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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Galahad

Seize the Day

Review by Gary Hill

I’ve pretty much enjoyed everything I’ve heard from Galahad over the years, so it’s no surprise I like this a lot. I guess I like it more than I even expected, though. I just wish there was more here. It’s essentially three songs (all great) with one variant on each track also included. I think maybe it might have flowed a bit better to have the first three versions come at the start with the alternates at the end, instead of two alternate versions one after another for each song. Still, it really doesn’t feel redundant so that’s just more of a theoretical complaint than a practical one. All in all, this EP (and it’s pretty long for an EP) is very good and highly recommended for Galahad fans and fans of modern progressive rock in general.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Seize the Day (Single Version)
As this starts you might think you’ve popped in the latest electronic dance song. It’s got that same driving electronic sound that’s all over club music. The guitar and vocals, though, bring it more into hard rocking territory on the choruses. They drop it to a moody, more traditional modern prog sound for the verse. There is a cool instrumental section that mid-track that has some great bass work in a mellow motif. There is a harder rocking, more traditional prog movement later in the piece, too. The contrast between the two main portions of this song is very effective. Although that dance music vibe might be off-putting to some listeners, it’s actually one of the things that makes this song work as dramatically as it does.
Seize the Day (Full Version)
At just over eight and a half minutes in length, this version is more than twice as long as the single version. It starts with a more traditional progressive rock and classical music based keyboard section. As the vocals come over this tapestry it makes me think of Fish era Marillion. It remains sedate and feels almost like Fish singing over something from Vangelis. They continue in this format working with some melodic variations, almost like a song all its own. Then at around the two-minute and twenty second mark we’re brought into the introduction of the single version of the piece and it’s on from there. Although the basic concept remains the same as that shorter incarnation, things seem a bit shifted around to me. There seem to be some extra bits of instrumental magic in the middle of this version, too – setting it apart from its shorter counterpart in that way. This version also seems more powerful in some ways.
21st Century Painted Lady

Acoustic guitar starts things here. As other instruments and the vocals join, I’m again reminded of Fish era Marillion. They move this through some variations, but the main themes remain throughout. That Marillion reference is valid throughout, too. It’s also tied to a lot of the folk progressive rock of the 1970s, as well.

21st Century Painted Lady (Instrumental)
As the title suggests, this is an instrumental version of the song that preceded it. This takes is good, but I prefer the vocal incarnation. The guitar solo really shines on this one. It also seems to rock out a bit harder.
Bug Eye 2014
Atmospheric keyboard elements with some spoken words more or less in the background start this. It grows up gradually from there. As the vocals enter, I’m again reminded of Marillion, but perhaps more Hogarth era than Fish era. The piece moves forward and some of those electronic music keyboard sounds are heard as icing at times. After the two minute mark it gets more of an insistent rocking element added. The “everyone deserves a chance to shine” part almost feels related to 1980s electronic pop music. Guitar brings crunch in beyond that and as the vocals return earlier Marillion is again a reference point. The cut has a lot of contrast between harder rocking and mellower movements. It’s also got some very powerful sections. I like this one a lot. In fact, I’d consider it to be the best thing here.
Bug Eye (Live)

As the titling suggests, this is a live rendition of the previous piece. It’s about four minutes longer, though. In some ways, I’d say this telling feels even more like Marillion to me. That’s not a bad thing, at all. That 80s element is washed away on this version. A little Gregorian chant late in the track is a nice touch. That’s one of the variants in this. I said that the studio rendition was my favorite song here – mainly because I think it should be a studio rendition – but I actually like this one even more. It’s a real powerhouse and a great way to end this thing in style.


 
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