | 12 ratings
There and Back Again
2012
3.80 | 5 ratings
The Wizard's Study II: Balrog Boogaloo
2012

GANDALF'S FIST Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 A Forest of Fey by GANDALF'S FIST album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.01 | 76 ratings

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A Forest of Fey
Gandalf's Fist Neo-Prog

Review by Rushfan47

5 stars Gandalf's Fist are fast becoming my favourite band, their new album is quite different from the last, but equally great. This one opens with a mother shouting for her child to stay with her and the voice drifts off into the background as the child wanders from the path. The album flows with interludes filling the gaps between the songs which add atmosphere and let the album flow, as with other Gandalf's fist albums its meant to be listened to in one go, which I have done repeatedly, that's not to say there's no stand out tracks,I would love to hear Forest Rose on the radio for one, Gardens of the Lost and Drifter on the edge of time for others. Guest vocalists add much depth to the proceedings with Stories old, being a prime example.

It's hard to pin down exactly what I love about this band, maybe that none of their songs really sound the same and no 2 albums have had a similar theme. this one is very Tull like in places and then the Maiden like guitars kick in and I'm not sure like I've quite heard anything like it before, all I know is that I like it.

9.5/10

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 A Forest of Fey by GANDALF'S FIST album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.01 | 76 ratings

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A Forest of Fey
Gandalf's Fist Neo-Prog

Review by Calzino

4 stars Well what a surprise! Gandalf's Fist did it again! A Forest of Fey - I've had it on iTunes for about a week now and there's a lot of different sounding tracks here, each of which I have a different opinion but with a 100 words limit I highlight the three which I like best.

Forest of fey: Largely instrumental with more low whistles. Some dark lyrics and a contrasting catchy chorus that was stuck in my head for most of yesterday. Tempo changes keep things interesting.

Circus in the Clearing: Man what a song! I can hear some mellotron wheeling away in the background with pshychadelic distorted vocals and crunching guitar. A really trippy midsection that I really dig with some Bouzouki again provided by Donockley followed by some wakemen- style moog! Really great! More of this please!

Forest Rose: If this isn't an homage to Jethro Tull I don't know what is ? breathy vocals, folky acoustics and flutes-a-tooting left right and center! Whimsical for the most part but has quite a punchy, almost commercial chorus?. Fades seamlessly into: Return from the tournament: this is again the return to the motif we encountered in the circus in the clearing but this time 100% folked up! Donockley again on Bouzouki is accompanied by acoustics (and maybe mandolin?) with lead vocals by Gryphon's Dave Oberle'. What a blast from the past! It made me want to go and give "the unquiet grave" another spin!

All in all, recommended! Not yet on par with the great ancients like Jethro Tull but close!

Edit: got it all wrong! More words!

So here's to the other songs:

Childhood Ghosts: this is essentially an opener/narrative piece, it's rather dark and broody and sets the scene nicely? very malevolent sound effects add to this. There are some flanged (phased?) vocals towards the end that forshadow the mood of the record to follow? sounds of footsteps siege nicely into?

Gardens of the Lost: Great female vocals and acoustic guitar passages. The vocalist here reminds me of Kate Bush during the intro but then takes on a different tone later in the song. Some heavy guitar riffing and flute seem to, bafflingly, recall both thin lizzy and Jethro tull at the same time. Whistles from Troy Donockley add a cool 'celtic' vibe ? probably my favourite track on the album

Figure speaks: Really a narrative track?a low voice that recalls the intro to "the number of the beast" moves the story on onto the next song? The world we created: Interesting track that mixes spacey/verby vocals and Floyd-style guitar with a catchy female hook. Interesting song and very different from everything else in the set.

Blood for a royal pardon: Another narrative track which does it's job quite well. Short vocal section towards the end. Drifter on the edge of time: Another different track ? this time led by some excellent interplay between a male verse and female chorus. This plays to me like the ballad response to 'circus' ? very nice, almost dream theater in places and a groovy little synth solo from Clive Nolan at the end ? probably tied for my second favorite here!

Return from the tournament: this is again the return to the motif we encountered in the circus in the clearing but this time 100% folked up! Donockley again on Bouzouki is accompanied by acoustics (and maybe mandolin?) with lead vocals by Gryphon's Dave Oberle'. What a blast from the past! It made me want to go and give "the unquiet grave" another spin! Stories old and stories told: Another guest vocalist here in the guise of Arena's John Mitchell ? This recalls latter era genesis as well as returning to the themes set up in the first song ? very clever. The song switches to a minor key with the arrival of female vocals and has a very mournful ending ? up there with "drifter" for my second favorite! A poison tree ? very moody closer using the lyrics from a William Blake poem. The vibe again is very different and really seeks to end the story on a cliff hanger. Its short but sweet and then brings in some narrative parts from the intro ? everythings comes full circle!

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 A Forest of Fey by GANDALF'S FIST album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.01 | 76 ratings

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A Forest of Fey
Gandalf's Fist Neo-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak

3 stars Despite a cast of prog all-stars as guests, this album is formulaic "prog-by-the-numbers." There is nothing new hear, despite an admirable blending of styles (folk, metal, symphonic). The electric guitar chord playing is especially disturbing as it plays out in almost every song as if a studio musician is playing the same heavily-distorted guitar, chord by chord, as if from orchestral street music. No flare, no flourish, no soul. Several of the vocals are interesting, especially Melissa Hallick on the opener, "Childhood's Ghost"--I have to admit she and that first song got me hooked in enough to give this album a thorough listen. My other favorite, as predictable as it is, is "Drifter on the Edge of tIme." This and the other folk instrumental, "Forest Rose" are, to me, the album highlights. Troy Donockley (of IONA, not NIGHTWISH) adds some nice touches with his wind instruments--though I wonder on songs like "Garden's of the Lost" whether band leader Dean Marsh asked him to do his best IAN ANDERSON/J TULL impression (unless that's someone else on C flute). Clive Nolan and super guitarist John Mitchell's vocals-only contributions are negligible to the over all effect. In the end there is nothing new here. There is already too much of this kind of prog out there--Neo in the extreme. As pure as Dean's intentions were, this is the kind of album that has turned me away from the Neo-Prog sub-genre. For me, prog must keep its music evolving, not merely repeating old masters and old styles.

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 A Forest of Fey by GANDALF'S FIST album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.01 | 76 ratings

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A Forest of Fey
Gandalf's Fist Neo-Prog

Review by steelyhead

4 stars Don´t be misled because other reviews: this is a good CD to have around if You are in the mood of some neo prog. I didn´t know this guys before this recording but now I feel I have to get the other ones. The second half is waaaaay better than the first one and if You like Ayreon (specially ¿his? first recordings) this will be much to your very liking. A muddled production, where is Rick Rubin or Jimmy Iovine when You need them? But It is enjoyable after two or three spins. Good addition to my growing collection (@ 350 CD's). So, as I stated before, I will look their older material.

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 Road To Darkness by GANDALF'S FIST album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.78 | 67 ratings

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Road To Darkness
Gandalf's Fist Neo-Prog

Review by Progrussia

3 stars Well. Gandalf's Fist second effort is finally available in my home country. The fact that such obscurity is gives me hope about the prog situation in Mother Russia, which, as I've always sadly argued, for its size, is seriously low on prog. Anyway, Road to Darkness sounds like a mix between lethargic country- bluesified Pink Floyd, traditional English folk, occasional heavier riffs and spooky effects from a lo-fi 70s sci-fi movie. For all its imagery as the sinister Dorothy in the land of Oz, Road to Darkness is not really intense or rich in contrasts, but rather has a breezy psychedelic flavor. Even though it has a swell sound (including some Roger Waters-esque upfront bass), it gives impression of a college-dorm effort, with guys sitting around throwing ideas around. Because really only Into the Dark and a lesser extent Council of Anderson and the little folk ditty, Untrodden Ways (with its sudden metallic shanty explosion at the end) sounding like well-developed songs. No wonder their later albums often feel like ideas first used here but better developed.

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 Road To Darkness by GANDALF'S FIST album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.78 | 67 ratings

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Road To Darkness
Gandalf's Fist Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars The ink of the print of ''The master and the monkey'' hadn't even dried, when Gandalf's Fist decided to release their second album.''Road to darkness'' was written, recorded and released in a period of six months, the actual date of launching was July 1st, 2011.It was a thematic concept, based on a song Dean Marsh wrote a few years back and led to a spacey storytelling/adaption of ''The Wizard of Oz'', refering for the case to a girl transported to a world of aliens.The music was completely written by Marsh, while the lyrics were split between Marsh and Luke Severn.

The English duo took a turn with this album, facing basically the old PINK FLOYD stylings and building their sound on the principles of the legendary British Psych/Space Rock band.''Road to darkness'' is a much more focused work with no surprising stylistical twists, it's a fairly Psychedelic/Space Rock album with some resemblances to MAGUS, characterized by the intensity of the lyrical content, the slow tempos and the melancholic guitar solos.The music comes as an amalgam of electronic textures, GILMOUR-ish soloing and atmospheric guitar/keyboard instrumental parts with a doomy sound, however the use of effects and the instrumental distortions classify this one as a quite modern-sounding effort.Vocals are the low point, far from clean, featuring an odd raspy accent at moments.So, the true value of the album is mainly based on the musical content, which is pretty cool, albeit far from original.The mix of strange ambiences, guitar sounds and electronic vibes, which pop up here and there throughout the album, remind me also of Italians DAAL.But the overall mood is heavily FLOYD-ian, the slow rhythms, the sensitive voices, the spacey soloing on guitars and the atmospheric synths complete series of emotional soundscapes.''Untrodden ways'' is the only track, retaining some of the rural tension of the previous release with the display of recorders and the strong acoustic enviroment.

Second work by Gandalf's Fist, fairly following the 72'-77' PINK FLOYD era.Good Psychedelic/Space Rock with a few experimental switches to Electronic Music.Pretty fine and recommended effort.

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 A Forest of Fey by GANDALF'S FIST album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.01 | 76 ratings

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A Forest of Fey
Gandalf's Fist Neo-Prog

Review by Progrussia

4 stars Appearances by members of heavy neo-prog and prog folk powerhouses Arena and Gryphon serve as a kind of a stamp of approval from the larger prog community to Gandalf Fist's combination of olde englishe folke, folk-influenced metal (think the likes Iron Maiden and Thin Lizzy) and pshychedelic hazy dreaminess. A steady stream of albums in the last few years seems to have elevated Gandalf from a joke-sounding oddity to a cult status. On Forest of Fey, while retaining the trademark eccentricities like a soar throat (but melodic) whispering vocal, juxtaposition between riffy outbursts and slow dirges and exploitation of old English fantasies, I think they gave their sound a more populist approach that would appeal to old Genesis fans. More folk and traditional rock than metal and psychedelia, and a female vocal given even more space than the respiratory-ill male one. On the downside, many melodic fragments here sound like passages from their previous albums.

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 A Forest of Fey by GANDALF'S FIST album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.01 | 76 ratings

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A Forest of Fey
Gandalf's Fist Neo-Prog

Review by herschelchristophsky

5 stars Having listened to 'A Forest of Fey' numerous times now, I can honestly say that I rate this as one of the top rock releases of 2014. Whist the intro, interludes and outro sections help to wonderfully weave the tale of a young child becoming lost in a mystical forest, it is the songs themselves that really set this album apart from others. Each of the songs have different elements that make them stand out. The extremely catchy choruses of 'A Forest of Fey' and 'Forest Rose', the rip roaring intro to 'The World We Created' and the epic outro's for both 'Drifter on the Edge of Time' and ''Stories Old and Stories Told' are just some of the highlights of the album. Coupled with the excellent collaborations from the likes of Gryphon's Dave Oberle and It Bites' John Mitchell, this album has so much to offer and certainly warrants multiple listens to fully appreciate it's quality. As the band themselves might say, Prog out with your log out!!

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 A Forest of Fey by GANDALF'S FIST album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.01 | 76 ratings

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A Forest of Fey
Gandalf's Fist Neo-Prog

Review by LittleLotti

5 stars A Forest of Fey - translated into something like "a cursed forest" or "a magic forest" - something in between.

The Album starts with some kind of a radioplay where we witness a mother (or a nanny?) with her child, and the child running off, getting lost. Seamlessly, we're sucked into the story, as the first song begins right at this very moment, telling us that something is luring the girl deeper into the forest, some iron gate slamming shut, leaving the girl trapped into the forest. Again, some radioplay footsteps on leaves and some heavy breathing - as if the girl ran away from something, but apparently deeper into the forest.

Next song (again, seemslessly) begins, "Gardens of the Lost" telling the story in it's lyrics - what happened and what lured the girl into the forest. Very nice sounding voice of Melissa Hollick and some good riffing from the band, leading up to some Ian Anderson-esque flute (after some really strange "the Jester plays" bit - in waltz-rhythm). Great song, really pushing up emotions.

Then the title track with some very "hasty" vocals and a great refrain (possibly repeated a bit too often - but then again, as he sings: Seasons never change - repeating itself over and over again? If so - nice concept!).

After some ghostly/creepy speech (possibly by the "figure standing in your way, dressed in smoke") we enter a "World we created" - very spacey and psychedelic (which is quite prominent throughout the whole album), telling us that not all is what it seems to be at first look. This ends, what I reckon, Side 1 of the album, as here we have the first bit of silence before the next song.

Okay, off to side 2 - starts with "The Circus in the Clearing". Indeed, the intro music sounds like some circus music, but played through a somewhat mushroom injected wurlitzer. Really psychedelic... off to this strange circus. The song is divided by some swirling space-travel rotation time-machine piece of journey. Doesn't make sense? Well, you've got to listen to the song in order to fully understand. These words came to my mind when I listened to that bit for the first time.

We exit this journey with some very Iron Maiden-esque fanfare, triplets and stuff - really wanting me to jump up and rock out! Next song (again seemlessly transitioned with a huge and epic battle-scene - must be the tournament mentioned before) again seems to be some way of driving forward the storytelling, as it raises the expectation of what comes next - the "Drifter at the edge of time", a slow ballad which gains speed at the end supporting Clive Nolan's solo quite well!

Lots of Folk-vibes in the coming two songs, drifting off into medieval style on "Return from the Tournament" - thanks to the collaboration of Gryphon's Dave Oberlé.

But then the one I was personally waiting for - John Mitchell doing lead vocals at "Stories Old and Stories Told (Of Children Brave and Children Bold)" - and what a great song that one is - intermission with a bassoon, some creepy childs-choir singing some king of "ring-a-roses", and John with his smoky voice, it fit's that song sooo nice! That really is my highlight of the album! You have to hear this song, if any!

Last song "A Poison Tree" is a poem by William Blake, brought into sound with some Iron Maiden like vocals in the end - really sounds like Bruce Dickinson in the end, but he's not listed, so I guess it's Mr. Marsh emulating at a very high level.

A Forest of Fey is a hell of a ride, if you let it suck you in. Grab a bottle of old red wine, put on your headphones and dim the lights - you're really in for an adventure! 5/5 Stars!

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 A Forest of Fey by GANDALF'S FIST album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.01 | 76 ratings

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A Forest of Fey
Gandalf's Fist Neo-Prog

Review by Gotrek1966

5 stars Listening to this album for the last two days has been an absolute pleasure for me and with good reason. Let the music take you into a magical realm of a lost child and magical creatures and you have entered "The Forest of a Fey". Every song on this album is unique in its own way and I can see where the band gets their musical influences from. Songs such as "Forest Rose" and "Return from The Tournament" for me would not be out of place on a David Bowie or Pink Floyd album.

With electric and acoustic guitar solos coupled with pipes, flutes, strong drumming, excellent lyrics and vocals, for me this is one highly polished album that really shows off the enormous talents of its band members. When you add in the vocal talents of Melissa Hollick on lead female vocals, coupled with the musical and vocal talents of special guest artists, I am hard pressed to find any single track to call a favorite, so I won't and just say they are all equally favorites to me.

This album may not be for everyone's taste, but for me having listened to other Gandalf's Fists songs and having now been pulled along the hidden path into "The Forest of Fey", this album is pure magic. I highly recommend this album to one and all to indulge in some mystical fantasy rock pleasure.

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