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Barclay James  Harvest - Once Again CD (album) cover


Barclay James Harvest


Crossover Prog

3.81 | 253 ratings

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4 stars In very few occasions I have witnessed such an improvement in so little time, from the weak and predictable "Barclay James Harvest" to the strong and dramatic "Once Again", seem to have passed four or five years and not only a few months, because the band not only found their path, but they improved in every field.

"She said" opens the album with a lot of drama, a heavy dense atmosphere proper of late Proto Prog albums with strong Psyche connections, Woolly Wolstenholme's keyboard sound much more mature and sentimental. After a frantic first section, a soft medieval flute break, prepares us for the grand finale, where the band hits us with all they have, simply amazing.

"Happy Old World" begins dense and Baroque, but soon changes into a soft melody, the difference with the first album is that the softer tunes are very interesting and with a more elaborate sound, no pre Psyche references, the band has entered into Prog territory with all their heart and soul, even the Hammond sounds more advanced than most of their peers and John Less seems another person with a more varied repertoire.

"Song for Dying" as the name indicates is very emotional with a fantastic piano and guitar enhancing the atmosphere, some moments aggressive in others breathtaking but always melancholic, of the ballads from the debut album were na´ve and predictable, here are strong and dramatic.

"Galadriel" is so evocative that almost brings tears to my eyes, the orchestral addition is simply outstanding, despite the fact that "Galadriel" is a very simple song, doesn't affect its beauty. Another high point.

"Mockingbird" is a classic, a song that has absolutely everything, beautiful melody, strong atmosphere, but they don't stop there, the orchestra is breathtaking and the radical changes are nothing less than perfect. A masterpiece for any person who loves music.

"Vanessa Sinunons" is probably the weakest track of the album, a bit in the vein of the previous but at least here they have the excuse that it's acoustic and sounds very pretty.

"Ball and Chain" is another radical change, very aggressive and sensual, reminds me a bit of a softer version of LED ZEPPELIN with excellent keyboards and guitar sections, not what we could expect in the beginning of the album, but they put everything on this track.

"Lady Loves" again is a change, a bit of Country influences with Rock in ballad presentation, not as good as Mocking Bird, but still very good.

What a change from my last BJH review and the rating must also change, four solid stars. Wish it would had been 5 stars but despite it's close to be a masterpiece, still something is missing to reach that status.

I recommend this album without any doubt despite the modest popularity it gained, it's an underrated gem that deserved much more.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |


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