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Jethro Tull - Stormwatch CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

3.46 | 747 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Due to severe health problems (he will unfortunately die during the live supporting tour) of John Glascock, Ian plays the bass in most (seven) of the tracks. The influence of the world's environment (oil price escalation, energy crisis) will deeply influenced Ian when he wrote the album.

I quite liked "Heavy Horses" and the more electrical / hard sound of the band. "North Sea Oil" is in the same vein and I had hoped that the whole album would be of that caliber. But it is not the case : "Orion" and "Home" are ballads with an overwhelming orchestration : poor for the former. A catchy and nice melody for the latter.

The next track "Dark Ages", is one of the longest studio track from the Tull (over nine minutes) and is a good rocking Tull song : strong backing band (with Barlow at his best on drums), and good flute. The music is quite scary (a bit la Van Der Graaf) hence its title. Great rocking song and good guitar break during the second part.

"Warm Sporran" on the contrary is a weak instrumental track (with vocal - you have to listen to it to understand what I mean) : no melody, no feeling. This is the weakest track of the album.

It seems that on this album the good and the bad are almost running along.

"Something's on the Move" is again a good classic Tull song : hard-rock oriented, it wakes you up and makes you enjoy this album again. Strong track. In "Old Ghosts", orchestration is again tooooooooo invading. What's really the use of having orchestral arrangements in such a track? I made already this comment while reviewing "War Child and "Too Old". I never understood why Ian was so keen on this. Otherwise, the song as such is another pleasant moment of the album. It is not the case with "Dun Ringill" a dull accoustic track (hopefully very short) absolutely unnecessary.

The other long number of the album is "Flying Dutchman" (almost eight minutes) : it is one of the very few (if not the only one) elaborate number : rythm and melody changes : from folk to hard-rock with good background piano and (for once) a discrete orchestration and good fluting. If they had developped it a bit more, it could have been an epic (like "Baker Street Muse" for instance). The best song of the album IMO.

The original release closes with "Elegy" : a very relaxing instrumental ballad. It sounds more as an Antony Phillips or Steve Hackett one but it is a nice and tranquil moment to close this album in a peaceful way. Great guitar work. Thanks, Martin.

The unrealeased bonus tracks of the remastered version are welcome (since it is cheap) and not bad at all (except "King Henry's Madrigal" a medieval influenced intrumental).

"A Stitch In Time" could have fit instead of "Warm Sporran". It is really a strong number. Great fluting, powerful band, catchy melody. It is a mystery for me that it did not make the album. "Crossword" is again a good song as well as "Kelpie". Really.Typical of those studio sessions : (hard)-rock oriented. I understand that this style could hurt some of the earlier Tull fans (although that I am one of these, since 1971). Tull has always sounded hard on stage : listen to the "Isle Of Whight" concert to get a confirmation fot this.

"Stormwatch" is a good album. Too few great tracks to make it a masterpiece of course. I would say seven out of ten. As I did with "Songs From The Woods" for the time being I will rounded it down to three stars (but I might change my mind and upgrade one or both of them).

ZowieZiggy | 3/5 |


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