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Fireballet - Night on Bald Mountain CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.52 | 97 ratings

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Symphonic Prog Specialist
3 stars Good but Not Original or Essential

Since I remember, people has mentioned FIREBALLET as one of the most outstanding USA Symphonic bands, and mention "Night in the Bald Mountain" as a true masterpiece, well, until last week, I had only heard fragments and one or two times a full album in a friends house, and sounded OK.

So after some years I decided to buy the album and found a copy of the 1975 - 1975 version with seven bonus tracks, must say that I'm not so impress, it's true that the guys show great musicianship and presents us some good ideas, but they are not able to keep a good balance, mixing excellent material, with songs that border cheesiness and are derivative to an extreme, so without more talking, let's check the tracks.

The album is opened with "Les Cathédrales" which introduces the listener to a good Prog opener plethoric of guitars, organs and radical changes which go from a heavy start to an atmospheric mood reminiscent of Genesis, more obvious when they almost copy parts of Fountain of Salmacis plus a couple more GENESIS references, 100% Prog, pretty good but anything except original.

After the tem minutes opener, it's time for "Centurion", a pompous track in the vain of ELP but even closer to TRIUMVIRAT, the vocal section is somehow disappointing, because Jim Cuomo looses the perspective and the key at some points. Followed by ore ELP references, the song goes till the end with some interesting changes.

"The Fireballet" opens with a very FOCUS influenced introduction that seems taken from "Moving Waves", but suddenly a chorus interrupts what sounded very coherent, maybe I'm too harsh, but the vocal work sounds less than average. Then comes an instrumental break with clear ELP similarities (again) but less inspired, the chorus keeps coming back and sounds worst every time. The final section mainly in piano gives a boost to a mediocre track.

"Atmospheres" starts clearly based in GENESIS, it's nice, soft but lacks of energy (which is the main attribute of the band), the arrangements are very good, but after a couple minutes turns into too predictable and bores a bit.

Well, the center piece of the album is "Night on the Bald Mountain" and FIREBALLET hit us with everything they have, now the band achieves what I expect from a Prog band when covering a classical theme, the band does all the job, almost no orchestral additions and they still accomplish success..But hey, isn't the first change a copy of Karn Evil 9 followed by another copy of "The Magician's Birthday"?

What the hell, it sounds great and we know that their strength is not in the originality. Several changes, more references to another bands (King Crimson included) and dramatic moments make of this 18 minutes track a good Prog moment.

As usual will avoid reviewing the bonus tracks, because I like to listen the album it was created to be released and to be honest, the extra material is way bellow the level of te original release.

Now how to rate them? Four stars is too much because something so derivative can't be considered remotely essential, but two stars is way too little for such adisplay of musicianship, so I will go with 3 very solid stars that could be 3.5 of the system was able to accept them.

If you're a fan of te 70's, you will like this album, and could add an extra interest making a trivia contest with your friends trying to find the references.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 3/5 |


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