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Colosseum - Valentyne Suite CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.21 | 362 ratings

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Symphonic Team
4 stars It is a pleasure to re-write a review for this masterpiece from Colosseum. "Valentyne Suite" is one of the most accomplished albums of the late 60s when prog was an embryo. I originally gave this 3 stars and did not get into it initially but over the years this album has become a masterpiece in my collection. So I rewrite this review with apologies.

The album is legendary and the best the band produced. The album cover is a wonderful landscape with a mysterious ghostly woman standing forlorn near a massive candle. The music though is not a serene tranquil soundscape. In fact, the dynamism and energy injected into such songs as The Kettle and The Machine Demands a Sacrifice is astonishing. There is a heavy emphasis on guitar riffs and staccato Hammond. Dave Greenslade is a prog legend and he is on fire here, creating amazing atmospheric music on organ. Dick Hestall-Smith is commendable on sax and is well supported by virtuosos guitarist James Litherland. The rhythm machine is the bass of Tony Reeves and percussive work of Jon Hiseman. Together the band are an indelible force generating mind blowing music that forever changed the face of progressive music. They proved that a multi movement suite could be put onto a rock album well before the likes of Genesis' Supper's Ready, or Yes' Close to the Edge. Colosseum were pioneers of the form and were able to perform blues, heavy rock and symphonic art rock with ease.

There are two versions that are markedly different. The UK album featured not only different track order than the US version, but also included different songs. The Kettle is one of the greatest tracks on the UK and is missing on the US version. The Valentyne Suite is completely omitted on the US album which is bizarre considering the name of the album, and of course the US actually changed the title to "The Grass is Greener" as it included that song. US also added Bolero, Rope Ladder to the Moon, Jumping Off The Sun and Lost Angels. I have both versions on a double CD and prefer the original UK album featuring the suite and live broadcasts of Lost Angels and Arthur's Moustache.

This is a breakthrough album certainly not only for Colosseum but for prog rock, similar to King Crimson's debut ITCOTCK, and VDGG's TGAM. 1969 was a breakthrough year for the genre of course and set the boundaries and rules for progressive music. This album features all the prog elements: the side long epic 'The Valentyne Suite' (absolute brilliance), the thematic proggy 'The Machine Demands A Sacrifice ' and the ultra riff heavy 'The Kettle ' (my favourite). This in itself is deserving of a high star rating. I rate it up from 3 stars to 4.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |


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