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4 stars FANTASY's second album which sadly never really saw the light of day is nothing short of a superb recording. FANTASY blend highly melodic themes with great tempo changes and superb musicianship. FANTASY play music inspired with loads of analog keyboards (aka GENESIS) and even the odd sprinkle of the ol' mellotron. Vocals are charismatic with lyrics drawing heavily on fantasy-like themes and imagery. Their music is probably best described as somewhere in the middle of the road between GENESIS and YES. It would be a mistake to also review thios album and fail to mention the superb guitar playing throughout, which is much more accentuated than on their debut album. Thanks to the fine folks at Audio Archives for not only doing an excellent job in carefully remastering and repackaging this lost gem but including the 5 bonus tracks (3 old 1970 tracks and 2 demo versions). "Beyond The Beyond Plus" is a great album and I would recommend this album to the lovers of English 70's prog.
Report this review (#27019)
Posted Tuesday, March 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Repackaging of a lost pearl of 70's English prog/art-rock; I borrowed this last summer (with SPRING's sole album and some others) expecting to be blown way by superb Genesis-like prog, but for me Fantasy was a mild disappointment, lovely Spring being just the opposite. I can't exactly spot what's wrong: nice old prog sound with Mellotrons and all, good playing of keyboards and guitars, decent compositions, imaginative lyrics, sound quality fine enough. I feel I should enjoy this more. Maybe I consider the singer too colourless (while the other reviewer describes him charismatic) and the music somehow mild and predictable for its time. I admit I haven't been listening my tape very often, and right now I have only two songs in my memory. But surely worth checking, that much can be said.
Report this review (#27021)
Posted Monday, May 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
4 stars Fantasy their debut gig at the famous London 'music temple' The Marquee alongside Robin Trower, not bad at all for such an unknown progrock formation. It was the start of a succesfull tour in the country, supporting bands like Uriah Heep, Argent, Free, Supertramp, Geensis, Greenslade and The Kinks. And one night, again at the Marquee, two bands were billed to promote their debut albums: Fantasy and...Queen! The debutalbum was called Paint A Picture and released in '73. Soon Fantasy belonged to the past, the tapes for a next album remained in the vaults of time. Until the label Audio Archives released these tapes as a CD called Beyond The Beyond. In my opinion this CD is one of the highlights of the Early British Progressive Movement, what a wonderful and elaborated compositions! Every track is very melodic and harmonic featuring tasteful keyboards (lots of Hammond organ), strong guitarwork, a dynamic rhythm-section and good vocals. The climates changes from mellow with acoustic guitar and warm vocals to bombastic with fiery electric guitar and majestic Mellotron eruptions ("Alanderie" is such a beautiful example!). THIS IS VERY WARM AND COMPELLING PROGRESSIVE ROCK, ONE OF MY FAVORITES SEVENTIES ALBUMS!!

Report this review (#39117)
Posted Monday, July 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Fantasy's second album Beyond The Beyond was never released at the time (1974). They were thrown off the Polydor label, their producer told them he hated them and considered their music worthless, and that was the end of that... or was it? Not exactly, released by the Norweigan label Colours in 1993 or 1994 and also on CD (I have the album without the bonus tracks), this album is Fantasy's masterwork. Everything that was great about Paint A Picture is explored much more fully here and the songs are extremely ambitious and adventurous without ever becoming pretentious. The title track alone is amazing, but songs such as "Alanderie" and "Winter Rose" show a fiercer side to Fantasy whilst staying very melodic. The guitar is mixed way better, as is everything, and every track is a brilliant progressive adventure with lyrics that suit the band's much disliked name of Fantasy perfectly. The reason for Fantasy hating their name is probably because it was forced on them and this really irritated the group. When they went into the studio to record this album they knew that they had something really amazing that they had to record and had it been released it may have established them as one of THE big league progressive/cosmic psych bands. So what works so well on this album that makes it even better than the first one? The group sound more confident, and Paul Lawrence who already sounded great on the first album reveals himself to be a brilliant vocalist very much like David Bowie. He even looked a little bit like him! Lawrence has a very appealing voice that is honest and pure sounding, and the same goes for the rest of the band and all the songs here- very appealing, honest and pure sounding. One thing that must be brought up that was lurking beneath the surface on Paint A Picture that comes out to be fearlessly direct here are homosexual overtones in the lyrics- just listen to the track "Worried Man" and you'll know what I'm talking about. I don't know if this was because Fantasy really were trying to write openly gay lyrics or if they were encouraged by David Bowie, but if you put the words to both their albums together especially this one I think you can understand. This daring lyrical approach takes shape in other ways too, the songs here are fully of great words and images that are sometimes comparable to Peter Gabriel's words in Genesis and the afforementioned David Bowie. The strangest thing about this album is that everything sounds so right and so confident you can't believe the group were about to come to a premature end. Find this album either on vinyl or CD and you will be very rewarded. It's a fantastic gem and one of the most impressive albums recorded during the golden age of British progressive rock. And also here you can tell that Fantasy's two albums had the same pop sensibilitiy and adventurousness that made them into a daring group. They broke a lot of rules, and that's always a good thing in music, Who dares wins, with music the S.A.S motto is just as true, as proven by these masterful madcaps from Chapel Farm.
Report this review (#74943)
Posted Friday, April 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Superb album,full of strong imagery alongside fantastical themes with the emphasis on esoteric notions and the afterlife.A momentous offering with crystal clear vocals, brilliant mellotron and 12string guitars at the fore.."Alanderie" features intricate key changes and a classical structure while "Worried Man" strikes the listener with thunderous guitars-an impressive song.Paul Laurence's vocals are delicate and gentle-they really shine on quieter moments like "Reality" and "Just A Dream".The whole atmosphere of the album is magical:it balances between epic and lyricism and takes the listener to a journey in another time. One of the highlights of early British Prog.Highly recommended!
Report this review (#122921)
Posted Sunday, May 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is one of those albums, that like groups like Eloy & Nektar, you end up telling yourself - If only this was put out 2-3 earlier. This is good symphonic prog. For 1972. At this point, the symph prog connoisseur has already enjoyed Genesis' Selling England by the Pound, Tull's Thick as a Brick, Yes' Close to the Edge, and even the beginnings of the classic Italian wave of prog , with PFM's Per un Amico, & Storia di Un Minuta. So is this album unnecessary or bad ? Well, as one who was disappointed with every Nektar album save Recycled due to what I felt were dated sounds. And also, as a prog fan that felt that even Eloy's best - Ocean & Dawn - sounded like echos of a more glorious past; I must say that ... well ... this album won't disappoint those who keep searching for the next new find in 70s symphonic prog.

But, if you are looking at classics, if you want to hit the highlights only , due to the many high quality releases during the 70s, this is an album that you can safely pass by. Good, but so what. The old dit-ons - been there , done that, done it better. Fine if you can get it a a great price, if not, save your money for more deserving hidden treasures.

Report this review (#195037)
Posted Friday, December 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars One of these bands where you can really enjoy symphonic melodicity. Not so pandering, the strength of this record lies elsewhere (I'm aware that it's in fact 90's release, but from current point of view, I take this as it is. First part of this albums being mostly soft symphonic rock, but not soft as weak, more like tender (and beautiful), I really felt like giving best mark here, but then came second half of this record and with it, something like heavy prog, which brings it down a little bit. But I remember, something like "epic", Afterthought improves whole feeling. So I hesitate again. And that it's 1974 instead of 1971/2 ? Well, I take this as that they matured. From current point of view it doesn't matter so much, now it's golden age of prog & -||- (the same).

5(-), well, some heavy parts are way too heavy and keyboards can sound annoying, but after all, they're just bonus tracks, aren't they ?

Report this review (#249111)
Posted Monday, November 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
3 stars Curious album, that´s the best sway to describe Fantasy´s second album. I found it purely by chance and, judging by the band´s name, I thought it would be something in the vein of Yes or Genesis. Not really. They are quite eclectic and interesting, sounding way too modern for the time: Beyond The Beyond doesn´t seem to be coming from 1974 at all. The production is excellent, very clear and balanced.

After repeated listenings Ican´t make up my mind if I really like it or not. It seems the band was on their way for something big, but the songwriting was still underdeveloped somehow. Not bad at all, but still it feels like they were in the right path but had not reached its aim yet. The better exemple of that are probably the longer tracks: Afterthought is very promising and strong, while the much more symphonic Alanderie with its eastern influences shows the band was not really ready for such undertaking. Well, that´s just my opinion. The title track is also very nice.

Of course the musicanship is very good, with all the band members doing their parts very skillfully. I liked the keyboards parts a lot, with some inventive use of mellotron and organ. The guitar solos are also well done. The singer has a nice voice. The bonus tracks show the band in a more heavy prog mode, but again the music is very good even if they were not as well produced as the official ones. (and three of them have a differnet, more aggressive singer).

It is very hard to rate such an album. This is good music alright, but not really symphonic. It makes yu wonder how far this group would have gone if they had the chance to hone their obvious talents. For this one: something between 2,5 and 3 stars.

Report this review (#250466)
Posted Saturday, November 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Fantasy's second effort, Beyond the Beyond, was registered in 1974 but didn't see the light at the time and was only released in the early 90s. This is really unfortunate as this album is such a decisive improvement over their debut album "Paint a Picture" that could have represented a real turning point for the band.

Most of the songs included in Beyond the Beyond are of very high quality, and really show Fantasy at their best: solid rhythm section, beautiful vocal melodies and excellent keyboards and guitar arrangements, with David Metcalfe's mellotron and Hammond shining all through and Peter James' guitar being much more convincing than on the debut album. Beyond the Beyond also scores higher in originality and 'progressiveness' than its predecessor.

The highlight of the album is the 9+mins Alanderie, a beautiful blend of outstanding organ and mellotron work, great vocals parts (at times neo-gothic and aggressive, at times very melodic), excellent rhythm section with some great electric guitar work (at times sounding metal), all embellished by eastern and psychedelic influences.

Also worth of mention are the title track Beyond the Beyond (a tasteful rocker with some excellent keyboards work), the acoustic Reality (beautifully melodic song dominated by 12 strings acoustic guitar and voice), Afterthought (Peter James' guitar shines here, with a convincing guitar solo at about 3mins, and also great Hammond arrangements) and the Wyattian Church Clock. The other songs are less original and turn out to be somewhat less convincing, although still enjoyable (especially Winter Rose and Just a Dream).

Overall, a really good album with great prog songs. Not to be missed.

Report this review (#280030)
Posted Friday, April 30, 2010 | Review Permalink

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