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Mirthrandir For You the Old Women album cover
3.91 | 123 ratings | 15 reviews | 40% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. For You the Old Women (8:13)
2. Conversation with Personality Giver (5:36)
3. Light of the Candle (4:22)
4. Number Six (5:04)
5. For Four (14:45)

Total Time 38:00

Line-up / Musicians

- Robert Arace / drums
- Richard Excellente / guitar
- Simon Gannett / keyboards
- James Miller / bass, flute
- Alexander Romanelli / guitar
- John Vislocky III / vocals, trumpet

Releases information

LP 2276 (1976) USA
CD Syn-Phonic SYNCD 6 (1992) USA

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MIRTHRANDIR For You the Old Women ratings distribution

(123 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(40%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (16%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

MIRTHRANDIR For You the Old Women reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars Another one of these obscure US prog groups (this one from New Jersey) that did one album that bore too much its UK big-5 prog influences and didn't manage to create their own sound. Their 75-releaesd album probably sank without a trace, and no doubt they would be totally unknown today, if the Syn-Phonic label hadn't unearthed it in the early 90's - even Vernon Joynson almost ignores the band in his revised Fuzz Borderline book. The sextet features a double-guitar attack and a lead singer that also blows in a trumpet here and there, but the focus is very much on Ganett's impressive array of keyboards, which may surprise since they didn't get any kind of major-league success. Nevertheless, Mirthrandir's music hovers around or between Genesis, Yes and some slightly more-AOR sonics and the rare trumpet moments do not induce a special or specific originality. Note that it is only the second wind instrument by presenceafter bassist's Miller's flute parts

The album's A-side consist of the opening 8-mins+ title track, where the trumpet's presence intrigues long-enough, but fails to live up to its promise. The other three shorter (everything being relative, since they're all above 4-mins) songs are of lesser interest., but their tiny AOR sonics give them a fairly modern sound (o at least not-so-dated 70's soundscapes), which might appeal to 90's prog fans. The flipside is mostly about the almlost 15-mins epic For Four, which is easily the lbum's highlight, despite a few very clear Genesis-inspired moments.

Note that Syn-Phonic's reissue features a totally different artwork than the original, thus erasing the album's original title's meaning, though the new artwork is pretty cool, nonetheless. Soooo, yet another worthy and worthwhile unearthing of a gem from that mythic (but long-gone) label, but like most of these mid to later-70's US prog are rather over-rated (IMHO) or at least, not as essential for the originality-demanding proghead. But I gather most will find a suitable place in their shelves for this nonetheless enjoyable album. Just don't look for something that you've never heard before, despite that slight AOR touch.

Review by Steve Hegede
5 stars MIRTHRANDIR were an excellent 70's symphonic-prog band. They seem to have been influenced by YES, and GABRIEL-era GENESIS. However, their sound is much more modern (you would never guess that this was recorded during the mid 70's). Best of all, the compositions have some of the most passionate playing ever recorded. In fact, these guys would rehearse up to 4 weeks to get 1-minute of music perfect! This is high-quality prog that will interest fans of bands like CATHEDRAL, BABYLON, and YEZDA URFA.
Review by lor68
5 stars A masterpiece, regarding of that time!! Bands such as ECHOLYN took a lot of inspiration from this band... such an important reference, despite of some excesses (the same defect which sometimes characterizes the works by YEZDA URFA); but these controversial concerns - as they can change the rate only (perhaps one or two stars less)- permit this album to represent the beginning of a New Era anyway, naturally regarding of the derivative US bands in the vein of YES and GENTLE GIANT!! Don't forget all these particular aspects, which make the present work quite essential for all the fans of classic eclectic prog and to be collected as well!
Review by erik neuteboom
4 stars This one shot USA band is rooted in 1973, their debut album is from 1976. Listening to "For you the old women" bands like Yes (bass work, organ and vocal harmonies) and Gentle Giant (brass instruments and complex parts) came to my mind. Their sound is powerful and propulsive with a remarkable role for singer/trumpet player John Visocky III. The titletrack is the opener and has mellow parts with twanging guitar and flute.Then "Conversation with personality Giver" featuring sparkling synthesizer runs, dynamic drums and soli on guitar, piano and organ. The following track "Light of the candle" delivers a tasteful and varied keyboard sound, from Fender Rhodes electric piano and Moog synthesizer to Hammond - and Farfisa organ. "Number six" (the fourth song...) is a musical maverick with a Frank Zappa-like structure featuring trumpets and a complex final part. The last composition "For four" is 15 minutes long typical Seventies progrock: alternating and varied with many instrumental parts, evoking Yes, Genesis and Kansas but in general Mirthrandir succeeds to sound original with as highlight a break with propulsive drums and organ. EXCELLENT!
Review by NJprogfan
2 stars If only all the one-shot US prog bands were as good as the Italian's one shot bands, oh well...onto the review. The album starts off with an almost three minute Canterbury freak out. My favorite part of the album. There are time signature changes up the wazoo, but with absolutely no melody to latch onto, so subtract a star. Singing is minimal, but when he sings it's mainly caterwauling of the worst type, almost comical...sorry guy. Only when the singing is taken down a bit like in the beginning of 'Number Six' or towards the end of 'For Four' do you not cringe or reach for the volume control; subtract another star. Lyricaly, it's horse hockey...with lines like: "I'll only believe you when your hairs on fire; Written in blood, the newfound Messiah" RUBBISH! Another star subtracted. Granted, they use many instruments and play their arses off, they're from New Jersey (my home state) and they're having some fun, but once the CDs over I don't remember one bit of it. Even the worse albums of YES, GENESIS, TULL and others have something to latch onto. But I hate to say that this one hasn't a single thing that grabs me. Masterpiece? Others think so. I definately don't. For US prog from the golden days, give me Happy The Man, Kansas, Hands and Yezda Erfa anyday. 2.5 stars!
Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Mirthrandir is one of those forgotten and overlooked USA's prog rock bands that reveales themselves as real 'lost gems' of the genre. Not unlike their compatriots Lift, Quill and Cathedral, this band sets the foundations for their sound with a close inspiration from the archetype of British symphonic rock, but definitely this one surpasses the aforesaid illustrious examples by delivering a robust sound and a clear musical scheme more successfully, always in control of the complex arrangements, always creating well structured melodies and solos, always keeping things tight at both a compositional and a performative level. While not matching the peculiar genius of Yezda Urfa (who really were a world of their own) nor the exquisiteness of Happy the Man, Mirthrandir manages to create real interesting music in the repertoire of their sole album "For You the Old Women". Early Genesis, early Yes and quintet-era Gentle Giant are the main Britsh influences, but it would also be fair to notice the clever use of dual guitars and the energetic display of power by the rhythm section as two harmonized complements to the majestic keyboard inputs: the former are elements taken from the American dazzling tradition in order to make something special and peculiar within the parameters of symphonic prog. The namesake opener bears a dynamic vibe right from the starting point, long enough to stick catchily in the listener's mind before things shift to a languid interlude and end with a powerful symphonic theme. The presence of trumpet and flute add color to the overall sonic landscape - a very good opener, indeed. 'Conversation with Personality Giver' is a bit shorter but equally complex, including tempo and mood changes, as well as effective duels between the two guitars or one guitar and a keyboard. The general result bears a somewhat more cohesive feel to it, in comparison to the first track. Track 3 'Light of the Candle' sets a vibrating mixture of Kaye-era Yes and "Power & Glory" Gentle Giant, making thing a bit more accessible than usual with its light touch of funk-rock added in between the more obviously symphonic passages. Track 4 is titled 'Number Six' and track 5 has the number four in its title... Well... The instrumental 'Number Six' opens with a bucolic flute melody soon joined by the trumpet and the dual guitar arpeggios, with the full ensemble gradually building up a powerful symphonic intro. The momentum gets an interesting set of variations with the emergence of all diverse motifs successfully linked to each other: great compositional work, equalling the complex dynamics of track 2. 'For Four' occupies the album's last 14 4/5 minutes. It kind of encapsulates a recapitulation of all moods displayed in the previous tracks (including a pounding martial bolero), although there's preferent room for introspective ambiences similar to those comprised in the opening song's second half. Although this numbers fails at becoming as cohesive as the preceding ones, it sure makes a very good ending for an excellent album. Mirthrandir's "For You the Old Women" reemerges in the age of digital industry waiting to be properly appreciated by prog fans all over the world for what it is, a great prog item.
Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars This album has to be a four star rating. I mean the musicianship is jaw dropping, especially on the first track. The complex arrangements and playing are very impressive. Yet why can't I get into this one ? The vocals don't do anything for me but their not bad at all. The lyrics are of a religious theme, yet they are sort of veiled. Bottom line is that this should be worth 4 stars but i'm giving it 3.5 stars.

"For You The Old Women" is GENTLE GIANT-like in it's complexity. A whirlwind of sounds really, that start and stop at will. Some trumpet in this one. I get a chance to breathe as a calm arrives 3 minutes in. This is pastoral with Hackett-like guitar and flute. Reserved vocals 4 1/2 minutes in. A fuller sound arrives 6 minutes in with passionate vocals and tasteful guitar. "Conversation With Personality Giver" features a lot of synths, and it hits the ground running. I like the guitar before it settles down 1 1/2 minutes in with piano. It kicks back in around 2 minutes with some good intricate guitar. Vocals 3 minutes in. "Light Of The Candle" is heavier with vocals. Lots of organ in this one. It settles down some 3 minutes in.

"Number Six" is an instrumental that opens with some solemn flute as trumpet comes in. Full sound a minute in. Nice drumming. I like the organ after 2 1/2 minutes. Trumpet is back 4 minutes in. Good song. "For Four" is the almost 15 minute closing track. I really like the first 3 minutes as piano, flute, organ and bass really impress. More deep bass after 3 1/2 minutes. Check out the drum and sinister organ section after 5 minutes. A calm 7 minutes in continues for 5 minutes. More impressive drumming arrives with the full sound. I like the piano when it settles down 13 1/2 minutes in, but not the lyrics that he starts to sing.

Something is missing here for me, i've never warmed up to it. I think most will love this record though.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "For You the Old Women" is the debut full-length studio album by US, New Jersey based progressive rock act Mirthrandir. The album was independently released in 1976 and it took quite a few years before the Syn-Phonic label opted to reissue the album for a (at the time) CD release in 1992. Mirthrandir formed in 1973 and "For You the Old Women" is their only release from their initial run. Like many other contemporary progressive rock artists who were a few years too late to the game (artists like Yezda Urfa and Cathedral are valid references) they suffered the fate that their music was pretty much overlooked over simply never discovered during their active years as a consequence of poor distribution and marketing.

Stylistically they play an eclectic type of progressive rock with nods toward pretty much all the big contemporary artists of the era like Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and Gentle Giant. Mirthrandir are a well playing unit and lead vocalist John Vislocky III has a pretty strong voice and a decent delivery. He is not the most unique sounding vocalist, but his voice and vocal style suit the material. The instrumental part of the music is relatively complex with quite a few changes in pace and style. Youīll find both hard rocking riffs, counterpoint melodies, time-signature changes, breaks, and other adventurous musical ideas (but also epic and mellow pastoral sections). In addition to the "regular" rock instruments drums, guitar, and bass, the music also features several different keyboards/organs, and occasional use of flute and trumpet. The latter is actually a really nice touch to the music, and when the trumpet appears it provides Mirthrandirīs music with something unique, which the remaining part of their music maybe doesnīt feature too much...

...because as well performed, well produced, and well written the album is, "For You the Old Women" isnīt a particularly original sounding release. It simply wears its influences too much on its sleeves, which is why itīs a good quality album which is certainly well made and entertaining for fans of eclectic progressive rock from the 70s, but doesnīt quite reach the highest levels of excellence because of the lack of a unique sound. Itīs still a highly recommendable release though and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is fully deserved.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Mirthrandir (their name seems to be a misspelling or pun based on "Mithrandir", one of Gandalf's various pseudonyms in The Lord of the Rings) were one of those one-album wonder bands that 1970s prog was littered with, and to my ears the reason for that is sadly a little obvious: namely, they put their album out just a shade too late, unleashing it on the world after the prog wave had peaked and audiences were already looking to new sounds.

For You the Old Women is an album steeped in the sort of sounds that Yes and Genesis were exploring in the early 1970s, and most prog fans will enjoy rediscovering this stuff and find it decidedly pleasing - but what for us in 2016 is a lost treasure ripe for a new appraisal must have felt in 1976 like a band trying desperately to climb onto a bandwagon that had already driven off without them. It's a shame, because John Vislocky III's capable vocals and interesting use of trumpet adds a novel spin to the symphonic-leaning prog sound of the group which could have nicely set them apart, had they not come into a music scene already cluttered with the wreckage of risen and fallen bands.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars 3.5 stars, really. My friend Carlos Vaz Ferreira, from the Progressive Rock and Progressive Metal E-Zine, is always posting rare, interesting stuff at the Mundo Progressivo Brasil, our Facebook page, and this obscure american band was one of them. For You The Old Women is their sole release, I guess an independent one, in 1976. It did not sell and Mirthrandir disbanded soon after. Later on, in 1992, the american label Syn-phonic re-issued it on CD. Thatīs the copy I got. And their sound is quite interesting indeed. Although it promises more than they actually delivered, Iīm sure a lot of classic prog 70īs fanatic will like it. It has all the right influences, the performances are great and the recording sound of my CD is excellent.

However, it is also easy to tell why it did not made it. First of all, they were americans, and their sound is definitely too european. Second, although they had skillful musicians, their sound was terribly derivative too. Their love for bands like Yes, Gentle Giant (their biggest influences), Genesis and Jethro Tull is very clear. Unfortunately they were not mature enough songwriters themselves at the time they recorded their sole album. I mean, the tracks are all quite good, but they did not have a personality of their own. And when the vocalist tried those high pitched vocals a la Jon Anderson, my God!, are they annoying! The band also had two guitarists, but they might as well had just one, for they were not a real guitar based outfit, the star here is keyboardist Simon Gannett, who really knows how to deliver a lush symphonic landscape with his vast array of vintage instruments. To add some little Gentle Giant like bits singer John Vislocky III plays some trumpet. To give some early Genesis flavors to the mix, bassist James Miller proves he is a good flutist.

In the end I found this CD to be quite pleasant. If Mirthrandir was a british band they probably would have been in a more prog friendly environment. And maybe they would have the chance to produce a follow up. The music in general is good and with time and experience Iīm quite sure they would find their own sound and personality. At the time they might have appeared to be another Yes/Gentle Giant wannabes. Nowadays this CD, with their (and ours) idols long gone (or far from their prime), is far more charming than it sounded in 1976. After all is good old symphonic prog. Not very original, ok, but honest and pleasant anyway. With all its faults, For You The Old Women, should be heard by any 70īs prog lover. Not essential, but itīs well played symphonic prog. And I like it.

Review by VianaProghead
4 stars Review Nš 748

Mirthrandir was an obscure American progressive rock band from New Jersey. Mirthrandir's roots go back to 1973 when New Jersey's based drummer Robert Arace, keyboardist Simon Gannett, bassist James Miller, and lead guitarist Alexander Romanelli started jamming. Over the next couple of years the group when through a series of personnel changes, which was expanded to a six piece with guitarist Richard Excellente and singer/horn player John Vislocky.

As we know, USA has a wide array of progressive rock artists, nowadays, especially in the prog metal scene. However, it wasn't always like that. The American Progressive Rock scene back in the 70's was never particularly noteworthy in the eyes of most music seekers. It was more convenient to worship Kansas and slap the label of prog on any band that could get something on radio that was longer than four minutes. The best examples of that are probably, Pavlov's Dog, Styx, Starcastle and Blue Oyster Cult. But, even so, there aren't terribly many that stay strictly within the European symphonic progressive style and fewer still that do so on the same level as the original classics of that 70's prog scene.

Checking the Tolkien box with their name, Mirthrandir only released this single album in their lifetime, but it's just about everything you'd want from the style. While many of their contemporaries' bands were starting to mix up the influences with arena rock, Mirthrandir didn't do that, really. But they did everything right with effective and memorable melodies, lots of dramatic shifts in tone, pace, meter, and keys, a heavy dose of Yes, particularly the Steve Howe inspired guitar playing. And added to that, just the right amount of naiveté to keep the band just a little rough and tumble with their ambitions stretched to the limits. There's also a bit of trumpet work that gives the music a taste of something different.

The music produced by Mirthrandir was exceptional in its context. It's even more exceptional right now, in an entirely different world. Considering the company of many legendary prog bands who shared that time and space, Mirthrandir did a commendable job of filtering the influences that surrounded them, and bringing their own considerable talents into the fray as well. We can say the main influences are Genesis, Yes, Gentle Giant and King Crimson but with an own style. However, Mirthrandir wasn't as shrill or outright experimental as King Crimson or the Yes' family of pretense.

Their music is complex and well played. The arrangements are pure perfection, and include flute, organ and also some trumpet, as I mentioned before. The sound is "modern". You would never guess this was recorded during the mid 70's. These guys were excellent instrumentalists with Excellente and Romanelli providing considerable octane with their twin lead guitars. In the role of lead singer Vislocky had one of those high pitched pseudo Geddy Lee's styled voices that you either loved or hated, though his performances tended to grow on you. Surely, some tracks were complicated and certainly wouldn't do much for garage rock fans, but by the same token these guys understood the concept of melody.

The album kicks off with the title track. It starts very energetic, almost chaotic, with some fiery jazzy guitar/keyboard interplay before bringing in some horns and drum emphasis, which gives to the music a structure. The track slows down after a few minutes and becomes very melodic and pleasant with great atmosphere finishing strong at the end. "Conversation With Personality Giver" has a very lush keyboard and quick drumming that takes prominence over guitar, breaking down into slower tempos with piano and horns that for a nice sheen. "Light Of The Candle" has a more conventional structure than the last two tracks and less atmospheric, while being harder on guitar and more straightforward on the keyboards. Vocals are also quite nice here, making this track particularly good and a highlight of this album. "Number Six" is an instrumental track, which builds itself up ever so quietly with flute and sax before the drums come in, followed by some searing guitar and keyboard work spaced over the rest of the time. It's very pleasant to hear. "For Four" has nearly fifteen minutes of awesome music, taking elements of everything you've heard thusfar while throwing some organ and Mellotron into the mix to build foundation around the keyboard driven parts. And, of course, there's lots of great guitar work here. It's a nice way to end the album. This is my favorite piece on the album.

Conclusion: This is a quality work with impressive and memorable music. Few bands, even in the progressive realm, featured both trumpet and flute in their repertoire, but Mirthrandir pulled it off with amazing dexterity. Unfortunately, like so many other underappreciated prog rock bands, they produced only one album. I heartily recommend this album to anyone who wants to get a better idea of some of the music that was being done on the America's progressive front besides Kansas back in the mid of late 70's. The production is stellar, and unlike a lot of music from that period, I would say Mirthrandir's "For You The Old Women" has aged well. It sound isn't dated in any way, shape or form, and deserves a place in everyone's musical collection. This is, for me, one of the best American progressive rock albums of the 70's.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

4 stars A complex work, For You The Old Women is the Mirthrandir one-shot, and this shot hit the target for sure. The first and main track is a classic piece of music into my list. Progressive, the song starts full of energy in a Gentle Giant way, and follows to a slower rhyhthm, but still very det ... (read more)

Report this review (#965313) | Posted by VOTOMS | Sunday, May 26, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Certainly one of the finest classic prog albums I've heard so far, and also one of the most sophisticated and challenging ones. The band's quest for perfection certainly paid off - the music is outstanding, overflowing with creativity, great playing and memorable hooks. It's true ... (read more)

Report this review (#68131) | Posted by Pafnutij | Friday, February 3, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A classic - one of the masterpieces of 1970s North American progressive music. Complex arrangements, brilliant playing, passion, beauty - it is all here. Lots of Gentle Giant and PFM influences here, as well as good old Yes. Along with Cathedral's 'Stained Glass Stories", Yezdaurfa's "Boris" a ... (read more)

Report this review (#46549) | Posted by | Tuesday, September 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is the one! True masterpiece of progressive music! When I first listened to it (about a month ago) I immediately realised where Echolyn are coming from. I like Echolyn very much (on the basis of "Suffocating the bloom" and "As the world")- their style is quite unique and not derivative fr ... (read more)

Report this review (#36505) | Posted by eugene | Tuesday, June 14, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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