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Netherworld - In the Following Half-light (Netherworld) CD (album) cover

IN THE FOLLOWING HALF-LIGHT (NETHERWORLD)

Netherworld

Symphonic Prog


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erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The story of this 'USA cult prog rock band' started in 1975 but not until 1981 NETHERWORLD released their debut-album entitled "In The Following Half-Light". It contains seven compositions with varied instrumentation, exciting solos and elaborate arrangements (especially "Sargasso" with its frequently shifting moods, in my opinion their absolute highlight). The powerful and expressive vocals (sometimes a bit theatrical) and fiery and sensitive guitar play often reminds me of TWELFTH NIGHT, a very original neo- prog rock band from the early Eighties. But you can also trace hints from mid-GENESIS (twanging 12-string guitars and Mellotron waves), no wonder because NETHERWORLD used to play covers from them. The colouring of the music with a wide range of keyboards (from Grand piano and Oberheim - and ARP synthesizers to the Mellotron and Crumar organ) is very tasteful with some spectacular synthesizer flights. The instrumental CD release bonus track is titled "Cumulo Nimbus" (at about 10 minutes) and divided into three parts. It has a beautiful, compelling final piece with a howling guitar and majestic choir- Mellotron. If you like alternating and original prog rock (from melodic or dramatic to more complex or bombastic) this one is yours!
Report this review (#25045)
Posted Tuesday, November 9, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars I saw this band in concert three times in the late seventies. I thought they were a excellent band with great potential. Being from the United States it's very hard to become successful in this genre. If they were from England I think they would have had a lot more success. The songs range from hard rock to Symphonic and blend well together. It's hard to pick a favorite song from this album. I was excited to see this had been released on cd, since I had worn my LP record out.
Report this review (#60993)
Posted Wednesday, December 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars American symphonic prog tends to combine lessons from the British with a sort of posturing that befits the world superpower, witness groups like Styx and Kansas, and this one-off band from the San Francisco Bay area weaves those established patterns with a certain west coast amiability. The results are noteworthy if not earth shattering.

The band can clearly play, the vocals are pretty decent in drawn out sort of way, and they even succeed in integrating real and imagined orchestrations, such as oboe on the brilliantly constructed "Straight into Infinity" and what sounds like cello on "Isle of Man", which also features a stellar Frippian type lead solo. Plenty of mellotrons and jangling acoustic guitars help soothe the savage breast and take some of the edge off.

Three bonus instrumentals added to the CD release actually augment the disk to a firm three star rating. Netherworld's "In the Following Half Light" deserves the full light of exposure to the prog community. A worthwhile album by any standards, let alone coming from the progressively challenged west coast of the US in the late 1970s.

Report this review (#136115)
Posted Monday, September 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Netherworld was a US prog band that popped up in the early 80's with its well received single release but I'm not sure many noticed the pop at the time. They broke up soon after but with the help of some of the good people over at dprp.com, their debut was reissued by Musea in 2002 with a 3-part instrumental track tacked on for good measure. DPRP had two reviewers both reward the album with a perfect 10 out of 10 score while stipulating that they were not the most non-partisan listeners. So from an actual non-partisan listener, what do we have here?

The first song is an up tempo number that sounds a bit dated due to production values but does have healthy doses of keys and guitar that vie for your attention. I have to believe this was their attempt to get radio play as things get more complex and proggy going forward. The second song starts off fast and shows off strong rhythm and lead guitar. It then has a slower section that tries to create a scary mood while trying to tell the story of Son of Sam from that infamous killer's point of view. It goes into a nice long guitar solo from there that also adds to the mood before picking up the pace again. The two guitarists credited certainly have chops and are able to use the instrument to create many different effects. Randy Wilson plays some very nice keys and is given the spotlight from time to time as well as giving many of the songs a nice vibe. The balance of the album is diverse and demands your attention to appreciate it. A Matter of Time has some wonderful piano and moves into another nice guitar solo followed by a blistering keyboard solo. I think a good way to sum up most of the songs is that they desperately wanted to be a full blown prog outfit but knew the writing was on the wall and perhaps compromised somewhat in order to try and stay with the times. The bonus track lends credence to this theory as it is full out prog. The first part has keys and piano come in at the same time then all the instruments just take you on a nice ride. The 2nd part again has plenty of piano with keys that are going for a flute vibe over the top. It finishes with some more nice keys over acoustic guitar and then another nice guitar solo.

The album certainly has an 80's feel to it which is certainly understandable. The remastering people only had so much to work with and made the best of the situation. If the band would have made the album in today's musical climate, the sound would have been substantially different. The drums would have had a much fuller sound and the tone of the guitar would have sounded much better than the new wave vibe you get here. The keys would not have that sometime "plinky" quality. However, there is talent here (both songwriting and playing) and given the band's situation and the resources they had to make an album of this quality gives credence to the high marks of dprp. It just is not an album that I personally grab for frequently and when I compare it to many of the albums I have given four stars to, it does not stack up as high. I certainly believe it can be a grower for many fans of early neo. Netherworld were probably a victim of the time, their locale and other circumstances that often mount against startup bands and may have achieved even better things if given a chance to mature. Three and a half stars.

Report this review (#182692)
Posted Wednesday, September 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars NETHERWORLD were an obscure band from the USA who released this one album back in 1981.The sound is really a cross between Neo and Symphonic. I have to give credit here to Greg Walker who has been a real supporter of Prog in general but especially American Prog. He released a double compilation album on his Synphonic label called "Past-Present- Future" which contained 2 tracks from eight different bands. NETHERWORLD were included in this and the songs Greg used show up as bonus tracks on this cd re-issue. I mention this because for me they are the best part of the album.

"Too Hard To Forget" hits the ground running with synths and drums outfront. Catchy stuff. "Son Of Sam" is an urgent sounding track which is understandable considering who it's about. The guitar is much more prominant in this one compared to the opener. "Straight Into Infinity" is uptempo to start with guitar leading. It settles some when the vocals arrive. Mellotron in this one too. A calm before 1 1/2 minutes as the tempo will continue to shift. At least we get some upfront mellotron on this one.The best track so far.

"Maybe If They Burn Me" has a really good instrumental section but i'm not a fan of the more aggressive vocals on this one. "Isle Of Man" is ballad-like to start.The tempo picks up and the sound gets fuller after 2 1/2 minutes.This is much better. Some nice keyboard work follows. Mellotron before 4 1/2 minutes as it settles back. "A Matter Of Time" opens with acoustic guitar as mellotron rolls in then reserved vocals. Cello before 4 1/2 minutes and I really like the guitar that follows. "Sargasso" opens with piano as laid back but theatrical vocals come in. It picks up then settles back down. A lot of theatrics in this closing track.

A good album that has some killer sections. It could have been so much better. Lots of mellotron too but the vocals don't do a lot for me.

Report this review (#424322)
Posted Tuesday, March 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ehy, this is power neoprog!!! Are Pallas and Twelth night in disguise?? What 1981? THAT'S INCREDIBLE, it seems product in the 1988!!! The album start with a boobastic track in the vein of Pallas circa 1986 synth/symphonic progressive. The song is powerfull, the drum perfect and the singer has a new wave style in this song, but he will evolve in a more dramatic approach after the second half of the album. The strenght of this album that carves his personal niche is in its use of vocal harmonies and counterpart. The album is ahead from his time, here you don't hear neither Genesis or other '70 band from the past. is the use of the digital synth, that create a spacey ambient finally u'll hear some new stuff, and not that obsolete sound of the '70! All in all this is a good effort, worth rediscovering
Report this review (#1394579)
Posted Sunday, April 5, 2015 | Review Permalink

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