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Refugee - Refugee CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.11 | 223 ratings

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Symphonic Prog Specialist
5 stars When a musician has to replace an icon of a genre he has to fight with everything, fans, critics who will always compare him with the previous one and sometimes even the band who had friendship with the replaced artist and will take some time to accept the new one.

If you add that this new musician is not a very charismatic figure and has to replace idols and almost frontmen like Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman and Mike Pinder.Well, the chances of success are remote.

But the Swiss born keyboardist Patrick Moraz with his impeccable technique was able to replace the three iconic keyboardists and have artistic success.

In the case of REFUGEE'S self titled album, he had to use the shoes that Keith Emerson had left, and a huge pair, because for most people THE NICE was Emerson and two more guys, but Patrick was able to replace Keith, imprint a new and unique sound, more based in piano than in Moog and with his less egocentric style, allowed Jackson and Davidson to prove they were not just sidekicks, but very capable musicians able to be compared with anybody.

Now, the problem is finding favorite songs to comment, because all the album is outstanding, but I will go with the opener and the first epic.

Papillon opens the album with an evident new sound, more Baroque and piano oriented than usual Emerson's aggressive approach, in the intro you can already find that Brian Davidson has much more confidence, because the combined use of electronic keys with piano by Patrick is less exclusive and allows him to show his excellent timing and speed.

Always found that Patrick Moraz is closer to Rick Wakeman than to Emerson, but here he combines Emerson's skills in the organ with his incredible speed in the piano only compared with Wakeman, while in the background Lee Jackson does an outstanding job in the bass, wonderful piece than can be also listened in the DVD "Yes at QPS" where Patrick makes an excerpt exclusively in the piano.

Grand Canyon is a 16:42 minutes epic, much more elaborate than the first track but also more relaxed than the breathtaking "Papillon". After an almost 4:00 minutes beautiful intro, Moraz, Jackson and Davidson combine heir skills to recreate the intro but going deeper and more dramatic, the bass is simply impeccable, dark, mysterious and 100% pompous.

After a sad piano section solo by Moraz, Jackson adds his vocals, which sound somehow as the middle point between Greg Lake and Pete Townshend, while the drums join an "in crescendo" movement that leads to another keyboard, bass and drums instrumental break that takes us to a spacey section which again changes radically in an aggressive passage typical from THE NICE which sounds as a controlled cacophony.

The changes go on until the end of a track, proving how versatile they are.

All the other tracks have something in common, they jump from pristine Symphonic to well elaborate Fusion, passing by Psychedelic sections an Hard Rock, just what Prog should be.

The former THE NICE members, seem more comfortable and free to play without the pressure of having Keith with them and if I had to use just one word to describe the album, I would say VERSATILE.

It's very sad that Patrick left REFUGEE to join Yes, because they had much more to offer but at least it lead to the amazing "Relayer".

No doubt about the rating, 5 stars material beyond any doubt, I don't have the live album by them, but just asked a store for it, being that I left too many years pass without having got it.

Highly recommended.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 5/5 |


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