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Netherworld - In the Following Half-light (Netherworld) CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.41 | 26 ratings

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3 stars Netherworld was a US prog band that popped up in the early 80's with its well received single release but I'm not sure many noticed the pop at the time. They broke up soon after but with the help of some of the good people over at, their debut was reissued by Musea in 2002 with a 3-part instrumental track tacked on for good measure. DPRP had two reviewers both reward the album with a perfect 10 out of 10 score while stipulating that they were not the most non-partisan listeners. So from an actual non-partisan listener, what do we have here?

The first song is an up tempo number that sounds a bit dated due to production values but does have healthy doses of keys and guitar that vie for your attention. I have to believe this was their attempt to get radio play as things get more complex and proggy going forward. The second song starts off fast and shows off strong rhythm and lead guitar. It then has a slower section that tries to create a scary mood while trying to tell the story of Son of Sam from that infamous killer's point of view. It goes into a nice long guitar solo from there that also adds to the mood before picking up the pace again. The two guitarists credited certainly have chops and are able to use the instrument to create many different effects. Randy Wilson plays some very nice keys and is given the spotlight from time to time as well as giving many of the songs a nice vibe. The balance of the album is diverse and demands your attention to appreciate it. A Matter of Time has some wonderful piano and moves into another nice guitar solo followed by a blistering keyboard solo. I think a good way to sum up most of the songs is that they desperately wanted to be a full blown prog outfit but knew the writing was on the wall and perhaps compromised somewhat in order to try and stay with the times. The bonus track lends credence to this theory as it is full out prog. The first part has keys and piano come in at the same time then all the instruments just take you on a nice ride. The 2nd part again has plenty of piano with keys that are going for a flute vibe over the top. It finishes with some more nice keys over acoustic guitar and then another nice guitar solo.

The album certainly has an 80's feel to it which is certainly understandable. The remastering people only had so much to work with and made the best of the situation. If the band would have made the album in today's musical climate, the sound would have been substantially different. The drums would have had a much fuller sound and the tone of the guitar would have sounded much better than the new wave vibe you get here. The keys would not have that sometime "plinky" quality. However, there is talent here (both songwriting and playing) and given the band's situation and the resources they had to make an album of this quality gives credence to the high marks of dprp. It just is not an album that I personally grab for frequently and when I compare it to many of the albums I have given four stars to, it does not stack up as high. I certainly believe it can be a grower for many fans of early neo. Netherworld were probably a victim of the time, their locale and other circumstances that often mount against startup bands and may have achieved even better things if given a chance to mature. Three and a half stars.

johnobvious | 3/5 |


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