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Starcastle - Starcastle CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.17 | 175 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Like some kind or crazy alternative YES outfit, but hailing from the old U S of A instead of blighty, Starcastle are almost the definition of the wafting, ethereal prog-rock band. Featuring enough high-pitched guitars, organs and keyboards to keep fans of symphonic prog happy for at least a couple of hours, this debut release ranks as probably their greatest recorded moment. Later albums seemed to get progressively(he he!) worse, until they abandoned the prog altogether and tried their best at imitating JOURNEY, BOSTON, FOREIGNER et al in an attempt to change their image and tap into the dollar-generating soft-rock fever that was sweeping thru America during the 1980's. It's a pity, because Starcastle, their eponymous debut, is probably the closest any prog band has come to hitting the high, majesterial harmonies that Jon Anderson and co were so good at making.

STARCASTLE kicks off with the fey, twinkling epic LADY IN THE LAKE, a ten-minute plus opus featuring a crisp, driving, repetitve guitar line from lead twiddler Steven Hagler that rises and falls throughout the pieces various sections and, amazingly, never gets boring. The vocals are lighter than a malteser in zero-gravity, and any self-respecting YES fan will surely fall in love within the opening ten seconds. LADY IN THE LAKE is the definite Starcastle song, but the album still holds a few surprises.

ELLIPTICAL SEASONS rocks in a airy-fairy kind of way, whilst FORCES and SUNFIELD also contain enough gorgeously composed wafting harmonies to fill a thousand yes-lite records.

Mores the pity then that subsequent albums just didn't cut the mustard. 1978's REAL TO REEL was really the nadir(just check the review on this site) but wait! Yes, believe it not the story is not finished! Earlier this year(2007), SONG OF TIMES was released, and to decent reviews, not just "where have they been" curiosity. So, they have managed to survive and build on their earlier efforts, despite waiting thirty years to do so, which, in my book, is the sign of genuine rock survivors.

YES fans, check this out, OPETH fans, don't even bother.

stefro | 3/5 |


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