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Galahad - Beyond The Realms Of Euphoria (2012)

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Galahad - Beyond The Realms Of Euphoria (2012)

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1 	Salvation I - Overture 	4:11
2 	Salvation II - Judgement Day 	6:08
3 	Guardian Angel 	10:31
4 	Secret Kingdoms... 	5:31
5 	... And Secret Worlds 	7:26
6 	All In The Name Of Progress 	7:14
7 	Guardian Angel - Reprise 	6:08
8 	Richelieu's Prayer 2012 	8:40

Bass Guitar – Neil Pepper
Drums – Spencer Luckman
Guitar – Roy Keyworth
Keyboards – Dean Baker
Keyboards – Mark Andrews (tracks: 8)
Vocals – Stuart Nicholson 

 

Back in the sixties and seventies many bands succeeded in recording two albums a year, equally high-levelled and filled with great compositions. Nowadays - also a result of the possibility to put more music on a CD - bands stick to a maximum of one album a year and even that's an exception. Most artists need more time between albums in order to meet the same high level of musicality. So, after the highly acclaimed album Battle Scars (see review), the British neo-prog band Galahad surprised me with a second album within a year.

Musically Beyond The Realms Of Euphoria continues where Battle Scars ended, combining impressive progressive rock with a diversity of other musical styles like trance, dance and metal, just to name a few. So, please don't switch off the CD player during the opener Salvation I - Overture! This piece tries to pull your leg with a techno start, which works remarkably well with Dean Baker's piano and the heavy guitars that take over after approximately two and a half minutes. This little surprise gently segues into the second part Salvation II - Judgement Day, where the vocals appear. With a Rammstein influenced guitar riff in the background, the melodic vocals work perfectly with the modern ambient keyboard and (perhaps) programmed parts. Neil Pepper's rumbling bass leads to a change of direction: background vocals appear and Stuart Nicholson's voice creates a kind of Muse atmosphere. The end has a Threshold touch, which could be influenced by Karl Groom, who was involved in the recording process.

On Battle Scars I already noticed contemporary musical influences in Galahad's music, but this time around those influences are even stronger embedded. Guardian Angel is the perfect example to prove this for the musicality has even increased since Battle Scars. Beyond The Realms Of Euphoria sounds more coherent; the diversity of styles now sounds very natural together. However, I must admit that I normally have an urge to vomit when I hear the kind of music that Galahad plays around the eighth minute on a regular radio station! Strangely enough it doesn't annoy me too much in this majestic composition. Secret Kingdoms... starts nice and retro with Roy Keyworth's stunning guitar parts. Here the fine old fashioned progressive rock, including the ohh's and ahh's in the background, are blended with a more metal-like style. Towards the end this piece has an eighties feel, with a sort of computerized drums and vocals that are gently mixed in an early Marillion style.

Like the three dots already indicated, the second part of the song is ...And Secret Worlds, which starts with a relaxing piano preparing for a heavier middle section, with a prefect groove provided by drummer Spencer Luckman and a typical neo-progressive and emotional guitar solo. A combination of seventies keyboards and modern sounds lead to All In The Name Of Progress. In my opinion this is a perfect title for this song where all the aforementioned musical styles come together. Impressive keyboards cooperate with powerful vocals and the ultimate riff of this album. Basically this is still a strong neo-progressive piece, but if you dig deeper and with an open mind, you may enjoy the heavy guitars, the subtle programming and a singer who's is capable to affect you by switching from soft and emotional to rough, aggressive and even a grunt...

Guardian Angel - Reprise returns to the earlier song. A strong piano part paves the way for Nicholson's sensitive vocals; this reprise pushes the song back to neo-prog, with which Galahad once started. It contains a great mixture of pompous keyboards, clear vocals and prominent choir vocals. Normally the album should end by now, but as a bonus we get a reissue of Richelieu's Prayer, one of Galahad's classic compositions. This piece first appeared on Nothing Is Written (1991), the band's debut album. For this reissue Galahad invited Mark Andrews, former band member and writer of this song, to play some additional keyboards. Regarding the compositions they have written in recent years, the changes the band went through music wise are evident. However, Richelieu's Prayer is still a great song with splendid solos, but the early Marillion is never far away.

Galahad have recorded two brilliant albums within a year. I was happily surprised while listening and reviewing Battle Scars, but twice a year such a big surprise by the same act is quite exceptional. Just like Battle Scars, Beyond The Realms Of Euphoria is an excellent album and even more coherent than the penultimate CD. Therefore I have to add half a star and by doing so I judged this album to be a masterpiece... --- Pedro Bekkers, backgroundmagazine.nl

 

Nie rozpieszczał ostatnio Galahad swoich fanów częstotliwością wydawania albumów studyjnych. Year Zero, Empire Never Last i Battle Scars ukazywały się dokładnie co pięć lat. Tym razem Brytyjczycy zaskoczyli i jeszcze przed wydaniem wspomnianego Battle Scars zapowiedzieli, że będzie on jednym z dwóch nowych tegorocznych wydawnictw.

Wypuszczanie dwóch krążków w jednym roku niesie za sobą odwieczne pytanie u odbiorcy: czy artyście faktycznie wystarczyło pomysłów na kolejny, szybko wydany album. I czy nie warto było poczekać, dyskontując artystyczny sukces (Battle Scars z pewnością było dziełem wyjątkowo udanym) poprzedniego krążka…

Jak jest w tym przypadku? Bardzo solidnie. Trudno powiedzieć, czy Beyond The Realms Of Euphoria przebija swojego starszego o kilka miesięcy poprzednika, albo zaskakuje jakąś wyjątkową odmiennością, trzyma jednak jego poziom i miłośnikom grupy powinien przypaść do gustu. Można powiedzieć, że tym razem artyści poszerzają muzyczne pomysły rozpoczęte na wizjonerskim i zaskakującym dla nich Size The Day – numerze kończącym poprzedni krążek. Tu łączenia silnie zrytmizowanej muzyki trance z rockiem jest zdecydowanie więcej. Już otwierający Salvation I – Overture jest tego przykładem. Kolejne kompozycje rozwijają tylko coraz odważniej ten ich stylistyczny mezalians. I tak w bardzo udanym Salvation II – Judgment Day mamy ciężkie gitary i patetycznie lejące się „progresywne” klawisze. Wszystko naturalnie w otoczeniu wszędobylskiej elektroniki i z dobrą melodią. No właśnie. Po raz kolejny udało się ekipie Stu Nicholsona wykoncypować sporą ilość zapadających w pamięć tematów melodycznych. Posłuchajcie zresztą kolejnego, zaczętego bardzo agresywnie Guardian Angel z udaną zwrotką i refrenem. Równie ładnym refrenem uderza All In The Name Of Progress, w którym dodatkowo Nicholson w pewnym momencie zbliża się do… rapu, a pod koniec growluje. Kończącą podstawowy zestaw repryzę do Guardian Angel też trudno zapomnieć. Wylewający się patos podkreślony chóralnymi partiami zadowoli miłośników bardziej klasycznego artrocka. A skoro przy klasyce jesteśmy – początek And Secret Worlds po raz kolejny ukazuje artystów lubujących się w czerpaniu szerokimi garściami z muzyki poważnej.

Podobnie jak na Battle Scars muzycy i tym razem zmierzyli się z jednym z utworów z przeszłości. Monumentalny Richelieu’s Prayer w pierwszej części sprawia wrażenie bardziej stonowanego. Forma kompozycji została jednak zachowana. Ot kolejny muzyczny rarytas. ---Mariusz Danielak, artrock.pl

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