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Galahad

Seas of Change

Review by Gary Hill

This is an unusual album. The title track is a massive number that clearly qualifies as epic. There are only two other pieces, and they are both edits of sections of the other track. As you might hope from something of such epic scale, the track is steadily changing and has a wide range of sounds. This is an ambitious and quite successful release. It should please both prog purists and those who like modern progressive rock.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Seas of Change
This epic (nearly 43 minutes) opens with gradually rising atmospherics. Some spoken bits is heard as this slowly and gradually works forward. There are some interesting melodic lines of instrumentation that come over the top. A classical piano movement takes it after a time and moves the cut onward. Some symphonic elements come over the top. Then a female, non-lyrical voice, dances over the top. Around the three minute mark it turns to a theatrical spoken vocal movement with some old styled musical elements. Harpsichord takes over from there. Flute comes over the top of that. As the piano returns there are some beautiful and intricate musical elements that emerge. Choral voices come over the top. Then it explodes out into hard rocking power for a short segment. It drops back to atmospherics with a sound-bite spoken voice and some chorale vocals. The cut moves forward with a mellow and rather understated progressive rock movement from there. The first real sung vocals enter over the top of this backdrop, bringing kind of a folk prog sound to the piece. It powers out after that movement to killer, hard rocking prog jam that is instrumental and very tasty. After that winds through, they drop back to electronic atmospherics to create the next section. It's not quite atmospheric, but it's definitely not what you'd call rocking. That works through a number of sections moving forward. Eventually some sounds not unlike Tangerine Dream emerge. It shifts to a faster and more powerful triumphant sounding prog rock movement from there.


The next lyrical vocals come in over the top of this backdrop. This is the longest cohesive segment so far. It's accessible and really manages to rock. It shifts out after a time to a particularly metallic version of itself that feels quite a bit like Dream Theater. That ends the movement. Electronic sounds serve as the backdrop for another spoken section. The keyboards turn sinister and then the Dream Theater like movement returns to drive things onward. Around the fifteen and a half minute mark it shifts to an acoustic guitar driven movement. Non-lyrical melodic vocals come over the top. Then the lyrical ones return. This balladic prog movement gets an infusion of metal crunch as it drives onward. This works out to another smoking hot metallic prog jam after a while. Around the 19 minute mark it gets almost thrash-like, but there are enough prog layers in the mix to keep it from landing under metal. The cut continues to evolve from there with more vocals joining after a time. By around the 21 minute mark it has dropped back to more atmospheric stuff. A spoken vocal is heard again before the sung ones return. This has an electronic prog ballad approach as it works onward. Some crunch enters after a time. Then some dramatic, choral like vocals bring the powerful, epic sounds to bear. This continues in more of a powerhouse hard rocking prog arrangement from there.

The next spoken vocals are heard over the top of this. Then a keyboard solo fires out from there really upping the intensity. A crescendo is heard as it approaches the 24 minute mark. The cut works out from that point with some science fiction soundtrack styled keyboard arrangements. As that winds up there is another spoken vocal bit.

 

An acoustic guitar arrangement brings it back into more folk based prog before it powers out into a hard rocking jam that's just a bit Pink Floyd like. More sung vocals emerge as the piece continues to evolve. They work this through a number of movements. At times it lands more on the mellower side. At times it rocks with a sound that's not far removed from a proggier version of Pink Floyd's The Wall sound.

 

Around the 30 minute mark a melodic prog instrumental movement takes it. That gives way to a return to the previous movement before it turned heavier. I love some of the keyboard elements that come over the top of this. A killer instrumental jam emerges after a while. Around the 34 minute mark the cut drops to more electronics. Another spoken vocal bit emerges after that. The cut evolves gradually from there. At times as this grows it makes me think of Fish era Marillion. By around the 36 minute mark it has shifted to a fast paced prog jam. This gets fairly hard rocking as it continues. By around the 39 minute mark a keyboard dominated section has taken over. The movement works through with piano taking command after a time. An intricate guitar section emerges amidst atmospherics. As that drops away the keyboard arrangement remains to serve as the backdrop for the next vocals. We're back into a section from the first part of the piece here. A non-lyrical female voice enters as the final male vocals subside. That section ends this epic number in style.

Dust (Extended Edit)

Coming in with a balladic approach, this works out to more of a hard rocking prog sound to continue. This edit really makes for an effective prog rocker. It has plenty of shifts and changes and a lot of drama and power. Although an edit, this is almost six minutes long.

Smoke (Extended Edit)
Acoustic guitar opens this extended (7:13) section from the piece. Flute joins creating an organic, balladic prog texture. Non-lyrical vocals join to move it onward. Then the lyrical vocals are added. This works well as an independent and powerful prog jam in this format. We're taken through several changes and the cut really rocks. There are parts of this that feel like Marillion for sure, particularly in the later segments. It has some killer keyboard and guitar soloing later in the piece, too. In fact, the guitar soloing at several points along this road really shines.
 
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