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CRUCIBLE

Symphonic Prog • United States


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Crucible biography
Formed in the eighties in Connecticut, CRUCIBLE has most often been classified in the neo-progressive genre, largely because of the generation in which they recorded, and their crisp production which was atypical of the more traditional progressive bands. Bassist Chris Vescera describes the group's musical approach as "a very symphonic prog sound while avoiding the overdramatic feel that plagues much of the neo-progressive movement". This is a fairly accurate synopsis since the band's compositions tend to be much less elaborated than earlier giants such as Genesis, Rush or Yes, although the strong influence of these bands can be heard in CRUCIBLE's music. Their music features heavy use of mellotron and especially Hammond organ, along with a sprinkling of flute.

The band's style is rather heavy leaning toward earlier RUSG, particularly in its tendency to combine mythical imagery with contemporary themes in tracks such as "The Sword Player" and "Noble Rot". Lead singer Bill Esposito clearly strives to emulate Geddy Lee on most of his vocal tracks, although he has also been compared to Steve Walsh of Kansas and Tommy Shaw of Styx, although the Rush influence is much stronger. The band's sophomore release also includes an energetic cover of Crack the Sky's "Nuclear Apathy".

CRUCIBLE released their debut as an independent production that is unavailable and difficult to find today. They developed a modest following largely due to appearances at such luminous events as Prog Day '98, NEARfest '99, and Baja Prog. Their second and final album, Curtains, was followed by an extended break while keyboardist Tim Horan returned to college. The remaining band members continued to tour regionally as a rock cover band under the name Second Wind. The band reformed briefly in 2004 but are currently on indefinite hiatus.

Bob Moore - (ClemofNazareth)

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CDBY 2004
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Love & MoneyLove & Money
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CRUCIBLE discography


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

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

3.82 | 65 ratings
Tall Tales
1998
3.34 | 21 ratings
Curtains
2001

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

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CRUCIBLE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Tall Tales by CRUCIBLE album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.82 | 65 ratings

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Tall Tales
Crucible Symphonic Prog

Review by Atavachron
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Utterly solid debut from these Connecticutians, strongly in an old-fashioned symph vein aptly described as "a very symphonic prog sound while avoiding the overdramatic feel that plagues much of the neo-progressive movement". In fact this is the kind of act a promoter wouldn't book in front of Rush or Yes for fear of upstaging them.

Mind you, absolutely nothing musically new appears among the attractive and good-sounding set, but there are some really fine moments on Crucible's Tall Tales if uncorked and given a chance to breathe. Recalled are a host of familiarities such as Saga, Genesis, Marillion, and Bill Esposito's unmistakable Geddy Lee nasopharyngeals. But unlike with most of the other impostors out there, these tributes are welcome and tastefully done. Lead composer Tim Horan's keys (not to mention Dan Esposito's guitars) snare our attention for 'Over the Falls', and near-perfect 'The Poet Liar' might've been a hit if people had been listening to prog in the late '90s. 'Lords and Leeches' has a nice Americana vocal-pop appeal and includes Horan's squealing lead, 'Land For Sale' evokes early Rush, and seven-part 'An Imp's Tale' is the compositional highlight.

While not in the same creative league as a Wobbler or a Tangent, for most proggies Crucible will fit like a cherished pair of elderly shoes-- three concrete stars.

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 Curtains by CRUCIBLE album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.34 | 21 ratings

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Curtains
Crucible Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Thier second offer and aswell the swansong of this promising band , from 2001 named Curtains. Well, this is in same manner composed as previous one, but less adventurous in my opinion. Again Genesis meets Rush but melted with thier own ideas. Still plenty of great moments here like opening track The Swordplayer, Noble rot, the cover art of another good '70 american prog band Crack the sky - Nuclear apathy very uptempo and wel performed and the final one the title track a great and fresh instrumental piece. Not a bad album at all, but is not fantstic overall, the band is still in great shape but with all that the pieces are not catchy enough to give the same stars as on their debute, 3 stars, maybe 3.5 in places. Good album that turns to be the final chapter for this discret and quite unnoticed band.

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 Tall Tales by CRUCIBLE album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.82 | 65 ratings

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Tall Tales
Crucible Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Crucible were one of the top symphonic prog acts from late '90's early '00 releasing two albums and then gone into oblivion. Thir first album from 1998 is a damn great one in every aspect, both musicaly and lyricaly. Tall tales is the name of the album with an excellent covert art. This is one of the most exciting records I've heared in long time, even is almost 15 years old this record never stops to amaze me every time I've listing to it. Combining symphonic prog passages a la Genesis Trick of the tail era with arrangements taken from Rush Hemispheres perios, Tall tales is a total winner. Bill Esposito vocal parts remind me a lot of Geddy Lee from that period fiting like a glove in the kind of music they offer here. Complex instrumental passages, the keybords sounds vintage like overall sound of the album, but in a modern way aproached here, never boring a moment. The guitar , druming all is top notch. From the opening track Over the Falls with nice ans mooth Horan's keyboards passages, through the Lords and Leeches and ending with epic piece An Imp's Tale divided in smaller parts this album is a killer one. Very good are the vocal parts, the guitar ones and the keyboards, really strong and inventive, with a clear '70's sound. Dan Esposito guitar is all over the places, showing that he is for sure a very strong and talented musician. All in all a great work by this band, the for some reasons never made it in prog scenes. 4 stars , reacommended , excellent album.

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 Tall Tales by CRUCIBLE album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.82 | 65 ratings

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Tall Tales
Crucible Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Imagine a blend between the sounds of Discipline's debut album and Genesis' A Trick of the Tail, with the lyrical subject matter geared much towards the latter rather than the former: there you'll have a fairly good idea of the sound of Crucible, who like Discipline straddle the worlds of symphonic prog and neo-prog and are happy to pick the best ideas from both subgenres in producing their whimsical fairy tales. The Esposito brothers are the star players on this album, with Dan Esposito proving a capable guitarist in the Steve Hackett/Steve Rothery vein, whilst Bill Esposito has the vocal presence of a young Geddy Lee (but not quite such a high voice). Not game-changingly original, but very capably composed and delivered nonetheless.

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 Curtains by CRUCIBLE album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.34 | 21 ratings

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Curtains
Crucible Symphonic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Here's another album that's been a pleasant surprise for me. American band CRUCIBLE put out two albums in their career and this is the second one called "Curtains". Instrumentally we get a GENESIS flavour but with the vocalist sounding nothing like Gabriel or Collins I sure wouldn't call them a clone band. Some mellotron on 4 of the tracks as well.

"The Swordplayer" opens with piano before the bass and drums joins in as the organ and guitar come and go. Vocals after 3 minutes. Mellotron after 5 minutes. Nice guitar solo after 6 1/2 minutes with organ. "I'd Rather Walk" opens with drums and guitar before the vocals then organ and chunky bass join in. Another guitar solo in this one as well. "A Man Of Two Minds" has a beat with vocals. I like the instrumental section that ends before 3 minutes.

"Noble Rot" opens with piano and vocals. Organ and guitar follow. Lots of piano in the middle. Very GENESIS-like after 3 minutes. "Nucleur Apathy" is a CRACK IN THE SKY cover. Strummed guitar and reserved vocals early. It kicks in with organ and drums 2 minutes in. I like the intricate guitar before 4 1/2 minutes, it reminds me of KING CRIMSON's "Discipline". "World's Apart" is mellow with reserved vocals, light drums and piano before it gets fuller. Contrasts continue. "Curtains" is the closing 9 1/2 minute instrumental and it's a good one at that.

3.5 stars for this one.Their debut is even better.

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 Tall Tales by CRUCIBLE album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.82 | 65 ratings

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Tall Tales
Crucible Symphonic Prog

Review by Gerinski
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Surprisingly good for a debut, I fully endorse that despite its release date, this album be tagged as Symphonic Prog and not as Neo-Prog. The sound is closer to the 70's classics than to Neo.

This could be described as a seemingly strange combination of mid-70's Genesis with modern Rush, but no worries, this is not a clone of any of the big ones. The prominent keyboards of Tim Horan use a lot patches sounding like Tony Banks in Gabriel-era Genesis and this gives it a vintage feel, but the music itself is more modern, when it reminds of Genesis it's more like the period of Wind and Wuthering or And Then There Were Three. The Rush feel comes mostly from the voice of Bill Esposito which is a kind of mellow Geddy Lee, without the harsh screaming tones of the canadian, but also because some vocal melodies are similar to the softer tracks of mid-modern Rush. We can also feel some similarities with Kansas and Jethro Tull, and with the lesser known Iluvatar, and in fact the voice is like a mix of Geddy Lee and Iluvatar's Glenn McLaughlin.

The rest of the instruments play very competently but in a balanced way, without any of them particularly standing out.

The compositions are symphonic but with a modern touch, no bombastic moments and not much self-indulgence here even if we have a nice 21 minute suite divided in 7 parts. All the tracks are really good without actual weak moments, maybe the weakest track for my taste is the reggae-oriented The Salamander which is not bad anyway.

It's not far from deserving 5 stars, but the reason why it does not reach them is that even if all the music is really good, the compositions are somehow less inspired than those of the symphonic classics. There is no track which can be considered a timeless masterpiece, and as another reviewer put it, "even after some listens the music does not stick to your head". Sure enough if you let it spin enough it finally sticks and grows, but it's true that in the beginning it all sounds very good but nothing so outstanding as to make you think "whaw!".

But I have no hesitation in giving it 4 solid stars and strongly recommending it.

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 Curtains by CRUCIBLE album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.34 | 21 ratings

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Curtains
Crucible Symphonic Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

4 stars As I said many times and will say many times in future, I don't believe in this "everything sounds like Genesis, Yes, Camel" and few others myth. Because it does not sound like these. My threshold is probably hell high in the skies, so my point of view on this interesting, even not as good as their other album band is very positive. I'm finding new melodies, new structures, new patterns and in general, original impression it's making on me. Quite short for an album from 2001, but maybe they lacked ideas. It's somehow clear to see( and hear, both on cover and their sound) that sometimes, their sound lacks something important (Nuclear Apathy, too repetitive, without being thrilling song, it's prominent this way), but as I said, mostly it's not catastrophe.

4(-), decent Neo-Prog, not as good as Tall Tales, but still good. For me, so probably also for you. I consider current rating (3.17) quite unfair for them, as they have more to offer than as rating implies.

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 Tall Tales by CRUCIBLE album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.82 | 65 ratings

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Tall Tales
Crucible Symphonic Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

5 stars Slow Neo Symphonic Prog that (for some) overuses melody themes and is more than (not my opinion) influenced by good ol' Gen. Not that this does matter a lot in my rating system, because I don't play this game of stealing ideas, clone bands etc. I've just lost rather lengthy review (I know, this is quickly becoming cliché, how many times I've had this ? About 10x/410 reviews), so again - you'll not be blessed (or damned, depending on how you like my style) by 300-words review, but instead with a short one. Which ends right

now

5(-), because listening this 8th time in a row isn't just as good as the first one. There's really no bad track, which I see as big advantage. When you expect them to fall, they surprise you with yet another sound, another chord, solo etc and story can continue.

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 Tall Tales by CRUCIBLE album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.82 | 65 ratings

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Tall Tales
Crucible Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars This is a modern symphonic rock band coming from Connecticut,formed in the 80's by Tim Horan (keyboards), Tony Cappellina (drums) and Danny Esposito (guitars),when they were teenagers with bassist Chris Vescera (brother of Mike Vescera,ex-Yngwie Malmsteen and Loudness) joining soon after.After a couple of line-up changes/additions and a turn to a more classic-oriented prog style (as CRUCIBLE played a more hard-rocking prog at their early years),the band find their way to their first self-release ''Tall tales'' in 1998.

STYLE: Definitely with an eye on 70's tradition,CRUCIBLE sound very modern but also vintage at the same time.Easily acceptable but musically demanding symphonic rock is what the listener wll meet if purchasing this album.The songs are short in their majority with an evident song orientation (except the long epic '' An Imp's Tale'') but the arrangements are in a typical progressive style with smooth interplays,the use of a variety of analog keys and the obvious influence of 70's prog monsters.You will not face any complex combinations or electric outbursts,the musicianship on ''Tall tales'' is quite calm and soft but carefully arranged.

INFLUENCES/SOUNDS LIKE: Imagine the pastoral mood of circa 70-75 GENESIS combined with classic rock side of KANSAS in their softer moments with a singer sounding a lot like GEDDY LEE with a dose of GABRIEL-icism.Modern prog bands that recall CRUCIBLE are SPOCK'S BEARD, PUPPET SHOW even some ENCHANT traces.

PLUS: Nice arrangements overall with the band not having composed a weak track or being too excessive.Fantastic performance and excellent use of analog keyboards (heavy doses of Hammond organ,mellotron,Fender Rhoads piano and moog synth) by the talented Tim Horan.Trully strong vocals by Bill Esposito,who has a style of his own.A pleasant 70's nostalgic atmosphere and by no means a bad copy of the past transformed into our age.

MINUS: The strong doses of vocal work might not be every prog rock fan's taste,especially those into more instrumental works.Horan seems to be the center of the band and the other musicians seems a bit lost in his shadow.Especially the work of guitarist Danny Esposito is hardly noticeable despite being quite strong.Abscense of a total winner track among the good compositions.

WILL APPEAL TO: Lovers of the classic 70's sound,but the album could be a good welcome to newbies of the progressive style of rock.

CONCLUSION/RATING: A very pleasant listening,''Tall tales'' by CRUCIBLE won't ever be categorized as a masterpiece of progressive rock music,but it will definitely be among the greatest releases of 1998 with a nice nostalgic taste.3.5 stars it gets in my books along with a strong recommendation.

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 Tall Tales by CRUCIBLE album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.82 | 65 ratings

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Tall Tales
Crucible Symphonic Prog

Review by Progatron

4 stars Excellent debut album from Crucible, blending elements of Genesis, Tull and Rush with occasional nods to other 70's non-prog bands (I'd love to hear them cover "Carry On Wayward Son", let's put it that way). Keyboard nuts should appreciate this album (as soon as it begins, one is reminded of Tony Banks circa And Then There Were Three/A Curious Feeling/Duke), the guitar work is solid and a terrific rhythm section accompanies the memorable, hummable melodies. Vocals are very strong with nice harmonies - I really like this singer! "The Poet Liar" and "Lords And Leeches" are perfect examples of the band firing on all cylinders, and the short instrumental "In Ancient Tongue" is a particularly gorgeous - if simple - piece which I never tire of. The main melody is pretty with a somewhat haunting feel bubbling just below the surface, all the while backed by acoustic guitar reminiscent of very early Genesis (Trespass period). The epic suite "An Imp's Tale" should further please progheads, and relates well to the album cover.

Nothing particularly adventurous here in terms of originality, but the compositions and playing are so strong that it doesn't seem to matter. Make no mistake - this isn't a 'clone' band in the sense that they are trying to sound like one particular band. I've come back to this album many times over the years.

Overall, a delightfully charming record which will appeal to fans of symphonic and neo-prog in the land of lords and leeches! Highly recommended.

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