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Still Life - Still Life CD (album) cover

STILL LIFE

Still Life

 

Heavy Prog

3.62 | 75 ratings

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Psychedelic Paul
5 stars STILL LIFE were a four-piece, English Heavy Prog band, featuring the powerful sound of the Hammond organ providing the backbone to the music. They released just one self-titled album on the Hard-Rock Vertigo label in 1971, before going their separate ways. The energizing and invigorating music has been described as similar in style to the heavy Hammond organ- driven sound of Ken Hensley's Uriah Heep. Let's clear away the cobwebs now from this long-lost "Still Life" album and find out if it's "Very 'Eavy, Very 'Umble".

The opening track, "People in Black", is the longest song on the album, which opens to the gentle sound of the flute, but don't be misled into thinking this is going to be a Jethro Tull-type proggy Folk album. No, because there's a crazy Hammond organist just waiting in the wings to take centre stage. This powerful number has the sound of Ken Hensley's Uriah Heep written all over it and the singer even sounds remarkably like Ken Hensley at times. This band might be "Still Life" in name, but they're certainly not "Still Life" in nature. This album rocks!! At over 8 minutes duration there's plenty of time for some keyboard histrionics and fireworks in this sonorous organic blast from the past. If you're wondering who those "People in Black" might be, then the lyrics might give us a clue:- "People in black wander round in the night, So that they can be seen, Writing their letter of protest, To say how they think things should be, About you and me, And how things should be, Writing about you and me." ..... No, we're still none the wiser, but who cares about the lyrics anyway with music as good as this. We're in full-on anthemic mode now with Song No. 2 "Don't Go". This invigorating song with a beseeching message is very reminiscent of "Sympathy" by Rare Bird. It's soulful, it's doleful, but above all, it's tremendously powerful. You'd have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by this exhilarating and impassioned piece of music. We're getting all spooky now for Song No. 3, "October Witches". I'm guessing this intoxicating heavy keyboard number might have something to do with Halloween, so let's take a look at the lyrics:- "Long days ago of the summertime are fading fast, Leaves in the trees are falling at last, Darkness falls, Rooftops merge with the sky, Thought I seen something staring right in your eyes, October witches are at work again, You can say you don't believe in them." ..... Well, this song has me convinced that this is great music, regardless of whether or not one believes in witches. Just try not to have nightmares.

Onto Side Two now and Song No. 4, titled "Love Song No. 6". Confused? Me too! The song is subtitled "I'll Never Love You Girl", so it all becomes a little clearer now. It's a power ballad with a take-no-prisoners attitude. The song opens gently enough with the sound of an acoustic guitar, but the singer is ready to shout it from the rooftops, and prepare yourself for another powerful blast from the Hammond organ. In the time-honoured tradition of power ballads, it's a story of a broken relationship as these heartfelt lyrics reveal:- "I'll never love you girl, You'll never love me, I've given you eveything money could buy, Got so much pride now, Oh, but you're still too blind to see, Yes you are, too blind to see." ..... Yes indeed, whoever wrote those lyrics sounds like they were writing from bitter personal experience. Onto Song No. 5 now and it's time to wake up and smell the coffee for "Dreams". There's no chance of falling asleep and dreaming through this thunderous musical maelstrom though, with the stentorian sound of the Hammond organ making its presence loudly felt. And so, it's time now for the final song on this sensational and stupendous album with "Time", another tremendous 6-minute blast of musical dynamite, so light the blue touch paper and stand well back!

If you love the powerful Hammond organ-driven sound of Uriah Heep, then you're gonna love this album too. "Still Life" it ain't. This is rousing and rambunctious heavy British prog at its best. This long-lost album treasure is lost no more and it makes its sonorous presence felt in no uncertain terms. R U Ready 2 Rock!??

Psychedelic Paul | 5/5 |

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