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Mandalaband Mandalaband II - The Eye of Wendor: Prophecies album cover
3.33 | 55 ratings | 13 reviews | 9% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1978

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The eye of Wendor (4:47)
2. Florian's song (2:36)
3. Ride to the city (3;25)
4. Almar's tower (1:56)
5. Like the wind (2:42)
6. The tempest (1:03)
7. Dawn of a new day (4:15)
8. Departure from Carthilias (2:37)
9. Elsethea (2:48)
10. Witch of Waldow Wood (4:37)
11. Silesandre (3:29)
12. Aenord's lament (1:52)
13. Funeral of the king (1:33)
14. Coronation of Damien (2:23)

Total Time: 40:29

Bonus tracks on RPM cd release: 15 to 18: Om Mani Padme Hum

Bonus track on Eclectic Discs CD
15 Dawn of a new day (Original mix)(4:14)

Line-up / Musicians

- Davy Rohl / synthesizers, backing vocals
- Kim Turner / drums, acoustic guitar, percussion, backing vocals (all except 12)
- Stuart Wolstenholme / synthesizers, Mellotron (all except 12-14)
+ Norman Barrett / voice box guitar (4-9)
- Steve Broomhead / guitars, vocals (1-2-4-5-7 to 14)
- Friday Brown / vocals (5)
- Mike Carlton / trombone (3)
- Phil Chapman / sax, flute (1-2-3, 8 to 11, 13)
- Ritchie Close / piano, orchestra (1-2-3-5-9-10-11-13-14)
- Lol Creme / vocals (9)
- Andy Crompton / trombone (3)
- Terry Davies / orchestra score (7-12 to 14)
- Michael Davis / conductor of Hallé orchestra (1-2-3-5-6-7-9-11-12-14)
- Paul B.Farr / French horn (3-5-14)
- Mark Gilbanks / trumpet (2-3-10-11-14)
- John Gilstron / sweep (4)
- Pete Glennon / bass (2-10)
- Kevin godley / lead& backing vocals (9-10)
- Dave Gorton / trombone (3)
- Graham Gouldman / bass, lead & backing vocals (2-9-11)
- David Hassle / percussion (3-7-8-10-11-14)
- Justin Hayward / lead & backing vocals (7)
- Russell Hayward / French horn (3-5-14)
- Les Holroyd / bass (1)
- Martin Lawrence / percussion, vocals (5-7-10-14)
- John Lees / electric guitar (1-10)
- Jimmy McDonnell / electric guitar (3-5-7-9-11-14)
- Gerry Murphy / North Umbrian pipes (1), Uilian pipes (7)
- Fiano Parker / vocals (7-12)
- Mel Pritchard / drums, percussion (1-6-10)
- Micky Purton / French horn (3-5-14)
- Maddy Pryor / lead vocals (5)
- Noel Redding / bass (3-13)
- Richard Scott / recorders (14)
- Tony Spath / oboe (10-12)
- Eric Stewart / lead vocals (2)
- Alf Tramontin / bass (5-7-8-14)
- Jon Turner / organ
- Andy Wardaugh / trumpet (2-3-10-11-14)
- Ian Wilson / vocals (11)
- Paul Young / lead & backing vocals (11)
- The Gerald Brown Singers (2-7-8-12-13-14)

Releases information

Lp. Chrysalis Records CHR 1181
Cd. Outline Records OL 9.51232
Cd. Revolution per Minute RPM 105 (1992)
CD. Eclectic Discs 2003 ECLCD 1004

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to SouthSideoftheSky for the last updates
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Buy MANDALABAND Mandalaband II - The Eye of Wendor: Prophecies Music

MANDALABAND Mandalaband II - The Eye of Wendor: Prophecies ratings distribution

(55 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (38%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

MANDALABAND Mandalaband II - The Eye of Wendor: Prophecies reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
2 stars Totally over-blown , over-estimated , over-rated , over-done star-filled project. Well, it's not that bad , actually. I am usually not attracted to those concepts/projects and this one is no exception, so you won't hear much good from me , here.
Review by Joolz
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I can't help feeling disappointed with this .....

Despite buying the LP back in 1978 because of the contribution of Hayward/Prior/BJH, until a few months ago I had not heard it for many years yet in my head was what I thought was a Prog classic. I now tend to think I was wrong. Sure, there are some good bits and some good performances, but it doesn't flow as it should. Too often tracks start, toodle along a bit and then just finish or fade into the next track without fully developing a cohesive musical theme or narrative, despite some nice ideas. It is an album of chunks: basically a collection of songs tenuously connected by a number of instrumental passages. When executed with the genius of, for example, Genesis ('Supper's Ready'), disparate sections can be made to sound as if they really do belong together. Sadly, that is not the case here.

There are one or two turkeys (the jazzy/funky 'Florian's Song' and 'Elsethea' seem uninspired to me) while the highlight is the Justin Hayward sung 'Dawn Of A New Day' which is sublime. Overall, it's nice enough in a late-70s pop-rock-opera sort of way, and perhaps a working band like Camel might have pulled it off. Perhaps it deserves a more in-depth review. Perhaps I am doing it a disservice. As it is, I can't help feeling disappointed .....

Review by Heptade
4 stars The 70s was, of course, the era of the big concept album. This one stands up very well, in my opinion. BJH's and 10cc's engineer, Dave Rohl (now a noted Egyptologist), was the brainchild behind this album, which utilized the talents of members of both those bands, as well as special guests Maddy Prior (Steeleye Span), Justin Hayward and Paul Young of Sad Cafe. Hayward also sang on Jeff Wayne's "The War of the Worlds", so he must have had a soft spot for these projects. There is a fantasy story running through the album, although it's not that clear or interesting, but fortunately the music is good enough that you don't need to bother following it. The music style is grandiose pop prog, the sort of thing that Moody Blues, Camel or Barclay James Harvest fans will really go for, including swelling strings, swooning melodies and choral vocals. There are some beautiful songs on here, particularly "Dawn of a New Day", sung by Hayward, which is an all-time fave of mine, and "Like the Wind", which features Prior at her most dramatic. I consider this album an unqualified success, not an all-time classic but a very enjoyable record of bright, hopeful music.
Review by Matti
3 stars Right, Sean, 'overblown' is exactly the word to describe this album. (Hayward & Lodge's Blue Jays album is to me overproduced the same way as this one.) That's really a shame, because it could have been a wonderful concept and a collaboration. Vocalists are mainly Justin Hayward (Moody Blues), Eric Stewart (10cc) and Maddie Prior (Steeleye Span). The list of players is very overblown too, the basic rock combo featuring Barclay James Harvest.

The story is some heroic fairy tale with a Tolkienish feel (I didn't bother to read it thru and I wonder who does). The opening track evokes images of a peaceful land and eventually you think of Shire, the land of hobbits. But the story itself doesn't really reach the listener, the main characters remain unmemorable. Besides Hayward and Stewart sound very similar here.

Often the music is like some early 80's rock opera produced for TV. Some tracks are irritating, some are beautiful. Originally my review was rather negative but I've grown to enjoy this album more. Also it's much more instrumentally oriented than I thought at first. JEFF WAYNE's War of the Worlds from the same year, well, THAT's what I really call overblown!

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars My comments are based on the original LP. One problem is that projects like this take so long to brew, that by the time they are released, they are almost passe by definition. Such was the case here, as the album did not see release until late 1978, when apathy towards prog was only exceeded by apathy towards pretentious concept albums.

Despite and perhaps partly because of the all star cast, cohesiveness is lacking, and, rather than subtle purposeful contrasts, we see bipolar mood shifts in a lot of the material. The best here is top notch neo prog before its time - in particular the powerful one-two punch of "Florian's Song" and "Ride to the City" on side 1, and "Witch of Waldow Wood" and "Silesandre" from Side 2. Lush atmospheres and compatible vocals a la 10CC meets BJH. Actually, it is 10CC meets BJH.

Contributions from Maddy Prior and Justin Hayward are also valuable if not stellar, but the rest is definitely overblown, particularly the last few tracks, where we start wishing for any ending, even a tragic one.

So, a mixed bag. The Eye of Wendor is definitely in the second tier of the multi-artist extravaganza's that were thrown together frequently during the 1970s.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars At this rate it will be at least 2038 before the final part is released

By the time of this 1978 album, the Mandalaband was more of a project than a band as such. The sticker on the front of this release gives the game away immediately by proclaiming boldly that the album features Barclay James Harvest, 10CC, Justin Hayward, Maddy Prior and Noel Redding. The project's founder, David Rohl, had been around for some time as a musician and a photographer before releasing the 1975 eponymous debut of Mandalaband. This album, "The Eye of Wendor: prophecies" was the second and to date final album released in that name.

During the intervening period between the two albums, Rohl became a studio engineer, rising to the position to chief engineer at Strawberry studios. This led to him working with a wide range of artists, many of whom he called upon to contribute to this release. The artists concerned did not seek payment for their contributions, costs also being kept down by using the studio at off-peak times.

Intended as the first part of a trilogy this album unashamedly takes its concept from a Tolkien-esque fantasy story. Unfortunately, the record company decided against sponsoring the second and third parts of the trilogy, and the story remains unfinished. If you wish to read the tale, it is told in full in the accompanying booklet for the re-released version of the CD. All the songs here are composed by Rohl, the guest artists taking on roles.

As to the music itself, we actually have a rather eclectic mix of symphonic prog, heavy prog and Celtic rock among others. The songs tend to take on the character of the principal performer, with Justin Hayward's and Maddy Prior's tracks for example sounding like extracts from their solo albums. As such, the album often has the flavour of a rock opera with grand orchestration and precise performances. It is perhaps this very precision which brings with it a lack of soul.

The best track is probably "Witch of Waldow Wood", which features the distinctive tones of Kevin Godley, together with some excellent lead guitar played by Steve Broomhead and John Lees.

In all, in terms of the power and the ambition on show here, this is a very impressive album. The compositions too are highly melodic and well arranged. Despite all this, I cannot help but feel the album seems incomplete and a little disjointed. Worth a listen all the same, chances are you'll enjoy at least some of it.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars The list of guests on this album is impressive.

From his previous musical experience, Rohl got acquaintance with 10CC and BJH, and there is no surprise that most of their line-up is represented here (they played for free apparently). No surprise either that this album shows so many similarities with the early BJH ones, mixing tons of chord instruments with symphonic (in the true sense of the word) music.

Dear friend Whoolly is probably not alien to this. I was moderately enthusiast about these early BJH days (except ''Once Again'') and the same feeling prevails here. Not bad at all, but nothing from the other world either (''Ride To The City'').

Too many orchestrations overall are inundating this work (''Dawn of a New Day'', ''Aenord's Lament'') and it seems to me that this work is trying too to emulate some ''Renaissance'' ones; but without reaching their level IMHHO.

All in all, there is nothing wrong with this album but it is far from being attractive or original (''Silandre''). So, what's the point? Well, probably the fact that the excellent and long suite (over twenty minutes) from their first album has been added to the CD version. Actually, ''Om Mani Padme Hum'' is by far the most interesting piece of music from ''Mandalaband''.

As such, three stars for this release.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Well, since I've first listened to this music, I've became addicted to this music. Same as with Ayreon's first CD, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence second CD, or Metropolis part 2. And Blomljud of course. Sleeping in Traffic and few others. Not all songs I can listen more times, The Eye of Wendor has (very) insteresting part only first half of it, second one is good, but not as good. Then Florian's song has beautiful guitar. Use of orchestra (sounds like that) in Ride to the City is remarkable. Alma's Tower evokes fantasy feeling inside me. Something like Discworld. For me, this album is a jewel. What a terrific fantasy story, I kinda like them a lot. Then little bit worse Like the Wind (vocals, I know, some may like them, but I don't). Then The Tempest, so called filled, but then new day came, very nice one. Vocals are pretty good. Elsethea, song about evil witch starts sounding addictive when he starts singing "hiding...", watch for it guys. Then chorals again, not so interesting for me. After this one we have song about good witch. At least it seems like good one. OK, in fact I've never read this part of lyrics, nor listened carefuly. OK again, I admit, it's about evil witch. And first one ? Who knows. Silesandre is beautiful. She would be, if she could be real. And also brave as hell. "When she must return to her domain, where even the brave no longer set forth." Lament is quite a lamenting, huh ? And Funeral of the King is far more electric, than you could expect. Coronation of Damien, nice end to the story. When I'm listening again tunes of "Dawn of a New Day", I can't help myself but to give it five stars. This is not overblown and hyped, at least not for me, because I've came to this record as a unknown, without no advertisment, no reviews read, strange sounding band which CAN be interesting. And The Eye of Wendor interesting is, indeed. A lot, a very, a super album which I can recommend to everyone who likes soft prog rock, orchestral parts and good, tender vocals.

5(-), there are some parts bad and most of them good. For me, masterpiece like effort.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars Well, quite different in almost all aspects from their debut in 1975. While the first album was a symphonic rock album about a very real and contemporary subject (the invasion and domination of Tibet by the Chinese forces), this one is a more orchestrated celtic/pop-rock album of sorts telling a fairy tale story based on J.R.R. Tolkien´s writings (yes, even in the 70´s there were already people writing songs about hobbits and all). There was no band to speak of: none of the original members plays on this CD, replaced by an all star assemble to play and sing the parts of the characters. So members of 10cc, Barclay James Harvest, The Moody Blues, Steeleye Span, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, etc all participate on this overblown work.

I´m not surprised it didn´t chart at all (promping the recording company to cancel a proposed continuation of the story, which was supposed to be a trilogy). First, the timing was wrong (1978 wasn´t exactly the best year for such undertaken, right?). Secondly and most important, the album sounds a bit unfinished. There are several tracks that contains good ideas and very nice melodies that never seem to develop to their peak. So in the end, we have an album that is quite pleasant and easy to hear from start to finish. And yet it gives the impression that it lacks some cohesion and continuity. There are no real lows, but neither there are real highlights. My Eclectic CD edition has a beautiful reproduction of the original art cover and story, but no lyrics. A different version of Dawn O fA New Day is included as a bonus track.

Conclusion: good, ok, but hardly essential at all. Their debut was much more interesting and sounded like a band. This one is more like a soundtrack of a musical or even a good movie: nice, well done and works better when you´re watching the scenes. 3 stars.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Originally Mandalaband were never destined to exist since the great first album, but, while going to work at Indigo Sound in Manchester in 1976, Rohl was asked to write the soundtrack for a film version of The Lord of the Rings.This movie never appeared in the industry, but, as Rohl had already started working on its music, he finished his composing work around 1978.Without a supporting group he asked his close friends to help him out with the recordings of the so called ''The eye of Wendor'', that ended up to be a fantasy story by Rohl with a Tolkien-esque atmosphere.The result was a line-up of more than 30 musicians/singers, including Woolly Wolstenholme, John Lees, Justin Hayward to name a few, for a process that took place at Strawberry Studios in Stockport.The album was released in 1978 on Chrysalis.

While not exactly moving away from the style of the masterful debut, ''The eye of Wendor'' can be regarded better as an Orchestral Rock album, delivered as a symphony of multiple variations, somewhere in the middle of BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST smooth, melodic orchestrations and THE ENID's more grandiose and Classical-influenced style.No long epics in here, this album consists of 14 very short movements, that are tighly connected to offer a long symphonic-oriented work, where a dreamy and ethereal atmosphere is evident throughout.Plenty of string sections, wind instruments and choirs produce a trully cinematic feeling, perfect for the needs of a similar movie.A few cuts are rather close to sound effects than structured musicianship and the extreme dose of orchestral textures may annoy the traditional prog listener.On the other hand Rohl's ability to create majestic soundscapes is undoubtful with all these nice piano interludes, beautiful, romantic vocal arrangements and Classical sections.Guitars and synthesizers are really measured, used where Rohl thought they should, but definitely adding the work an excellent power.A couple of more GENTLE GIANT-like quirky passages are also present, but seem to be a bit far from an otherwise very atmospheric and at moments dramatic work.Again though, at the end remains a bittersweet taste of the sporadically used guitars of Steve Broomhead, who managed to deliver some amazing melodies.

Absolutely far from the extraordinary compositions of ''Mandalaband'', this albums is a real stunner for all fans of cinematic Art Rock or melodic semi-Symphonic Rock of the BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST school.Still among these short pieces every listener will find plenty of beautiful arrangements with a rockin' attitude.Recommended.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars An album with some merits, but...

Continuing a similar overblown classical sound as on the debut album, producer/composer David Rohl completely retooled the band and brought in an army of musicians for the follow up. The second album featured, among others, all of the original members of 10CC, the current members of Barclay James Harvest, Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues, and Steeleye Span's Maddy Prior.

The result is, understandably schizophrenic. There is a good amount of symphonic rock, although at many times the orchestral arrangements sound like Mantovani, where true emotion is replaced with heavy pounding on piano keys. The better portions are the tracks that more closely resemble the lighter, slightly folky sound of the Moodies and BJH. 10CC members add to the lushness of the vocals. Eric Stewart, Graham Gouldman and Kevin Godley all have standoutmoments, while Lol Crème is left in the background. Maddy Prior's single track, Like The Wind is a fine showcase for her excellent voice.

So this album is a bit uneven, but it is also a slight step up from the debut.

Latest members reviews

5 stars This is one of my favourite albums of alltime. I really like the way Davy Rohl blends symphonic passages with rock and moreover how he integrates folk music with orchestral. There are many guests, but normally these are not my favorites: Most come from folk music or from not- too-progressive ro ... (read more)

Report this review (#166767) | Posted by eduur | Monday, April 14, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album comes with a "guest star list" that is above and beyond believe!!! As it counts 42 musicians (and thats without the choir of "London chorale") Whooaahh...still it is a remarkable piece of work in the world of prog music!! Imagine...Beatles/10 cc/Barclay James Harvest/Moody n ... (read more)

Report this review (#28531) | Posted by Tonny Larz | Friday, April 2, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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