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Pulsar - Halloween CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.03 | 184 ratings

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3 stars This isn't as good as Pulsar's previous 'Strands of the Future'. 'Halloween' is a very slow-evolving album... even plodding at times. It does have a few moments of excellence however, and is rife with beautiful and sinister analog synthesizer passages. The material is fairly dark and inaccessible; it will take a few full listens for the quality to shine through the dense cloudy atmosphere.

I think this album would have benefited from being broken up into more individual compositions, instead of a single 40-minute suite broken up into two sections. The 'Halloween' concept never reaches it's full potential either... the lyrics are hard to understand because of the singer's thick French accent, I would have much preferred he sing in his native language.

The first half of the album is mostly instrumental and is very successful in building a shadowy autumnal atmosphere. You become submerged slowly in cascading ambient synth waves, provided mostly by the distinctive and hypnotic Eminent sound, as well as abundant Mellotron swells. There is an awesome up-tempo section in the middle which is heavy on fantastic Arp Odyssey noodling. The first half only looses me slightly when the vocalist finally decides to chime in on a very Floyd-sounding part around the 12-minute mark.

The second half begins with a very dark atmospheric soundscape reminiscent of late 70's Italian horror films... this section is the most successful on the album in creating a Halloween-type mood. The section that immediately follows this 'intro' is my favorite on the entire album: a beautiful nostalgic mood is forged from vibraphone, flute, clarinet, cello, piano, acoustic guitar strums and the most memorable vocal melodies that this band ever recorded. I wish everything they wrote was as great as this 'Lone Fantasy' movement.

There are many individual parts that i love on this album, but too many long slow-moving spaces between them to make it a cohesively entertaining listening experience... i would still highly recommend this to Space Rock heads, but i think the average 'Symphonic Prog' fan might have a hard time getting into it... it's all about mood and atmosphere over technical wizardry or flashy solos. Honestly, i think this band belongs in the 'Psychedelic/Space Rock' sub-genre.

AdamHearst | 3/5 |


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