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Galahad - Battle Scars CD (album) cover

BATTLE SCARS

Galahad

 

Neo-Prog

3.80 | 288 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Review Nš 355

"Battle Scars" is the ninth studio album of Galahad and was released in 2012. As with their previous eighth studio album "Empires Never Last", Galahad invited once more Karl Groom, the guitarist of Threshold to produce the album. As the result and as happened with "Empires Never Last", the final sound of the album is a bit more guitar oriented with a slight metal edge. It offers a dark sound which adds modern electronic beats to their standard neo- prog approach.

"Battle Scars" is one of the two last studio albums on which their bass player Neil Pepper participates, the last was "Beyond The Realms Of Euphoria", because he sadly passed way, in September 2011, after loosing his battle with a cancer. Neil Pepper was the bass player of Galahad between 1992 and 2002 and between 2009 and 2011. He was substituted, in 2012 by the new bass player Mark Spencer. So, the line up of "Battle Scars" is Stuart Nicholson (vocals), Roy Keyworth (guitars), Dean Baker (keyboards), Neil Pepper (bass, keyboards and guitar) and Spencer Luckman (drums).

"Battle Scars" has eight tracks. The first track is the title track song "Battle Scars". It's a song with a classical musical overture with a gentle choral work and some moody orchestrations that makes a perfect prelude for the entrance of Stuart's voice and the rest of the band. This is an excellent and very powerful track to open the album and where we can feel the real mood of the rest of the album. The second track "Reach For The Sun" made a perfect and magnificent transition of the previous track and continues the mood of the beginning of the album with another very powerful track. It's a very fast progressive track with a very powerful guitar performance and also with a kind of a certain subtle keyboard work. This is a track with a true musical moment of rage and violence that shows perfectly what is the path of Galahad for the entire album. The third track "Singularity" is an extraordinary track and represents, for me, the greatest highlight of the album. This is a song with an excellent and delightful combination of sounds, a sublime catchy melody and with a very expressive and impressive beautiful vocal work that reminds me very strongly the vocals of Peter Nicholls of IQ. It also deserve special mention the interesting and clever guitar work and the delicate piano performance that ends the song. Concluding, the all harmony of the song is absolutely sublime and the final result is a perfect track. The fourth track "Bitter And Twisted" is another excellent and very powerful progressive track that reminds me their previous album "Empires Never Last" and that could fit very well on it. This is another song with great Stuart's vocal performance, an excellent choral work, very well supported by a massive guitar playing, nice keyboards and great drumming. The fifth track "Suspended Animation" is a track that sounds a little bit different from the rest of the album. I must confess that in a first impression it didn't touch my heart. However, after few other hearings I changed my opinion about it. This is truly a progressive track very intricate full of great keyboard and guitar works, but especially the bass work of the deceased Neil is absolutely unforgettable. The sixth track "Beyond The Barbed Wire" is another track that isn't so appellative, for me, as almost all the album is. Sincerely, in my humble opinion, we are in presence of a good song but with less quality and less creativity than other songs on the album. However, this is a very gentle and nice song with gentle vocals, an aggressive and repetitive guitar riff, a nice mellotron work and a modern drum beat. The seventh track "Seize The Day" was, for me, an astonishing track when I heard it for the first time. It's another extremely powerful track very colourful and with a very impressive work by all band's members. However, the highlight on it is the tremendous Dean's modern keyboard work that proves that he is a man with very skills. The eighth and last track "Sleepers 2012" is a CD version bonus of an original track from the band. It represents a revisit of the title track song originally released on their fourth studio album "Sleepers". This is a more powerful and heavier version of the original song in the same line of their new sound. This is a great version of that song that sounds modern and better than ever.

Conclusion: "Battle Scars" is, without any kind of doubts, a great prog album. When I reviewed their previous studio album "Empires Never Last" I thought that I hoped wouldn't happen with Galahad the same thing that happened with Pallas. That Galahad wouldn't fail with their next studio album after "Empires Never Last", as Pallas failed with "XXV", their following album after their masterpiece, "The Dreams Of Men". It seems that fortunately it didn't happen with Galahad. "Battle Scars" continues the path of "Empires Never Last" offering a new heavy sound of Galahad with an impressive and modern electronic sound that shows their new neo-prog musical approach. However, I agree with Conor Fynes when he says that the album has probably some little inconsistency and, for me, it's less cohesive than their previous album is. Nevertheless, with "Battle Scars", Galahad proves that they're a great force in the neo-prog scene.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |

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