Jury's Verdict #2



On this page we will list a multiple review of a selection of 3 albums out of the (in our humble opinion) most important or interesting recent releases.

X Parzival's Eye
Fragments

Full review
X Glass Hammer
Three Cheers Of The Broken Hearted

Full review
X 3rd World Electric
Kilimanjaro Secret Brew

Full review
X Henri
Strik
When I heard that Chris Postl from RPWL was working on a solo project, I knew that he would come up with something special. My confidence grew stronger as I heard that Christina Booth (Magenta), Alan Reed (Pallas) and Ian Bairnson (Alan Parsons) contributed to this album. When I listened to Fragments for the first time I found out that Chris had not disappoint me. The entire album consists of a collection of great songs that have something to tell music wise. Sure, we hear influences of Chrisís heroes such as Pink Floyd and Yes, but on this album Chris Postl shows that heís more than only the P in RPWL! Thumbs up and well done, Chris!

Rating:****+ †
Sometimes your wife comes home with a haircut you donít like from the moment she enters the room. However, as time goes by you get used to it and you almost forget how she looked like before she went to the hairdresser. Thereís a tendency to forget how it was before and how you liked it the most. This is roughly how I felt when I listened to the latest release of Glass Hammer. Gone are all the epic pieces with references to the great seventies bands such as Yes, Kansas and ELP. We hear rather short songs instead with a fresh, new and modern sound. However, the more I played the album, the more I began to like the songs. Nevertheless, I still prefer the old stuff. Fortunately, they promised to return to their old style of music on their next release. Well, thatís what I meant when I was talking about my wifeís hairstyleÖ

Rating: **+
Jazzrock and fusion have always been musical styles that I enjoyed from time to time. However, when the music gets too difficult I loose track. The jazzrock on Kilimanjaro Secret Brew was most of the time not that difficult, so I could listen to it in a very comfortable way, taking me back to the days when jazzrock bands like Weather Report, Return To Forever and The Mahavishnu Orchestra made the same kind of music on a regular basis.

Rating: ***
X Peter
Willemsen
Parzivals Eye is the hobby band of bassist Chris Postle from German RPWL. Together with a few big names in the prog rock scene such as guitarist Ian Bairnson (Alan Parsons) and singers Alan Reed (Pallas) and Christina (Magenta), he recorded his first album Fragments. The result is quite surprising. Postle made a tastefully arranged album with fine compositions in the vein of the best songs of The Alan Parsons Project and RPWL, but also echoes from Pink Floyd can be heard. Most of the songs contain fine and pleasant sounding harmony vocals. Alan Reed sings much more subdued than he normally does on the Pallas-records. I think, he should sing this way more often. All the songs are melodious, but sometimes tend to become a bit monotonous and too simple. One of the finest songs is the Graham Nash-cover Chicago sung by Christina, but my personal highlight is Disguise sung by Alan Reed with a bass pattern that sounds very much like Pink Floydís The Wall. Every time you think the music is getting a bit boring, thereís always a fine melodious guitar solo from Ian Bairnson. If you like melodious rock songs with fine harmony vocals or the aforementioned bands you should certainly listen to this album.

Rating: ***+
Three Cheers Of The Broken Hearted is already the tenth album made by the American band Glass Hammer. The band still consists of core members Fred Schendel and Steve Babb. This time Susie Bogdanowitz did most of the vocal parts. Well, to be honest, I always had mixed feelings while listening to the bandís music. The previous albums of Glass Hammer often consisted of long epic compositions, but on this album we just hear a number of rather poppy and as a consequence radio-friendly songs. Itís hard to compare this album to any other Glass Hammer-album. No epics this time, but only short songs with some quite good ones like Sun Down Shores and the Magenta-like track Come On, Come On, but also a rather irritating song like Schrodingerís Lament with hardly intelligible spoken words. Most of the songs are mediocre, even boring sometimes. Fortunately, Bogdanowitz has a fine voice, so itís no punishment listening to this album, but thatís not enough to call it an excellent or even a good album.†

Rating: **
In the seventies, I bought a number of jazzrock albums of which Romantic Warrior by Return To Forever and Al DiMeolaís Land Of The Midnight Sun still belong to my favourite ones. The music on these albums proves to be just as the genre indicates: sometimes jazz, sometimes rock, but most of the time a blend of these two genres. 3rd World Electric is also labeled as jazzrock. Itís a new project of the all-round musician Roine Stolt (Flower Kings and more). After listening twice to Kilimanjaro Secret Brew, the debut album of 3rd World Electric, thereís only one conclusion possible: this is pure jazz with a very annoying saxophone sound and I donít like jazz at all! Well, being a real symphomaniac, it wouldnít be fair to review this album. The musicality of the musicians on this album is beyond dispute, but I simply donít like jazz. This album maybe progressive, but in my opinion it has nothing to do with prog or symphonic rock!

Rating: no rating
X Andrť
de Waal
Parzivals Eye is the band of Chris Postl, bass player with RPWL. It is almost inevitable that influences of this band and therefore by definition of Pink Floyd seep through on Fragments. However, the compositions on this album are a bit more poppy than weíre used to from Postlís daytime band, maybe because of Magentaís Christina Booth who has an important role on Fragments. The album opens with the longest track Longings End. For me, this song is the highlight of Fragments. It sets the tone for the remaining songs: smooth singing lines, some spoken words and nice harmonies. Often solo albums of members of successful prog bands are disappointing, but thatís certainly not the case for Chris Postl.

 

Rating: ****
Successful bands take a huge risk when changing their style of music which made them famous. This doesnít necessarily have to go wrong. Some groups like Fleetwood Mac actually became even more successful after the change! I doubt if this will happen to Glass Hammer. This band, widely known for their majestic epic songs, has now released an album full of short songs, not one epic in sight. And this doesnít work very well. I have listened to Three Cheers For The Broken Hearted countless times, but after a while my attention started to drift and then suddenly the CD is finished. This cannot be the purpose of releasing music, so I would suggest to the band to see this album as an incident and go back to the old style of music.


Rating: *
The latest project of Flower Kingís Roine Stolt takes us back deep into the seventies to the fusion and jazzrock scene. The album cover reminds me of one of the Miles Davis-albums, but the music is pure Weather Report. The dominant role of the sax and the percussion makes this mix of jazz, world and rock played by 3rd World Electric a real tribute to the music Joe Zawinul and his men made in the early days. 3rd World Electric also consists of excellent musicians, just as the groups in those days. All tracks on this album last between five and ten minutes, which makes that the listener manages to keep attention to the songs. Thereís nothing original here, but that was certainly not the intention of this group. They wanted to play jazzrock and they do it quite well.

Rating: ****-
February 2010

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