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Fish - A Feast of Consequences CD (album) cover





3.96 | 441 ratings

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5 stars Fish is a strong character, not surprising in view of his taciturn Scottish heritage as well as the tortuous tribulations that seemingly spare no one, such as love, health and money troubles that many suffer through at one moment or another in their lives' journey. Suffice to say , his previous work, 'The 13th Star' was a fine return to form, after a series of good but not really exceptional albums, proving once again that heartache is a 'perfect nightmare' , a grand source of inspiration and a liquid fuel for the pen. The big man was always a great lyricist and exceptional live showman, so hearing him still writing and composing thrilling music is a bonus for any prog fan to admire. He has a sharp mind and sharper sense of motivating configurations such as irony, sarcasm, bitter truth and a hint of bile.

This release gets off the ground with the longest piece, a nearly 11 minute epic that proves his audacity as well as rejoining with a proggier sensibility that bodes well for the rest of the album as well as for the future. The odorous 'Perfume River' rolls along majestically, little hints of Paradise City from Guns & Roses ('take me down to the Perfume River' !?), sweeping synthesized keys add the necessary doom and gloom, ably handled by Foss Patterson a Fish veteran. Speaking of past cronies, Robin Boult is back manning the guitars and he must be the most underrated axe slinger in music by a country mile. Steve Vantsis handles the fluid bass and the marvelous Gavin Griffiths thumps the drums, he being among the best the UK has to offer as proved by his contributions to Mostly Autumn and Panic Room, among many others. A perfect entrance into matters that shed light on impressive words and astounding sounds. Fish is a tremendous bellower, armed with a voice that went through some recent deep throat surgery and all sounds fine. One of his best performances ever. Brrrrrilliant!

The balls to the walls approach on 'All Loved Up' is not my favorite style but, hey its only rock 'n roll after all, so let bygones be bygones and enjoy the ride, as it has a little punky style (nasty little clavinet in the background) that is ready to sign any contract and damn the torpedoes, a characteristic of this impulsive yet sensitive man, who lives and dies by his sword. The slithering mid-section has its 'own destiny', self-deprecating comments on fame and fortune. He sardonically mocks the 'in crowd' and 'the beautiful people', tossing in some F words to boot.

After the storm, the sun, as a ballad is needed to soothe the frizzled fur and segue additional commentary about that notion of beauty. 'I just can't see the beautiful anymore' he intones in his usual expert delivery. Aidan O'Rourke's violin only amplifies the sad lament. The lyrics again reveal what many fans know already, the man can write devastatingly effective yet simple poetry. Lovely!

The title track exemplifies his current 'state of mind' (slick, Thomas, slick) , a man who just does not feel inclined to give up and hide, boldly standing back up after every knock down, the lyrics here address these harrowing vicissitudes and his resolve to defend his sanity. As a fellow romantic, I take solace in his incredible strength and a source of inspiration to constantly thrive emanates from his work.

A five-song anti-war suite is next, once again stamping 'prog' credentials all over his song writing, as exemplified by the John Bonham-like thud on 'High Wood', propelled by some fiery guitar riffs and bombastic contours , Fish and Liz Antwi intertwining their lungs to better evoke the inflamed words. Boult shows some colossal grit and restraint, while Fish tosses in some German commentary (like he did with 'Manchmal'). The booming 'Crucifix Corner' just takes the mood to another level, a variation on the previous flow, a rambling discourse on the futility of endless conflict, a classic theme that he has approached many times before with great success. The orchestrations are truly grandiose, the beat relentless and the melodic passion is kicked around with strategic flair. This is great music from a resourceful poet and musician. The military marching band carousel revives old patriotic manipulations on 'the Gathering' , rallying the poor bastards to willingly give their lives for some form of King and Country and the 'promise of a Brave New World' that we all know will never happen. Armor, glory, surrender and family, all blended together by the sausage churning military-industrial complex propaganda. Goodbye youth and innocence, promises broken. 'Thistle Alley' conveys more forbidding afterthoughts, wounded corpses dancing under the Florence Nightingale candles, more hefty drumming (war and ballistic drums, hmmmm) and Fish really involving himself into the revolting 'danse macabre' carnage. This brutal onslaught takes no prisoners, the darkness is omnipresent and sensationally executed. Yeah, it's heavy! Orchestral confines marshal the battlefield, with more angry musings about thrust and counter-thrust, as 'the generals count the casualties', Fish has managed to address the futility of war in a convincing, lyrically enthralling manner that, unfortunately after 'Je suis Charlie', we all know it will never go away, humans are just not advanced yet to coexist in peace, the world will never be either 'Brave' nor 'New'. Just the usual cycle of evil and love. A perfect finale.

The sincerity drips on 'Other Side of Me', a ballad that shows another side of our Wedgeman, a heartwarming inner vision that opens up his soul for perusal, which is what any true fan would want! Still dealing with the pain of his near marriage to Heather Findlay, he remains a romantic giant, a bolder Bryan Ferry (the two have actually a lot of common virtues but we won't get into that today), not surprising then that they are my top two vocalists/lyricists. A simply gorgeous song.

'The Great Unravelling' serves as the ideal finale to a near perfect album, another dream laid bare, a modern percussive sheen, a sorrowful veneer and all drenched in evocative yet muscular music. A wailing Antwi performs amazingly in tandem with Monsieur Poisson, the passion overt and mercurial, 'ushered into the light' and a phenomenal ending, suave guitar solo and a confident , unbroken and courageous artist ready to face the next challenge ahead.

You are a hero, Mr Derek Dick.

4.75 victims of expectations

tszirmay | 5/5 |


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