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Return To Forever - Romantic Warrior CD (album) cover


Return To Forever


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.28 | 681 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Based on the reviews, it seems that you either love this album or find it a bit average. I guess I tend to think that Romantic Warrior is a bit on the uninspired side. Not that these guys aren't trying--there are plenty of great riffs, killer percussion bits, true proggy moments, and even some places where all four guys are rocking simultaneously. Unfortunately, most of these songs really don't hold up well and sound more like bits of ideas jammed together. There'll be a di Meola riff section, then a Corea synth bit, and maybe some rocking if we're lucky. In fact, I'd venture to say that there are only two or three good songs on this album. Romantic Warrior sounds like something Gentle Giant or PFM would come up with if they decided to try fusion, and the results are decent, but certainly not great.

The highlights: Sorceress, Romantic Warrior. Here the boys are all on the same page, and the results are quality music played with obvious energy and skill. Sorceress is a funky number and really finds a great groove, with a nice balance between melody and virtuosic playing (especially some piano runs from Corea and di Meola riffs). They also picked a killer song for the title track: a moody, jazzy number that never gets boring in its 11 minute run-time. EACH member integrates his distinct virtuosic playing expertly here (and like nowhere else on the album, in my opinion), but special note goes to Clarke on bass for some remarkable work.

The rest. The other four songs aren't bad, but they just seem to wander in and out of actual good music, and each of the members seem to make too much of an effort to get out of each other's way, and the result is just not cohesive for me. Medieval Overture has some truly incredible fusion moments, and Majestic Dance has some killer di Meola rocking, but neither can keep up the energy throughout. The Magician has some great spacey keyboard/guitar melody, but the goofy/silly parts spoil it somewhat for me, and Duel of the Jester and the Tyrant is simply overlong at nearly 12 minutes.

If you want to rock, don't start here: go find Hymn for the Seventh Galaxy. If you want a combination of very playful prog, smooth jazz, and virtuosic playing, this might be right up your alley. Maybe this is fusion at it's apex. If that's the case, I choose to rock instead!

Flucktrot | 3/5 |


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