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Jade Warrior - Eclipse CD (album) cover


Jade Warrior


Psychedelic/Space Rock

2.98 | 34 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
2 stars Vertigo records never really wanted JADE WARRIOR in the first place, and when the group parted company with their indifferent management, they had nobody stopping the even more apathetic label from wielding the axe. Somehow, before the bad news struck, the trio had laid down tracks for what they hoped would be a double album. That's the good news; the bad news is that, though Vertigo may have included a few of those tracks on promotional disks around that time, the albums 'Eclipse' and 'Fifth Element' did not see any form of release until 1998. As a potential link between the Vertigo and Island years, these recordings must have been long sought after by early fans for the better part of a quarter century. Since they ended up as 2 separate Repertoire offerings, I will discuss them individually, with 'Eclipse' first.

Neither of the temporally adjacent 'Last Autumn's Dream' and 'Floating World' really offer many hints as to the music on 'Eclipse' which is a difficult unfocused mix of heavy prog with snippets of Canterbury-ish psychedelia. But Jade Warrior has habituated us to marked changes within and between albums. The problem this time is quality. The playing is at times wonderful but it can't compensate for the empty director/conductor's chair. This isn't free flow enough to be called jazz in the way that 'Barazinbar' was and the hard rock elements aren't as succinct as on their debut. The worst aspects of the prior 2 albums collide head on here, but those very traits might actually appeal to some more free thinking listeners, though I still find it hard to imagine that anybody would prefer it to, say, that seminal first album. And if you are looking for nods to the upcoming landmark Island albums, you won't find any more here than on the prior works, with the possible exception of the closing number.

We begin on a high of sorts, with the quintessentially English 'English morning' encapsulating all that a travelling musician might miss from his homeland, even in the midst of Labor unrest and the predictably bone chilling climate. 'Sanga' offers some Latin inspired flute and rhythms, while the riff alone on 'Too Many Heroes' might be the most memorable on the whole effort. Tony Duhig so struts his technical mastery that one wonders why brother David was needed at all. Unfortunately, the party serenades itself off a cliff from here, with the dire 'Soldier Song' and 'Holy Roller' sandwiched around the only slightly better 'Mwenga Sketch', mostly better because after all that English abandon a trip to the Congo, no matter how dangerous, must be an improvement. Barely. Luckily they save the best for last, a hypnotic DEAD CAN DANCE inspiring dirge 'House of Dreams' that thrives through OCD the way the others die by ADD.

Whether Vertigo even heard 'Eclipse' before sweeping Duhig and Field aside is unclear, but, if they hadn't, it's doubtful that even special lenses would have altered their perception.

kenethlevine | 2/5 |


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