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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) - Excalibur II - The Celtic Ring CD (album) cover

EXCALIBUR II - THE CELTIC RING

Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)

 

Various Genres

3.47 | 23 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars I'm not a fan of albums with a great number of names of great musicians, most them in the decline of their career and willing to accept anything that could place them back into the business, so I was absolutely reluctant to buy "Excalibur 2 The Celtic Ring" despite the natural curiosity about the what the Prog legends that performed one or more songs were able to offer in the 21st Century..

Still decided to investigate who "ALAN SIMON" was, and the information about him made me decide to get the album, being that the guy is used to release Rock Operas and takes Celtic music with absolute respect and sobriety.

So got the album and can't regret it, the atmosphere is clearly Medieval, even when too orchestrated to sound historically accurate, but the most important issue is that the music is good and the performances outstanding.

But don't expect to find a Progressive Rock album, maybe except for the opener "The Celtic Ring" by the always pompous master of production "ALAN PARSONS" who does an amazing job combining his own style with Medieval Celtic Music.

The rest of the album is mostly dedicated to recreate the Ethnic Celtic sound with great skills and good taste, but most important, not falling into the cheesiness of New Age despite the presence of Andreas Vollenweider and his usually bland harp.

Incredibly, one of my favourite songs is "Lugh" where "John Wetton" leaves behind all the weakness he's been showing lately to give a strong and impeccable performance for an excellent song

Continuing with the great achievements, I should mention "Pilgrim" with an incredibly accurate and sober performance of "Fairport Convention", if somebody can give absolute credibility to this kind of music is a Folk bands and the guys from "Fairport Convention" are masters of the genre.

The parade of Folk musicians as Cillian Vallely, Flook or Maddy Prior with the addition of Proggers as Les Hollroyd, Dave Pegg, Martin Barre, etc, plus even rockers like Justin Hayward and John Anthony Helliwell continues with strong and flawless performances that keep the attention of the listener despite the relaxing nature of the release until the brilliant closers Celtic Heart (Kelc'h Unan & Daou) and (Kelc'h Tri) that place the cherry over the pie

In general terms all the album is brilliant but (there's always a but) the only track that made me doubt was "Circle of Life" with by the acute and annoying vocal range of Jon Anderson, it's amazing how great acoustic guitars by "ALAN SIMON" and sober percussion can be ruined by "Anderson's" voice.

Well, one song bellow the average is not enough to take down a very good album that deserves no less than four solid stars.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |

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