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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Anthony Phillips & Andrew Skeet

Seventh Heaven

Review by Gary Hill

This new reissue is quite an impressive set. While a two-CD version of this album has appeared before, this one has a third CD of previously unreleased music. Additionally there is a DVD with 5.1 Surround versions of the music from the first two CDs of the set. This is quite a satisfying set with just the first two discs, but those other things make this so much more compelling and worthwhile.

Don't expect true progressive rock here. Really, this is listed in that section of Music Street Journal because of Anthony Phillips' catalog of work. This is much more of a classical music, soundtrack release. It has some very powerful music, but this is clearly not rock music.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc One
             
Credo in Cantus

Symphonic elements bring this into being. Operatic vocals rise up as the cut moves forward. This is decidedly classical in nature. It's also quite pretty. While it gets soaring and stirring, it drops back down at the end.

A Richer Earth
A lush symphonic arrangement is on hand as this begins. This cut is instrumental and grows out into powerful classical sounds. Yet, again, it drops back to mellower textures to end.
Under the Infinite Sky
Acoustic guitar brings this into being with an intricate display. Classical strings come over the top bringing a real power and sense of drama as it grows.
Grand Central
I love the piano that drives a lot of this cut. There is a real ethereal beauty to this piece. It has both a classical element and a more contemporary music kind of thing at the same time. It's evocative and powerful with the piano and classical strings working well together. I love the more intense movements on this.
Kissing Gate
Both the intricate guitar work and the symphonic elements lend both beauty and magic to this piece. It's quite a classy number.
Pasquinade
Another pretty piece that has a classical basis, this is effective. It's not a huge change, but it works well.
Rain on Sag Harbour
Feeling a bit like particularly effective soundtrack music, this is a driving piece that is part classical, but almost part fusion, too. The guitar really brings a lot to it. There is a lot of drama, both in that more rocking zone and the mellower one at the end.
Ice Maiden

Gentle piano starts this. That instrument remains alone throughout the duration of this beautiful piece.

River of Life
As Phillips' guitar starts this the tune feels more like what you expect from his solo output. Although, that said, he has a larger range in his catalog than most artists do. The classical elements provide enhancements to Phillips' music here, rather than really commanding the piece. That said, there are moments where they do seem to take command.
Desert Passage
This has an almost tentative, sparse vibe to it. There is a barren, desert kind of feeling. The guitar weaves beauty, but a sense of mystery and a sadness at the same time. After the two minute mark, the cut gets other instruments and really does resemble some kind of marketplace in a desert oasis. This is powerful and world music based. It drops back to the guitar after that with strings lending some flavorings.
Seven Ancient Wonders
This comes in mysterious and soundtrack like. There are some female world music vocals over the top.
Desert Passage (Reprise)
This brings us into a powered up reprise of the previous cut. World music dominates this effective piece.
Circle of Light
Intricate acoustic guitar starts this number. In fact, this is a guitar solo, and a particularly effective one at that.
Forgotten Angels
Symphonic elements are the driving factor here. There are angelic voices in a non-lyrical choir. There is a gentle beauty and a real majesty to this. It's another piece that feels like it would fit on a soundtrack.
Courtesan
I love the pretty classical stylings on this. It is a powerful piece of music.
Ghosts of New York
The strings bring a powerful richness to this. The cut has a cosmopolitan feeling befitting of New York along with an old-world elegance.
Shipwreck of St. Paul
Dramatic and powerful, this is so pretty. It definitely has more of that soundtrack quality to it. There is an implied darkness, like a horror movie, but also a sense of majesty befitting Harry Potter.
Cortege
More of a fully classical piece, this is pretty and symphonic.
Disc Two
          
Credo in Cantus (Instrumental)

If you've heard the first CD and read the title and parenthetical here, you have a good idea of what you are getting. I prefer this version, but I'm not a big fan of operatic singing.

Sojourn
I dig the picked acoustic guitar that starts this. There is more of a folk prog sound on hand for this number. The strings bring more of a classical nature once they join, though. There is a definite soundtrack kind of element to parts of this number.
Speak of Remarkable Things
This short piece is piano based and very beautiful.
Nocturne
Powerful acoustic guitar and classical strings make up the order of business on this piece. It's a lush and quite beautiful number.
Long Road Home
The orchestral elements bring a lot of emotion and majesty to this piece. It's another that feels as if it would fit well into a soundtrack. It has a great balance between more powered up and sedate sections.
The Golden Leaves of Fall
Piano brings this into being with pretty and gentle melodies. It seems to build and restart multiple times. Strings come in over the top after a time, but the piano still remains dominant. This becomes very powerful in later moments, though as the strings really do climb toward the top of the mix. It drops back down beyond that, though, and the piano reasserts control.
Credo

This is so powerful and beautiful in a classical music way. The acoustic guitar brings a lot to it.

Under the Infinite Sky (Guitar Ensemble Version)
I love the pretty and intricate arrangement on this thing. Interwoven lines of sound work together to create so much magic.
The Stuff of Dreams
There is a dark side to this piece. It has a symphonic basis and feels like soundtrack music. Yes, there is a dream-like quality to it, and while part of the dream is gentle, there are menacing moments.
Old Sarum Suite (Sarabande: Song of the Shires, the Feast of the Ice Saints, Stormchaser, the Path to War, the Fleet Assembles: Raising the Standard, Sarabande: Song of the Shires II)
As you would expect of a suite, there are a lot of flavors and themes presented here. This is quite classical in approach, and much of it would be at home in a soundtrack. It is also packed full of emotion and power. The scope and range are impressive, and the whole cut is very effective.
For Eloise
An intricate guitar solo, this is quite pretty.
Winter Song
Operatic vocals bring this into being. After that introduction the strings take command, adn this works out to a powerful and rather sad sounding piece.
Ghosts of New York (Piano Version)
There is a jazz-like vibe to this version of the cut.
Daniel's Theme
Pretty acoustic guitar and strings are on the menu here. This is dramatic and powerful.
Study in Scarlet
There is a real playful classical vibe to this number. It's powerfully arranged, and really reaches an effective peak at the end.
The Lives of Others
A pretty piano led arrangement starts this number.
Forever Always
Classically oriented, pretty and mellow, this is quite a nice piece of music.
Disc Three
            
"Seventh Heaven" Additional Stereo Recordings
            
As the Sun Rises

Gentle classical music seems to really convey watching the sun come over the horizon.

Steam Train Stories
While this is still quite classical in nature, there is a rock insistence and vibe to it. I can make out hints of The Beatles for some reason. This really does feel a bit like a train chugging along to me.
Carousel of Secrets
Dramatic, a bit mysterious and quite pretty, this is very classical soundtrack like in nature.
Courtship Dance
There is a playful, old world vibe to this cut. It's very classical in nature.
Flight of Strings
I like the energy and vitality of this piece. It's quite traditional classical music based. It's a bit playful and quite cool.
Heart Strings
The acoustic guitar that creates this piece has a real old world feeling to it.
Blackfriars Bridge
This has some great orchestral moments. It's playful and quite soundtrack like.
Our England (Prague Version)
Another pretty piece, this isn't a huge change from a lot of the rest, but is quite effective.
Tender Quintet
Quite pretty and evocative, the guitar elements on here are powerful, and the classical strings lend so much to it. This is actually one of my favorite cuts of the whole set.
Take This Heart
This song was written by Phillips with former Genesis bandmate Michael Rutherford. Organ brings it into being. A choir joins as it moves forward. It feels like something that would be at home in a church service. While it's a solid piece, it really doesn't fit with the rest of the music here.

 

 
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