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Epidaurus - Earthly Paradise CD (album) cover

EARTHLY PARADISE

Epidaurus

 

Symphonic Prog

3.51 | 108 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars Epidaurus' debut album enjoys a lost-gem minor classic reputation and it is little wonder why, because this album represents a bit the later 70's German take-over of symphonic rock, once most of the English bands had completely run out of steam. This quintet (two keyboards, no guitar plus a female singer) was taking much of the old recipes, and using what seemed outmoded instruments, but this is one of the ingredients most progheads will like. The album is clearly presented in two phases/styles: the first side presenting a solid symphonic rock that is reminiscent of Genesis or Yes, while the second side clearly ogles in the Symphonic-era of Tangerine Dream. Both sides of the album have a different drummers, but share the same relative weakness in the songwriting department.

From the opening notes, you actually fear one of those late-70's ultra-(overly)-symphonic album, but after the first minute is gone, you should be completely reassured that you are indeed in a good tendency: halfway between Genesis and Renaissance (and not just because of Christine Wand's ultra-high vocals , which reminds of Haslam), the only thing that is lacking here is a good guitar, but maybe I am a bit too nit-picky. So the almost-7mins Actions And Reactions is a very enjoyable ultra-symphonic rock that really buries many other similar albums, and the second track, the almost 8-mins Silas Marner also gets some lovely flute lines, but is a bit less involved. This (short) first side of the vinyl is slightly hampered by the singing of Wand, because her vocals are not to everyone's tastes.

The flipside opens with the perfect linking instrumental 5-mins Wing Of The Dove , which announces a bit the second part of the album, but is still well entrenched in the Genesis realm with loads of Mellotron and some descending lines lifted from Cinema shows (short and not scandalous), until the song shifts to an upper tempo to end the song more fittingly. If Andas starts with a piano intro, the track clearly veers electronics for the next minutes before settling in a superb (dare I say grandiose?) Tangerine Dream-like groove (Stratosfear era) that could even shame these last ones had they not invented the musical universe. The 6-mins Andas also brinks along the dissonant (the flute but also the early electronic interlude), but does really dare to. Closing off the album is Mitternachtstraum (middle of night dream) in a splendid full blown TD fashion, finally bringing the slow process of morphing Renaissance into Tangerine Dream. Somehow, these unknown realized a small tour de force.

Recorded as a private release (with a na´ve B&W artwork), this album got a first CD reissue in the early 90's on Pennar Records, than a second one on the superb Garden Of Delight (Pennar's successor) in the mid 00's. Most likely, the GOD release is the better researched one and probably contains bonus tracks. Epidaurus will release a second album in the mid-90's, presenting re-recorded version of tracks that were written for the second album. I never this album, but generally the album did not get good reviews. In the meantime, this album is good enough to earn its fourth star, while not being really essential. It is however much worthy of your investigations and merits its reputation.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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