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Rick Wakeman - Journey To The Centre Of The Earth CD (album) cover


Rick Wakeman


Symphonic Prog

3.73 | 342 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Rick Wakeman's "Journey to the Centre of the Earth" characterises his career and most symphonic prog perfectly. The epic nature, meter changes, vocals and the incorporation of classical elements all make J"ourney to the Centre of the Earth" a genuine progressive album. One of Rick Wakeman's better works as he has a larger budget than he usually does and the composition of the two songs is creative and enjoyable. The album is based upon Jules Verne's legendary novel "Journey to the Centre of the Earth", just in case you haven't noticed. Like any adaptation of a book the story suffers, but it's not too bad here, luckily.

"Journey to the Centre of the Earth" is one rare occasion where Rick Wakeman doesn't go stingy on backing musicians as he had the London Symphony Orchestra and The English Camber Choir at his disposal. In addition to these two groups were two vocalists - Garry Pickford Hopkins and Ashley Holt, as well as Mike Egan on guitar, Roger Newell on Bass and Barney James on Drums. With such a large array of musicians something good has to have come out of it. Needless to say the album is dominated by Rick Wakeman's synthesizers which are played insanely fast in parts.

The album begins with The J"ourney/Recollection", the opening three minutes of the piece is basically an overture which is mainly orchestral with synths dotted here and there. This section dies down and one of the vocalists (Ashley Holt I think) sings against a lush backdrop of orchestral music. This section is enhanced by an equally good synthesizer solo which is then followed by more vocals. The first section of narration begins following this section. There is one breath taking passage of music which begins around the twelfth minute in which there is a great guitar solo from Mike Egan and keyboard backing. The song ends on an epic note and leads into the second part.

Next is "The Battle/The Forest" which begins immediately with narration, another lively passage ensues after the narration. This section is another major highlight of the album and it is a delight to hear. The next five or so minutes is quieter and is focused more on the story. The closing section of the song is something special.

1.The Journey/Recollection (4/5) 2.The Battle/The Forest (4/5) Excellent addition to any prog music collection

Four stars is a very fitting rating for "Journey to the Centre of the Earth", the album loses some points due to the fact that, overall it is very difficult to get into and is not very accessible in length. I'd recommend "Journey to the Centre of the Earth" to any Yes or Symphonic prog fan, but as you can probably see it isn't to everyone's satisfaction.

Australian | 4/5 |


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