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Black Bonzo - Lady of the Light CD (album) cover


Black Bonzo


Heavy Prog

3.84 | 114 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

2 stars This mongrel will fetch some stick

'Lady of the Light' - This is a superb opener and displays what a fine grasp these young Swedes have of the recording techniques and equipment that were employed in the creation of all your fave Prog masterpieces of yesteryear. It does have a refreshing 'modern' orientation however, and gives a tantalizing glimpse of what the record COULD have been.

A very catchy rock/pop song is interspersed with beguiling and arresting instrumental interludes which help to lend a breadth and weight to the composition. The use of the mellotron lends the track a quaint 'dusty' 70's atmosphere perfectly suited to the underlying music.

'Brave Young Soldier' - Displays a pastoral folky feel in the verses but deviates into a rather more bombastic synth driven section with some startling modulations in a Van der Graaf Generator sort of 'thang y'all'.

I really love the vocals on this album as the singer has a 'haunted' quality to his voice and his delivery makes most of the material very attractive indeed.

'These are Days of Sorrow' - Hold up a minute...This is Uriah Heep awoken from his slumber by an early bird Atomic Rooster. At this point my suspicions are starting to nag me into a rather unwelcome conclusion. Reference points such as the bands mentioned above are fine as a departure point yes, but this is slavish reproduction bordering on plagiarism surely? Very skillfully and accurately done to their credit, but the games finally up lads. No copyright lawyer will ever play the 'imitation is the sincerest form of flattery your honour' card in your defense now.

'New Day/Intermission' - Where 'Jethro' and 'Uriah' go on a virtual shopping frenzy on e-bay and pick up for a snip the featured Hammond Organ, Minimoog, Mellotron, phaser pedal and every other device they could think of that was featured on most of their favorite Prog rock albums.

'Fantasy World' - Tip: If you are going to be brave enough to use the Mellotron flute sound this blatantly, then make sure you have a tune that differs significantly enough from any of the Beatles numbers it featured on to escape with a vestige of credibility.

This is Dear Prudence/Julia through a 'randomise' function in a computer software sequencer.

Brian May appears to have dropped by that afternoon while on a snowboarding holiday in Northern Sweden to lend some harmonised guitar to the proceedings. The fade out ending drags on far too long.

'Freedom' - Crikey! Brian has brought his buddy Freddie along too to help out on the vocal chores and add some authentic 'overly compressed' piano so beloved of Abbey Road magpies everywhere. Even 'bad' Queen is better than this.

'Sirens' - A recipe created by Crimson and followed to the letter by the Bonzos here. Take one part Epitaph sprinkle liberally with some In the Wake of Poseidon over the top, half bake for about 30 years then serve as an original dish with a side brain salad of In the Court of the Crimson King - then wait for the reviewer to simmer for 20 minutes or so.

Jailbait' - This is Deep Purple's Highway Star with the notes and lyrics judiciously altered to avoid the inevitable litigation. If there is irony at work in the line:

Rock and Roll saved my Soul it is extremely well disguised. (They mean it Man)

'Leave Your Burdens' - The sort of numbing stadium rock ballad that even the Scorpions would be reticent to endorse. Has a faint Spanish lydian flavour. (So what, it sucks big time). I can even see the army of cigarette lighters held aloft in the air as I type. With any luck this practice will continue to constitute a dangerous fire hazard.

'Where the River Meets the Sea' - Pete Townshend of the Who once memorably intoned The Sea Refuses No River, but I am sure any self respecting ocean would think twice before admitting entry to this toxic Barclay James Harvest/ Moody Blues sourced sewage. Like a nil all draw played out in an empty football stadium after too much extra time.

We then get a slower piano only reprise of the first song as though its reappearance will imbue the album with the status of a concept work.

(it doesn't and It ain't)

Despite my negativity towards many aspects of this record I do want to end on a positive note and would reiterate that Black Bonzo are clearly five extremely talented Swedish musicians who do display some originality at the start of this album but unfortunately lose their way thereafter.

This is a pity but I am sure that once they learn a little healthy mistrust of the past, they will find their own voice and style.

For those with a Mellotron fetish, there is much to salivate over here and the replicated authenticity of the other sounds employed, be they organ, guitar, piano or analogue synths is quite stunning.

The obverse of the old adage must be true:

-You CAN teach a new dog old tricks -

ExittheLemming | 2/5 |


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