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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Harptallica

Harptallica

Review by Gary Hill

I put this one in progressive rock. You might ask why, since the whole disc is made up of covers of Metallica songs. Well, the thing is the only instruments on the CD are two harps. When you take Metallica’s musical arrangements and perform them as a harp duo the music is far from heavy metal. There is a world of wonderment that comes to the table, though, and enough rock music to make this qualify in my book. All instrumental, this disc might be little more than a novelty to Metallica fans, but for someone looking to hear some beautiful music that has bits of familiarity to it (and only small bits because much of this winds up unrecognizable in this format) you will find a unique and incredible experience here. I highly recommend this one. For more information (or to buy the disc), stop by the group’s website.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Battery
A shortened rendition, the harps lend a pretty and haunting tone to the track. This is just plain beauty incarnate.
Master of Puppets
At nearly eight and a half minutes this is the longest track on the CD. It’s a bit dissonant at times and is pretty incredible. Packed with drama and (at times) foreboding create an intriguing twist on familiar themes. This is a fairly dynamic and quite beautiful piece of music.
Unforgiven
This one has more of the actual melody of the song shining through. Always a beautiful piece of music, this takes on even more power and passion as presented here. This musical adventure is one of my favorite pieces on the CD.
For Whom The Bell Tolls
Taking on new waves of beauty and splendor, at times this reminds me of a harp variation on the “Carol of the Bells.” There is drama and a bit of danger in the mix here at times, but, as with the rest of the CD, the overall theme is of pretty music. How can you have harp and make it sound anything but pretty?
(Welcome Home) Sanitarium
Always one of my all-time favorite Metallica songs, when done by that group this song has a pretty (albeit dark) texture. When presented here the element of beauty is magnified, with only a tempering of the darkness. This is another of my favorites on this disc.
Enter Sandman
The dark and anxious building at the beginning of this cut is purely awesome in this format. This one has a definite feeling of menace, even in this rendering. While this has its moments, it’s not one of my favorites here. The chorus section is rather cool, though.
Fade to Black
Another of my favorite Metallica songs, this one doesn’t translate as well to the Harptallica motif. As the previous piece it has its periods of charm, but isn’t amongst my favorite cuts here.
Orion
This begins very gently. It starts tentatively. This doesn’t rise up too far, though and remains one of the lesser cuts here.
One
They pull things back to the world of sublime moments with this beautiful rendition. It’s a great way to close things out on a high note.
 
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