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Bram Stoker - Heavy Rock Spectacular [Aka: Schizo-Poltergeist] CD (album) cover


Bram Stoker


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3.83 | 58 ratings

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4 stars Mischievous Invisible Sprite Spectacularly Lifts Heavy Rock

I have to confess that I was not overly optimistic about this one due in no small measure to the very tacky artwork and the appalling title. Dire premonitions of 'Franck Pourcell plays the music of Black Sabbath' are mercifully unfounded.

Once you have ventured inside and over this twee 'K-Tel Gothic' threshold, the music is a real treat and we can only speculate as to what type of success this band could have attained given proper and sympathetic marketing.

The Hammond dominates throughout and if it is indeed played by the elusive Mr Bronsdon? he is/was surely an ivory tickler of fantastic ability (I cannot help but speculate if this is the work of a now fabulously wealthy and famous keyboard giant who was then in dire need of a paycheck?)

Some of the previous commentaries have touted reference points like Purple, Heep and Rooster and although there is a vestige of that feel here, it is somewhat tenuous as the music is surprisingly varied and encompasses classical, heavy rock, jazz and symphonic Prog a la Beggars Opera, the Nice, ELP and Colosseum etc

The guitar is never allowed to just bludgeon us with any fuzz-laden riffs here and for the most part, the fretwork is very tastefully done and can give the impression of a vaguely jazzy feel in places. Phasing and tremolo effects are employed and although they serve to date stamp the recording firmly to the early 70's, they do actually lend a sense of space to the proceedings.

I also like the drumming which supports, is sympathetic to and enhances the musical development (unlike the tub thumping school of just plain old vanilla time-keeping. Does Ian Paice ever visit this site?)

The songs, although hardly masterpieces, are strong and the singer (the indefatigable Mr B again?) has a decent voice and patently a sense of humour, as evidenced by Idiot

Bach's down at heel 'Toccata and Fugue' is subjected to further humiliation on one of the tracks in a slightly cringe inducing section but in the main, the instrumental passages are delightful and have been carefully composed with loads of variety of tone, pace and timbre to keep us interested.

Not being familiar with the work of Mendelssohn, I cannot comment on the suitability or otherwise of what purports to be an adaptation of a classical piece Fingal's Cave? I do know that I like the track, and it is here that the music is at it's lightest and jazziest with some excellent piano work helping to provide some relief from the organ assault.

So, don't be discouraged by the crappy cover and title and give this album a fair hearing. Unlike so many other over-hyped 'forgotten' masterpieces that proliferate on these pages, this is a genuine contender, deserving of such an accolade.

(Does Franck Pourcell ever visit this site ?)

ExittheLemming | 4/5 |


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