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GANDALF'S FIST

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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Gandalf's Fist picture
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.

Gandalf's Fist official website

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GANDALF'S FIST Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy GANDALF'S FIST Music


Clockwork FableClockwork Fable
Import
Imports 2016
Audio CD$16.44
$11.49 (used)
A Forest of FeyA Forest of Fey
Import
Gandalf's Fist 2014
Audio CD$9.98
$8.99 (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
Road to DarknessRoad to Darkness
Gandalf's Fist 2012
Audio CD$8.98
From a Point of ExistenceFrom a Point of Existence
Gandalf's Fist 2012
Audio CD$8.98
Live from a Post-Apocalyptic PowercutLive from a Post-Apocalyptic Powercut
Gandalf's Fist 2015
Audio CD$9.98
The Master and the MonkeyThe Master and the Monkey
Gandalf's Fist 2011
Audio CD$10.98
$6.99 (used)
A Day in the Life of a Universal Wanderer by Gandalf's FistA Day in the Life of a Universal Wanderer by Gandalf's Fist
Gandalf's Fist
Audio CD$30.76
A Forest of Fey by Gandalf's FistA Forest of Fey by Gandalf's Fist
Gandalf's Fist
Audio CD$32.27
Road to Darkness by Gandalf's FistRoad to Darkness by Gandalf's Fist
Gandalf's Fist
Audio CD$31.14
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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)

3.34 | 40 ratings
The Master And The Monkey
2010
3.79 | 80 ratings
Road To Darkness
2011
3.69 | 67 ratings
From A Point Of Existence
2012
3.96 | 116 ratings
A Day In The Life Of A Universal Wanderer
2013
3.88 | 162 ratings
A Forest of Fey
2014
3.99 | 181 ratings
The Clockwork Fable
2016
4.19 | 30 ratings
A Day in the Life of a Universal Wanderer (Special Edition)
2017

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)

4.74 | 10 ratings
Uprooted
2015
4.29 | 5 ratings
The Lamplighter's Tale
2016

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

4.00 | 9 ratings
Emerald Eyes
2011
3.56 | 9 ratings
Stakes At Low Tide
2011
4.28 | 20 ratings
Songs From The Solway
2011
3.43 | 16 ratings
The Wizard's Study
2011
2.17 | 16 ratings
There and Back Again
2012
4.18 | 11 ratings
The Wizard's Study II: Balrog Boogaloo
2012
4.33 | 3 ratings
The Snows They Melt the Soonest
2014
5.00 | 3 ratings
Live From A Post-Apocalyptic Powercut
2015
4.75 | 4 ratings
The First Lamplighter (Memories of Nuclear Snow)
2015
4.50 | 4 ratings
Hearth and Ale
2016
4.70 | 5 ratings
Winter's Mourning
2017

GANDALF'S FIST Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Winter's Mourning by GANDALF'S FIST album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2017
4.70 | 5 ratings

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Winter's Mourning
Gandalf's Fist Neo-Prog

Review by The Jester

5 stars Every time Gandalf's Fist is releasing something new, 2 things are certain: 1. It is better than their previous works 2. The band includes more members! Since their early days where they were just two people doing all the jobs, they have reached the number of 6 members, with the new additions of Ben Bell on Keyboards and Keri Farish on vocals. Both are excellent additions and I'm certain that they will contribute a lot to the band's sound. This first sample is quite reassuring in that... Winter's Mourning is a wonderful piece of music in my opinion. It is kind of a dark and melancholic tune, and the kind of song I would like to listen on a cold winter night. If I had a home near a forest with a fireplace in it, that would have been better; but I'm afraid I have nothing like that. But even without these "special effects" I enjoyed it a lot! This EP is released just in time! So, do not hesitate! Write a letter to Santa, hoping that you were a good boy/girl' Maybe Santa will bring it on your (digital) doorstep. 4.5 stars P.S: We want more stuff like that please'
 Winter's Mourning by GANDALF'S FIST album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2017
4.70 | 5 ratings

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Winter's Mourning
Gandalf's Fist Neo-Prog

Review by LittleLotti

5 stars Tis the season for schmaltzy sentiment. All too many bands after the quick cash grab and a slice of immortal fame amidst the festive disco compilation mixtapes. That's not the Prog I signed up for. If you want that go and listen to Cliff Richard and people with shiny hats.

So, you can imagine my eternal joy to find that the wintery single from Gandalf's Fist dispenses with tidings of comfort and joy and rather delves us into a world of ghosts, vagabonds and mysterious forests. The song itself is melancholic and reminds me of folk tales of old. Fans of Gryphon's "Unquiet Grave" will be at place here, with a familiar feel, all be it with a switch of roles and a bit of a twist in the narrative at the end.

I love songs that tell a story and this one is no exception. As usual the musician-ship is top notch, even more so, their new lineup sounds fresh and bright and the keys and vocals shimmer and shine. It's also worth mentioning the guitar solo, that instantly reminded me of something you would find on Wishbone's "Argus" ? fantastic.

If you're sick of the usual this year, and you've worn out Tull's "Fire's at Midnight" then you won't go far wrong with this. The perfect song to sip a single malt to in front of a raging fire whilst the trees bend to the wind outside.

 A Day in the Life of a Universal Wanderer (Special Edition) by GANDALF'S FIST album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.19 | 30 ratings

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A Day in the Life of a Universal Wanderer (Special Edition)
Gandalf's Fist Neo-Prog

Review by CeeJayGee

2 stars I enjoyed the 2013 release of Gandalf's Fist's A Day In The Life Of A Universal Wanderer and I checked back to see how it is rated in its year of release ? it is currently 67th. I was a little surprised to see the Deluxe Edition newly released appear high up in the 2017 album chart. I was expecting a longer / dramatically developed album. The 2013 release has 11 tracks and the 2017 release 15 tracks. The weakest track on the 2013 release, Maze of Corridors has been dispensed with and is replaced by The Stowaway and the Endless Night, a fine addition. Otherwise the extra tracks are short narrative fillers. I rated the original album a four star in its year of release but for me this album should not be riding high in the 2017 chart and I have rated it two stars for that reason alone. However I accept that it is difficult for any annual ratings chart to distinguish re-releases, which this effectively is, from original studio albums (ironically the album currently No 2 in the 2013 chart is the re-release of Camel's The Snowgoose!).
 A Day in the Life of a Universal Wanderer (Special Edition) by GANDALF'S FIST album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.19 | 30 ratings

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A Day in the Life of a Universal Wanderer (Special Edition)
Gandalf's Fist Neo-Prog

Review by The Jester

5 stars This is not a new album; but at the same time, it is! How is that possible? Let me explain'

Once upon a time, Gandalf's Fist was a duo, and with the help of synthesizers, they were doing everything by themselves; plus a drum machine.

In 2013 they released this album, which was a concept one. It was a very good effort, but it needed something more in order to be characterized as a really good album. (Personally speaking, I am usually bothered by the sound of drum machines). But as it seemed, the sales went well, and finally the CD was sold out. So, instead of making a second pressing of the album, they decided to go into the studio and re-record it; and that was a very wise decision! Because the band now is more 'mature' than before, and now they also have a real drummer instead of a drum machine. The addition of Stefan Heppe on drums, improved the band's dynamic a lot without a doubt.

But that's not all. Almost all the songs are improved, a 11-minute-long epic is added, and I think that the production and the mix are better. I am not a studio expert, but this version sounds a lot better to my ears. On the top of everything else, the narration parts between the songs are lovely, and give to the listener a 'massive' feeling. The band decided to repeat the 'recipe' they used in The Clockwork Fable, and they succeeded! Another very important element of the album is that they replaced the keyboard-string parts, with real strings, like Cello and Violin for example.

If you have the 2013 version of this album, you should definitely try this one. It will sound familiar, but at the same time different and better by far. If you don't have the old version, don't even bother to find it. This new one is a wonderful piece of work, starting from the ' new designed ' cover, up to the last detail. I never rated the original version, but I think that I could give something like 3.5 out of 5.0 stars.

As for this version, I think that I will give 4.5 stars.

Favorite songs: The nine billion names of God, Stowaway to the mushroom planet, Somewhere beyond the stars, The battle for Tannhouser gate. (I like almost all the songs in the album, but these are the ones I like the most).

Try this album, you will not regret it!

 A Day in the Life of a Universal Wanderer (Special Edition) by GANDALF'S FIST album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.19 | 30 ratings

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A Day in the Life of a Universal Wanderer (Special Edition)
Gandalf's Fist Neo-Prog

Review by Miss Anthropia

5 stars I already liked the 2013 version of this album, but obviously it was no longer available on CD, and since there were still requests, the band decided to remix the songs of the original album (with 'Maze of Corridors' being replaced by the epic 'The Stowaway and the Endless Night') and release this reissue as a DigiPak (beautifully designed by the same artist who was already doing the artwork for the predecessors 'A Clockwork Fable' and 'A Forest of Fey'). Not only the songs have been entirely rearranged, there are also short narrative parts (some of them spoken by Mark Benton who already did a great job on 'The Clockwork Fable'), connecting the songs to a space adventure. This alone makes the reissue an entirely different experience for the listeners. Another thing: When 'A Day in the Life '' has been originally released, the major part had been recorded as a duo (the founding members Dean Marsh and Luke Severn). Now with Stefan Hepe as a drummer, they took the chance and replaced the old drum machine parts by 'real' drums, and the songs certainly benefit from that. Also, many other parts have been rewritten, as the cello part in 'North of the Wall', and a violin in 'The Battle for Tannh'user Gate'. All the female parts are sung by the brilliant Melissa Hollick (outstanding: the beautiful ballad 'Somewhere Beyond the Stars' which is still one of my favourite Fist songs). Anyway, if you enjoyed the 2013 version of this album, you will love this edition!
 A Day in the Life of a Universal Wanderer (Special Edition) by GANDALF'S FIST album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.19 | 30 ratings

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A Day in the Life of a Universal Wanderer (Special Edition)
Gandalf's Fist Neo-Prog

Review by LittleLotti

5 stars Okay, for the first time I will have a take on the concept, because although it's rather cryptic, I think I got it... Plus, I agree with MrHaddington's review, so no point in repeating what he already wrote.

With this concept behind the album (and it wasn't THAT clear on the original release), which totally blew my socks off, I just HAD to give it a 5 star rating. Good call they revisited the album and put it out as a DigiPak (again). This band just gets better and better, with every release.

* Overall Concept *

A derelict craft crosses the event horizon of a black hole. From the outside they appear to the universe to be frozen in time forever, whereas they are able to witness every event in the universe, past and present, as time has no meaning there. The songs appear as semi-random snapshots of events in mankind's future, leading to its ultimate destruction.

Somehow the ship's transmissions escape the clutches of the black hole by a "Lorentzian uplink" and are intercepted by the listener's device. (The booklet really helps there as it's sort of a computer screen where the data stream of said Lorentzian uplink is dissected and listed with some Linux-like grep commands. It also contains a letter from the "Department of Cosmoligical Cryptology", explaining why we (the listeners, or "decoders" received this recorded signal)).

* Song outlines *

The Nine Billion Names of God: After being asked to devise a computer program to compute all the possible names for the divine being, two sceptical sceintists sit aside a tibetan monistary on a mountaintop watching all the stars overhead, without a fuss, dissapearing one by one.

Stowaway to the Mushroom Planet: An adventurer stows away secretly below decks on a spacecraft heading out of the solar system, hoping to explore the legendary "Mushroom planet". Some time into the journey he looks out of the cargo bay windows to see that ship is heading headlong into a black hole with no way of escape.

Somewhere Beyond the Stars: The story of a loved one being captured and taken literally to the ends of the universe and how this seemingly insurmountable distance does not hamper the hope or drive for being reunited again.

The Orphans of the Sky: This one sets up the notion of mankind cast adrift in the galaxy after the earth has been destroyed. With no planet to call home they are isloated, stray wanderers of the cosmos.

The Stowaway And The Endless Night: The stowaway beneath the deck begins to notice echoes and dilations in time. Insanity ensues when he realises he cannot distinguish between past, future and present anymore.

A Universal Wanderer: As we draw closer to the singularity of the black hole we encounter a being that has trancended time's arrow and has witnessed the universe from birth to death. Infinity would be its curse should it be able to comprehend the notion of infinity itself.

Nexus: We are drawn into the nexus: the centre of the singlarity where time has no meaning. Slowly our perception of time changes and becomes as one with the universal wanderer

North of the Wall: Our minds our now free of spacetime. The nexus slips away to an infinate wilderness filled with snow. It is a qantum state: a vision of both future and past as one.

The Battle for Tannhäuser Gate: Cycling forward through time we bear witness to mankind's end at the hands of thier robot slaves. It is like a sci-fi battle around a huge stargate but yet has a napoleonic war feel with the soldiers/battle looking more vintage than sci-fi. It reminds me of Maiden's "The Trooper" but fighting the replicants from Blade Runner (that's how the battle looks in my head, it's not the songs that sound like that).

The Wanderer Goes South: We step outside the nexus and see the black hole as outsiders. Beyond the event horizon we see the ship, the captain, the stowaway and the wanderer all frozen in spacetime forever.

 A Day in the Life of a Universal Wanderer (Special Edition) by GANDALF'S FIST album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.19 | 30 ratings

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A Day in the Life of a Universal Wanderer (Special Edition)
Gandalf's Fist Neo-Prog

Review by MrHaddington

5 stars Well well well... a reissue from Gandalf's Fist - not uncommon in these days, but usually it's done to celebrate a 30 or 40 year anniversary - you wouldn't expect a reissue or remix/remaster of a 2013 album, now would you? I was thinking the same - I do own the original 2013 version, and didn't bother at first. But, after listening to the first soundbits revealed (and it's fully streamable on Bandcamp since its release), I just had to get it. Since the original 2013 album wasn't available on CD anymore, the guys chose to re-visit the album and give it a lift-up to stand in line with "A Forest Of Fey" and the exceptionally amazing "The Clockwork Fable". What has been changed? Well, at first they did concentrate on the concept a little bit more - there's new tracks between the songs which sort of tell (Mark Benton again doing a brilliant job) the story. But - if the narration tracks did drive you away from their last album, think again: it's not like that at all. Second, they remixed and even re-recorded several bits every song on the reissue. The synth violins have been replaced by real violins (and the melodies they play have been greatly expanded and rewritten), all drums have been re-recorded by their current drummer, and several bits and instruments (which were omitted in the original release) have been revealed and resurrected. Plus, a song that didn't make it on the original album (I really wonder why, it's such an epic and awesome track) was added, replacing one of the weaker songs on the original album (Maze of Corridors). So, the overall flow of the album is better than on the original. While the original release felt like a bunch of songs with sort of a mutual theme were thrown into a bucket, the reissue really comes as one flow, seamless. My advice would be - get the original as a download (Bandcamp), and order the CD of the reissue (if you're into physical CDs - a download might as well float your boat), and compare both versions. You will definitely not regret it!
 The Lamplighter's Tale by GANDALF'S FIST album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2016
4.29 | 5 ratings

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The Lamplighter's Tale
Gandalf's Fist Neo-Prog

Review by chiang

4 stars Maybe some people think a three CDs album is too much. Well, in my opinion they are wrong in this case. OK, if you don't have much time, you can listen to only the "Lamplighter" tracks of the "Clockwork Fable", buy you will be mising some great music. I think the idea of delivering just samples of the album in a good promo move. In fact I have listenig to just this three tracks, but only as a passtime and knowing that it destroys que concept of the full album. I feel that this three tracks are great, but I like to listen to que complete work. (OK, I don't have problems by skipping the theatrical parts). Summarizing: This is very good music, but please, don't buy this CD. Buy the complete "Clockwork Fable" instead. It's one of the best 2016 albums and deserves it.
 The Clockwork Fable by GANDALF'S FIST album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.99 | 181 ratings

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The Clockwork Fable
Gandalf's Fist Neo-Prog

Review by Karnataka

5 stars I came upon Gandalfs Fist via a track on a sampler CD. On the strength of the track, which came from 'Clockwork Fable', i bought that CD. I have been completely blown away by what is essentially a three act play in words and music. It's quite unlike any other prog rock CD I have. The story line reminds me a bit of the film 'City of Ember.' It's about a world where the inhabitants live underground as the surface is uninhabitable-the Sun has gone out and there are interminable winters. The band has created a complete planet with its own language and hierarchy, It's breathtaking in its breadth and depth, crammed full with quite wonderful music, each linked by spoken passages which taken as a whole carries the listener along at great pace. Its an astonishing piece of work, a tour de force and the bands magnum opus. It would grace anybody's music collection, let alone being pigeon holed as prog rock. Goodness only knows how the band will follow this up.
 The Clockwork Fable by GANDALF'S FIST album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.99 | 181 ratings

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The Clockwork Fable
Gandalf's Fist Neo-Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars As a rule, I am not a big fan of epic albums with narration, which is why I have failed to add applause to such celebrated albums as Rick Wakeman's "Voyage to the Center of the Earth" (the original and the more recent remake). I just prefer musical arrangements before anything. Ayreon's magnificent "The Electric Castle" was one of the very successful epics that had both narrators and singers that blended well with the punchy music. It's no surprise that Arjen Lucassen is a guest vocalist here and he may also have been a source of inspiration as well. A live setting may be a different feeling but on recordings, just give me the tunes, please. Gandalf's Fist has provided a stunning 2016 opus with the massive "The Clockwork Fable", a 3 CD affair chock full of memorable slices of sonic genius, though it must be said that their sound is much sharper and harder than ever before. Way less overtly Floydian than their previous releases such as the masterful trio of "Road to Darkness" (2011), "A Day in the Life" (2013) and "Forest of Fey" (2014), the core of singer Luke Severn and multi-instrumentalist Dean Marsh have decided to widen their sound by solidifying the rhythmic tandem by adding a full-time bassist in Christopher Ewen as well as solid thumper Stefan Hepe, giving Marsh all the space needed for his keyboard and guitar ornamentations. 194 minutes is a daunting task to wolf down in one helping, so I helped myself to reorganize a playlist of songs only, which may take away from the narrative but does focus cuttingly on the music. If you mostly want to follow the storyline just buy the album for the entire experience. Throw in former Gryphon vocalist/percussionist David Oberlé who supplies the folkier side , ex-Iron Maiden lung Blaze Bayley the helium yell and guitar maestro Matt Stevens adding his ambient skills and you get the complete picture. The core section of the work is found in the multi-part suite "The Lamplighter" that is liberally strewn among the three CDs , each over an hour long.

On the first CD "The Day the Great Cog Failed" , there are some delectable pieces to highlight such as the drop dead dazzling ballad "Eve's Song", a stirring and symphonic composition featuring a melody both haunting and reflective, a truly winning epic tremendously sung by Melissa Hollick. The delicate finale is precious metal incarnate. Things are fine-tuned from the start with the scorching "Shadowborn", chugging metallic guitar wrangling with a wicked synthesizer gone haywire, the rhythmic locomotive spewing smoke as the magical flute twirls in Tullian fashion. Listen to the thrilling "The Great Cog" with its echo-affected drum beats, reptilian bass attack and Luke's patented "pillow" vocals, flickered with endless sparks of slippery synth warbles, and you should come to the conclusion that this is going to be quite the entertainment package. Maintaining the urgency, the highly cinematographic "The Capture" is prog ?opera at its finest, bombastic orchestrations, pummelled by cannonading drums, garlanded by some whirling dervish synths salvos and some colossal Wagnerian choirs, slain by some snarly vocals.

Second CD "Of Men & Worms" is the showstopper section as it blends on "Victims of the Light" some outright folk of the vivid British kind with some breathless melodies affirmed by both starting lead vocals as well as massive choir work, an extensive acoustic guitar foray that is spellbinding from the get go. Another memorable air is to be found on "Ditchwater Daisies", a suave ballad that resonates with imagery, the art of combining a good story with a simple melody and wrap that in a pared-down arrangement and letting it all fall into place. Tragically beautiful. Luke's patented hushed voice is a pure delight and incredibly effective in creating celestial sentiments that seduces the musical soul. The pastoral sensation returns early on "the Bewildering", a shimmering fluffy cloud of atmospherics that gets accosted by a stubborn guitar riff from Mr. Marsh, interspaced with ambient flicks of the wrist (Matt Stevens), taking the whole thing into a complex universe of staccato rhythms, carpeted mellotron for Luke to swoon over, the fluttering flute (not credited anywhere) and a whole lot of adventure. But it's on the beguiling "A Solemn Toast for the Steam Ranger Reborn" that the magic really hits hard, brilliant vocals, sputtering synth bubbles, Spanish guitar fingerings, tinkling piano and marshal drums uniting in the cause. This is a tremendous piece that sweeps you into the clouds of fantasy, reminding me of their classic song "Stowaway to the Mushroom Planet". Delirious music.

The third act, "From Burrows we Came", here the overall texture definitely hardens, perhaps due to the Iron Maiden influences that are bursting through the speakers' seams, leaping into a harsher climate as on the dizzying "The Climb", maintain a highly melodic and dramatic urgency, upgraded by marvelous operatic vocals from Melissa Hollick, who really shines throughout. The improbable bass guitar/synth duet is a total stunner. The screeching electric finale is fast, furious and heavy. The rambling "Fight for the Light" is a shadow box of various explosive chords, tempered by those divine hushed vocals that instill a sense of yearning that gets me every time. Then Blaze grasps the mike with brazen authority and with the correct guitar barrage, the mood is clearly in jet propulsion mode. The slipstream synths warble madly, chasing the challenging melody. This greasier rock bravura is pushed along further on the next track, the colossal "At the Sign of Aperture", a towering and bold musical statement that swerves in various summersaults sung by "the chosen one", slashing mightily with passion and awareness. The 'sparks are flying' guitar solo is a classic Van Halen-like affair, unparalleled technique and emotional frenzy. The shimmering title track welds piano and acoustic guitar together, Luke swooning engagingly amid the clicking timepieces and ticking mechanisms, buoyed by lush symphonics in the use of various synthesizers. Truly terrific piece. "Through the Lens" gives licence to the piano pursue its magical journey, as Melissa adds a stirring and convincing farewell.

I have edited the playlist, as suggested by others, in order to lean exclusively on the songs and the result is quite an entertaining ride. Whichever way you want to approach this massive opus, either in whole or in part, Gandalf's Fist has dared to conquer and has vanquished. I cannot fathom how they can possibly top this crowning achievement.

5 Device stories

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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