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Collage Moonshine album cover
4.06 | 398 ratings | 45 reviews | 46% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1994

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Heroes Cry (6:40)
2. In Your Eyes (14:04)
3. Lovely Day (5:11)
4. Living in the Moonlight (4:43)
5. The Blues (7:17)
6. Wings in the Night (11:12)
7. Moonshine (12:50)
8. War Is Over (5:27)

Total Time: 69:24

Bonus Tracks on 2003 Metal Mind Enhanced-CD:
9. Almost There (from Moonshine sessions)
10. Video1 - The Blues (Live *)
11. Video2 - Wings In The Night (Live *)

(*) Recorded during 1995 tour in Uden, Holland - previously unreleased

Line-up / Musicians

- Robert Amirian / lead & backing vocals, acoustic guitar, mandolin
- Mirek Gil / electric & acoustic guitars
- Krzysztof Palczewski / synthesizers (Kurzweil K2000, Roland W30/D20/U220, Ensoniq)
- Piotr Mintay Witkowski / bass, accordion
- Wojtek Szadkowski / drums,percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Zdzislaw Beksinski with Wojtek Szadkowski (logo & concept)

MC Metal Mind Records ‎- MMP 0021 (1994, Poland)

CD Roadrunner Records ‎- SI3058-2 (1994, Netherlands)
CD Metal Mind - CD 0231 (2003, Poland) Remastered by Krzys Palczewski w/ 1 bonus track + 2 videos

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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COLLAGE Moonshine ratings distribution

(398 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(46%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

COLLAGE Moonshine reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by lucas
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I was interested in this band just because I was born in Poland and wanted to know more about its progressive scene. I was truly amazed while listening to their music. This is neo prog at its highest level. Guitars sound very similar to Rothery's ones, and it's to me a very good point as it provides an intense emotion to the music. However, vocals are not as good as Fish's or Peter Nicholl's ones. But I don't pay much attention to the voice if the music is good. Moreover, I regret the vocalist chose to sing in english, as I always expect a band from a country outside the commonwealth to use the language of their own country because they surely sing with more assurance in it than in a foreign one and without any accent. Fortunately, voices here are not annoying and they sound even quite pleasant. Despite the absence of polish lyrics and a voice not as great as what could be expected of a band that is highly influenced by bands that feature superb vocals (IQ, Marillion), Moonshine is a very good neo-prog album and is very influenced by 'Misplaced childhood' and 'Brave', both CDs by Marillion. If you like IQ or Marillion, you can't dismiss this record, this is probably the best neo-prog album ever recorded since, say, 'Misplaced childhood'.
Review by maani
3 stars I have almost nothing to add to Verisimilitude's review, which is about as spot-on as any I've read for any album on the site. I agree with it in its entirety, right down to liking Clepsydra's "Alone" a little more than this album (even though I gave both the same basic "star" rating). Clepsydra has the same overall "bombastic" sound as Collage, but does far more with it (and has much better vocals). Because although Collage is a highly technically proficient group of musicians, and the vocalist is better than some I've heard, the album ultimately leaves me "flat"; Collage is not "saying anything new" and, indeed, as Verisimilitude astutely points out, they sound like some really great prog musicians who were thrown together to have an overblown prog jam session (though, admittedly, some of the "jams" have some real structure to them). I also agree with Verisimilitude that the level of playing makes up (at least somewhat) for the lack of direction - which is the only reason I gave this album three stars (it actually deserves two-and-a-half). Definitely worth a listen, but not a "keeper" unless you are truly into heavily bombastic, often aimless, if well-played, prog. (As an aside, I never realized how influential Genesis' "Wind & Wuthering" and "And Then There Were Three" were to neo-prog, especially vis-a-vis production quality: no less than four neo-prog bands I have listened to and reviewed in the past three weeks were clearly influenced by one or both of those albums.)
Review by loserboy
4 stars Unfortunately I am only now getting around to reviewing COLAGE's best work to date in moonshine. This Polish Neo-Prog act blew me away several years ago with this delicate and intricate piece of modern day progressive rock. In many ways COLLAGE hit a nice chord with me blending the musical aura of early GENESIS with the darkness of MARILLION's "Script For A Jester's Tear". I bought this back in '94 and is on the now defunct SI music label, but I assume you can still get this one fairly easily? Lyrics are in English and vocalist Robert Amirian offers an excellent vox and adds to the richness of the music quite well. "Moonshine" offers 3 epic tracks which are all great and effortlessly extend revealing their musical maturity and professionalism.
Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars What a masterpiece! This symphonic progressive album really rocks! Like it was the case for Marillion-misplaced childhood, many young 13-14 years old girls like this stuff, because it's very emotional! The lyrics talk about love and feelings! Very positive and simple lyrics! Nothing is dark! What on this record steal the show? It is so hard to conclude that the answers may be different depending on how you feel this music: this means that all the instrument are outstandingly well played and elaborated. First of all, the guitar is constantly on the high notes, like on Jadis' More than meets the eye; the difference is that here the guitar is Hackett-esque, very ethereal and echoed, constantly approaching the Steve Hackett's "Every day" solo sound, although just a bit more muted. The keyboards are amazingly varied, multi-layered, floating, rythmic, melodic, and very symphonic: the keyboards often form a continuous intense texture in the background that, combined with the echoed guitar solos, will make you dream. Many bits of this record may be qualified as romantic. The low frequencies on this record are a bit too boosted, so that sometimes it becomes harder to listen clearly to the other instruments than the bass. That's why you have to decrease a bit the low frequencies gain, not too much, especially if you listen it loud. The lead vocals are very good, despite the presence of some insecure tremolos in the voice. Drums are absolutely delightful, complex, full of cymbals patterns and never dull. The tracks are SO loaded, multi-layered, rythm changing and complex that you need a real HI-FI system to really appreciate! My favorite tracks are the epic "In your eyes" and "Moonshine", which are among the all-time best progressive tracks. Finally, let's add that ALL the tracks are OUTSTANDING! Despite the few imperfections mentioned above, 5 stars for this record is the least that I can give!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Review by James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Here's one for the crude humor folks: how many Poles does it take to make a great prog album? Five, if they are COLLAGE. Energetic, lushly produced modern symphonic prog with plenty of emotion is the rule here, with more emphasis on the orchestral synth sounds than the guitar- although the guitar also sounds great, often trilling high up on the neck for an almost bagpipe-like sound. "WOW" is what I thought when the opening salvo of sonics erupted from my speakers; "Heroes Cry" calms down a bit for the chorus, but this is one majestic sounding piece. I wonder why this (and two other tracks) is listed as a fragment- does the live version go on longer, or is there another installment to come? "In Your Eyes" isn't a Gabriel cover (or a MINOR THREAT cover for that matter) but rather a moody piano-based meditation that blossoms into soaring, adventurous pop-rock. The drummer is frankly amazing, peeling off syncopated fills and effortlessly making complex rhythmic and stylistic transitions. This, plus the occasional shimmering guitar arpeggios, led me to think briefly of RUSH, but COLLAGE demonstrates more classical influence and conversely also shows a pop/ rock songwriting skill like few other modern prog bands (PORCUPINE TREE is one of the better examples). "Lovely Day" may be a little too pop-sounding for some, but I like that they're not afraid to sound pretty- which they do quite often on this album. "Living in the Moonlight" is a bit darker, but only relatively. "The Blues" wears on me just a little, but there are still plenty of worthwhile instrumental highlights. "Wings in the Night" is a return to excellence, again combining a slightly darker opening with an energetic development into a soaring conclusion. The pizzicato string synth parts are beautifully, blatantly emotional, as is Robert Amirian's yearning vocal track. If you're waiting for him to settle down, it's not going to happen on "Moonshine", where his vocals often sound about to burst with angry, frustrated desire (the track does mellow near the end, with a lovely melancholy fade). And "War is Over" is a triumphant and anthemic conclusion, with some suprising martial/ folk sounds unlike anything else on the album. Am I gushing? There are drawbacks- all the songs sound somewhat similar in a way that makes you wonder if they're falling into a stylistic rut, but it is a lovely similarity after all. They are not going to turn the world on its ear with anything they're doing here, but prog as a whole is unlikely to recapture the general public interest anyway (and that's not such a bad thing). And it goes without saying that the jazz- influence prog fanatics are unlikely to adore it. You may find yourself in need of something gritty and ironic ("Joe's Garage" maybe?) to cleanse your audio palate after listening to all this earnest, glistening majesty.
Review by Hibou
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars What is it with these Dutch bands? Do they have regular talent contests in Holland that we don't know about???

Imagine yourself walking into a cathedral and hearing "Wind and Wuthering"-like sounds: the reverence, the lush, wall-to-wall keyboards with buckets of echo and reverb, the bass pedal pushed to the limit, the swirling synths punctuated by delicate, crystalline piano notes and the vocalist alternately singing/whispering in his strong vibrato voice. As some have aptly said, this music doesn't have much direction, but I found the trip itself so pleasant that 'getting there' wasn't so important after all. The album, which doesn't contain any weak tracks, awes the listener from beginning to end.

I was tempted to give it a mere 3 stars because the arrangements are so "déjā vu", so GENESIS-like (especially the HACKETT-like solos) and the melodies so simple they probably don't have a long shelf life. Upon hearing it again, however, I couldn't deny the excellent production, the way the themes so naturally blend into one another, the simple but effective time changes and the shere beauty of the overall effect. For melodious and utterly simple prog that can still dazzle you, you can bet your little heart (and your hard-earned cash) on COLLAGE's "Moonshine". Something to reconcile you with the universe on particularly emotional stormy nights.

Review by lor68
3 stars Another Neo-Prog work, coming from Poland, superior than their debut album, cause of its compactness and some pretty melodic lines as well...their tones are soft, but often you can listen to their personal imprinting during the development of songs like "In Your eyes" (probably their best one)...Robert Amirian is a remarkable vocalist and the arrangement - concerning above all their keyboards- is good!! Instead the other guitar lines are not so original, despite of being often pleasant, and this will bring the listener to a certain sense of tiredness till the end. But anyway if you are relaxing yourself (for example during your Summer vacation or in your spare time) , you can hear the soft tones of this good album and be happy; otherwise -if not- in any case you can choose some other more complex "progressive" stuff !!

It's not a masterpiece, but it's suitable for some "less involved" moments...make your own choice!!

Review by Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars MOONSHINE, a 1994 release from Polish group Collage, serves up a generous slice of latter-day symphonic progressive rock (or "neo-prog") that, while puffed up with grandiose bombast, is less than fully satisfying in terms of musical "meat" or originality. As fellow reviewer Maani has noted before me, the band's chief inspirational antecedents are easily identified as WIND AND WUTHERING-era Genesis (and, by extension, mid-80s Marillion). For this Genesis fan, that's a rich wellspring to draw upon, but I could wish that Collage had been less obvious about it, just the same.

Don't get me wrong -- there is some lovely, powerful stuff here, and it is all very well performed. Singer Robert Amirian has a fine, impassioned voice, and delivers the English lyrics without too much of a distracting accent. The synths, piano and drums are quite good, and equally able to convey moments of power or delicate beauty, while the lead guitar of Mirik Gil is soaring and soulful, and highly reminiscent of that of the master, Steve Hackett.

Yes, this is good 90s prog, and it's worth multiple hearings, but the older progressive rock fan will not be able to ignore a strong sense of deja vu when listening to this rather derivative material. Still, as Genesis had long since left true progressive rock in the echoing halls of memory by this time, the more tolerant and devoted prog fan who craves a new "fix," should enjoy this. Just don't expect a brand new high from Collage -- you'll likely "get off," but, if you're a long-term progger, you've been on this trip before.

Overall then, in terms of material and musicianship, MOONSHINE would merit four stars, but when the lack of originality is factored in, the final "mark" must be lowered to three stars -- good, but certainly not essential. If you like Genesis-flavoured acts like Marillion and IQ, you should enjoy this. The recipe is widely available, but try a taste anyway.

Review by chessman
4 stars This was one of those albums I bought after reading about the band on this site, and downloading the free track above. The whole album is beautifully produced, and the tracks are consistently good. The sound is powerful, yet melodic, and the musicianship is of a high quality. Every track has something to merit it, and the keyboards and guitar work are especially appealing. Guitarist Mirek Gil does play in a manner that is more than reminscent to Steve Hackett at times, and this is certainly not a bad thing in my book, as Hackett is my absolute fave. Best tracks for me are the opener, 'Heroes Cry' 'The Blues' and 'Living In The Moonlight'. But all are good and different people will have different favourites - always a sign of a good album. The vocals are in English, with little trace of accent except on the final track. The drummer, Szadkowski, is the main songwriter and lyricist, and a good job he does too. He's not a not a bad player either! All in all, an album I would recommend to anyone who likes lush, melodic symphonic prog, not particularly daring, but enjoyable. A worthy addition to anyone's collection.
Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars It's been more than 10 years since the release of "Moonshine", arguably Collage's definitive masterpiece, yet it continues to send shivers down a number of listeners' spines in the present day - at least that's what happens to me every time I return to this neo-prog gem. Born out of the now distant Polish neo-prog "new wave" of the early 90s, Collage managed to become as important as a couple of other brilliant compatriots (Abraxas, Quidam), in no small degree thanks to "Moonshine". This is the band's apex because it is the album in which the cohesion among the musicians and the magic of the material fulfill their potential at 100 %. The repertoire's sound perfectly epitomizes the way in which Collage assume and reelaborate their main references - early Marillion, "Wind & Wuthering"-era Genesis - with the use of some good old folkish vibes and a musical strength of their own. The folkish thing is not as evident as in their amazing debut "Basnie", but definitely it is still there, as some sort of implicit alternative to the predominant symphonic prog ambiences. The main sounds are provided by the guitar and the keyboards. Mirek Gil's leads, harmonies and textures sound like a fusion of Hackett and Rothery, while the keyboards play an essential role in orchestrations, solos, multi-layers, and even well ordained segues between most of the songs. While in the melodic aspect we can accurately state that the main core is Palczewski, the whole structure of each song is solidly laid by drummer Wojtek Szadkowski, whose fantastic skills lead him closer to Peart [no kidding - just listen to his inventive rolls and constant use of cymbal tricks] and White than to his usually more constrained neo-prog colleagues. Amirian's voice, on the other hand, has always been a bone of contention for Collage reviewers: I stand on the positive side, since I think that his style and charisma are more than proper for the sound that Collage create. Well, the album kicks off with excellent keyboard-driven bombast, like the start of an epic movie. Soon the bombast subsides in order to let the evocative development of 'Heroes Cry' follow a natural course of reflectiveness. The epic thing feels more constant in the following track 'In Your Eyes', the first of the three suites that are comprised in the album. 'In Your Eyes' contains a fluidly connected succession of romantic and energetic passages: these are 14 minutes of pure prog glory. The other suites are 'Wings in the Night' and the namesake track. The former has a bigger emphasis on the reflective side of things, although it is not bland or boring at all: that peculiar intensity is always present. Although this suite tends to be the most highly praised in the Internet, I must prefer the darker 'Moonshine'. The way in which the drumming cadence gives way to the starting point and the way the succession of motifs meets a fluid cohesiveness make it one of the album's highlights. Another undisputed highlight is 'The Blues', an energetic exercise of self-determination as a source for the impulse to overcome melancholy and frustration: the melodic ideas are great, and so are the inputs of all five members. Before 'The Blues', there is the duality of 'Lovely Day' and 'Living in the Moonlight'. 'Lovely Day' brings a breeze of folkish air to the album, providing a warm portrait of the harmony between a man in a moment of happy meditation and the landscape. Segued to this track by a brief series of piano arpeggios, 'Living in the Moonlight' brings the darkness of both the night and the sorrow for love lost and still yearned for. 'Living in the Moonlight' was the band's major hit, a sort of 'Kayleigh' for them. The emergence of 'The Blues' helps to bring a statement of self-assurance and determination once the storm of nostalgia is over. But what about conflict? Can it be over? According to Amirian's closing statement, it can. 'War is Over' is an optimistic Celtic-based song that unabashedly shows off its own naive belief in a better future for human beings and mankind as a whole. Everything about this beautiful song brings soft emotional solace: the duel between the acoustic guitar and mandolin, the bagpipe "allusions" provided by the guitar and synth leads, the final accordion harmonies, Amirian's initial almost whispering turning into a candid frenzy. A beautiful end for a beautiful album. "Moonshine" is a testimony of College's artistic talent at its peak.
Review by Prog-jester
5 stars A year ago,on April 17th,2005,I bought this masterpeice.The album has grown on me from that time,and now it's my second favourite neo-prog release (after the stunning "Script for a Jester's Tear")!!!I remember looking at the cover artwork and thinking how does it perfectlly reflect the plot of the work.It is dark,but not miserable.It is Darkness with a spot of Light at the end of the Way.It is the best Polish release ever,and that's why I adore Polish prog now!!!

"Moonshine" blows your ears with opening "Heroes Cry",which is one of the best opening tracks I ever heard!!!Mighty keyboards,fiery drumming and wild guitar(while Gil is said to be influenced by Rothery,I found him even more original than his "teacher"!!!).Closing riff will take you away,I bet!!!The next one,"In your Eyes" stars very moody and darkly,reminding of the best MARILLION's moments(the beginning of "Bitter Suite" or "Pseudo Silk Kimono").Then a theme in a major key follows,and it takes us somewhere far beyond heaven...a little break somewhere on 8th minute and again pompous ending("Here tonight..." etc)."Lovely Day" gives a break from astonishing epic,and second part of it is really nice.But then my favouritest part of the album begins - my fav 3 tracks!!!"Living in the Moonlight" could be made even by Guns'n'Roses or Led Zeppelin,this is stunning touching rock-ballad with great melodic lines(a break before the solo just drives me insane!!!).It crushes into "The Blues",which has plenty of changing complex signatures and vintage Gil/Palczewski duels.The song- part of it will make sing,I bet!!!And the highlight of that trio - "Wings in the Night" epic,written in 3/... signatures,which has awesome soloing seems that these solo-bridges would last forever!!!"Why..."chorus makes me cry - it is SO TENDER and BEAUTIFUL!!!The best track here,IMHO.The following mighty "Moonshine" is almost the same genius...and closing "War is over" reminds me of Polish folk songs(whose are so close to Ukrainian ones) and it's great coda - a return to your roots...

Finally,I'd like to say,that "Moonshine" is the best Neo-prog release of 90s and it helds everything,that every progger needs - and even more!!!I recommend it to EVERYONE!!!

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars COLLAGE present an emotional and uplifting album in "Moonshine". I can't get over how much they sound like SATELLITE, of course three of COLLAGE's members started that band up including the vocalist so it's no wonder they sound so much alike. From the keyboard passages to the soaring, melodic guitar, to the emotional well sung vocals, this is Neo-Prog at it's best..This is very polished, with layers of sound, that are simply ear candy. Lots of orchestral-like passages created through the keyboards as well.

"Heroes Cry" is so moving, especially the chorus.There's even some heaviness with guitar after 2 minutes. Some nice instrumental work to end it. Amazing sound 6 minutes in. "In Your Eyes" opens with keyboards as fragile vocals come in. It kicks in after 2 1/2 minutes. Passionate vocals with guitar a minute later. The tempo and mood shifts continue.The guitar just lights it up 7 minutes in. It's so moving 9 minutes in. Gulp. "Lovely Day" is such a transcending track both instrumentally and the lyrics. Lots of piano in this one. "Living In The Moonlight" is another emotional track with fantastic vocals. Love the guitar before 3 minutes as well.

"The Blues" is uptempo and they really put on an instrumental display here.The mood and tempo changes a lot and themes are eventually repeated in yet another great track. "Wings In The Night" is mellow to open as fragile vocals join in. It starts to build then settles with piano after 3 1/2 minutes. I like when it settles again after 7 minutes and the guitar comes in. "Moonshine" opens with drums as synths join in. A full sound before a minute and then it settles when vocals arrive. As per usual this song really changes a lot. The highlight for me is the final song "War Is Over" which is pure joy as the title would suggest. ANEKDOTEN have a song called "The War Is Over" from their "Gravity" album that is just as uplifting than this one believe it or not. This song is addictive though as the chorus keeps spinning in my head over and over. When I hear this song I just want to celebrate.

A solid 4 stars and my favourite album from all the COLLAGE and SATELLITE albums.

Review by kenethlevine
5 stars Call it neo if you will - but that would be Mr Polish Neo to you, since this so far exceeds the quality and emotion exhibited on British so-called classics of the genre. I am just happy that this effort tends to get the respect it does. For what a wonderful uplifting album is Moonshine.

From the opening notes of the intensely beautiful "Heroes Cry", this CD grabs hold and only lets go during some of the lesser moments within "In Your Eyes". The production is dense and seems to have a lot of reverb, with the vocals sometimes a bit buried, at least on my non remastered edition, but it also gives Moonshine a lot of character. Robert Amirian's voice is highly emotive and unaccented, while Mirek Gil's guitar leads are strongly reminiscent of Steve Hackett, especially in the best song, "Wings in the Night", which really has everything a melodic prog fan would want. The keyboards are perhaps slightly overdone but also create the dreamy nighttime atmosphere so well that I am assuming this was the intention. Lastly we have the adept drumming of project mastermind Wojtek Szadkowski.

For a lovely ballad, listen to "Living in the Moonlight" a few times. True, it could just as easily be referred to as melancholy pop as prog, but it doesn't matter when the tune, guitars and voice are so well crafted and touching. "The Blues" is another favourite - it's only mildly bluesy, and I think of it more as Collage saying "here is our take on the blues, and all you bluesmen out there, I hope you can handle it!". Excellent fiery opening followed by slow verses and a magnificently intense chorus that just keeps coming. "War is Over" is a pastoral closer which ends with some accordion of all things. Again, produced lovingly and replete with a cosmic pining that permeates most of this great work.

Even allowing for the fact that tracks 2 and 3 are not great, the rest is of such high quality that you don't have to be high on moonshine to gush with appreciation for this 90s classic, or to give this moon five stars.

Review by progrules
5 stars About a decade ago I went to a CD-shop, got hold of this album and asked the salesman, can I listen to some of it ? I put on the headphone, heard 5 seconds and was already blown away, I never heard something like this !! Of course Herous Cry is a great opener with a big impact, so that's very clever of Collage but I have to say: the rest isn't any less impressive. It's a romantic, bombastic album (great combination it proves to be) with fantastic compositions. I like the longer tracks best but also Herous Cry and The Blues are really awesome. It's just the other three shorter songs that are somewhat less impressive but still nice.

So it's 5 topsongs which is in my book clearly 5 stars

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Itīt very seldom I listen to neo prog albums that I really like besides Fish era Marillion which I absolutely adore and a few other exceptions. Moonshine which is the third album from Collage is one of those exceptions. Itīs a very unique album IMO and even though many of the ideas on Moonshine were also heard on the two previous albums from Collage Basnie and Nine songs of John Lennon the ideas are fully developed on Moonshine and with the massive production and elaborate synth layers this makes for quite an experience in melodic prog rock/ neo prog.

The music is heavily synth layered but the guitar leads from Mirek Gil is also omnipresent throughout the album. On top of that there are some excellent melodic melodies sung by Robert Amirian. Itīs close to pop at times but the music is always done with finesse and attention to detail that you wonīt hear in commercial pop music. The pop moments are only tendencies though and with many of the songs being well over 10 minutes long the structure is not commercial at all.

The album starts with Heroes Cry which is a really excellent song that starts very bombastic and has a nice memorable chorus. In Your Eyes which with itīs 14:04 minutes is the longest song here is a great and very dynamic song. It has subtle beautiful moments and full on symphonic ones. There are many sections in In Your Eyes but everything fits nicely together. Lovely Day is a ballad type song but it never gets long or cheesy for that matter. Listening to the next song Living in the Moonlight for the first time I was sure it was a cover song of an eighties pop hit, but Iīm sure it just bears lots of resemblance to one. Itīs the most melodic and memorable song on Moonshine and even though the cheese factor is pretty high here itīs a great song. The rest of the album continues without much change in quality. All songs are of high standard. One of my few regrets with Moonshine is that the arrangements and the sounds Collage uses are very much the same throughout the album and it makes the listening experience a bit trivial at times. This is not a major problem though and for once I wonīt complain too much about quantity even though Moonshine is a very long album.

The musicianship is outstanding but I have to mention Wojtek Szadkowski on drums as he brings something special to the music. His style is very unorthodox especially when you think of how the drums are generally played in neo prog. I would call him a very busy drummer and that might even be an understatement of his style. He makes millions of different fills and small time and tempo changes that keeps the music exciting. Iīm sure his playing is an aquired taste though, and some might think he is too busy, but I really enjoy his playing.

The production on Moonshine is really unique. Itīs one of those larger than life productions that is so full of reverb and chorus that you think your ears are gonna explode any time when listening. This is a positive remark if anyone should doubt it. Itīs so grand that it sounds like itīs recorded on a mountain. Personally I love that kind of a production and to me itīs an important part of Moonshine.

Moonshine is a really excellent album and I will rate it 4 stars. Itīs a bit too long ( there I did it again! Complained about quantity instead of quality, but I just canīt help it) and had it been a little more focused and cut down just a bit, it might have been a 5 star album, but on the other hand I really like the long songs on the album because itīs here Collage gets to play all the beautiful melodic sections thatīs so enjoyable. Well even though how I see it, Moonshine is a very excellent album but falls short of a masterpiece IMO. Itīs very recommandable though to fans of the neo prog genre and some fans of symphonic prog rock might be enchanted too.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars After the parenthesis of Nine Songs Of John Lennon, the band should get back in a more brilliant shape than ever.

Vocals have switched from Polish to English but I wouldn't even enter in this debate. It was the band's choice, period.

The opening track is highly emotional and features one of the most beautiful harmony I can think of. Some might say "too easy", or "too predictable", I just believe it is full of passion and the instrumental parts (mainly keyboards) are just gorgeous. Neo symphonic prog. A new sub-genre maybe? Anyway, "Heroes Cry" is an excellent song. My favourite from this album.

The band was maybe willing to comfort the idea that they were able to produce more constructed songs, but the long (over fourteen minutes) "In Your Eyes" is maybe not the best exercise of "Collage". A bit thin and maybe too much "Genesis" oriented. Especially during a great but too resembling Hackett guitar solo. But this similarity is the essence of this genre, so. The bombastic keyboards also have a feeling of being heard before (hi Tony). A good song but no more.

The average "Lovely Day" which is a mellow and little consistent track, the first weak one from this album. Actually, the band seems to have some difficulties to reproduce such a great number as "Heroes Cry".

Several songs are almost symphonic, and "Living in the Moonlight" is another fine song with a nice melody but a very emotional guitar break is the definite highlight of this good song. Excellent work from Mirek Gil.

"The Blues" seems to come out from an "IQ" album (especially during the instrumental intro). Another OK song which is brilliantly concluded by our dear friend Mirek (once again). He is such a great guitar player. But, still: a seven minutes song should hold more than just a short guitar break to highlight it.

"Wings In The Night" is another "neo-symphonic" song featuring lots of splendid guitar moments and a fine melodic line. At this time of the album, one thing is for sure. The big man here is Mirek. He is virtually holding the album on his shoulders. Without him, this would have been just another record.

Actually, after their excellent debut and the rave reviews that I could read here, I was expecting some more from this album. As a comparison, I liked the work of their fellow countrymen "Abraxas" a lot better (especially their album "Centurie"). But Collage came first of course and probably opened the way to many Polish bands.

"Moonshine" (the album) is probably too long (almost seventy minutes). Even if the band hadn't recorded any new material since 1990, it sounds as if they didn't have enough inspiration to hold this length. These long songs can't captivate me from start to finish. Great during instants, but not holding the quality throughout their length.

The title track is no other. Thirteen minutes with little depth. The more I listen to this album, the more I discover its weaknesses. During my first listening some three years ago, I rated it with five stars, then four.

I can hardly consider this work as a masterpiece and my final rating is three stars. A good album, with ONE great song.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars More of a fine malt than a bootleg

Having released a couple of respected if unremarkable albums in the early 1990's (including a John Lennon tribute), Polish neo-prog band Collage recorded what is widely acknowledged as their finest album in 1994. The sound here is pure neo-prog, so as long as that is one of your genres of choice you will be fine with this album.

The opening "Heroes cry" sets the scene in exemplary fashion, with floating mellotron like symphonic synths and plenty of lead guitar. The trembling vocals (reminiscent of Pallas) add fine atmosphere to a blending of the styles of bands such as Genesis, Pendragon and Arena. The 14 minute "In your eyes" which follows allows the band all the space they need to fully develop the piece into a beautifully lush suite. Here, the Genesis (circa "Wind and wuthering" especially) influences are more pronounced, particularly in the Hackett like guitar work of Mirek Gil, but there is no question of this simply being a derivative work.

The emphasis is very much on melody and sensitivity. There is nothing here which might be described as harsh. That is not to say the music is soft, or lacking in substance, the synth runs in the aforementioned "In your eyes" are every bit as exciting and dynamic as those by Tony Banks (a reasonable comparison in fact). The tracks flow together seamlessly, with "Lovely day" simply sounding like the next phase of "In your eyes".

After the enthrallingly lovely "Living in the moonlight", "The blues" offers another burst of very Hackett like lead guitar supported by symphonic synths. Two further tracks run to over 10 minutes. The first of these, "Wings in the night", manages to incorporate some pretty fiery synth and guitar yet retain an overall atmosphere of symphonic gentleness.

The title track, which runs to almost 13 minutes, is a bit heavier primarily due to the pounding bass line which pushes the vocals back in the mix slightly. This song is actually closer to the type of product which would be delivered by Collage's successors Satellite. The album closes with "War is over", an more straightforward number with an anthemic, repetitive hook.

For some, an album like this may be just a little too rich. It is perhaps the prog equivalent of a chocolate gateau, drenched in orchestral synths, smooth guitar and evolving melodies. Those like myself with a sweet tooth will however find this to be an absolute delight.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
5 stars Recently my good friend and PA colleague Henk Van Der Off (Progrules) asked me why I haven't written a review for this album. I could not find a good answer at the time. So I decided it was time to do so,ething about it. In fact I still find hard to rate this album. Its importance can't be understimate. For me, and a lot of people outside Polland, this was the record to put that country in the prog map. Even today Moonshine is a reference. Why? It is simply the right album at the right time with the right musicians. And it is more than that.

The band had matured into something unique due the fact it included an excellent songwriter (drummer and leader Wojtek Szadkowski), a guitar player that was more than good: he had built his own style of playing (Mirek Gil) and had aquired recently an excellent and distinctive singer (Robert Amirian), But most of all they had a keyboards player that gave their sound a very unique feel: Krzysztof Palczewski . He can only be described as one of those one in a million cases of a truly genius in his work. Just listen to his playing and try to think of anyone who have done anything so brilliant, melodic and overwhelming.

That said, just listen to the record. It sounds like nothing else, and yet their influences are quite easy to recognize (Genesis, Pink Floyd, early Marilliom, Camel and the like). the result is a masterpiece of music that defies categorization. to me they play symphonic prog rock with some polish folk influences here and there. the music is complex and accessible at the same time. they ahve great melodies and fine tunes. A pleasure to hear from beginning to end. Production could be better, but nothing that spoils the overall great effect of their music.

to me is one of the best prog rock records to emerge form the 90's and it is a masterpiece of progressive music. In other words: essential. Five stars with honors. One of my favorite CDs of all time.

Review by JLocke
3 stars Decent Neo-Prog, but nothing groundbreaking.

The only Neo-Prog band I have heard thus far that I can honestly say broke new ground is Marillion. Every other band I have come across in this particular sub-genre merely mimics that sound, and most of it I find hard to listen to. Collage is a bit of an exception, I suppose, even though that over-produced, constant echoey sound to everything gets a little grating after a while. For the most part, though, this is a good album. I do break it out now and again when I have a glass of wine and feel the need for some cheese.

Let me explain . . . when I call this music 'cheesy', I'm not saying it's completely worthless. In fact, I think ALL Prog Rock is a little cheesy to a certain degree, even among the most brutal of Prog Metal. So cheese isn't really a bad thing, as long as it can be kept in check. These guys don't really go so over-the-top that it becomes laughable, or anything. The music itself is really quite lovely, and the keyboards aren't as intrusive as most Neo-Prog bands allow them to be. Everything feels very well-balanced on the whole, and plenty of heart and emotion is to be found here.

Some parts of this album are pretty heavy for it to be Neo-Prog. Distorted guitars, booming drums, and the like will come in fairly often to keep the sappy stuff in check. The piano and acoustic guitar sections are what I am most fond of, but all of the elements are for the most part well-placed and help enhance the experience.

The best song on the album is probably the first one, though I suppose among the more die-hard Collage fans, that may be disputed. I don't really like the amount of long tracks on this thing. I think they could have included less attempts at 'epics', because at times I felt like things dragged on a little too long. The electric guitar solos are bland and stock in delivery and melody. The singing is decent, and fits this type of music well. I'm not very picky when it comes to singer, except in very specific cases, so overall, the vocals and the instrumentation are satisfying. If the lead guitar stuff had been a little more varied and the length of some of the tracks been shortened, I may have even liked this more, but honestly, with this type of music, you either accept it for what it is, or you won't enjoy it at all. I at least realize what this style of Prog Rock is about, and although I am still trying to find more enjoyment from that sub-genre in general, the few gems I come across are indeed worth listening to, at least once.

''Moonshine'' is one of those cases, I believe. It won't be for everybody, and only when you have the right mindset will you fully enjoy it, I think, but it's certainly not bad, and I think it could very possibly be one of the better Neo-Prog works out there. But for me, the only five-star works to come out of it are from Marillion, and the rest have yet to come close to the same caliber.

So it's good, but nothing all that special; at least to my ears. Only invest in buying it if you like this type of music already. Otherwise, you'll find yourself wishing you would have spent the money on other things. 2.5 Stars, but I'll give it a nudge into the threes.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars COLLAGE's Moonshine is full of very memorable music. There are many 'hooks' that haunt the listener hours and days after walking away from it. Containing some symphonic elements, this masterpiece of NeoProg has a few shortcomings, namely the vocals are, at times, weak, and some of the keyboards that were 'leading edge' technologically in 1994 are almost embarrassingly out-dated today. Still, the bombastic music, rare treat of frequent synthesizer-electric guitar interplay, and defining appearance of the screaming, infinite-sustain Mirek Gil guitar sound (which is, IMO, one step above that of the Master, Steve Hackett--whose "Spectral Mornings/Every Day" sound Gil was so obviously inspired by).

1. "Heroes Cry" (6:40). What a memorable, bombastic introduction! And it all begins with the album's major strength (Gil's screaming guitar) and weakness (vocals). At 1:10 the poppy bridge and chorus first appear. At 3:50 we get our first treat to the talented keyboard player as he echoes himself before engaging in the playful chase-and-duel pattern so often explored with Gil's guitar. (Could it be that Gil's soli are, in fact, improved and enhanced--his efforts augmented--by the challenge and presence of the keys?) Prog doesn't get much better that this, folks! A very memorable, haunting song. (9.25/10)

2. "In Your Eyes" (14:04) opens with the dated synths to about 1:00 when piano and acoustic guitar interplay take over to back the vocal. At 2:36 a very Hackett-esque guitar riff leads to a very "Wind & Wuthering" feeling section of chords and acoustic guitar. 4:30 sees the arrival of a very high, squeaky guitar solo; at 5:30 the song shifts dramatically, till, at 6:25 the song shifts back to the Hackett-esque, "Spectral Mornings" feel. At 7:10 we see a return to previous themes until at 8:35 the song takes another completely different shift with sequencer, synthesizer, and bass taking over until 9:10 when Gil's screaming guitar rejoins. A vocal highlight occurs at the 10:25 mark with an electric guitar supported "here tonight" peak, followed at the 11:30 mark with a low register key & synth solo over some very nice drum work. Tempo picks up again at 12:00 until a stop at 12:45. Whereupon the song plays out with the very enjoyable interplay of keyboard and electric guitar. (26.5/30)

3. "Lovely Day" (5:11) uses piano and synthesized strings to establish a slow, almost poppy mood for the first three minutes. The 3:05 mark sees the most interesting development of the song with piano arpeggios followed by some electric guitar-keyboard 'gunfire.' Otherwise, a not very memorable song. (7/10)

4. "Living in the Moonlight" (4:43) A favorite among proggers, undoubtedly for it's Hackett-like, "Please Don't Touch" feel as well as its lyrical content. Gil's guitar work is rather subdued and moved more into the background. The "when I feel silence" sees the song shift into a higher gear of intensity, and then higher again when Gil begins his Hackett-esque solo--which he makes his own beginning at the 3:10 mark. (9/10)

5. "The Blues" (7:17). The highpoint of the album. Gil's guitar screams out the defining melody from the first note and climbs, with the help of some wonderful band support, to an amazing beginning song solo before dropping away at the 0:54 mark in lieu of the vocal section--a great vocal dislay, with very powerful delivery of some powerful lyrics. Great full-band interplay and support throughout this amazing song. 4:35 begins the Mirek Gil display. This is the song where he leaves Hackett in the dust and establishes his own ascendancy. Great drum and key support. I do not think that this song could be improved upon. A song for the ages. (15/15)

6. "Wings in the Night" (11:12) takes the first 2:25 to establish itself (fairly weakly) before finally letting some energy show (briefly). The song rather lacks from consistency--bouncing from quiet to dynamic and back again over and over while the vocals go on trampling over all parts indiscriminately. At the 7:10 mark Mirek Gil is finally set free--and boy! does he soar! The final four minutes of the song nearly make up for the floundering first seven (even if there are several moments where one might think you were in Steve Hackett's "Spectral Mornings"). (17.75/20)

7. "Moonshine" (12:50) begins as if playing Phil Collins' "I Don't Care Anymore" until at 0:46 Gil steps in and lifts it into another world--his own. Still, it takes three and a half minutes until the song finally establishes a consistent self identity--which it does, at a very high level, too. (22/25)

8. "War Is Over" is vocalist Robert Amirian's rather pop-anthem contribution to the album. Very simple structure and repetitive lyric make for a somewhat disappointing song. The only real progginess comes in the song's end when Amirian's accordian ushers us out of (the) Moonshine. (7.25/10)

9. (Bonus Track in 2003 remaster) "Almost There." This is a GREAT song. Too bad it wasn't on the original release (instead of "War Is Over"), otherwise this may have helped earn the album the five star rating it feels like it deserves. I LOVE how the vocals, keyboards and bass pace this song. Powerful! For once Amirian's lyrics (repetitive as they are) and delivery work! They provide a great vehicle for an all-out band jam?which could easily (and even happily) have ended at the 3:05 mark. But it doesn't! Instead, we are treated to one more minute of bass and drums pounding beneath Mirek Gil's superlative, screaming guitar and Robert Amirian's (background) vocal screams. Wow! (10/10)

Without "Almost There" the album is a definite four star "classic"--and excellent addition to any prog lover's music collection. With it . . . ?

2015 edit: This album has now been a part of my life for several years. It has become one of those "go to" albums I can always depend on to uplift my spirits into those peak experience moments. Though the 1990s keyboards still sound a bit cheesy, the compositions and emotions coming our of this recorded material has become one of the benchmark experiences of both the 1990s in particular and Neo-prog in general. It is for these reasons that I am choosing to reconsider my original four star rating and elevate Moonshine into the "masterpiece" category. It deserves it. I can think of few albums from the 1990s more essential to the proof that Prog Is Alive and Well!

Review by b_olariu
3 stars Collage is one of the most respected neo prog bands not only from Poland but from Europe too. They made this style to be more exposured to the public in the ,90,s and for that they got a well known fame. They released before disbanded some albums more or less great, this is Moonshine from 1994, one of their better works if not the most complet from their career and one of the better ex of smooth and greatness of this style. The album, musicaly speaking is ok, with some great and very elegand symphonic parts, even this attitude is often used here, the neo prog elements are not left aside, both style are melting each other very well, the prime ex is the openingtrack Heroes cry, I think the best piece from here. Now, as a neo prog album is very often in this scene, never breaks any rules or to be a groundbreaking release, at least for me, Moonshine suffers from same over production in this sub genre. When I first listen to the album, after finishing it I said that this is one of the another few hundred neo prog albums from this scene, repetative arrangements, specially on guitar, but aswell the vocal parts are a bit too the same on each piece, but combined with that symphonic parts make from this Moonshine to be more then an usual album after all, but nothing special either. I don,t like the mellowness of the album as a whole, the voice is too much the same, the keybords are not rounding the sound, is more like an instrument who enters when needed but rarely is very exciting in what it does, at least for me, the druming is linear and without many pretentions. With all this low points, the album as a whole can get from me 3 stars, but is the best I can give here, I know hundreds of better albums then Moonshine, and are far more less known productions. Another thing is that the album is too long, the second track of the album In your eys is almost 15 min of totaly boring and uninspired neo prog, this tune is totaly useless IMO. The Marillion influences are all over, specially the Rothery noodlings. After Collage was gone 3 memebers from here will form another known neo prog band from Poland and not only Satllite (IMO better then Collage). So, as I said, nothing really exciting here, nothing impressive or never heared before in this scene, only a fairly good release, who gets I think too much praise. 3 stars.
Review by lazland
4 stars Some prog rock, it is true to say, is not altogether emotionally uplifting. Some of it can be downright depressing, and in the genre's first heyday of the 1970's, a lot of bands released exceptionally long suites and concepts that were musically, emotionally, and intellectually challenging. I say this not, of course, as a criticism, but as a matter of fact.

If we jump forward to the neo prog explosion, a lot of bands then seemed to have to issue albums that aped that style of music, if nothing else to prove their prog credentials. The better ones got over this tendency, and began to create wholly original music and styles.

The above is stated to introduce this blinder of an album by Collage, a short lived Polish band. Moonshine is an album which drips with relentless enthusiasm, is upbeat beyond belief, and very cleverly intersperses lengthy epics with some extraordinarily catchy prog pop shorter tracks. What they proved, above all else, is that neo prog did not simply have to be a copy of the classic bands to be effective, but basically took the best of what influenced them and turned it into something deliciously original. For that, this band deserve to be right up amongst great outfits such as Marillion and Pendragon as being amongst the best the sub genre has to offer. I say this, by the way, as a huge lover of neo prog.

There is, in this album, more than a smattering of Marillion influence, certainly in the manner that the instrumental passages are constructed, and more than a bit of the Hogarth era at that, as well. Elsewhere, there are also the obligatory nods to classic artists, none more so than the longest track on the album, In Your Eyes, whose end vocal passage bears more than a passing resemblance to Gabriel's track of the same name from So. In addition, the band have clearly listened to the full quota of Camel's albums. In doing this, however, they never once sound like a cheap tribute band.

Robert Amirian's vocals are incredible throughout, and much of it, by the way, does also put you in mind of more than one post indie outfit. The chorus, and accompanying guitar burst, on Wings In The Night transports the listener to another plain.

The musicianship throughout is excellent. Palczewski's keyboard work is nothing short of phenomenal, Gil on guitar backs up Amirian's lead effortlessly, whilst the rhythm section of Szadkowski on drums and Witkowski on are about as tight and urgent as it is possible to get. For no better example of how well they play and riff as a unit, listen to the closing section of The Blues.

This is an excellent work, and the standard would be carried forward into successor outfit Satellite. Very highly recommended for all those who wish to explore neo prog outside of the UK comfort zone, and for prog fans in general who appreciate grand, upbeat, music with more than a hint of wider pop/rock sensibilities.

Four stars, and a strong four stars at that.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Collage's third album finds the album playing in a distinctive style which is more unique to them than the heavily Marillion-inspired approach of their debut, though occasionally aspects of early Marillion or 1990s Pendragon pop up here and there. The Collage sound as of Moonshine is sweeping, dramatic, and at times (as on the opening number Heroes Cry) thunderous, with keyboards, lead guitar and vocals all uniting to create a particularly emotive and passionate work. At points the production seems to stumble a little; there are parts where the synths sound a little cheap and dated and the drum sound is a bit thin, but just when my attention begins to drift the album turns around and enthralls me yet again. I think Basnie is a somewhat more well-executed work myself, but Moonshine is a little more original so the two complement each other nicely.
Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The 1990-1992 period was definitely the more intense in Collage's history.''Basnie'' was warmly accepted by the prog audience, leading to concerts even abroad for the band and to a reissue of the album in 1992 by Vinyl Magic.On the other hand Tomasz Rozycki left the band suddenly to be replaced by Zbyszek Bieniak.Bieniak was a great singer and songwriter but he also quit in early 92', leaving his place for a while to Jarek Wajk.1993 was even more shocking for the band.Only Gil and Szadkowski remained from the ''Basnie'' line-up.The bass was now handled by Piotr Witkowski, keyboards by Krzysztof Palczewski, while the new singer was Robert Amirian.To test his voice Collage released the album ''Nine Songs of John Lennon'' in 1993 with cover tracks of Lennon's discography, followed a year later by the first full-length album of the new line-up ''Moonshine'' on Metal Mind Records.

The new album presented two big differences compared to ''Basnie''.Amirian would sing exclusively in English, having a more sensitive and romantic voice, eventually reflecting on the atmosphere of the album.Additionally the darker compositions of ''Basnie'' left their place to less-raw and more elaborate arrangements with a more positive aura.Of course the style of Collage remained equally grandiose, bombastic at moments and quite adventurous, enriched by series of softer passages inbetween.Overall the extremely unique band's style had developed even more with an aim towards foreign markets but always delivering a pure Neo/Symphonic Rock with dramatic arrangements and a huge rich sound throughout.Dreamy keyboards alternate with bombastic orchestral passages, smooth vocal-based parts are followed by superb guitar solos, the trademark of Mirek Gil, and polished melodies are blended with a great number of breaks.More importantly Collage set the basis of what we would call ''Polish Prog'' in the future, apparently having influenced a great number of local bands.A style characterized by the lovely symphonic keyboards, the deep esoteric vocal lines, the dramatic solos and often the very personal atmosphere of Polish vocals, which are absent on this album.

A great comeback by one of the most original Polish bands.Despite the line-up changes Collage returned with an album full of excellent, dreamy and challenging musicianship, an almost classic of the Neo Prog scene and highly recommended to fans of prog in general.

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This is the stuff I imagine accompanying Siegfried & Roy's act during their mid-90s Vegas glory; lots of mist, flashbangs, sampled orchestration, glitter suits, and over-groomed homoerotic showmanship. Liberace would've liked Collage.

That aside, it is what it is. Distended by melodrama and artifice, Moonshine is symphonic rock (okay "Neoprog" if you insist) at its worst and best. The material does sometimes remind of Genesis circa 1976 but not really, and frankly fourteen-minute 'In Your Eyes' is why pop music was invented. No one needs to sit through a quarter hour of unremarkable music. Cut it by two thirds and you might have something worthwhile. Just ask Peter Gabriel. 'Living in the Moonlight' is moany '80s romantic angst and 'The Blues' is merely an extension of said material. Complex 'Wings in the Night' isn't bad but at eleven minutes is sure to leave many listeners trailing off into what they're having for dinner, and the cinematic title track is probably the most progressive thing here with many rises and falls.

A matter of taste perhaps but either way, Collage lacks a certain humanity; a rock & roll spirit that thrives on less, not more; a blemished swagger raised to glory by the skill and inspiration of men, not machines. But then one can't blame an artist for what it is they do, only the quality of it.

Review by The Crow
4 stars This album accompanied me in a difficult and lonely time of my life... And it well always have a place in my heart.

Nevertheless, it's far from being perfect. I think the production is a bit saturated. Sometimes it's hard to discern the instruments clearly because the dense mixture of guitars and keyboards and the detailed and the enlarged drums. It's part of the charm of this album, but objectively the production could have been better in my opinion. Technical and financial limitations, I guess.

The second fact that I find a bit annoying of this album are Robert Amirian's vocals. The guy sings in a very powerful and passionate way, but sometimes he is completely out of tone. He had potential and capability to make a great job in this album, but for some reason he sounds not really well here.

However, apart of these two problems Moonshine is a pure pleasure for the ears.

Heroes Cry starts the record in a very powerful and melodic way, with very dense echoed guitars from Gil and great keyboards from Krzysztof Palczewski. The drummer of the leader Szadkowski are also very competent, and a very important part of Collage's sound, because he is the main songwriter and many songs revolve around his drum kit. The Witkowski's bass is sometimes buried under the rest of the musicians, and Amirian... He just tries.

In Your Eyes is just a masterpiece of Neo-Prog music. A true classic and a song which is perfect if you want to introduce someone to this genre. Amirian sings in a very passionate and sentimental way the romantic lyrics and the songs evolves constantly offering an incessant stream of wonderful progressive melodies. Just wonderful!

Lovely Day is another lovely song based mainly in the keyboards, spoiled again by the weak vocals. And Living in the Moonlight is another Collage's classic with dreamy melodies and this time with competent vocals from Amirian, who luckily sings in a more restrained way this time. The Blues bring back the hard rock of influences of Heroes Cry, but with an even better instrumental section. After two slow tracks The Blues was a very good choice.

Wins in the Night is another long song with folk melodies, which give a very European feeling to this album. Not so good as In Your Eyes, but also marvelous. And the ending is an imaginative homage to Richard Strauss. Moonshine is a bit darker and it has the harder guitars of the album (don't worry, they are just a bit distorted) and also the best bass playing.

War is Over ends the album with a chorus which is a bit repetitive, but with another folk ending with a very beautiful accordion played by Witkowski.

Conclusion: Collage is a very passionate, dreamy and beautiful Neo-Prog album. The songwriting is really strong, the musicians are great and despite the weak vocals the music shines through the whole record. And despite the influence is there, Collage are one of the Neo-Prog bands which managed not to sound like a 80's Marillion rip-off.

With a better vocal interpretation, this would be a true prog rock masterpiece.

Best Tracks: all of them. But In Your Eyes is just outstanding and one of the best Neo-Prog songs in history.

My rating: ****

Review by Hercules
5 stars 5 stars is completely inadequate for this album. I had never heard Polish band Collage until I found this album on youtube and I only had to listen to it twice to know I had to own it and it arrived today. It's slightly dreamy and relaxing and simply incredibly beautiful. It easily makes my top 10 albums of all time. The album is supremely melodic and beautifully played. Robert Arminian gives a vocal performance to rival any other singer in prog, Mirek Gil has a very unusual style and guitar tone and contributes some superb solos, mostly towards the top of the fretboard. Krzysztof Palczewski's keyboards are wonderful, adding atmosphere and melody and bassist Piotr Mitlowski and drummer Wojtek Szadkowski form a mighty rhythm section. Others have described each track in detail, so I won't repeat their analysis. All I'll say is that there are no bad or mediocre tracks whatsoever; indeed every one is a gem. Heroes Cry and Living in the Moonlight would easily grace any "Best of Prog" album and the others are not far behind. But the highlight is the beautiful finale, War is Over, one of the most uplifting songs ever. If only the chorus were true. The final touch of genius is the fade out with mandolin and accordion. And the word "uplifting" characterises this album perfectly: there's nothing dark or depressive about it, and that suits me fine. This rivals any of the many superb albums by IQ, Marillion, Arena, Pendragon and Pallas in the realms of neo-prog, yet stylistically is distinct from all of them. They've clearly listened to those bands and extracted the best from all of them to distil into something new and glorious. Some have described it as "poppy", but having a memorable melody does not make anything "poppy". Unhesitatingly recommended to anyone who likes any of those bands.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Like the successor group Satellite, Collage's music just flows sort of naturally from beginning to end in a super pleasant fashion, with a few standouts like the song "Living in the Moonlight." All fans of progressive music should obtain a copy. The balance of vocals to instrumentation is also e ... (read more)

Report this review (#2950712) | Posted by gbjones | Monday, September 11, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars COLLAGE a group that is re-entering the prog hive after so many disappointments and a sound that is dying! 1. Heroes Cry ... ah the slap I received listening to this intro! everything was there, the synth which could be hardy and melodic afterwards, the suave voice of Robert, the heavy, imposing ... (read more)

Report this review (#2655848) | Posted by alainPP | Monday, December 27, 2021 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A nice melodic and atmospheric neo-prog album; an album for late night wind-down listening, rather than early morning get-up-and-go motivation! Although there are some long, quite complex compositions here, the emphasis on accessible melodies means that this album is quite poppy. For me the stan ... (read more)

Report this review (#1113388) | Posted by jmeadow | Sunday, January 12, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This Polish prog group has produced a few CD's in the 90's and stopped as 'Collage'. They reappeared, at least some members, as 'Satellite'. I have two other CD's of Collage, for which I would go for 3-stars, and the majority of Satellite, for which I would give about 4-stars each. But this one is a ... (read more)

Report this review (#276856) | Posted by Progdaybay | Thursday, April 8, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars probably the best album of the whole neo-prog polish school (Satellite, Quidam, Abraxas), with strong and easy to recall compositions and good musicians. Main defects: the heavy accent of the singer and too many melodic passages. ... (read more)

Report this review (#145341) | Posted by babbus61 | Wednesday, October 17, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album of Collage is to Rock music what Rococo is to classical music. It's filled to the brim with little guirlandes, the dynamics are frivolous, and the music is full of great melodies. Mozart couldn't have done better if he was a contempuary artist. Don't mind the simpistic lyrics, they on ... (read more)

Report this review (#138363) | Posted by Soul Dreamer | Friday, September 14, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars What a wonderful spatial sound. What a great track HEROES CRY is, empassioned and full of soaring melodies. Excellent opener to the album. Though the remaining tracks don't quite live up to this stunning opener, the album sits well in my collection. A Polish group trying to appeal to a wid ... (read more)

Report this review (#91997) | Posted by huge | Monday, September 25, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars If I have one prog album to bring on an island it will be this one, nonetheless. For me it's the perfect neo-prog album. Every songs are solid, you can feel the emotion in the music in each and every note. Robert Amirian sounds fabulous on this one, better than on the other Collage and Satelli ... (read more)

Report this review (#83391) | Posted by StephLevs | Tuesday, July 11, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Let's get this straight - "Moonshine" touched my heart, and touched it well. In my opinion it's stellar. Powerful beginning (Heroes Cry) floats into unbelievably beautiful In Your Eyes. Long song full of breathtaking moments, great vocals, climat. One of the best songs of this album. Every son ... (read more)

Report this review (#81501) | Posted by Roman W. | Monday, June 19, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars If you feel you're getting just about as much as you can out of the more popular Neo Progressive bands--Pendragon, IQ, Arena, and so on--then turn now to Collage (and indeed many other of the lesser-known Neo bands). The song structures on Moonshine are often symphonic in nature, yet the music ... (read more)

Report this review (#71782) | Posted by stonebeard | Sunday, March 12, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I be glad very, that group is in Poland so good :) Music sounds perfectly, though somewhat it is weak vocal...However, it compensates for dose of emotion Robert. Percussion could be strongest too... Everything that is in such style like: -emotions -romantics -perfectly guitar -zero of sc ... (read more)

Report this review (#59906) | Posted by | Friday, December 9, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is absolutely stunning, such a high quality neo-classical prog rock from Poland. I never would believed it without hearing it. This is a masterpiece. Whoever loves the Hackett era of Genesis or Pendragon will be amazed. Every song on this album is at least very good. The lead guitarist (Mark ... (read more)

Report this review (#40140) | Posted by | Sunday, July 24, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Here is a jewel of an album I unearthed while cruising through this web site. I had heard of this band but never really done much research on them. I decided to order this one and take a chance. So glad I did. Right from the start with the opening track HEROES CRY, this CD grabs you by the th ... (read more)

Report this review (#1563) | Posted by Trafficdogg | Thursday, May 26, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars You may consider me Polish orthodox, but I must say this record is a masterpiece of art rock. I remember I bought Moonshine casette for three zlotys (which means less than half a pound) in a music shop. I remember I found the music too complicated firtst, but after listening to it for a few t ... (read more)

Report this review (#1559) | Posted by | Tuesday, April 19, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I'm from Poland but I don't have much respect for my folks from Collage. Yes, their album is one of the best progressive albums in history of polish prog-rock ( another good albums, much more better than "Moonshine": CZESŁAW NIEMEN " Niemen Enigmatic",SBB "Follow My Dream" and "1"), but i ... (read more)

Report this review (#1557) | Posted by | Wednesday, March 16, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars What a real can a rock band create such a tremendous and wonderful sound like this? The whole album is just great, but Heroes cry is simply out of comparission. The lirycs and music are from other dimension....simply a masterpiece. ... (read more)

Report this review (#1550) | Posted by | Monday, August 23, 2004 | Review Permanlink

3 stars First of dear fellow reviewer HIBOU.....these guys are from Poland. But i do really feel the same way as you, about the Dutch prog community...where do they get all that talent from !!?? Collage, another europian prog group to be noticed !! This is their absolute ...Tour De Force: "Moons ... (read more)

Report this review (#1547) | Posted by Tonny Larz | Wednesday, June 16, 2004 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I was interested to hear what this Polish Neo Progressive band would sound like and I'd have to say that perhaps I was mildly disappointed and impressed at the same time. They have a more orchestral sound than Clepsydra, but are otherwise not too dissimilar from the Swiss band, although Robert Amiri ... (read more)

Report this review (#1537) | Posted by Verisimilitude | Tuesday, February 24, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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