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Rick Wakeman - Out There CD (album) cover


Rick Wakeman


Symphonic Prog

3.83 | 117 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars 3.6 stars

This is an excellent album and a surprise from Wakeman whose solo career was prolific yet mediocre after the 70s. Another surprise is how great the keyboards sound (though they sounded great in his disappointing "Return to the Center". Another point of interest is how band-oriented this album sounds as well as how good the band is. The guitar playing is very good and metal-oriented and is as prominent as Wakeman's keyboards; the vocalist is finally a good one whose vocals fits the heavy style of this album; the drumming and bass playing is very good; and the choirs are not overused.

The album opens with the epic title track which might be the best song he wrote since 1984's overture (though "Ocean City" comes very close). It opens with a wonderful middle-eastern string arrangement and ends up being a structurally complex song that doesn't get dull. The song has some fast-paced heavy part that might sound like Iron Maiden if the synth riffs weren't there. The song also has some great softer moments and features an amazing analog synth solo that shows that Wakeman is still Wakeman. This is my favorite song of the album, but the rest is great as well.

The Mission is a rocker that has hammond organs, even mellotron. The metallic guitars are still here and the song sounds quite fresh because not only is Wakeman back in terms of songwriting, but also is playing a style I never heard him play before.

To Be With You is for me another highlight. It has a computarized drumline and many many layers of background synths and some subdued guitar playing. The main focus are the great vocals of Damian and the choirs. The harmonies of the choir and him are great in minute one and the chorus, which uses only the English Chamber Choir is just magical.

Universe of a Sound starts as a slightly unremarkable guitar-driven metal tune though the second half is a showcase of solos from Wakeman and the guitar player.

To be With You is more symphonic than the previous track and focuses more on melody. The keyboard playing is great and kept in the background. I think that most of the times, Wakeman sounds better when he's not dominating. Like the previous song, there are solos again ... the first guitar solo is excellent and the synth solos are even better, with the usage of an unusual tone that really works.

The closer symbolizes the genre Symphonic rock. It is written in classical music style, has church organs, choirs. It is energetic and focuses on arrangements rather than virtuosic showing off. An excellent epic, though nowhere as brilliant as "Judas" from his Criminal Records album in the 70s.

I might say that this is one of my favorite Rick Wakeman albums. The songwriting is great, the arrangements are carefully done,, the playing is superb, the band is tight, and the sound is refreshing. I highly recommend it to anyone.

Zitro | 4/5 |


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