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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Ian Anderson

Homo Erraticus

Review by Gary Hill

I know it’s still early days in terms of the year 2014, but I’d say it’s a safe bet this disc will make my “best of” list for the year. It’s that good. In my opinion it’s the strongest Ian Anderson album ever. In fact, if one considers it a Jethro Tull disc (and really it kind of is – in fact, Anderson’s site says that it’s a “’Jethro Tull’ (in all but name) album” I’d put it as one of the four or five best. Yes, it’s that good. This is a progressive rock masterpiece. If you’ve ever liked Ian Anderson’s solo work or Jethro Tull (and who hasn’t), get this as soon as possible. You will love it. I know I do.

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
Part One: Chronicles
  
Doggerland
Rising up with flute driving Celtic elements into the game, this is very much a classic Jethro Tull sounding piece. It drops to an acoustic driven verse that’s very old world in nature. There are some pretty astounding musical moments as it turns into a powerhouse progressive rock jam. This really feels so much like something that could have come from a 1970s Tull album.
Heavy Metals
This is one of the delicate old world styled tracks for which Tull was often known. It’s pretty and intricate and quite classy.
Enter the Uninvited
Some pretty progressive rock opens this. After a short time it works out to a harder rocking movement for a section. Then it continues to evolve. This is a dynamic and ever shifting progressive rock masterpiece. There are elements of Jethro Tull sound here, but this doesn’t really feel like something that would fit seamlessly onto a Tull album. That’s not a bad thing, though. It just means there are some flavors that might not be recognizable as Tull. That said, this is an Ian Anderson album. I love this song. It’s got a lot of magic in its shifts and changes.
Puer Ferox Adventus
For almost the first minute the only accompaniment to the vocals is a storm with atmospheric music over the top. As it gets more melodic, it remains quite mellow for a time. This is, though, another cut that’s very dynamic. It works through a number of changes. At times it rocks out pretty hard and various musical themes emerge and are explored. The flute based section later is particularly powerful. This is a very extensive and ever changing piece of music. It’s one of the best of the whole set.
Meliora Sequamur
Organ opens this with a very traditional music sound. The piece grows gradually out from there, feeling rather like choral music as it builds. There are some more rock oriented sections later, though. This is very much a classical and traditional music based number, however.
The Turnpike Inn
A harder rocking number, this one definitely resembles Jethro Tull a lot. It’s a smoking hot piece of music. There are some great twists and turns here. Both the flute soloing and the guitar soloing are noteworthy.
The Engineer
Celtic music, hard rock and chamber sounds all seem to merge on this piece. It’s another that feels like it would have been at home in the Tull catalog, but more like the 1980s output.
The Pax Britannica
The guitar and flute jam that starts this feels almost like a continuation of the previous piece. It’s also another passage that would be quite at home on a Tull disc. They drop down after that introduction to a mellower, but no less compelling, jam. This is another powerhouse progressive rocker that works through a number of intriguing changes.
Part Two: Prophecies

  

Tripudium Ad Bellum
Another fast paced powerhouse jam, this instrumental definitely feels like Jethro Tull. It turns this way and that and seems like it would have been very much at home on one of the 1970s Tull albums. Part of this is harder edged, part of it is mellower. It’s all pretty quick in terms of tempo, though. It dissolves into noisy chaos at the end.
After These Wars
Early on this is more like a ballad. It’s got enough changes in it to keep it interesting, though. It also includes more powered up moments. It’s another Tull-like piece. It is also one of the more dynamic progressive rock workouts. It also has some of the cooler passages of the set. Given the quality of this whole album, that really says a lot.
New Blood, Old Veins
As good as everything here is, it’s hard for me to pick a “best song,” but if you really pressed me, it would probably be this one. It’s a smoking hot progressive rock masterpiece that moves through various sections and has contrasts between mellower and harder rocking movements. It has some great hooks and yet lots of meat. I just love this thing.
Part Three: Revelations
 
In for a Pound
This is a fairly short number based on old world music. It’s a good reprieve and chance to catch your breath.
The Browning of the Green
More of a crunchy Jethro Tull like piece, this is another effective tune. It’s also a real progressive rock work out, going from one section to another in fairly rapid-fire succession. It has some of the most metallic moments of the disc, too.
Per Errationes Ad Astra
This doesn’t really have a lot of music, but rather more sound effects. It’s a spoken piece that’s pretty interesting and serves as some nice variety.
Cold Dead Reckoning
Coming in mellow, this powers out into one of the more compelling musical passages of the set. This is both one of the more straightahead pieces and one of the more Tull-like ones here. It’s also another killer on a disc that’s full of them. A false ending gives way to a new little melody that’s quite pretty. That doesn’t grow out much, though, serving to bring things to a close in a classy way.
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