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Barclay James  Harvest - Barclay James Harvest CD (album) cover


Barclay James Harvest


Crossover Prog

3.25 | 183 ratings

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4 stars An alternative to Heavy Metal ?

I just wanted to open this review with this question, not only because of a song named "The Iron Maiden" featured on BJH's debut-album... Why ? There's several ways to deal with the yearnings, disappointments and demands of adolescence, but best you can do is face whatever emotions they're leaving you with and if you're lucky there's someone else canalising them into a piece of music - and that may help you rise above... "Barclay James Harvest" - the Album - is a collection of songs that can do that for you, and I really think it's better than many attempts from the Heavy-Dark-Death-Whatever Metal scene, so therefore it is: AN ALTERNATIVE TO HEAVY METAL !

It can shock you as well as give comfort, it's as beautiful as it's dark... beautiful and frightening with topics from philosophical search ( not really finding then... "When the world was woken" ) to ecolocical destruction ( "Dark now my sky", an early classic ! ), from the "broken heart that doesn't want to mend" ( "The sun will never shine" ) to a lady unable ( unwilling ? ) to love ( "The Iron Maiden" ) up to severe questions about life, love and death ( "Mother Dear", my favourite track on the Album )... all of this contrasted by two hippie-esque fun-rock-songs ( "Taking some tiome on" and "Good Love Child" ) made to make you enjoy life... all in all no easy stuff to handle but don't be misled, it's only music, dream-like and innocent, you can put all your injures right in there ( good to know they have a place ) and find you're not alone a sensitive being in a tough world... looking for answers but sometimes not really wanting to know 'em !

Better honesty than cowardice towards your own state of mind, better confess than ignore or else you'll end up proppin' up the front while the back falls down. This Album can hit you in a quite depressive way but that's the way great art starts life... so this is a fine start for a band to last very long in spite of the desperate question "If life is so hard to live... why not DIE ???". It can take you some time from there until you've reached a condition in which you can state "Looking at life... and, strangely, for the first time thinking that I could STAY HERE" ( same writer, 1976 ). "Ain't nothing but a stranger in this world" ( Van Morrison/Astral Weeks )... well, angels surely have their share of suffering here, material as it is, but honest and beautiful music makes it a far more pleasant place to spend your life in if you are... I don't have a problem saying "Yes" to life long as there's my BJH-Collection !

A "suicidal" Rupert ( keeping it clean ).

P.S. ( add ): All of the bonus-tracks on the remastered edition are very good, with "Night" and an early, short version of "Dark now my Sky" delivering the cream.

rupert | 4/5 |


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