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Vangelis

Heaven and Hell

Review by Gary Hill
I like Vangelis' blend of electronic and symphonic music. This album features vocals from Jon Anderson on one song, a real bonus to me. This might not be precisely progressive rock, but it is progressive music. It's also a diverse set of music. I should mention that I reviewed it from the original vinyl, so the division between the songs might be a bit off on my review as it's hard to tell where one ends and another begins sometimes.
 
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Heaven and Hell Part I

This comes in with weird electronic elements that have a start and stop approach. Some chorale voices appear in non-lyrical fashion. The cut shifts to more of a pure prog rock fashion as it continues. It still has plenty of electronic symphonic bombast, though. After it works through in that fashion for a while, it drops back to the opening section. Then we get a return to the rocking stuff. That takes the piece to its close.

Bacchanale
There is more electronic classical sound here. The chorale vocals lend a different kind of element. This is like classical music with a modern edge.
Symphony to the Powers B (Movements 1 and 2)
Quite an intriguing and classically structured tune, this makes good use of the contrast between quieter and louder sections. It has plenty of bombast. It feels both organic and electronic, too.
Movement 3 (from "Symphony to the Powers B")
Starting in piano, this has the classical meets electronic element firmly in place. The choir appears here, too. Some of the melodies as this works forward seem similar to some of the work Vangelis would later do on the "Chariots of Fire" soundtrack. I should mention that I haven't heard that soundtrack in years and am going on memory.
So Long Ago, So Clear
Featuring vocals from Jon Anderson, this is a precursor of the kind of music the two would later do under the "Jon and Vangelis" moniker. It's both electronic and classical. It has more of a "song" structure than the rest of the music here.
Heaven and Hell Part II
This is weird stuff. It's very electronic, freeform and sparse. It's quite trippy, really.
Intestinal Bat
A playful little number, this is still electronic. It gets some classical lines built into it as it builds upward.
Needles & Bones
Rather tribal and very weird. This feels like an alien world in so many ways. It's not a pretty world, either. It's a rather scary, but strangely compelling, place.
12 O'Clock (in two parts)
There is a movement here that's focused around non-lyrical vocals. This is classical, but also world music based. It's pretty and rather sedate in a lot of ways. It is perhaps more operatic than chorale.
Aries
Bombastic, electronic and still symphonic, this is cool stuff.
A Way
This is a much mellower, electronic piece. In addition to being sedate, it's also quite pretty. It is a good way to bring things back down to Earth to end the album.
 
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