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Arcansiel - Swimming In The Sand - The Best of 1989 - 2004 CD (album) cover

SWIMMING IN THE SAND - THE BEST OF 1989 - 2004

Arcansiel

 

Neo-Prog

3.19 | 12 ratings

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ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The philosophy of this album is somewhat similar to "Chronos" from "Starcastle". "Arcansiel" will rework some oldies and release this compilation album. But where "Starcastle" did use this as a pretext to a reunion of all the founding members and produced some very pleasant new versions, "Arcansiel" did not follow this direction.

They actually did something VERY wrong, IMO.

Their greatest song ever released and their sole epic "I'm Still Searching" is reduced to a mere seven minutes (coming from over twenty-one). But in order to produce another epic, the band (whose line-up for this re-write work does not even feature their leader) decided to stretch "Evelyn" (originally just over seven minutes) to a twenty-one minutes piece of music. I really do not understand this approach.

"I Am Still Searching" is completely denaturated and the vocals (lead + backing) are absolutely infamous. What did you do to my song ??? (see my review for the according album to get the full picture if you feel like it).

Now, "Evelyn". I didn't even mentioned it when I reviewed "Four Daisies" (their pleasant debut album) but, for the sake of expressing my feelings, I have to admit that this extended version is definitely waaaay better than the original. Nice violin, great guitar breaks and beautiful keyboards. A very good prog number indeed (in this version). IQ sits around the corner (which is OK to me) and at times I even feel like the "Neuschwanstein" singer is back.

The worse are of course the vocals for "Holy Wolf Suite" : they are as bad as the original. Hopefully the great duo sax / guitar is as powerful. The finale with its powerful keys is just gorgeous, to be honest. From the same album, the listener has to bear "The End". But just forget about it : this song which was poor will remain so.

Still, a song like "Angel Of March" from their second album will sound rather different here. But no great sax at the end of it, which is a pity.

Oh yes. I almost forgot the unreleased track "Swimmer In The Sand". Just below average.

Fortunately, two tracks will save this "compilation". The good thing is that they are good for over thirty minutes (just under the half of this album). These are really four stars songs. "Holy Wolf" being a two stars one.

I will round up my rating to three stars but if you want to get the best out of "Arcansiel", do listen to "Still Searching ".

ZowieZiggy | 3/5 |

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