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The Inner Road

Symphonic Prog

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The Inner Road The Majestic Garden album cover
3.59 | 6 ratings | 2 reviews | 33% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2019

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Majestic Garden (8:44)
2. Call of the Spirit (6:58)
3. Wind from the Reeds (9:15)
4. Fire of Life (7:53)
5. Lost Land (9:39)
6. Changing Sea (7:52)
7. Water Well (8:27)
8. Mother Earth (6:34)
9. Circle of Shadows (6:55)

Total Time 72:17

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Gresswell / keyboard, bass, drums, orchestration

- Carl Anthony Wright / guitars

Releases information

Format: Digital
March 1, 2019

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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THE INNER ROAD The Majestic Garden ratings distribution

(6 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(33%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

THE INNER ROAD The Majestic Garden reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars The UK band "The Inner Road" is a symphonic prog band that writes and performs instrumental symphonic music. Founded by members Steve Gresswell (keyboards) and Phil Braitwaite (guitars), they have enlisted other musicians as needed to play on their studio albums and live tours.

"The Majestic Garden", released in March of 2019, is their fourth full length studio album. Steve Gresswell now heads the project alone playing keyboards, drums, bass and orchestration and has recruited Carl Anthony Wright to play the guitars for this album. There are 9 tracks all ranging from between 6 and 10 minutes each for a total run time of well over an hour.

The title track "The Majestic Garden" starts off quite bright with layers of guitars playing an upbeat melody. The breaks go to the synths and an uncredited female vocalist singing wordless vocals. This pattern makes up the first 5 minutes of the track, and then things move to a slower, more blues style as the guitar continues to head the track. The main theme returns on the last minute. "Call of the Spirit" again is mostly led by guitar playing the main theme, though a touch darker this time. At the 3 minute mark, the music suddenly changes to a faster theme and is now headed over by keyboards for a playful section, then later for a slower section which the song alternates between tempos. The second time the slower section comes in, a piano improvises and then we return to the main guitar led theme again with a bit more guitar improvisation this time.

"Wind from the Reeds" uses a moderate tempo, and the guitar takes the main theme again, but the synth comes in earlier with its own theme before the guitar comes back again. Later, the tempo speeds up and as the guitar plays a quick arpeggio, things start to become much more symphonic. More guitar later again on the theme, then in a fast improvised section. Later, things mellow out a bit as processed piano plays, then another return to theme. "Fire of Life" seems to want to follow the same pattern of guitar led theme, but there is a break from the norm when a symphonic section comes in provided by the synths alternating with guitar sections. Finally, after 5 minutes, this pattern breaks up as things suddenly get very dark and ominous with a wordless vocal, but just when you think things might get interesting, it soon goes back to the formulaic pattern of guitar doing the theme with variations and keyboards taking the symphonic sections. This pattern is getting too predictable.

"Lost Land" pretty much follows the same formula, but at least on this track, there is a bit more variety in the alternating sections and the symphonic sections show through a bit more and there are some synth sections. "Changing Sea" goes back to letting the guitar be in charge again, this time the improvised sections get heavier, but overall it's more of the same. Suffice it to say that the rest of the album continues in the same vein with a lot of guitar led themes and improvisation with short sections of keyboards and other things thrown in at random. Analyzing the other tracks would just be repetition of what has already been said.

The music is good enough, but seems to be catered to those that love a lot of guitar in their symphonic rock. There is not a lot of variety here however, and nothing really that challenging. Many times I found myself hoping that something interesting was going to happen in a track, but it wouldn't be long before the music would slip back into its regular formula. The tracks always return to the themes each time making the music repetitive and not really exploratory or inventive. It's just nice music that has no real highlight.

Review by FragileKings
4 stars Last year was a rough one for Steve Gresswell. Without going into details, let's just say that one of society's less desireables left Steve in the hospital, and further health issues may have been caused by the initial problems. Thankfully, Steve recovered well enough to get back into the studio and continue his work on the Inner Road album he had already cooking. The result is here, "The Majestic Garden".

For those unfamiliar with Steve Gresswell, he has a long career as a professional musician that extends way back to the seventies. The Inner Road and Coalition have been his regular outlets for his musical creativity since the nineties, with Coalition often including vocals and The Inner Road being instrumental. Steve is essentially a keyboard player but with The Inner Road he handles all instruments except for guitar. Of course, modern software allows for him to create powerful orchestral music or add some trumpet or violin as a lead instrument when they are deemed necessary.

I have a couple of Inner Road CDs and also a couple of Coalition albums, and one thing that I've noticed is that Steve likes to write very upbeat, feel-good music. This is true for "The Majestic Garden", too. Right from the get go, there's a chorus of men with an "ooh! wooh!" like they're going to do the Haka, and then the music kicks in with some great melodic lead guitar playing by Carl Anthony Wright. The tracks moves through different musical motifs, adding female vocals and showcasing Carl's lead guitar work. You'll soon notice Steve's method to compose is to have a few different melodies that continue to resurface as the track progresses. This means that those spiritually uplifting melodies keep coming back to elevate your mood. But you'll also notice how the vocal parts are actually the same recordings snugly fitted in each time they are required. I get the impression that the track is composed in complete parts that are then arranged in a reiterating sequence. This later seems true for many of the compositions.

The album continues on throughout with each track distinct from the others and yet similar in that the main melody is always powerful and uplifting. Even now, the trumpet-lead main melody of "Fire of Life" is playing away with grandeur and gusto in my head. Carl's guitar shifts from complementary lead melodies to lively lead breaks. Steve uses vocals and occasionally some mysterious or more mood-setting music to introduce a track, such as the chanting intro to "Lost Land" or operatic vocals at the start of "Wind from the Reeds".

The music is essentially symphonic rock with drums, bass, keyboards, and guitar hauling the way. But there's never a track that doesn't feature additional sounds such as a variety of keyboards and piano or orchestral instruments or vocals. It's these special features that add an extra dimension to the symphonic rock band sound. However, make no mistake that no matter how a track begins, you can expect beautiful and soul-shining, positive music to comprise most of each track. It is a bit predictable but on the other hand, if you just want to crank a lively and rocking instrumental album and feel your spirit charged with musical sunshine, then this is a great album for that.

I take it to mean that in spite of the challenges Steve faced in 2018, he still has a fiery radiance in his compositions, which emphasis optimism and positive vibrations.

"The Majestic Garden" is available as a download only, so I'm a bit disappointed that I can't add another CD to my Inner Road collection. Nevertheless, it can stay on in my phone's iTunes library ready for play for the next many weeks too come.

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