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Jade Warrior - Jade Warrior CD (album) cover

JADE WARRIOR

Jade Warrior

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.63 | 122 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars I’ve just started discovering Jade Warrior recently based on a recommendation from another proglodyte, and I find them rather appealing even though I was warned this is not a good representative album to start with. But when discovering new bands in- depth I like to start at the beginning to get a better sense of the band’s roots and how they progressed (or didn’t, as the case may be).

These guys are pretty unusual overall, although there are several fairly obvious influences. The most prominent is seventies Jethro Tull, kind of unavoidable considering there’s only three guys in the band, one of them plays the flute, and another (Glyn Havard) has passingly similar vocals to Ian Anderson. Tull also experimented a bit with odd rhythms, blunt percussion, and disjointed arrangements on some of their mid-seventies work as well, but nowhere near to the extent do these guys. The percussion comes in the form of various Eastern and Latin hand drums and what I think are bells or some sort of tinny hand implements. On most tracks the combination of sounds atop an overall jazz-inspired rhythm works pretty well, although I’m not sure the vocals are really necessary for the most part. The lyrics are spacey and more poetic than concrete in an artsy way that feels contrived much of the time, particularly on the lengthy, spiritual, and otherwise very engaging “Dragonfly Day”.

This CD release seems to have something wrong with the mix, as the flow across the channels is choppy and awkward, especially at the beginning of the album. Otherwise the sound is quite good for the period.

The relative inexperience of these three guys working together and trying to find their sound is apparent in places: on “Petunia” the band varies between a kind of fuzzed-psych guitar sound and a Bad Company-like blues beat that doesn’t quite gel; and on “Telephone Girl” the fuzz guitar with Latin rhythms sounds more like a self-indulgent studio jam session than a deliberate composition.

But overall this is a pretty engaging album, and is well worth the investment of time and money to check out. Once you get past the first three Tullish tracks, the band does a great job of experimenting with many different percussive flavors and layered, multi-disciplined arrangements. This kind of eclectic music could never find a major label today to invest in them, which of course is one of the main problems with the current music industry. Bands like Jade Warrior, when given time to develop a groove, are important to the creative process that makes progressive music such a joy to experience.

So even though I’m only going to give this debut three stars, the fresh approach sets the stage for a string of much stronger releases that would cement these guys firmly in the role of favored-sons of the progressive scene. Like I was warned, this is not the best place to start with the band, but if you listen to this and then graduate to their string of quite beautiful mid-seventies recordings, you will witness the evolution of a sound that is both hard to categorize, and worth seeking out for that very reason.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |

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