Castanarc -
The Sea Of Broken Vows

(CD 2021, 50:42, Khepra Records)

The tracks:
  1- A Song Rings Out(4:54)
  2- Lost Tears(4:55)
  3- Full Circle(4:53)
  4- The Ascent Of Man(4:41)
  5- In This World(4:48)
  6- Walking With Angels(4:14)
  7- Out Of Time(3:34)
  8- The Waking Of The Earth(4:47)
  9- Light The Fire(4:58)
10- The Sea Of Broken Vows(3:00)
11- For The Want Of A Nail(5:58)

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Castanarc is rooted in The Eighties, the band released 4 albums between 1984 and 1989, their first entitled Journey To The East is generally considered as their finest effort, in a pleasant early Neo-prog tradition (Marillion and Pendragon inspired). Last year Castanarc returned to the scene, with a compilation album (Water From The Well), and now anno 2021 they have released their first studio-album for 22 years, named The Sea Of Broken Vows. The current line-up contains the two original members singer Mark Holiday and keyboard player David Powell, completed with regular guest musicians Charlie Morgan on drums, Pete Robinson on bass, and Neil Duty and Pat Mount on guitars.

Most of the 11 compositions (between 3 and 6 minutes) sound mellow, very mellow, featuring Mark Holiday's pleasant voice, blended with tender piano runs, soaring keyboards, sensitive guitar work, a buzzing bass and slow rhythms. It sounds very accessible and simply structured, the focus is on creating romantic atmospheres (like in the wonderful Light The Fire with flute and acoustic guitar), with some moments showing melancholiac undertones (especially in Full Circle and the title track).

Some tracks deliver a more dynamic climate, like A Song Rings Out (sumptuous Neo-prog with fiery guitar), The Waking Of The Earth (tight mid-tempo beat) and my highlight For The Want Of A Nail (from dreamy to mid-tempo, in the second part howling guitar leads and majestic Mellotron choir-like keyboards).

*** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Dave Smith)

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