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Rick Wakeman - Journey To The Centre Of The Earth CD (album) cover


Rick Wakeman


Symphonic Prog

3.76 | 419 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Yet another one of the classic Love or Hate symphonic albums. 'Pretentious' is the most popular way both critics and listeners have used to describe this work, a 40 minute musical telling of Jules Verne's novel was bound to get a battering from the critics but i am surprised at the hate this often gets from Yes fans. The sheer power of Wakeman's keyboards and the accompanying orchestra on this album was an instant hit for me and I have never looked back from what i believe to be a true master work of progressive music.

The centre piece of this album as would be expected is the many sounds of the MiniMoog and the sounds Wakeman makes with it throughout range from atmospheric beauty to frantic and aggressive lead sounds which fit fantastically well into the sounds of the Orchestra and Choir.

One of the complaints about Wakemans 70's albums is the often poor vocals provided by Garry Pickford-Hopkins. But on this album where the lead vocals are shared with Ashley Holt the vocals are very good for most of the album. In the albums first song section 'The Journey' the shared vocals sound brilliant and make for one of the finest parts of the whole album. This is also the case with Side 2's first song section 'The Battle' in which both vocalists take leads and are accompanied by the choir making for a frantic and emotional moment and another fantastic section of music that can keep any prog fan coming back to this album. However one section where vocals have you reaching for the earplugs is the albums final song 'The Forest' which in the main verse the vocals are noticeably out of Pickford-Hopkins' range but fortunately this is still tolerable and is over very quickly leading to a thrilling climax to the album.

Overall this is one of the finest moments of the 'Symphonic Era' and was written at the peak of Rick Wakemans creativity making for the ultimate experience of what this man is truly capable. Any Wakeman fan has to have it and any Yes fan has to have it, a true masterpiece of progressive rock.

topographicbroadways | 5/5 |


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