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Gary Hughes - Once And Future King - Part I CD (album) cover

ONCE AND FUTURE KING - PART I

Gary Hughes

 

Progressive Metal

3.51 | 14 ratings

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Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Well, some people might be wondering what such AOR/Melodic Rock artist is doing here. And that was my first impression too. But if you take the word Progressive in its origin (i.e., going beyond one genreŽs boundaries), then Once And Future King, parts I & II, are in the right site. Or did you ever heard of an AOR/Melodic Rock opera? True, Hughes had already showed his knack to write fine, little prog influenced, epics with his band Ten. He even released a futurist concept album with that group (Babylon, 2000). But this project is far more ambitious and successful.

Backed by excellent musicians (including all members of Ten) and a cast of some of the finest singers around, he recorded both parts during the year of 2002. The theme is far from original since so many bands and artists have recorded songs or albums telling the same classic story of King Arthur (Rick Wakeman always come to mind in this case), but still he does a great work - and quite revolutionary in terms of AOR, both musically and lyrically. YouŽll find fine songs on it, all very well crafted and arranged, with some great performances of all involved. here are elements of hard rock, heavy metal, power ballads, symphonic rock, classical passages and the like.

Highlights for me are the opener Excalibur (Damion Wilson in a heartfelt, storming performance), Dragon Island Cathedral (great instrumental parts and backing vocals) and King For A Day (fine symphonic arrangement and emotional choir), but the album as a whole works very well. All of course is helped by the wonderful songwriting skills of Mr. Hughes, who also does a great job at the production field. Some may say everything here is too clean and perfect, but I guess this is a matter of taste. I like the state-of-art way he applies on his records.

If PA was an AOR site this would be a five star record. Since it is not, I guess a 3 star rating would be more fitting: good but not really essential. An extra half star for the quality and boldness of the project. 3,5 stars.

Tarcisio Moura | 3/5 |

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