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The Tangent - The Music That Died Alone CD (album) cover


The Tangent


Eclectic Prog

3.99 | 389 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars THE MUSIC THAT DIED ALONE opens fluently, with Andy Tillison's Hammond organ instantly evoking memories of Dave Stewart and Keith Emerson, although it doesn't sound TOO derivative. As the main melody of 'In Darkest Dreams' gets under way, listeners may worry how soon the lead vocalist, Roine Stolt, will be getting on their nerves ('Down in the seething mazz... your one last chanze'). Fortunately, Stolt never gets the chance to emote too openly (maybe his lines were written for him by Tillison?) and the chorus is so catchy the listener soon finds himself happily singing along. In fact, on the entire album the performances of all three Flower Kings are superb. Zoltan Csorz (on drums) and Jonas Reingold (on bass) sound better than ever, maybe because they get such fiery music to play. Stolt's guitar solos are inspired as well. On 'In Darkest Dreams' he gets several opportunities to shine, as do Sam Baine on piano, and Tillison on synth (with the same wild sound Rick Wakeman used so effectively on 'Sir Gawain and the Black Knight'). Guy Manning provides acoustic relief in a delicate 'Dance with the Moonlit Knight' style interlude.

'The Canterbury Sequence' is cute, although Tillison would learn to imitate HATFIELD AND THE NORTH more convincingly on later Tangent albums. Both 'Up Hill from Here' and 'The Music that Died Alone' have lead vocals by Tillison himself. To my relief, these tunes are not too wordy, and I see no reasons to complain about the singing. 'Up Hill from Here' is a highly exciting, sax-driven uptempo number, with a wonderfully climactic lead guitar solo in the style of Dave Gilmour.

The album's title tune is an almost unbearably sad elegy on the demise of classic progressive rock, with moving contributions on sax and flute by David Jackson. Only a few days ago I happened to be talking to an aspiring rock musician who complained she had quit the London music scene in disgust, because just as Tillison says her manager wanted her to 'sell [her] dreams to the mainstream's sway' and 'mould [her] lives to a typecast for today'. Virtually all bands you see on TV are completely manufactured. Still, websites such as this one offer all the proof you need that prog is definitely not some forgotten genre we have to sneak a listen to 'in our darkened homes'! Perhaps Tillison wrote his elegy in the early 1990s, when truly imaginative prog was very hard to come by?

Rating: three and a half stars.

fuxi | 3/5 |


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