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GANDALF'S FIST

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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Gandalf's Fist picture
Gandalf's Fist biography
Formed in Maryport, England in 2005

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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GANDALF'S FIST Videos (YouTube and more)


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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)

3.28 | 44 ratings
The Master and the Monkey
2011
3.77 | 89 ratings
Road to Darkness
2011
3.69 | 73 ratings
From a Point of Existence
2012
3.91 | 131 ratings
A Day in the Life of a Universal Wanderer
2013
3.86 | 176 ratings
A Forest of Fey
2014
4.05 | 216 ratings
The Clockwork Fable
2016
3.85 | 63 ratings
The Clockwork Prologue
2019

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
The Capture (Live at Fistival 2017)
2020

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

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

4.50 | 13 ratings
Uprooted
2015
4.33 | 6 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
2.21 | 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
4.50 | 4 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
4.67 | 6 ratings
Winter's Mourning
2017
0.00 | 0 ratings
Official Live Bootleg: Somewhere Beyond the Stars / Gardens of the Lost
2018
4.00 | 1 ratings
Leader of Men
2018
4.05 | 2 ratings
Stakes at Low Tide
2020

GANDALF'S FIST Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Stakes at Low Tide by GANDALF'S FIST album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2020
4.05 | 2 ratings

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Stakes at Low Tide
Gandalf's Fist Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars I was somewhat surprised when I started playing this, as while I knew it was a re-imagining of a song originally written as an instrumental back when Gandalf's Fist was first starting out, I had no idea this had more in common with folk music as it does with the progressive form for which they are so well known. It has been issued to create awareness of the forthcoming 10-year anniversary special release of 'The Master and the Monkey', which promises to be something very interesting indeed. Uilleann Pipes and whistle are provided by Faliq Auri, but everything else is by Dean Marsh (vocals, guitar, mandolin, bass, programming, synths). He says this is a special song to the band, being recorded multiple times over the years (and on the single is available in four different versions). Gandalf's Fist continue to push musical boundaries and here they are doing so by going back in time. This is definitely one which will appeal to folkies as much as it will to the progheads who think of them more for 'The Clockwork Fable'. It certainly ties in very well indeed with the folk singles I have been listening to this week!
 The Clockwork Prologue by GANDALF'S FIST album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.85 | 63 ratings

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The Clockwork Prologue
Gandalf's Fist Neo-Prog

Review by LittleLotti

5 stars I first came across this band when they released Forest of Fey which featured a surprising number of well known guest musicians like John Mitchell and Clive Nolan. Since then they've release a couple of new albums and also rerecorded and reissued some old ones. The made their biggest splash so far with The Clockwork Fable, a mammoth three disc part concept album.

The Clockwork Prologue continues where that left off, or rather it finishes where that starts, because in yet another hint that this band are in fact time travellers, this album is a prequel to Fable.

The band seems to grow with every release and they're now a six piece with new vocalist Keri Farish taking over the reigns from previous guest voice Melissa Hollick and Ben Bell (from Patchwork Cacophony and Broken Parachute) providing keyboards.

Prologue is disappointingly only a double album (come on guys we were hoping for a quad album release this time) and continues the same narrative/music mix from Fable. The acting continues to be far better than it has any right to be with some hilarious turns from returning (and new) voices.

Musically the album starts on a high then seems to get better with every song of te first before changing up another gear for the thunderous Blackening. CD 2 shows no signs of slowing down and with the majestic Clockmaker being a high point and bowing out with another addition to The Lamplighter collection, "The Lamplighter Overture".

I can't wait to see what this band comes up with next. Will it be a prequel to the prequel? Will they add more musicians? Will the actors release their own solo albums? Anything seems possible.

4.5 clockwork stars, wound up to 5.

 The Clockwork Prologue by GANDALF'S FIST album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.85 | 63 ratings

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The Clockwork Prologue
Gandalf's Fist Neo-Prog

Review by MrHaddington

5 stars Well well well... it took me a few months to finally find the time to listen to this one, and its successor "The Clockwork Fable" (which was released three years ago) in a row. What the lads (and the lass) do here is going the full Star Wars way - First, the Main "Movies", then the Prequels (although they state it's not a prequel) and finally (hopefully?) the final (well, album it would be in this case, but I doubt they'd be able to continue the story after everybody left Cogtopolis)...

Anyway... I think listening in release order works really well, because this way you remember all the little hints and cues they drop in the Fable, which are almost all picked up in the Prologue, so you have many "aha!" moments during the Prologue, thinking "Now THAT'S what they were referring to..." - this album really makes you want to listen to the Fable afterwards. Brilliantly done by the band.

We again meet some familiar voices (they used most of the actors present in the Fable) and also some new characters - the tradesman at the Cartoe market is the most lovely one - so hilarious... as is the whole story (once more).

Since The Clockwork Fable, Gandalf's Fist has recruited Keri Farish (Vocals) and Ben Bell (Keyboards, from Patchwork Cacophony and Broken Parachute), and boy, do they shine on this album... Keri gives me goosebumps during what I would call her "showcase" song, The Clokkemaker, while Ben and Dean (Marsh, Guitar/Vocals) have a fantastic guitar/Hammond duel during "Blackening" - very much in a Blackmore/Lord vibe. Seriously, this band is just at the start of something huge in my eyes.

I've learned they also play live occasionally, and I really try to get to one of their gigs next time. This album truly makes you want to watch them play live!

5 Stars, no less!

 The Clockwork Prologue by GANDALF'S FIST album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.85 | 63 ratings

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The Clockwork Prologue
Gandalf's Fist Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars It's time to head back to Cogtopolis, for a double CD set which is being promoted by the band as an 'expansion pack' to the last album, the triple CD 'The Clockwork Fable'. As before, I find myself comparing this to both Hibernal and Clive Nolan, as what we have here is much more than just a musical release, as the words and story are intertwined with the music. This is a theatrical presentation, with different people playing their part, and I found myself thinking that there must surely be a book in here somewhere as the storyline is complex, convoluted, and with so much depth that there is certainly enough framework for it to work on that level as well. Regarding the rationale behind this, Gandalf's Fist frontman, Dean Marsh commented: 'I've loved playing video games since the 80's and the idea of creating a musical expansion-pack, in the same way game manufactures introduce new levels and new quests has been an undertaking we've all enjoyed immensely. It's been a great opportunity to finish all the wonderful ideas we couldn't even fit into a triple album in 2016 as well as been a fantastic way of collaborating on new material with our own 'upgraded' line-up with Ben and Keri. The whole thing sounds fantastic and without question has some of our finest songs to date!' Ben is Ben Bell (Broken Parachute) on keyboards, bass, guitar and various vocal efforts (it isn't often that someone can be credited with being a deranged steam conveyor) and singer Keri Farish.

Musically this is an amalgam of folk, prog, rock and theatre, with violin making a welcome presence here, acoustic guitars there, but it is more about having music which is right for whatever theme is being portrayed as opposed to attempting to stick within one particular area. It is almost impossible to pick between the songs and the narrative, as they are closely interlinked, yet both are capable of working without the other. It would be interesting indeed to hear the complete five CD set cut so that the songs were taken away from the music and one could play the story on its own, or the songs. I have only one problem with the album, and that is whenever I play it I get dragged into Cogtopolis, so much so that I need to put aside 97 minutes of concentration each time I want to listen to it. I didn't think Gandalf's Fist would again be able to match the journey they put me through last time, but they have. This isn't a progressive rock album in its normal sense, but possibly it is in its truest sense as the band refuse to be bound by the usual thoughts of what an album should be comprised of. The different styles and melodies are bound by the storyline, which in turn is brought to life by the music in a wonderful symbiotic relationship. Superb.

 The Clockwork Prologue by GANDALF'S FIST album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.85 | 63 ratings

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The Clockwork Prologue
Gandalf's Fist Neo-Prog

Review by The Jester

5 stars Review # 107. A couple of years ago, Gandalf's Fist surprised everybody with the release of the excellent, but kind of ambitious, The Clockwork Fable. It was a really interesting triple concept album that introduced us to the underground city of Cogtopolis and its bizarre inhabitants. That album increased their fame and the band begun to play at various festivals, such as HRH Prog in North Wales for example, where they were the headliners on the 2nd stage.

This year they returned with The Clockwork Prologue, which works as a prequel, if I got it right. The band now includes two more members in comparison with The Clockwork Fable; Keri Farish on vocals and Ben Bell on keyboards, bass, guitar and vocals.

Although The Clockwork Prologue is similar with The Clockwork Fable, it is slightly better in my opinion. Not only because it includes all the elements that we enjoyed in the previous album, like for example the theatrical narration parts that work as a 'bridge' between the songs, but also because it is shorter, therefore less 'chaotic', and it can be appreciated better and faster. There are lots of wonderful melodies throughout the album, strong guitar riffs, beautiful changes, and let's not forget the really interesting story, on which, both albums have been built.

At the very beginning of this post, I wrote that with the release of The Clockwork Fable, Gandalf's Fist surprised everybody. I'm afraid that the element of surprise is not going to work this time, mostly because now people know what to expect. But that doesn't make the album less enjoyable!

So, to sum up, The Clockwork Prologue is a great album and without a doubt a very serious piece of work! Definitely one of the best releases of 2019 so far. And as far as I've heard, this time it will be available in vinyl edition as well. Good things are happening to good bands!

Congratulations to Gandalf's Fist once more, not only for releasing really good albums, but for their hard work and for keeping their quality at very high standards. Favourite tracks (so far): Solar Huntress, Wanderer, Supplies for the Festivities, The Clokkemaker, Blackening.

My Rating: 4.5 stars (But I will rate it with 5.0)

 The Clockwork Prologue by GANDALF'S FIST album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.85 | 63 ratings

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The Clockwork Prologue
Gandalf's Fist Neo-Prog

Review by ProggyDave

5 stars I feel utterly compelled to write a review for the latest Album from Gandalf's fist for a number of reasons.

Firstly, there seem to be few and far between here and I can only conclude from this that this band is criminally underappreciated.

Secondly, befitting to this band the album stands as quite a unique concept ? attaching to their previous "triple" album 'Clockwork Fable' to produce a 5-Disc adventure. (Apparently the band themselves have likened this to purchasing an expansion pack for your favourite game, which I kinda think is a cool notion and extends the excellent story with the same hugely talented actors that were involved in the previous release.)

Finally, the music is good? damn good! From the catchy "Wardens" the folk-pop tinges of "supplies" and the symphonic brilliance of "Clokkemaker". Thankfully the production and mastering is also excellent ? subtle dynamics and not a hint of "loudness brickwalling" that we all love to hate!

I was interested to see what the first release by this incarnation of the band would bring, having now expanded to a 6-piece act . It is safe to say we are now witnessing the "classic line-up" of this prog act. Great fun.

 The Clockwork Prologue by GANDALF'S FIST album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.85 | 63 ratings

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The Clockwork Prologue
Gandalf's Fist Neo-Prog

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

3 stars Okay, I'm already aware of the predecessor album, that would be 'The Clockwork Fable', which was released in 2016. Though yet, finally, I've managed to schedule enough time, definitely required when trying to delve into their approach. Led by Luke Severn (vocals) and multi-instrumentalist Dean Marsh right from the beginning, GANDALF'S FIST saw diverse musicians participating during recent years. When it comes to the core nowadays, besides newcomer Ben Bell (keyboards), drummer Stefan Hepe and Chris Ewen (bass) are involved again. The strategy is similar to bands like, let's say Seven Steps To The Green Door, RPWL or Oscillazioni Alchemico Kreative for example. That means, broadly speaking, to compose well-elaborated rock songs based on an ambitious storytelling. And so the result can be seen as a rock opera in some way, visually appropriately expressed of course when taking action live on the stage. This will feature diverse theater sceneries, masks, costumes, and additional actors.

The new album ties on the forerunner, quasi as an extension, or a new level if you will, which finally augments the 'Clockwork' saga to an epic piece of five parts in total. The whole issue takes place somewhere in the underground, beneath the surface, the city of Cogtopolis, made of caverns and tunnels. A conceptual rollercoaster, one can say. The band have installed an extra story page, if you are interested in getting closer. That also includes an alternative alphabet(!), important to know, if you should wonder about that conglomeration of mysterious letters or symbols within the booklet. As for the protagonists, the Clokkemaker is new to the fold here, represented by singer Keri Farish. And so, quite naturally, the band must be focussed on the vocals, respectively spoken word duties. Hence this album is preferably dedicated to prog fans who are feeling safe overall when it comes to the English language.

Technically seen there's nothing left to be desired. The music is made of accessible charming neo prog and folk tinged impressions, here and there it's even touching mainstream territories. Oftenly alternating with narrative interludes, partially extended, though really sublime anyhow. When it comes to the album's Part I (The Thaw) I would emphasize the song Blackening first and foremost, which sees them underway on heavier paths. An exceptional track, including various moods and a chorus which definitely is inviting to sing-along. Part II (The Pieces Of Our Time) then shines with the expanded The Lamplighter as the grand finale. This album matters a proper work again, they certainly will have invested hundreds of hours. For one or two it may drag on at times, a designated progressive rock opera fan though will disagree immediately, I'm sure. 3.5 stars on the PA scale.

 The Clockwork Fable by GANDALF'S FIST album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.05 | 216 ratings

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The Clockwork Fable
Gandalf's Fist Neo-Prog

Review by gdogcentaur

5 stars From the very start this album sucks you in deep, and does it so well, it almost feels like you're watching "Lord of the Rings" or "Game of Thrones" or some other surreal, fantasy-type film. Comparing Gandalf's Fist's work to anyone else is simply impossible, it's just an experience you really have to try for yourself. I would highly recommend trying this album out if you're really into epic, atmospheric driven pieces of art, as the album is three and a half hours long. The amount of information they put in the album is honestly mind-blowing. Specifically, I remember one part of the album (I'm not sure on the specific track) where there was a fifteen minute exchange of only dialogue (it kept me entertained throughout the entire break.) And man, the voice acting is phenomenal. There were countless voices (each one a different character) placed all over the album, which was blended quite well with sound effects that all relate to the story of the album. With a concept and story as great as this, the music from epic tracks such as my personal favorite "The Lamplighter" tops it all off as an absolute "essential masterpiece of prog rock." Personally, I put this album as my 4th favorite prog album of all time, after Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and Animals, as well as Dream Theater's Metropolis Part 2, Scenes From A Memory.
 The Clockwork Fable by GANDALF'S FIST album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.05 | 216 ratings

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The Clockwork Fable
Gandalf's Fist Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

5 stars Some years ago I came across the debut album from Gandalf's Fist, then lost touch with them again until I received an email one day stating that to celebrate the two year anniversary of their latest album they were providing a free download of the first act. A short flurry of emails between myself and Dean Marsh, and I soon had a copy of the three-CD set to listen to. I knew there was something very special going on here even before I listened to it, as there were guest appearances by Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon), Blaze Bayley (Ex- Iron Maiden), Matt Stevens (The Fierce and the Dead) and Dave Oberl' (Gryphon). The album also featured the voice acting talents of the likes of Mark Benton (Waterloo Road) and Zach Galligan (Gremlins) among others. Then on top of that there was the press release. If an album is self-released I am lucky to get a page of (sometimes) useful background information, at a maximum two. No, what I have here is a 16 page full colour guide to Cogtopolis, with diagrams, illustrations, a complete history of the formation of the city, how it all works plus so much more.

Yes boys and girls, what we have here is a full-blown concept album on steroids. In some ways it is mix between the concept albums of Clive Nolan and the science fiction stories with music of Hibernal. There is far more acting and drama than one would hear from the former, and far more songs and rockiness than one would get from the latter. In many ways this has moved far away from the concept album format, and into a full-blown film for the ears. I soon found that the only way to listen to the album was by giving it my full attention, as if I didn't I soon lost track of whatever else I was trying to do anyway. The interplay between the progressive rock music and the dramatic storyline is seamless, with both providing dynamic interplay.

I kept 'seeing' what was going on in my mind, and also wondering if they were ever going to publish a book to go with this, as I can easily imagine this story being greatly expanded. I am not going to give anything away about the storyline itself, apart from saying that it takes place under the earth's surface, as due to man's maltreatment of nature humanity were sent underground some two hundred years previously. From the very beginning, when the lamplighter comes across a traveller, I was hooked, desperately wanting to understand where the story was going to take me. That the music was heavily influenced by neo prog and contained wonderful vocals performances and great musicianship and melodies was the real icing on the cake. I was surprised just how often I was reminded of the mighty Legend, as they and Galahad have obviously been fairly important inspirations behind this mighty endeavour, as has Ayreon and IQ.

A triple CD concept album, of this depth and magnitude, is released very rarely indeed. I can honestly say that it is one of the most impressive pieces of work I have come across in the last five years, and is essential listening to anyone who loves good music.

 Winter's Mourning by GANDALF'S FIST album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2017
4.67 | 6 ratings

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Winter's Mourning
Gandalf's Fist Neo-Prog

Review by The Jester

5 stars Review # 75 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!
Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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