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At The Mercy Of Manannán

Review by Gary Hill

This is an unusual act. They are creating music in the modern day and age, but they do it with a fictional history, the illusion that these albums were created in bygone eras. The thing is, it's not hard to believe given the music. This album is supposedly one that was released in 1972. The brand of melodic prog on it would have certainly been at home in those days, no matter when this was actually released.

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Track by Track Review
Setting Off
There is a dreamy, magical sort of musical tapestry built into this one. The vocals have a bit of an 80s vibe to them. Some whistling later lends a carefree vibe. The cut gets more proggy as other elements join the mix. This grows out with a lot of style and charm.
Seeming to come straight out of the previous number, this has a real Flash-meets-Yes vibe as it gets underway. It drops to a more stripped back for the entrance of the vocals. There is a cool soaring movement that comes in for the chorus. I dig the retro keyboard break on this. I can make out some Flower Kings leanings on this track. It's a great, dynamic melodic prog tune. There is a killer mellower instrumental section later that gives way to a more powered up prog jam. They return to the chorus before it ends.
This is a smoking hot, fast moving prog excursion that really does feel like a whirlpool,  twisting and turning. The percussion gets very involved and prominent. This instrumental is a powerhouse and includes some smoking hot guitar work.
To The Other Side
An intricate acoustic guitar arrangement gets things going here. The track works out from there with a lot of style as a balladic prog piece. This gets into some more powered up territory further down the road. It's definitely melodic prog throughout, though. There are a number of cool twists and turns. There is some killer synthesizer work on an instrumental section later. Then the cut takes a hard turn, getting into some almost Deep Purple like territory to continue. That said, it's still decidedly proggy and calls to mind ELP at times. As string-like synth washes over the top it's even more pure progressive rock. At over nine-minutes long, this is the epic of the set, and they make good use of that time.
Na Bruídaí
This tune has some great melodic prog at play. Around the mid-point it works into a killer instrumental movement that's so classic prog it's crazy. I can make out ELP, but a lot more. Vocals come in over the top of a variant of that crazed movement later. They take us through a number of twists and turns along this road.
Valley Of Elah
I dig the melodic rocking groove of this. It's perhaps less proggy than some of the rest, but it's very catchy and powerful. It does have some proggier moments, but nowhere near the level of some of the rest.
Scaling Novas
Starting in mellow, acoustic guitar driven territory, this powers out into some killer prog jamming further down the road. It gets very dramatic and potent. There are some killer twists and turns with some sections feeling very Yesish. That instrumental movement ends the track.
Mellow, atmospheric textures bring this track into being. It grows gradually with that kind of concept becoming more of a space rock based prog vibe. Then it gets more rocking with some cool twists and turns further down the road. This is quite a cool instrumental that really covers a lot of territory.

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