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Wobbler - Rites At Dawn CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.98 | 491 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars An album which is extremely highly rated on the site, and, so, with my Spotify subscription in hand, I was looking forward to listening to this to see if it is worth parting with my hard earned cash for the CD.

Well, if your idea of heaven is to have a band in 2011 doing a replica (note the word replica, not influenced by or moving forward) of Yes circa 1970 to 1972, and sounding for all the world as if they recorded the said work in the Large Hadron Collider Tunnel, then this is, undoubtedly, a masterpiece as other reviewers have stated. Regrettably, for this reviewer, this is not my idea of prog heaven in 2011, and I fail to see the appeal at all.

The vocals are not, as has been mentioned, reminiscent of Jon Anderson. Thankfully, the band avoid that particular trap. No, the lead vocals are such a dead ringer for Squire, you have to look twice at the credits to see if the great man himself has not done a bit of moonlighting. Come to think of it, the very strong Rickenbacker bass by Hultgren is also very much in the Squire mould, but I say this as a compliment.

There are many Scandinavian bands who produce some great symphonic prog, and I count The Flower Kings especially as amongst my favourite bands. They wear their influences on their sleeves, but, having said that, they do mould their influences and create an utterly unique sound with it. It is a recognisably TFK sound, not a Yes sound. You can say no such thing about this, and, whilst they are undoubtedly a very talented bunch of musicians, what you get in a track such as In Orbit is basically Fragile in drag with Squire singing lead vocals instead of Anderson and, quite frankly, a mess of a track. It worked at the time for Yes - nobody had done anything like the spaced out jazz rock fusion that they produced then. They were also the best at it, and this lot could not, even by their most ardent fans, be described as such. Yes also had, amongst all the noodling and experimentation, a definite structure to their songs. This does not. It is just noodling for the sake of it.

The melancholic This Past Presence changes the mood a bit, in favour of debut and Trespass era Genesis, flute and all chucked in for good measure, and the intro is rather pleasant. Unfortunately, what could have been a pleasant, if rather unoriginal, pastoral piece swiftly bursts into life with Howe, Wakeman, Bruford, and, especially, Squire and we are back to Fragile.

It is not often that I condemn bands for their influences, and neither should we on the site. I love neo-prog rock, but what neo detractors need to realise is that the best bands within that sub-genre took their influences (mainly, but not exclusively, Genesis) and turned them into something both special and unique to that band. As an example, I give you Marillion and Pendragon. Both were clearly, in the early days, influenced like this, but no two albums by those bands sounded anything like each other.

So, this album is not symphonic prog. It is actually a neo prog album, and a very poor one at that. Whilst the musicianship is never anything less than good, the vocals are annoying, the production is absolutely shocking, and there is barely a trace of originality here at all, and the latter is the biggest sin of all.

This album, in my opinion, really is for collectors only - collectors who have to own absolutely every version on God's earth of The Yes Album or Fragile. For those who like their neo-prog, like me, to have a semblance of originality and a well produced album, then please stay away. Spend your money on the far better releases of 2011.

Two stars, and I am being generous.

lazland | 2/5 |


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