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Big Big Train - Goodbye to the Age of Steam CD (album) cover


Big Big Train


Crossover Prog

3.48 | 195 ratings

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The Crow
Prog Reviewer
3 stars After two interesting demos, Big Big Train released their first full length album back in 1994. And the project started good!

I must say that the production of the album sounds professional. The only problem I find in terms of sound is the dated and unfitting sound of the keyboards in some songs. I think for their attempt to create a melancholic neo-prog approach to music the keys are too strident and too much early 80's oriented. And while in other acts like Pendragon or Arena that's not a big deal, in the music of Big Big Train sounds just incorrect.

Nevertheless, Wind Distorted Pioneers introduces correctly the style of the band, despite its dubious initial guitar melody. Melancholic melodies, piano-based sections and some folk elements. Pure Big Big Train! And typical is also Head Hit the Pillow, which starts with a long instrumental introduction with old-sounding keyboards. After that, at 2:28 we can hear an excellent chorus and good bass playing. Fine song!

Edge of the Known World is not so good, because the more rocking tracks of the album are curiously also the worst. Despite the good and complex initial riff and the neo-prog elements, this song is not remarkable. Landfall's start is also very neo-prog at the beginning, especially in the keyboards. After that we can find a beautiful song dominated by the excellent voice of Martin Read and acoustic guitars. The keyboard is a bit annoying in the chorus, but the inspiring guitar solo accompanied by a fine piano melody compensates that.

Dragon Bone Hill is a dreamy instrumental tune played with Spanish guitar and delicate keyboards, and it gives way to Blow the House Down. This song starts very beautifully, just voice and keys in the first two minutes. After that the track becomes a bit more conventional, but very good nevertheless. The instrumental progression is remarkable, and the great melody of bass and keyboards which appear at 4:09 too.

Expecting Snow is another harmless instrumental with Spanish guitar, but this time with drums and bass and some acoustic chords. Not really special. Blue Silver Red is also a bit irregular, with great sections like the one which starts with the words 'So sorry'', and others which are not so good, specially the rockier ones. Nevertheless, this song has another mature and intense instrumental work. This band was good since the very beginning!

Losing Your Way starts with an epic keyboard, and even more epic guitar melody, which leads to another good song. The fans of Marillion will be specially delighted with this one! The acoustic guitar solo is the top of the track, which ended the album in its first edition.

Because Far Distant thing is an extra song added in the remastered edition, obtained from the demo The Infant Hercules. Not a bad one, but pales in comparison with the rest of the album despite the good electrical guitar works which contains. And Expecting Dragons is a new track made specially for this re-edition with the actual line-up. Is a mixture between Dragon Bone Hill and Expecting Snow, adding Big Big Train's modern elements like flutes, strings, better production and D'Virgilio.

This reissue contains also a longer version of Losing Your Way, but I honestly prefer the original.

Conclusion: a good album from a very talented band! The true personality of the band is here, despite being their first official full lenght. So, the melancholic mixture of neo-prog, folk, pop and symphonic prog will surely delight not only the fans of Big Big Train, but also to curious listeners desiring to know the origins of this gifted group of musicians. In my opinion is also not a bad place to start with them!

The unfitting keyboard sound which ruins some sections, alongside some repetitiveness prevent this album to receive four stars. But It's a good album, even very good sometimes, and it has a great singer who sings very catchy vocal lines and a very versatile and delightful guitar work.

I'm willing to hear more of this band!

Best Tracks: Head Hit the Pillow, Landfall, Blow the House Down, Losing Your Way (short version)

My Rating: ***

The Crow | 3/5 |


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