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SOLSTICE

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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Solstice biography
Formed in 1980, English band SOLSTICE is first and foremost the band project of Andy Glass (guitar), the only musician participating on all the band's productions and the main composer for the band in it's various guises.

Apart from recording the demo cassette "The Peace Tape" Glass and his companions didn't produce any recordings in their first years of existence; concentrating on playing live in these early years. Come 1983 and the band had already seen vocalists Sue Robinson and Shelly Patt come and go, and when they hit the studio it was with a line-up consisting of Glass, Marc Elton (violin, keyboards), Mark Hawkins (bass), Martin Wright (drums) and Sandy Leigh (vocals). The result of the studio time was issued as "Silent Dance" in 1984. The band started breaking apart shortly after this release though, as Leigh and Hawkins left. Barbara Deason (vocals) and Ken Bowley (bass) replaced them, but by 1985 the band effectively broke up, with a one-off comeback for a charity event in 1986 the initial swansong for this outfit.

6 years later a real comeback took place though, Glass and Elton were the sole remaining members from the formative years now, this time joined by Heidi Kemp (vocals), Craig Sutherland (bass) and Pete Hemsley (drums). 1993 saw this line-up issue a CD aptly named "New Life".

More line-up changes followed following this release though, and the next time the band hit the recording studio Kemp and Hemsley were gone, replaced by Emma Brown (vocals) and Clive Bunker (drums, formerly of JETHRO TULL, PENTANGLE, GORDON GILTRAP). The end result this time around was a production named "Circles", issued in 1997.

Shortly after this release more line-up changes were afoot however. Sutherland left, and Elton had to give up playing live due to a hearing ailment. New musicians in were Jenny Newman (violin), Steve McDaniels (keyboards) and Rob Phillips (bass).

In 1998 this version of the band hit the Cropredy Festival, and equipment was set up to capture this live show, planned to be released as a live album shortly after. It turned out that the sound quality of these recordings weren't the best though, so the band opted to record a live in the studio version of the concert instead, eventually released as "The Cropredy Set" in 2002.

The pause between recordings and release was at least partially the result of the band yet again entering hiatus; and it wasn't until 2007 that SOLSTICE yet again emerged - this ...
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Buy SOLSTICE Music


Pray for the SentencingPray for the Sentencing
HAMMERHEART RECORDS 2017
$11.70
$7.97 (used)
New Dark AgeNew Dark Age
Misanthrop 2002
$223.16 (used)
SolsticeSolstice
Thrash Corner Records 2015
$12.42
$14.00 (used)
SOLSTICE - Lamentations Bronze (12SOLSTICE - Lamentations Bronze (12" Gatefold LP)
Cosmic Key Creations
$29.95
SentencingSentencing
Hammerheart 2016
$36.57
ProphecyProphecy
Esoteric 2013
$70.12
$18.75 (used)

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SOLSTICE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

SOLSTICE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.36 | 47 ratings
Silent Dance
1984
3.17 | 41 ratings
New Life
1992
2.64 | 28 ratings
Circles
1997
3.53 | 37 ratings
Spirit
2010
3.89 | 46 ratings
Prophecy
2013

SOLSTICE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.38 | 8 ratings
The Cropredy Set
2002
4.00 | 7 ratings
Kindred Spirits
2011

SOLSTICE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

SOLSTICE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.07 | 5 ratings
Pathways
1998

SOLSTICE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

SOLSTICE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Silent Dance by SOLSTICE album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.36 | 47 ratings

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Silent Dance
Solstice Neo-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars Neo-prog of the 80s is often considered the key musical movement that successfully resuscitated progressive rock and put it back onto the greater public's radar. While bands such as Twelfth Night, Marillion, Pallas and Pendragon seem to get the lion's share of credit for this revival, there were in fact dozens of bands that participated in this progressive reboot and one such band was the Buckinghamshire, England based SOLSTICE that was formed in 1980 by guitarist Andy Glass (who still happens to be a member of the band). Despite the band being corralled into the overarching neo-prog scene, SOLSTICE was quite different than the typical synthesizer based bands that took their primary inspiration from 70s Genesis. This band while loosely fitting into the scene was in fact more of a progressive folk act with luscious acoustic guitars, a vivacious violin and the angelic vocals of Sandy Leigh who was unbelievably the perfect female version of Yes' Jon Anderson.

Despite an early start in the prog revival world, SOLSTICE actually had a hard time of it in the beginning. While the band had already become seasoned veterans on the live gig circuit having played many clubs and the university scenes, the band took many years to find their debut album SILENT DANCE on the market which ended up costing more money than expected and taking over five months longer than they wanted. Nevertheless, the band crafted one of the more unique albums that got lumped into the greater neo-prog world of the 80s. Unlike the greater majority of neo-prog bands that took the Genesis infused approach and added glossy layers of keyboard parts, SOLSTICE had a sound all their own that was part folk and part rock that incorporated healthy doses of ambient and even ethnic world music.

Andy Glass' guitar playing was unlike any other as he eschewed the clear lineage of Steve Hackett and added a more funk laden rock approach that even incorporated jazzy touches to the mix although this is neo-prog and Gensesis and Hackett do come into play at various points on SILENT DANCE. Also unique to the sound was the exquisite violin playing of Marc Elton which added a completely new dimension to the mix and nowhere is this so deftly utilized as in the beautiful instrumental "Return Of Spring." The most interesting aspect of SOLSTICE's music has to be the divine vocal ability of Sandy Leigh whose unique soprano vocal phrasing sounds quite like no other. Renaissance comparisons are inevitable as she does nail certain aspects of Annie Haslam's style but overall she is more like Jon Anderson of Yes than any female contemporary. The music has an eerie similarity to Yes at times as well but only in the most evasive ways.

SOLSTICE had a short lifespan the first time around. While they would form in 1980, they wouldn't release their debut album until 1984 and then they would break up soon thereafter. The band would reconvene nearly ten years later and relaunch their career beginning with 1993's "New Life" but Sandy Leigh would not rejoin the cast which leaves the one album from their 80s run quite unique even in the band's lengthy multi-decade career. SILENT DANCE is really a hard album to define because it tackles so many styles. At times it comes off as a sophisticated progressive folk as on "Earthsong" as it eschews any neo-prog labels, other moments find it totally fits the neo-prog ticket such as on "Brave New World" that initiates the Hackett inspired "Wind & Wuthering" attack complete with the wailing 80s synthesizer stabs.

Equalling the diversity of the music are Sandy Leigh's vocals as she could belt out the highest pitched squeals without missing a beat as well as hover in mid-range mellowness. She sounds like many different vocalists strewn about SILENT DANCE and a tragedy for the band that she didn't rejoin in the second coming. Overall SILENT DANCE is an interesting specimen of unpeggable progressive rock from the mid-80s that displayed a unique approach that sorta skirted all easy categorization, just the kind of prog i can really sink my teeth into. For some it seems that the synthesizer parts keep this one dated but this WAS the 80s and despite those infrequent period pieces especially on "Peace" and "Brave New World," this album sounds out of step with the general consensus of neo-prog led prog revival.

 Silent Dance by SOLSTICE album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.36 | 47 ratings

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Silent Dance
Solstice Neo-Prog

Review by SteveG

3 stars In their first incarnation, which became a recording act, Solstice were so beyond commercialization that they initially turned down a chance to record with EMI records, who were courting the new breed of 80's progressive rock bands having just signed Marillion. Perhaps by consciously sounding the like the bands that Yes and Renaissance once were, they felt that they were too far away from the current prog rock trend of mixing new wave and pop with prog in order to score a hit radio single. Or worse, a popular video on MTV.

It's not hard to fathom as this hippie-like earth loving band, with a female vocalist that did indeed sound like a cross between Jon Anderson and Annie Haslem, seemed to represent, lyrically, everything that was contrary to the money imbued success of having hit records and fan worship.

But vocalist Sandy Leigh's partial resemblance to Annie Haslam is where Solstice's resemblance to Renaissance really ends as the band were not orchestral or classically oriented even though they were very symphonic. Even so, the rhythm section of Mark Hawkins (bass) and Martin Wright (drums) could have easily held there own if playing anything from the complicated Renaissance songbook. Where the duo really sound at home at is telegraphing the long lost prog interplay of Chris Squire and Alan White who recently scored big with the pop hit "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" from Yes's 1983 album 90125. Even guitarist Andy Glass on the one song' s intro sounds like Steve Howe tentative tuning his acoustic guitar before starting off "And You And I" from Yes's Fragile album. It can hardly be coincidence, but that what makes Sosltice's first album Silent Dance so appealing to the long time prog fan. Granted, Marc Elton's keyboards are closer tot that of Ultravox than anything conjured by Rick Wakeman. Both this and Elton's folk style fiddle playing helped to keep Solstice from being a complete musical parody.

There's nothing new or groundbreaking about Silent Dance, but if you long for prog days of yore served up with complete reverence then you can't go wrong with Silent Dance. Which, much to the band's dismay, could have been a smash hit s if it was released by a big record label. Standout songs include "Return To Spring", Cheyenne", "Brave New World", and the super infectious "Find Yourself". 3 stars.

 Spirit by SOLSTICE album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.53 | 37 ratings

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Spirit
Solstice Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

3 stars No-one can accuse Solstice of being one of the more prolific progressive rock bands around. Their debut album, 'Silent Dance', was incredibly influential when it was released in 1984, but they didn't release their next two albums until the Nineties, and this 2010 album was only their fourth. Guitarist Andy Glass has been the only constant through their career, but at least singer Emma Glass was still there from 1997's 'Circles'. Apart from these it is a brand-new band, as they are joined by Jenny Newman on violin and viola, Pete Hemsley on drums (I still have to pinch myself that the previous incumbent was Clive Bunker, originally from Jethro Tull), Steve McDaniel on keyboards and Robin Phillips, bass. No matter who the musicians are, this is still polished music, in quite a laid-back style. Solstice are often called 'neo prog', but this album is not nearly as punchy as that style often suggests.

Andy's guitar and Emma's vocals are often to the fore, and out of everything it is the vocals that lets the album down as although they are often excellent there are just a few places where she doesn't sound quite on key, and each time I cringe and wonder why they didn't just re-record those few words. The violin also doesn't get as much of an outing as one would normally expect, and the result is a prog album that in many ways is incredibly well polished, and has a lot going for it, with some strong melodies and interplay, but I do feel that this is more of an opportunity missed than one being grabbed with both hands. Their debut is a masterpiece, which I still play to this day, and I doubt they will ever match it. This is superior to their previous outing, but I prefer the 1993 'comeback' 'New Life' to this one as well.

Andy is a fine guitarist with a deft touch, and his lead melody lines are what make Solstice who they are, and if you are already a fan you'll probably enjoy this. If you haven't come across Solstice previously then you're missing a treat, but there are a couple of other albums of their that you should pick up first.

 Prophecy by SOLSTICE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.89 | 46 ratings

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Prophecy
Solstice Neo-Prog

Review by SteveG

4 stars Prophecy or warning?

Andy Glass returns with his on and off collective Solstice with probably their finest album to date, 2013's Prophesy. With only 5 new album tracks and total running time of 58 minutes, there is quite a lot of this album to take in, in order to write a truly comprehensive overview without replaying the album over and over again until the wife comes at you with an axe.

But I will give it my best shot. The album is Solstice's first album to incorporate a concept and Prophecy is based around a native American prediction of the decline and rebirth of planet Earth. There's nothing new with that but it gives Glass and company a platform on which to weave some mesmerizing music with.

The album starts off at a slow mellow pace with the track Eyes Of Fire that sets up both the album's narrative and the evolution of it's music. Atmospheric keyboards signal the start of what feels like a journey into the desert before Glass's now characteristic metal like electric leads start to punctuate the soundscape as the other band members join in and support Emma Brown's sweet earthy vocals. After Emma dictates the album's mystical direction we're segued into the second track, Keepers Of The Truth.

Glass opens the song with some beautiful sounding acoustic guitar strumming before vibe like keyboard notes and Jenny Newman's folker than folk style fiddle playing soon gives way to a Yes like bass and drum rhythm, that is assaulted by intermediately during the song by Glass's now familiar guitar shredding. I say a Yes like bass and drum rhythm as Robin Phillips and Peter Hemsley are not Squire or Bruford and White clones. Their style is individual and completely fresh and contemporary.

Another musical motif that makes it's debut in this song is Steve McDaniels synths that at first are somewhat similar to those of Tony Banks but you will quickly realize that they are not really that similar at all and are uniquely his own style.

I'm starting to dig this album and it's musos very quickly.

The third track, Warrior, at almost 18 minutes has the most deviations, twists, turns and musical theme reprises and is a joy to listen to as Glass starts off with some galloping riffs that are quickly picked up by the rhythm section before Glass initiates quick catchy ascending and descending metal like riffs before Newman cranks up her folky fiddle lines. This will all culminate in McDaniels soaring space like synths before returning to a shred fest courtesy, again, of Mr. Glass.

The 11 minute West Wind is a two-parter with another mournful intro before giving way to another shred fest from Glass and then on to the longest and most substantial song lyrics of the album.

This sets up the album close, Black Water perfectly that is categorized by another dramatic bass and drum stomping rhythm by Phillips and Hemsley, a beautiful extended animated violin piece from Newman, more killer guitar shredding from Glass before Brown unleashes her most stirring and dramatic vocals of the entire album.

This song has been the climax the band have hinted at for 49 minutes and it does not dissapoint for a single second of it's 9 minute length. Indeed, Black Water may be one of the finest musical moments ever recorded by any prog band since the inception of the genre. And that's not hyperbole talking. An song equal in emotive dramatic scope to Marillion's The Great Escape. The song is just that well composed and stunningly executed.

After catching your breath, you can chill out with the three excellent remaster bonus cuts from the band's first album Silent Dance, (remixed by Steven Wilson) with Find Yourself being the highlight. 4 stars and highly recommended for the 'active listener'.

 Circles by SOLSTICE album cover Studio Album, 1997
2.64 | 28 ratings

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Circles
Solstice Neo-Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I find it easier to simply buy a CD and take time to listen to the music to see what I think about it rather than just formulate an opinion by listening to samples from YouTube, Amazon, or iTunes. There have been a few albums and bands who failed to impress me when I gave a casual listen to a well-reputed album; however, when I later decided to buy a CD anyway, I often found that I quite liked the music. White Willow, Curved Air, Gentle Giant, Camel, and Van Der Graaf Generator required the commitment of an album purchase for me to appreciate their music. It's always a gamble, and there have been a few duds in between, even those that received high ratings and strong recommendations. But for the most part, my adventures in progressive rock have been fruitful.

Among the various resources I have for finding new music, Stephen Lambe's "Citizens of Hope and Glory: the Story of Progressive Rock" has introduced me to a lot of great albums that I might not have been otherwise tempted to purchase. The book includes reviews of 65 prog albums, and though I already had a couple of dozen or so of them when I first read the book, I have found Mr. Lambe's taste to be very close to mine when it comes to prog. I have since purchased many of the albums mentioned in the book and I have been enjoying most of them. "Circles" by Solstice is one of those albums reviewed in the book and included as a "gateway album" to prog.

I first sampled Solstice's music several months ago and was not particularly interested. Still, my luck with Lambe's recommendations had been running high and so I paid a fairly high price to get the remastered album with bonus tracks imported from Amazon UK. Unfortunately, I have not been particularly impressed this time around.

For the most part, it's simply the sound of the album that doesn't appeal to me. The production is steeped in a flood of sharp sound and it is Andy Glass' guitar soloing that comes across as a David Gilmour fan who has turned the reverb and chorus levels up too high. Against the backdrop of very clean folk rock percussion and various synthesizer sounds and occasional violin, it seems almost intrusive in its thickness and sharpness. It reminds me too much of a musical style that I don't care much for. Such is my opinion.

The music itself is well-enough composed and certainly well-played; however, I find little of what I seek in progressive rock or progressive music. Most of the music is rather simple, a kind of electric folk or New Age hippy rock. Except for Glass' insistent soloing, which is rather laid back and I'm certain to some degree soulful, there is little in the way of virtuosity or a sense of great skill. Just pretty songs with too much sound! Though there are a few instruments that enrich the overall sound palette, most notably the violin, and at times the music can be uplifting as in "Thank You", the song structures are mostly too normal, the tempo too unvarying, the lyrics too repetitive, and the vocals only marginally appreciable. I believe it was a reviewer on PA who remarked about the trend of some British bands to produce albums with a violinist and an unremarkable female vocalist and a lot of acoustic instrumentation and be labeled prog rock bands. Solstice have clearly emerged their style from a folk background, but it doesn't impress me like White Willow did. Solstice sound to me like a watered-down version of Iona without Joanne Hogg's unique voice. In short, I can't listen to the album in the company of others and feel pleased with my listening choice. It's kind of embarrassing, and my wife hasn't even been introduced to this.

One track worthy of special mention, I feel, is the title track, which relates the story of the Battle of the Beanfield, when British police violently attacked caravans of people and families who had come to celebrate the summer solstice at Stonehenge. Though the police were initially under orders to keep people from approaching the stones (in previous years, visitors had done great damage to the surrounding land, digging pit toilets in ancient barrows and driving over the lawn), their enforcement soon turned into belligerence as they beat men, women, and women holding babies. The full account is on Wikipedia. During the middle of the song, the audio recording of a reporter on the scene is played along with the screams and cries of some of the victims. The reporter claims that the next day, when he returned to his office, all camera footage was gone (this is in the Wiki article and not on the CD).

I've read that Solstice's new album is very good but I think I have heard enough with "Circles". I have found many other albums that I wish to purchase that sound more promising. Still, if you like folk rock without too much complexity and a loud, over-chorused electric guitar then this may be your album!

 Circles by SOLSTICE album cover Studio Album, 1997
2.64 | 28 ratings

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Circles
Solstice Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Solstice were back but not actually kickin', even if ''New life'' was a great comeback.Heidi Kemp appeared to leave the band at some point, while Marc Elton was unable to perform live due to suffering from tinnitus.Andy Glass found the replacement of Kemp in Emma Brown, a student and session singer, while at the same time he had built a good relationship with former Jethro Tull members Mick Abrahams and Clive Bunker, while producing an acoustic album for the first.Bunker agreed to join Solstice for the upcoming third album.He not only provided solid drumming, but his involvement led Solstice to find a new home on A New Day, a small label set by the eponymous Jethro Tull-related fanzine.Recorded at Audiolab in Buckingham, ''Circles'' originally came out in 1997.

Insisting on producing vinyl-length albums on CD, the new formation of Solstice seems to be pretty tight, but the music on ''Circles'' lacks a few of the incredible melodies and twists of the band's previous releases.New singer Emma Brown has a nice Annie Haslam-like voice, providing a RENAISSANCE/MAGENTA-related spark to the overall melodic music, which has still some pretty strong links with Folk, while Andy Glass' guitar work recalls now more of DAVID GILMOUR's slow guitar solos with a touch of STEVE ROTHERY in some passages.Despite his health problems, Elton is the reason the band is always rooted in old-styled British Folk, great solos and impressive runs are coming out of his violin strings.Compositionally Solstice retained much of their inspiration.The pieces are well-crafted with rich moments and fine soloing by the instrumentalists, but there is certain turn towards more accesible songwriting, which is not a bad thing as far as the music is good.Moreover the album is less keyboard-oriented than any of Solstice's back catalogue at that point with only some supporting colors here and there.Violin, guitars and ethereal female vocals prevail in ''Circles'', which sounds as the most RENAISSANCE-like effort of the band in terms of the atmosphere.

Full respect to a band, that fought hard for a number of reasons to get back on track.Even if ''Circles'' does not belong among Solstice's top albums, it's a fine work along the lines of Folk-influeneced modern Prog Rock.Recommended.

 Prophecy by SOLSTICE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.89 | 46 ratings

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Prophecy
Solstice Neo-Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This release includes three bonus tracks, Steven Wilson's remixes from SOLSTICE's debut album Silent Dance (1984), so I'll start with them. Silk soft sounds, girlish-sounding female vocalist called Sandy Leigh, and 6-7-minute melodic compositions that are like a mix of the most calm Caravan with their jazz flavour and some folky soft pop such as Clannad, except more instrumentally oriented. Beautiful!

During the long career the group has changed all members except the songwriting guitarist Andy Glass, but the style has remained mostly in peaceful atmospheres. There are several female voices in more recent Neo Prog not very different from Emma Brown, but that is a good thing after all. Prophecy is a finely produced, nearly an hour-long work divided in only five longish tracks. The leaflet features colour drawings by Marvel artist Barry Kitson.

The opener 'Eyes of Fire' is nearly narcotically slow horizon-painting, while the second track contains interludes with a bumpy rhythm pattern, fiddle-playing and somehow wandering instrumental part. In the beginning of 'Warriors' the guitar sounds make one think of Pink Floyd, but in its 17 -minute entirety the composition is over-extended, epic Neo Prog that has some difficulties to keep itself together. And actually the same criticism suits more or less for the whole album. It's definitely delightful to hear so serene and yet many-sided prog these times (when metal is often the keyword), but I can't help getting some faint feelings of boredom, ie. waiting of something more exciting to happen. Do I sound too harsh on this beautiful album? Anyway, otherwise this is very recommendable, instrumentally emphasized and slightly folk-flavoured melodic Neo Prog in the vein of Iona, Karnataka or early Mostly Autumn. 3 stars!

 Prophecy by SOLSTICE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.89 | 46 ratings

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Prophecy
Solstice Neo-Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars Keepers of the truth

More than 30 years after the band's formation, Solstice has created what is in my opinion their best album to date. Prophecy--the band's fifth studio album--consists of five tracks (with no breaks between them) that all in all run for just under an hour. (In addition, there are three bonus tracks which are older Solstice tracks remixed by Steven Wilson.) The album revolves around a concept or theme that wisely is never allowed to overshadow the great music. The comic book-like artwork by Marvel artist Barry Kitson provides an appealing visual aspect. The lyrics and the artwork complement the music well making for an organic unity.

Eyes Of Fire opens the album in a rather low-key fashion and on my first listen I worried that I was in for a sleepy experience. But instead this builds up nicely to a guitar solo and leads the way to the much more energetic Keepers Of The Truth and onwards to an exciting and progressive journey. The vocals are often Yes-like with the female lead vocals of Emma Brown being backed up by male harmony vocals in a way that strongly evokes how Chris Squire and (to a lesser extent) Steve Howe characteristically back up Jon Anderson in Yes. Even some of the New-Agey lyrics remind of Anderson's lyrical style and some acoustic guitar parts remind of Steve Howe's acoustic playing. The electric lead guitar playing of Andy Glass instead often evoke (his namesake in Camel) Andy Latimer's wonderful sound. The many violin-driven passages often remind me of Kansas.

With Yes, Camel, and Kansas belonging to my personal all-time favourite bands, being reminded of them here is a blessing for sure and a basis for commendation. But I also wish to stress that Solstice are by no means just followers, they have a sound of their own that also draws on Folk and Jazz music in ways foreign to the above mentioned Prog giants (and the New-Agey/World-Music 'feel' of the music is, if not unique, at least somewhat unusual; perhaps Mandalaband can be mentioned in the context). Solstice has certainly inspired hordes of female-fronted progressive Rock bands of more recent decent. They are often counted among the pioneers of the British Neo-Prog movement, but in reality they have close to nothing in common with the usual suspects of that subgenre (Marillion, Pallas, IQ, etc.). Solstice is somewhere in the borderlands between Neo-Prog and classic Symphonic Prog. The keyboard sounds may be modern, but the mind-set is closer to that of classic progressive Rock.

The three bonus tracks are remixes by Steven Wilson of three tracks from Solstice' 1984 debut album Silent Dance. The latter is a very good album as well, but hearing these tracks straight after the new tracks just stands to emphasise that these songs are better heard within their original context (new remixes notwithstanding). If you don't know Solstice yet, starting with Prophecy is a good idea, and the three bonus tracks (when heard in isolation from the new material) should make you curious about Silent Dance and the band's other albums. Solstice is a great and unfairly overlooked band well worthy of your attention.

Highly recommended!

 New Life by SOLSTICE album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.17 | 41 ratings

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New Life
Solstice Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars In 1985 Solstice unfortunately broke up with their mastermind Andy Glass working for several years as a session musician for Bill Withers and Geno Washington and as a sound engineer on Jethro Tull tours.However a second reincarnation of Solstice appeared in early-90's only with Glass and violin/keyboard player Marc Elton from the 80's line-ups.They were joined by female singer Heidi Kemp, bassist Craig Sunderland and drummer Pete Hensley and this five-piece recorded the second album with the iconic title ''New Life'' in 1993.

Despite the almost 10 years hiatus Solstice sound a lot like on the band's early years, albeit with a more modern sound.This is smooth, often melancholic but highly melodic and balanced Progressive Rock with dreamy female vocals and strong references to British Folk through Elton's ethereal violin parts.Cross references with bands like MOSTLY AUTUMN, KARNATAKA or MAGENTA and artists like MIKE OLDFIELD or COLIN MASSON are more than obvious.Elton's violin work is mostly fascinating and alternates between folksy passages and Classical-influenced workouts, superbly supported by Glass' spacey guitar solos, somewhere in the middle of 90's-styled ANDY LATIMER and DAVID GILMOUR.New vocalist Heidi Kamp has such a crystal color in her voice, turning it from calm singing to dramatic expressions ans is more than welcome.For once more the keyboards remain in the background, supporting the whole atmosphere.The compositions have an ultra-strong sense of melody throughout with good vocal parts, maintaining their artistic value always at a high level and scanning a lot of territories like Melodic Progressive Rock, Folk Rock, New Age and Symphonic Rock.

This is a very strong comeback for Solstice with the Glass/Elton duo keeping their inspiration throughout the lost decade and returning with a fresh and highly enjoyable release.An interesting edition by FM Music appeared in 2007, including a second disc with various demo and bootleg recordings of the band from the 80's and it is of course more than recommended.If you are a fan of the aforementioned acts, Solstice's ''New life'' is impossible to leave you unsatisfied...3.5 stars.

 New Life by SOLSTICE album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.17 | 41 ratings

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New Life
Solstice Neo-Prog

Review by progrules
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Solstice was mentioned by Jerry Lucky in one of his progressive rock guides as a significant neo progressive band to set an example for many bands to follow. So high time to explore at least one of the studio albums by the band. And I don't think I picked a poor or even mediocre one with this "New Life" output from 1993.

Solstice trademarks are screaming guitars and (almost folky) violins accompanied by several female singers through the years. On this album it's Heidi Kemp featured as an important factor in the band's sound. If I tell you this info is completed with the style highly melodic music I think I just about covered the whole story of Solstice, at least with this New Life release.

It leaves us with my personal feelings about the album and those are very positive. I can't understand why this second release by the band is so underexplored and so low rated. It could be in the end I'm the only fan of this album. If so, so be it and it's actually a pity. Because it would mean highly melodic neo prog is not very popular. And that's regrettable really. Maybe I can bring the band some comfort by giving a well deserved four stars. Recommended !

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Windhawk for the last updates

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