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Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Solar Fire CD (album) cover

SOLAR FIRE

Manfred Mann's Earth Band

 

Eclectic Prog

4.01 | 334 ratings

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GruvanDahlman
4 stars I've always had a soft spot for Manfred Mann's Earth Band. Especially the albums made in the 70's and the earlier in particular. The band created some really exciting prog with hints and doses of pop and rock. The pop elements got more space over time and the sound became slightly more polished aswell. But there was always a serious progginess in their music. On "Solar fire" this is very evident and the album is very cohesive and dense in every respect.

Often enough the MMEB albumst boasted a cover by some more or less known figure in popular music. "Solar fire" opens up with an elongated and very nicely arranged Dylan song, "Father of night, father of day". The opening choir is simply beautiful in its simplicity. It's like a medieval convent joined the band in the studio. It sets the tone and mood of the album quite nice. No, this isn't an album of choir music. It is all about prog and when the organ takes over from the choir, is joined by mellotron, bass and drums one is, I swear, in prog heaven. Simply stunning. A great track with dense and powerful arrangements. As far as covers are concerned MMEB also interprets some of Holst's "Planet suite" which is quite in tune for a true progressive experience.

Apart from before mentioned covers it's all MMEB originals. All songs are very powerful and the album is very much in the progressive hard rock vein, which I like very much. It's heavy and full of force. "Pluto, the dog" might sound hilarious but is really a kick in the teeth and I mean that in a positive way. Amazing keyboards and a drive that is exptremely potent. A great little track. The title track is equally powerful. There are also some scary parts, ominous and foreboding, which only helps to emphasize the diversity and craftsmanship of everybody involved.

Throughout the album Manfred Mann serves us a hearty meal of keyboard driven extravaganza. There is moog, organ, mellotron and synthesizer in abundance. For me, loving keyboards of the vintage kind, can't help sitting smiling with a daft smile on my face. It's just splendid how well the band and Manfred puts forth a slice of progressive punch. The band is truly on (solar) fire on this album.

If I was to introduce someone to the works of MMEB I wouldn't really know where to start. "Nightingales and bombers", "Messin'" or "The good earth"? Anyone of those would do but I could just aswell recommend that person to begin with "Solar fire". On here you will find energy, vision and complexity on such a high level I just might fear they never really achieved before or after this album. So, start with this one. If you're into keyboard driven high-octane prog with a hardrock edge and many layers of brilliance you'd do well to pick this one up.

GruvanDahlman | 4/5 |

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