The English progressive rock band Galahad was founded in 1985. Singer Stuart Nicholson described Galahad's early days as follows: '... the band was formed just after the so called second wave of progressive rock bands such as Marillion, Pallas, IQ, Twelfth Night, Pendragon etc. They all started around 1978-1981, and we started in 1985 after the bubble had effectively burst, but didn't really get going seriously until 1990 onwards. To be honest we really played just for fun in the early days and weren't really that concerned about record deals etc. It was only after playing with some of the bigger bands when we thought: actually, we are just as good as these guys so why not give it a go...'
Well, they certainly did and recorded a large number of albums. Currently they're still alive and kicking as I could see in November 2015. Thirty years after they started as a band, I saw them perform as the headliners of the third edition of the Dutch Northern Prog Festival (see review). From their performance you couldn't tell that they're old hands at the game for such a long time. They played like youngsters who wanted to prove themselves to the audience for the first time.
In order to celebrate the band's 30th anniversary, Galahad have released a double CD called When Worlds Collide. On this album the band look back on their career in retrospect. They didn't simply compile an album with songs from their back catalogue, but they selected nineteen tracks of which they re-recorded ten old songs. They even recorded a previously unreleased brand new piece with the current line-up consisting of founding members Stu Nicholson (vocals) and Roy Keyworth (guitar) together with Dean Baker (keyboards, programming), long-time drummer Spencer Luckman and back from the old days bassist Tim Ashton. Furthermore they invited some guest musicians like Karl Groom (acoustic guitar, Threshold, Shadowland), former Galahad keyboardist Mark Andrews (piano) and former Galahad member Lee Abraham (bass). The deceased bassist Neil Pepper can also be heard (bass, keyboards) on some tracks.
The album's title When Worlds Collide perfectly describes what you can expect on both discs, namely original music from the past and how this music developed in the course of time. This means music that sounds like the neo-progressive rock bands in the eighties and current music influenced by trance and electronic music. The first disc contains the ten re-recorded tracks, including City Of Freedom, an almost thirty-year's old track. This track is a perfect example of the way Galahad changed an old composition into a modern sounding tune with prog rock elements, but also with a lot of electronics provided by the synthesizers. In a way the same procedure has been applied with the other tracks on the first disc. It provided me a lot of pleasure to listen to the re-recorded versions of classic Galahad tunes such as Lady Messiah, Dreaming From The Inside, Chamber Of Horrors, Room 801 and Excorsing Demons. The songs just sound perfect with all the extras!
This also applies to the earlier re-recorded versions of classic Galahad tunes on the second disc. These songs were used for the many reissues of the band's back catalogue or were released on EPs and the previous two studio albums. All the new versions do justice to the original song. The band did a perfect job by reworking their older compositions. Especially people who like electronic music will have a lot of pleasure by listening to all those rearranged pieces. The new recorded songs are a real asset in Galahad's repertoire.
For devotees of progressive rock in general and fans of Galahad in particular this great collection of re-recorded tracks is in fact a compulsory purchase. This album should be in everyone's prog collection since Galahad is still an important band in the progressive rock scene. Enjoy it all the way, just like I did!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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