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Camel - A Compact Compilation CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.74 | 31 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Compacted Camel: A Taste of Greatness

Camel explores very unique territory with their brand of symphonic prog and this compilation is indeed a compacted exploration of their repertoire. The album focuses primarily on their earlier material with some questionable omissions and a swag of material from "the Snow Goose", based on one concept, that of the snow goose ballet and the music reinvents the genre. It is difficult to digest at first as no songs are apparent, rather instrumental works that make up a whole. As soon as the flute chimes in and those keyboards ring out on 'Rhayader', one is instantly transported in to the beautiful ambience of one of the best instrumental albums. Each track is beautifully, masterfully executed by the musical virtuosity of each member. It is best listened to as an entire work, rather than individual pieces, similar to a symphony orchestra, and I would suggest getting the whole album rather than settle for just these tracks. The main drawcard of this dynamic album is the epic multi-movement suite 'Lady Fantasy' that seems to turn up in a live form on many compilations. The studio version is as good as any live version mainly due to Latimer's vocals and scorching guitar solos. The melodies are compelling and the epic flows from section to section seamlessly, bookended by Latimer's main lead guitar motif. Ferguson's bass and Barden's shimmering keyboards throughout each track are accomplished musicianship.

'Lunar Sea' is a mini epic and quintessential Camel that has become a staple of the Camel live concert and always sounds perfectly and innovatively performed.

My favourite Camel is 'Freefall' and it is good to see it here on the compilation. There are three tracks from "Rain Dances", 'First Light', 'Metrognome' and 'Rain Dances', the post classic album, but nothing from the debut. Overall it is an easy way to hear some of Camel's best material but it will never replace the albums. The better compilation is the 2 CD "Lunar Sea Anthology."

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |


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