FolkWorld #48 07/2012

CD & DVD Reviews

Fabrizio Cammarata & the Second Grace "Rooms"
Panmondial; 2012

This Sicilian songwriter certainly shows his roots, yet brings a worldly heft to the ten songs he presents here. There is folk, rock, and world beats, basically plenty of things going on. “Alone & Alive” is a dazzlingly dense number with wild percussion, thick guitars, strong vocals and a punchy hook worthy of a hit single from a mix of the Rolling Stones and Caetano Veloso. Contrast that with “Down Down” with a quieter yet strong vocal line atop an acoustic guitar and haunting violin amidst shifting percussion in an exotic folkier style. Cammarata shows quite a range here and the material bobs and weaves through many intricate layers of sound. Although not a stylistic copy, this generates a similar level of involvement with me as some of my favorite artists like Woven Hand, Decembrists or even Donovan. The extreme quality is a little front loaded here, as the latter songs are a bit more on the cozy side. But nothing misses the mark, so if you bring this album into your home, you will have many hours of pleasurable and active listening.
© David Hintz

Jay Brannan "Rob Me Blind"
Great Depression; 2012

“Everywhere there’s Statues” gets things off to a nice start with a lovely plucked guitar line and emotive vocals. As the record continues arrangements add complex layers to varying degrees, most notably with the strings in the title cut. These are nice songs sung with heart and agreeable enough in the hooks department (in a folkier manner as opposed to pop). Although there were highs and middles (not really lows) in the quality of the songs, the overall album flows nicely and it is a pleasant listen. I would certainly enjoy seeing him live on a folkbill in a coffeehouse or club near me. And since he tours worldwide, that should be sooner than later.
© David Hintz

Great Lake Swimmers "New Wild Everywhere"
Nettwerk, 2012

This band has an intriguing folk rock sound. The guitars and other stringed instruments are sharply plucked at times and with the drums, there is an interesting rhythm going on. Although folk-rock is appropriate, it is not always a standard rock feeling, aside from some songs like “Changes with the Wind”. Tony Dekker is the key songwriter and vocalist and has a great touch with his singing. Ultimately this is pleasant sounding heartland music. My involvement with it varied depending on the song and I think it will work best on those you want to sit back and contemplate on the nature of things.
© David Hintz

The Elders "Wanderin’ Life & Times"
PubTone Records; 2011

Irish roots rock music has been high profile since the Pogues and there have been many bands since the early 1980s that also have come to prominence. I am not sure that the Elders from Kansas City will reach those heights, but they certainly compare nicely to a good band like the Levellers. And even as the record has me tapping my foot quite innocently to the nice pace and Irish lilt of this rock music, they sometimes knock me for a loop. “Station Number 9” has a melodic run that drops off the table into a nicely picked descending guitar pattern before the violin heats up and the vocals carry the tune forward. Clever songwriting is something they are quite capable of, that much is clear. Unfortunately there is not quite enough it to make this stand out on the whole. I did enjoy the various highlights and it closed on some strong songs. Still, the potential is for a great live show, which is where Irish songs work best no matter who is playing it.
© David Hintz

The Klezmatics "Live at Town Hall"
Frea Records; 2011

German CD Review

I have long been a fan of this band, but have not kept up with them over recent years. This large outfit plays a modern take on klezmer music infused with jazz and rock moves. The early records I have are outstanding and they have won a Grammy in 2006, so they are well respected. I really enjoyed a live show in Denver about 20 years ago where an older guy at work mentioned the following day, that he had seen me there that night. He said he and his wife were formal klezmer dancers and wanted to check it out. He was stunned at how the band went afar from traditional klezmer music but enjoyed it a lot. I think that speaks well of this band that can pull in rock, folk, jazz, and world fans in while still keeping enough klezmer roots to have traditional klezmer fans with open minds enjoy them every bit as well. This release features around two hours of live music. Obviously, it covers a lot of ground and has original songs, but mostly traditional arrangements and arranged songs from writers such as Woody Guthrie, Holly Near, and many others. The sound is good, but like many live albums, I prefer my studio albums when it comes to sound quality. But Klezmatics fans should snap this up and if you are not sure where to start studio wise, this is a fine choice to get a lot of Klezmatics music to chew on.
© David Hintz

Christina Martin "I Can Too"
Come Undon Records; 2010

This is all agreeable country and western tinged folk rock. It has plenty of slide and leans toward the mysterious western side of life with blurry desert landscapes, yet crystal clear focus. The vocals are indeed clear and strong throughout. If there is a fault, it is that it all moves along at about the same pace and emotional tone. A bit more variety would have me putting aside other distractions and get me more focused on the songs. However, listening to about any cluster of two or three songs does reveal some fine songwriting and arranging. There is some nice potential here.
© David Hintz

Cowboy Junkies "The Wilderness –
Volume 4 of The Nomad Series"
Proper; 2012

Article: Insanely Psychedelic Mandolin Solos

I like setting difficult challenges in life. I have pushed to read fifty books a year for almost two decades now. I recently vowed to see live music every single night in February. The first goal is sometimes a challenge, but the latter one seemed like a mistake about 2/3 the way through, but it was too late to stop. That seemed to be the same feeling that the Cowboy Junkies had as they made their way through recording and releasing four albums in eighteen months AND do some serious touring. They even said as much from the stage when I saw them last year. But they have completed their goal and I am sure they feel as good as I do when they meet such an ambitious quest. The real good news is that all four albums are excellent. Of course some are better than others, but I believe that would be more due to your personal preference as they showcase their great ability to shift sound throughout this series. This seems like their take on a rootsy pscyhe-folk sound with songs of loneliness and rural desolation. “Damaged from the Start” almost sounds like a nice pop song, but the theme and some of the desolate production brings a David Lynch feeling—and that invokes some deep psychological issues. They do stir it up for their last song with a striking guitar duet rocking nicely along at a mid-tempo. Now that the Cowboy Junkies are back to ‘normal’, I cannot wait to see what they do next. But after this barrage of great music, I owe them a bit of time off, so I will try to be patient until their next album.
© David Hintz

Adam Donen "Vampires"
Songs & Whispers; 2012

Adam Donen wins the packaging award with a deep blue crushed velvet sleeve wrapped around the standard sleeve and CD. As for the eight songs underneath this smooth and shiny fabric? They have a diversity to them that is in danger of going too many directions. But Donen invokes a firm grip on the pace and emotion of his song. So if things range from Donovan to Tom Rapp to Mac MacLeod, it will work if the core writer/performer has a vision. And Donen is the master at keeping this all together. He actually reminds me of some of the more fascinating outsiders in psyche-folk, artists such as Denis, MIJ, and Perry Leopold. Ultimately, a Leonard Cohen feeling is probably the strongest connection I can make, but he pushes outward a bit more than that. Count me as a big fan and I will be returning to this album frequently. I hope adventurous folk fans will join me, as this is a fascinating journey.
© David Hintz

Girlyman "Supernova"
Own Label; 2012

This folk quartet seems to be as smart as they come. Their music is well composed and presented with plenty of both heart and skill. It is not flashy, but arranged with care, especially with the lead vocal trade-offs and harmonies. The only fault I find here is that the songs are so smooth and universal; I do not detect any distinct style beyond the basic genre. But others may find a more universal approach to quality music more of a strength. To their credit, they do have a few curveballs such as the ballroom jazzy number, “No Matter What I Do”. They have toured with Indigo Girls, which does seem to be an ideal match-up and Girlyman is every bit as talented as Indigo Girls and many other folk rock acts working these days. All in all, this is a high quality release and folk fans of the band format with an emphasis on vocal harmonies and melody, should certainly give this a listen.
© David Hintz

Sarah McQuaid "The Plum Tree and the Rose"
Waterbug; 2012

Article: Powerful Alto, Virtuoso Picking

Let’s follow the path… Sarah McQuaid was born in Spain, raised in Chicago, is a dual citizen of Ireland and the USA, and now lives in rural England. Although you may become a balanced folk singer/songwriter by studying many different forms of music and their geographies, it does not hurt to have this wide variety of world experiences to help you shape your music. McQuaid uses all of that and then brings in her deep, airy voice. Her quiet power is evident most in a delicate cover of John Martyn’s “Solid Air” using just her voice, her acoustic guitar, and a trumpet. “In Derby Cathedral” is also a powerfully deep, dark arrangement that reminds me of a subtler Loreena McKennitt. There are also shifts into more of a smoky jazz club feel, although the music is still folk based. Ultimately the meditative songs are the ones that amaze me most. I often think of Nico with deeper voiced female vocalists, but rarely use her as a comparison due to the arrangement differences. Here, there is some of the John Cale style production and arrangements evident in Nico’s “The Marble Index”. Just listen to the drone on “S’Anc Fuy Belha Ni Prezada” and it is hard to not think of John Cale. This is a powerful record that really grows each song moves into your head.
© David Hintz

The Greater Good "The Greater Good"
Stockfisch, 2012

From the fine German folk label, Stockfisch, comes a newly formed trio with a couple of artists previously playing on Stockfisch who joined forces with an American singer/songwriter. The album starts on a rather tepid note, but quickly moves into stronger territory. The opener was a light rocker that did not really come off as well as the deeper, folkier material. There is some strong dueling guitar work with fine finger style playing in the lovely “On an Afternoon much like Today”. Ultimately, the classic American singer songwriter style is the one that dominates. It is not fully a California vibe, although that is present at times. The songs are varied enough that some should catch your ear, and perhaps all. A worthy listen.
© David Hintz

Latin Quarter "Ocean Head"
Westpark Music, 2012

German CD Review

Welcome back! This fine British band from 1980s and early 90s is back with three core members including main songwriter, Steve Skaith. The songs immediately show a strong production and even some African sounding backing vocals. “Legalize It” quickly blew me away with its infectious melody and sharp lyrics concerning it not being a stoner song but rather comparing the negative issues with Al Capone and prohibition along with a nod to the movie “Maria, Full of Grace”. No Peter Tosh here, but smart and catchy, and you can’t do much better than that. “Even Superman” had a lovely dreamy pop-rock feel where the keyboards were hypnotic and thick production as the song made for some exciting dynamic shifts to this otherwise quiet song. There are some folk moves in amongst the agreeable rock sounds. There is plenty of thought provoking songs, but they all are catchy enough to enjoy on a basic level. The male and female vocals give plenty of contrast. “Another Night’s Broken Glass” is an excellent folk song with stinging guitar, raw vocals, and the tinkle of piano keys in the background. I thought this album might be too ‘mainstream’ for me, but the quality and diversity shines through.
© David Hintz

Amy Hart "Congratulations"
Painted Rock Records; 2011

I am happy to report that Amy Hart’s blues roots stayed on top of the local sounds of Nashville, where this was recorded. That being said, the style made obvious by the fourth song entitled “Even Country gets the Blues” does not always work. The problem is certainly not in her vocals, which are clean and strong, balancing the deeper blues with a country rock swagger. The arrangements are professional and capable of bouncing around between blues, country, and rock. It just felt too much in between all of these things without a unifying concept. I preferred the pop hooks evident in “When Love Comes to Call” which is a solid example of songwriting and well executed by the band. “Ribcage” is also catchy with a bit of power in its core. This is a mixed bag, but interesting at times.
© David Hintz

Miss Quincy "Like the Devil Does"
Own label; 2012

The title emits a pretty good clue that this is going to be the blues. All songs are original and this is a nice variety of pace and electric influence making each one distinct. I liked the bounciness in “Dangerous and the slower workout on “Going Down”. Miss Quincy’s voice is solid and dependable, although it works best in the quieter, moodier moments. The players bring a bit more personality and creativity to the songs as opposed to just grinding out the 12-bar patterns that we know all too well. This did not knock my socks off, but it was a good listen and I would be willing to hear more live or in a studio release.
© David Hintz

O Emperor "Hither Thither"
KF Records; 2012

This is a modern indie rock band that moves into folk areas now and then. They are from Waterford, Ireland and there is every bit of the meticulous care in their music that is evident in that city’s crystal. Their sound is bold and emotive with a lush production that sounds really big. “Taloned Air” has a delicate folk beginning before adding layers of sound that would barely stay in an arena. Although there is more of a heartland rock element here, the band does remind me a bit of Muse, a really big sounding rock band. But these guys can rein it in and use dynamics well. I liked the piano offsetting the melody in “Catch-22” with quieter, yet still intense vocal work. I also detect some cool psychedelic moves that remind of Spiritualized and “The Fat Lady Sings” has me thinking I may have somehow slipped on a Radiohead album. This is their debut full-length album and although I am not fully sure of their identity, their ambitions and skills are at a very high level and are worth following further. Strong, interesting album of a band you will likely be hearing about.
© David Hintz

Otis Gibbs "Harder Than Hammered Hell"
Lucky Dice Music; 2012

I was thinking a bluesy Steve Earle before I got my chance to listen to this album, and that is not too far off from what I heard. It is bluesy folk-rock, full of roots, a touch of Nashville, Johnny Cash…, but not firmly entrenched in one genre. Like Earle or Cash, the vocal work delivers straightforward lyrics that quickly become memorable. I even could predict a few lines before he sang them, which was less due to predictable clichés and more due to following a classic storytelling technique. Ultimately, this is salt of the earth heartland music here and if you like that sort of thing, I don’t see how you can be disappointed. Gibbs has a command of his songs and treats them well in the studio. He’s a straight shooter that I would guess delivers the goods night in, night out.
© David Hintz

Randi Tytingvag "Grounding"
Ozella Music, 2012

I would categorize this under lounge-pop, not unlike that of a few Icelandic singers (you know at least one of them). There are some really fascinating Cure moments deep in the mix. The moves are all there, but the overall effect is restrained. It would almost be Americana if it went rootsier or shoegaze if it went louder. Instead, it adds appropriate color while allowing space for vocals and for the listener to focus on the overall effect. The overall effect is quite pleasing with her delicate voice bringing quiet warmth to the icy sonic landscape. Give this a listen all the way through, preferably late at night, and you may find Randi Tytingvag sneaking into your conscious.
© David Hintz

Stefan Grossman "How to Play Ragtime Guitar"
Own label; 1973/2012

This is a re-release of a 1973 from master finger style guitarist Stefan Grossman. His reputation for teaching and collaboration might be remembered more than his original music, as his technical skills are amazing and were often put to use in an instructive manner. The title says it all and these 18 standards are played cleanly and with great skill. He annotates these songs with tuning, key, and capo positions and his notes discuss fingerpicking techniques used on each song. The one improvement, thanks to technology, is that rather in getting a cumbersome book as in the past, a PDF file is provided on the disk containing guitar tablatures and musical notation. This is a nice studious record, even for non-players like myself.
© David Hintz

John Renbourn & Stefan Grossman "The Three Kingdoms"
Own label; 1987/2012

This is a re-release of one of the fine collaborations from Stefan Grossman, master guitar teacher. John Renbourn is of course, one of the more technically dazzling finger style guitarists from the UK. He comes from the great early 60s era that brought us Davy Graham, Bert Jansch, and Wizz Jones among others. Renbourn probably had the most straightforward skill of any of them, but also had great feeling in his interpretations, whether they were the blues or medieval songs. I’ve owned this album for a long time and it is good, but not in my top 10 of albums that John Renbourn plays on. Being that I have over 40 albums with Renbourn’s playing, this is certainly not a condemnation. These are mostly original songs which is a nice touch. And like the other Grossman album reviewed above, there is a PDF file with guitar tablatures and musical notation. If you were interested in learning guitar, I would recommend the Grossman solo, but if listening is more your priority, anything with Renbourn on it is worth the listen.
© David Hintz

Martyn Joseph "Live at the Brook"
Pipe Records; 2011

I have heard the name, but this first exposure to the songs of Martyn Joseph provided a great experience. This is live, just voice and acoustic guitar. His playing and singing is quite dynamic with resonance and a range that can go to a hauntingly quiet where you are not even sure he is still playing or singing. But he has plenty of heart and guts in reserve to bring out the high points as well. He reminds me of a cross between Ralph McTell and Billy Bragg. There are some spots that lag a bit for me, like when he works a Springsteen song into what he’s singing. Thankfully, these moments are few. This is mostly a strong album that lovers of gutsy but artful straightforward folk music will enjoy.
© David Hintz

IMG "Interdit de Cracher Gallo!"
Mass Productions; 2011

This gutsy little record moves between ska punk and gypsy punk, both genres becoming popular in more recent times. The band is from France, and there is a rare Gallo language (Brittany area from what I gather) and unique musical influence in this stew as well. It is familiar territory that at times stands out, but at times rolls along at a safe level. I like the production and the thick slab of electric guitars that kick up the energy in some of the songs like “La Garce de Guepe”. There are some fine songs here, but the album kind of peters out a bit at the end, especially with the throbbing electronics/rock closing number.
© David Hintz

Lee Garland "Hummingbird"
Own label; 2009

When you are making your first album at age 56, you are often either an undiscovered bluesman some time in the early-to-mid 20th century, or you are a regular person who is taking advantage of easier recording budgets to do a vanity project. Although I do not know the full story, I would guess that like a good friend of mine, Lee Garland seems closer to the latter group, although he is a professional musician. I certainly respect these types of projects and Garland presents some likeably light singer-songwriter tunes here. Garland has written songs for others over the years, so he is capable. Still, it just seems far too light for me--likable, but not terribly compelling. “I Took the Best and Left the Rest” is an exception as it has a sea shanty folk feel and is gripping and fun to listen to.
© David Hintz

Farrar, Johnson, Parker, Yames "New Multitudes"
Rounder Records, 2012

Article: Tom's Night Shift

You may have read that the estate of Woody Guthrie has uncovered many unrecorded lyrics, poems, and notes. They offered these to various songwriters whose work they respected as being in the spirit of the great Woody Guthrie. Here is one such album of these concoctions. The musicians are Jay Farrar (Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt), Will Johnson (Centro-Matic, Monsters of Folk), Yim Yames (My Morning Jacket), and Anders Parker (Varnaline). This has been done in years’ past with Wilco and Billy Bragg, so I wonder how much more archival archaeology can yet be forthcoming. But the lyrics sound good enough at first listen (oddly enough there is no lyric sheet). Musically, the artists do not feel restricted to play these songs with acoustic guitar and harmonica. There are full band arrangements with rocking guitars. The Americana folk-rock feeling is present no matter what volumes the amps are set at. Each of the four musicians contributes the music on three songs each to match up with the Guthrie lyrics. I could pick out a favorite or two, but it keeps switching around. They all do an excellent job with the music, which is fresh and modern, but with roots steeped in the Guthrie tradition. This is a fine record that you will go back to frequently.
© David Hintz

Floatstone "Meet Floatstone"
Own label; 2012

This band comes to us from Antwerp, Belgium, a lovely city I visited one time with a little tour hosted by fellow Folkworld writer, Eelco Schilder. And we of course, spent some time hunting down folk records in used record stores, as Belgium has had a fair share of quality folk releases. Floatstone comes in with a more modern take on folk music. The opening number “Crayfish”, just as the title implies, has a snappy Americana feel that successfully gets the toes tapping. I also enjoyed the rhythm on “The Power of the Heart” and the song has a nice punchy hook working as well. Most of the songs are acoustic guitar and voice, with lyrics in English. The lyrics are direct and the singing is focused. Guitar work is decent and the songs are good comfortable living room type songs that make for clean communication. And the closing song, “Dancing with the Trees” is a lovely tune that will stay with you in the silence that follows. Next time in Antwerp, I will be hoping for a Floatstone show in a folk club or coffee house.
© David Hintz

Ship of Ara "Ship of Ara"
Lollipop Shop; 2009

If there is a way to update the sea shanty, this band has found it. Actually, the Decembrists and a few others have also done so, but this is another successful venture into that territory. This is mostly a duo that sings and plays acoustic and electric guitars with other string instruments and accordion. They are assisted with some female backing vocals, bass, organ, and mandolin. There is a drone quality added to the indie rock stylings. This is all quite likable and is a steady, quality record. It just lacks a little of the depth and clarity from other bands in this style. But it is a nice start in a very cool direction. Steady as she goes.
© David Hintz

Kieran Halpin "The Devil and his Dealing"
Own label; 2011

This is Kieran Halpin’s twentieth album and the first I have listened to. Even before discovering that fact, I did sense an accomplished songwriter was at work here. The lyrics in “Bat in the Attic” were a lot sharper than most rock songs you hear these days. The music does not excite me as much as the lyrics, but it is slick professional rock music that showcases these fine songs in a comfortable setting. The vocal delivery has a wizened tough quality to it, even when it slows down a bit in the folkier songs like “Real Life”. Although I am being presumptive, I would imagine Kieran Halpin fans will enjoy this and it is not a bad starting point for anyone who wants to take a look at the art of song craft.
© David Hintz

Nomadic Orchestra of the World "Ban Jara!"
Materiali Sonori, 2012

Italy meets India is the closest description of these particular nomads playing the ever-popular rocked out gypsy music. The sound is red hot when they are on with strong thick sounds supporting indigenous rhythms and spirited vocals. Gogol Bordello, Balkan Beatbox, and DeLeon fans take note. This genre is hot and spreading everywhere. I have only heard it mishandled a couple of times, and not much on this record. Only the slower songs do not ring out as convincingly as the more up-tempo numbers. There is some decent variety here and more importantly, this band does pursue getting assistance to the nomadic peoples of the world. They are not merely in it for the music, but the music was born out of some focused wandering of the musicians themselves. But if that is all you want to concern yourself with, you could do a lot worse than giving this record a spin or two.
© David Hintz

Loudon Wainwright III "Older than My Old Man Now"
Proper, 2012

You nearly need one of those Pete Frame band tree charts to track the Wainwright relatives on this record. This is truly where the family tree meets the band tree. Five generations are present here, although the music is provided by the two generations that we are all quite familiar with. I have been a bit late coming around to the quality in the Loudon Wainwright III catalog, as I was not quite ready for his sardonic wit when I was younger. Either that or I could never get my head around his regal sounding name. Not only are there Wainwrights all over this album, but also a couple of the mothers of his children are here, Suzzy Roche and Ritamarie Kelly. Even if you do not read the liner notes, this retrospective on self and family becomes instantly clear in the lyrics of every song. There is a lot to listen to, and the music is generally of a quality that makes it easy to dig into the lyrics. The songs are catchy and varied and the meter and the delivery enhance the cleverness. “But here’s another song in C, with my favorite protagonist—me” sort of puts the exclamation point on things. Much of the lyrics alternate between humor and disturbing underlying themes, which little doubt is the point of it all. Start with the title cut’s discussion about outliving your father, and go to “Double Lifetime”, a nice duet with Ramblin’ Jack Elliott. The latter cut has humor, but is disturbing in the way it reminds me of a neglected classic film, “Seconds”. I will be listening to this many times, but with a lot of different albums in between. This is a lot to take in, during one listening session and ultimately it is a powerful album and even a disturbing one to those of us of a certain age.
© David Hintz

Rich Osborn "Giving Voice – Guitar Explorations"
Free Range Raga Records; 2012

There is an interesting story behind this album of solo acoustic guitar. Rich Osborn studied under the excellent Robbie Basho, a personal favorite of mine and innovative player from the 60s and 70s. Osborn also takes the influences of John Fahey and Indian ragas into these guitar workouts. What is really fascinating is that he had given up guitar for 20 years due to a thumb injury and focused on painting. It is nice to see him back, and although he probably is not at a level he once had, he brings the Basho spirit to the art of acoustic guitar. I would recommend starting with Basho records, although you will have to do a lot of hunting in the used shops to get the good ones (Zarthus is in my Top 20 albums of all-time list). So listen to this Rich Osborn record and see if the music is able to transport you to a contemplative, relaxing plane. It is not as varied as much of Basho, but this still worked for me.
© David Hintz

Rupert Wates "At the Losers’ Motel"
Bite Music Ltd; 2011

This is rich full-band folk music with strings is the simple formula here. There is something rather mainstream and composed in the first few songs, which is not necessarily an asset to my ears, but may be to yours. “Losers’ Motel” sounds a bit too relaxed in its presentation. But “When Love Came to Stay” invokes some of the finer British folk artists heading more toward John Martyn or Michael Chapman. So things began to get interesting. Wates happens to be a British musician, but has lived in the USA for a few years. The music seems to balance both styles reasonably well without going full-out Americana. He has a voice somewhere toward Nick Drake, but a little deeper. I also liked the acoustic guitar picking on “Waiting to Begin”, so there are some nice highlights here. I am glad I stayed with this record, as I found more to interest me as it went on and I would like to see the live show of Mr. Wates, who appears to be quite the road warrior. This album will appeal to a lot of folk-rock singer-songwriter fans out there.
© David Hintz

Mater Dea "Satyricon"
Midsummer’s Eve; 2012

The title cut does not exactly give off too many clues to why this Italian band’s second album should be written up in Folkworld, as its mainstream metal style electric guitar work is the overpowering force in the song. The female vocals are good and it is interesting enough, but where is the folk? It does start creeping in at times with some pipes, violin, acoustic moments, and magical lyrics. It’s a bit as if Blackmore’s Night returned to a Deep Purple/Rainbow sound. There are some mystical chanting moments and spacey passages, but things stay fairly heavy for the most part. Take the rockingest parts of Circulus and you are in the vicinity of the sound. Actually, it is all rather fun. And guitarist Marco Strega cites Black Sabbath, Comus, and Pentangle as his three favorite bands. Hmmmm, that sounds mysteriously similar to what I would say.
© David Hintz

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