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Jade Warrior

Eclipse & Fifth Element: The 1973 Recordings Remastered 2CD Edition

Review by Gary Hill

This new double disc set collects Jade Warrior's two 1973 albums in one set. Of course, the discs get remastered in the process. This band was sort of all over the place stylistically. There are healthy helpings of folk music, psychedelia and more traditional prog in the mix. Even things like early metal and jazz show up at times. As diverse as this is, it works well as part of the catalog of the band. This is a great way to get these two albums in one place, too.

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Track by Track Review
English Morning

Gentle, folk-like sounds get things underway here. The cut builds on that basis as it continues, growing gradually. Beyond the half-way mark of this roughly four-and-a-half-minute song, there is a blast of more powered up prog. Rather than take us into new directions, though, that gives way to a return to more folky stuff. It does get some hints of dangerous space in the arrangement for a time, though.

There is a rather tribal vibe to the percussion on this. The music starts with sort of a hippie folk rock groove. It turns more hard rocking and electrified later. This is an unusual instrumental that feels like a product of its time, but still holds up well. I'm reminded to just a small degree of Santana here, but also of things like War. The flute really wails on this.
Too Many Heroes
Here we get more of an electric guitar based rocker. This is such a classy instrumental piece. It has some great twists, turns and melodic vibes. There are some angles to this that almost feel metallic. It has some scorching guitar work. It leans toward space rock, while also encompassing folk rock and prog. Minor comparisons to Jethro Tull would not be out of the question. Call this what you like, it's great no matter the label.
Soldier Song
This is a very unique piece. It has hard rocking instrumental movement is sandwiched between staccato vocal ones. There is a healthy helping of psychedelia and experimental music built into this. There is a trippy psychedelically styled jam later. The bring it back into a vocal dominated section from there that feels almost Zappa-like.
Mwenga Sketch

Zappa is a valid reference point on this killer jam, too. I'd consider Santana and The Grateful Dead worth mentioning here, as well. This drops away near the half-way mark and comes up with a mellower sort of groove. It gets more rocking as it continues, but then we get a full percussion solo section. The number explodes out into proggier zones from there. The percussion with non-lyrical vocals takes over again for a time before we get more high energy rocking stuff to end the essentially instrumental number in style.

Holy Roller
Fuzz driven sounds get this going. That drops away, and we're taken into a bluesy sort of jam from there. There is a climbing arrangement that brings some cool proggy space rocking sound. War is a valid reference in some ways on this tune, too.
House of Dreams

This comes in mellow, both bluesy and psychedelic. It grows gradually outward from there. Vocals come in with a haunting, understated quality to them. They feel distant, adding to the psychedelic angle. I'm reminded a little of The Doors as this evolves. It stays reasonably mellow for more than five minutes of its more than eight-minute duration. Then it explodes to a harder rocking version of the sounds that made up the rest of the tune. There is plenty of psychedelia in the mix along with more pure prog stuff. That section holds it sans vocals for the rest of the duration of both the track and the album.

On the Mountain of Fruit

This instrumental comes in with a cool folk meets prog approach. It grows outward and upward gradually. It gets pretty rocking before it's over, but more via intensification than alteration. This is classy stuff that serves as a great opener for the second album included here.

Here we get another that at times makes me think of Frank Zappa, this time to a greater degree. There is a lot of jazz in the mix along with plenty of psychedelia and more. The tune is weird, but also compelling. It gets pretty hard rocking before it's over.
Hey Rainy Day

Some of the bass sound on this makes me think of Chris Squire. I'm talking more the sound and less what is being played. There is a dreamy, mellower quality to this. It's melodic and pretty. It has some hints of some of the balladic side of early King Crimson. This feels a little soulful later, particularly as the vocal arrangement fills out.

We Are the One
There is a dreamy, trippy vibe at play here. The folk music concepts work really well. This gets a bit more powered up, but remains very much like a folk based psychedelic sound throughout.
24 Hour Movie

This hard rocking number has some of that Zappa thing, but really feels very much like a combination of King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man" along with some glam rock.

With an active percussive element, this has plenty of folk music built into it. It's a mellow track with vocal harmonies and a lot of cool instrumental melodies.
Yam Jam

I really dig the classy jam that gets this going. The track has a lot of psychedelia and jam band sound at its core. This is another that has both Grateful Dead and Santana built into it. It's a cool instrumental.

Have You Ever
Mellower and rather trippy as it gets going, this evolves gradually. This gets into some killer hard rocking, rather psychedelic stuff from eventually. That part again has some hints of the bombastic end of early King Crimson. They make another drop back to mellower sounds before driving back out into the rocking zones. It drops to some really sedate, but trippy stuff after that winds through. Making its way back to vocal territory for a short time, that part ends it in style.
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