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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Arthur Brown's Kingdom Come

Eternal Messenger An Anthology 1970-1973: Remastered & Expanded

Review by Gary Hill

I have to admit to not being all that familiar with Arthur Brown's work. Sure, I know about the stuff he did with Hawkwind and Robert Calvert and things like that. Everyone knows the song "Fire," but I never heard this band before. I have to say that the brand of psychedelia meets proto prog they created was magic. I can say that I'm definitely a convert to being a big fan of Brown now. This is theatrical, creative and very cool. The whole set with cardboard clamshell box, massive book and more is all class, too.

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Track by Track Review
CD One
Galactic Zoo Dossier
Released in October 1971
Internal Messenger

Weird, trippy psychedelic music serves as the backdrop for some sounds from a religious event. After the introduction, the cut shifts to a hard rocking prog jam. The vocals come over the top of that. This has space rock and even some funk built into it. The piece builds upward to a powerful peak. Then it drops back to a freaky mellower movement and gradually starts its ascent from there. The cut eventually segues into the next number.

Space Plucks
Psychedelia, space rock and more mainstream progressive rock all merge on this classy cut. It has a real theatrical feeling to it.
Galactic Zoo
This cut feels weirder and more freeform in a lot of ways. It has a rather psychotic vibe to it.
Metal Monster
Coming out of the previous one, this has a killer prog groove and hints of things like King Crimson. It has some psychotic leanings and also feels a bit like the more experimental side of Hawkwind at times.
Simple Man
A more melodic piece, this still has plenty of psychedelically tinged proto-prog built into it.
Night Of The Pigs
Strange psychedelia is at the heart of this. The cut gets noisy and rather freaky. It's very theatrical, too. There are jabby sorts of guitar parts to this.
There is a soulful edge to this mellower cut. It is packed full of emotion and style. It has a lot of class and charm to it. I love the driving bass line as this powers upward into more up-tempo prog. The instrumental section of this gets into some of the most powerful music of the whole first disc.
An organ chord held exceptionally long and faded upward starts this cut. The track works out to a folk rock texture from there. This definitely makes me think of early Hawkwind in a lot of ways.
This seems to continue musical themes from the previous number. There are some odd voices that seem in the backdrop for a while, but gradually move a little bit forward. This is an unusual folk meets psychedelia piece.
Medley: Galactic Zoo, Pt. 2 / Space Plucks, Pt. 2 / Galactic Zoo, Pt. 3
A jazzy piano dominated movement brings this into being, and the cut works outward from there. Then it explodes into prog rock brilliance for a short bit before modulating into trippier sounds from the weird vocal part. A smoking hot prog jam emerges from there. It's fast paced and particularly strong.
Spoken vocals with weird music, this really feels like Hawkwind in a lot of ways. Then again, it's also trademark Arthur Brown. I could picture Robert Calvert doing something like this, too.
Coming out of the previous piece, this is trippy, gradually building weirdness. It builds up near the end with a soaring kind of freakiness that is so cool.
Gypsy Escape
Another that makes me think of early Hawkwind at times, this has some killer prog jamming at play. There are hints of fusion on this, too. This works through some cool shifts and changes through the course of the extended instrumental arrangement. This is a fairly extensive piece that is also quite dynamic and solid. This instrumental piece is arguably the highlight of the first disc.
No Time
This driving rocker is so classy. It has some soaring jamming and a lot of energy. It's also suitably strange. This works through so many different sections. It gets so dramatic at points. It's another standout on this first disc.
Bonus Tracks:
A & B Sides of single
Eternal Messenger

Energetic, driving and soaring, this rocker is so classy.

I.D. Side To B Side The C Side
This is such a strange tune. At its core, it's a jazzy sort of balladic number that's rather old fashioned. There are weird studio things in the mix along with a promo spoken bit run over the top at points. It all conspires to create something strange, particularly when the studio banter takes over at the end.
This alternate take is such a powerhouse. I think I might like this version even better than the final one that made the album. I should add that the other take is so cool, too.
Metal Monster
This take seems weirder and noisier than the other one. It's cool, but a bit too out there for me in some ways.
Space Plucks Dem Bones
I dig this psychedelic, jazzy, expansive groove quite a bit. It gets very trippy. A weird twist later into "Dem Bones" is a strange, but interesting development. It comes back out from there into more killer psychedelic prog.
CD Two
Kingdom Come
Released in October 1972

Strange sounds open this. The cut works to a weird jam from there. There is a lot of strange studio sound and weird music as this grows, but it eventually works to a more mainstream and melodic prog ballad styled type of music. It gets quite potent before it finishes up. There is an odd like theatrical skit at the end.

Love Is A Spirit That Will Never Die
More mainstream music, this has a folk rock meets prog approach in the early parts of the cut. It gets a bit more driving and turns quite soaring as it continues. There is a real sense of theatrical drama to this piece. The piece gets more rocking as it works forward.
City Melody

There are operatic and theatrical elements as this starts. It feels very much like musical theater. The prog rock jamming ensues after the introductory movement. The extended instrumental segment is purely inspired with prog jamming that channels a lot of psychedelia. There is a weird psychedelic, spacey sort of theatrical break. Then the song seems to end, but gradually a string of seemingly disconnected bits of weirdness emerge. This really becomes a strange bit that feels like a found sound mélange. It gets into a bit of chorale music at the end.

Traffic Light Song

A higher energy prog jam with a killer riff brings this into being. I'm reminded to some degree of Frank Zappa on this. There are strange vocal bits at play at different points of the early part of the cut. As the vocals come in for the song proper, they have a psychedelic meets jazz vibe to them. While this is strange, it's also fun.

The Teacher

Operatic musical theater begins this. After the opening section, the cut works to a fast paced jazz meets prog jam that has an old-fashioned British texture to it. I'm reminded a bit of both Queen and Genesis on this cut. There is a real Frank Zappa skit kind of vibe to it as it approaches the ending.

The Experiment (feat. Lower Colonic Irrigation)
Coming out of the last tune, this is a powerhouse prog meets psychedelia jam that definitely makes me think of Frank Zappa to a large degree. It has some cool twists and turns. This works through some different modes as it continues, including a more folk rock based jam that is somewhat mainstream in nature.
The Whirlpool

Weird sound effects twist and turn as this piece gets underway. This gets hard rocking and crazed as it works outward. Some of the changes seem unrelated, while others are logical. This has some amazing music built into it. It also has some real strange sound effects.

The Hymn

Psychedelic weirdness with spoken theatrical vocals create a strange sonic tapestry. This is very experimental. It also calls to mind the weird side of Hawkwind. The cut works out to a more mainstream rocking movement later. It works to a rather soulful mainstream music movement from there. The guitar work on the later soaring movement is so classy.

Bonus Tracks:
Traffic Light Song

An alternate version of the tune, this compares pretty evenly with the take that made the final album. It's perhaps a bit less strange, which does serve it well.

The Hymn
This alternate take is more straightforward and cut down from the album version. I think it has more immediacy and is more accessible in this form.
The Experiment (feat. Lower Colonic Irrigation)

Another alternate take, this rocker is more mainstream than the version that made it to the album. The percussion seems to be further up in the arrangement here and busier.

CD Three
Released in April 1973
Time Captives

This comes in percussive and stays mostly that way for quite some time. The pace eventually picks up and then some synthesizer and other elements join. The speed and sound both intensify as this continues. The cut switches after a long time to a dramatic space rock jam. This really makes me think of Hawkwind in a lot of ways.

Coming out of the previous cut, this is decidedly more melodic right from the beginning. It has elements of both prog and psychedelia built into it. This piece is quite the powerhouse number.
More pure prog brings this number into being. It has some great keyboard sounds, and the guitar paints some almost early metal moments at times. Imagine combining Hawkwind with Uriah Heep, and you might have an idea what this track is about. The vocals bring some serious drama to this song. I love the guitar work on the expansive instrumental section later. The whole cut seems to soar into space further down the road. This works into a rocking jam that seems directly tied to an early Hawkwind song. This piece continues evolving and growing from there.  It really explores a lot of sonic territory as it continues.
Superficial Roadblocks: Lost Time / Superficial Roadblocks / Corpora Supercelestia
There is a symphonic edge to the opening section here. It feels both proggy and space rock oriented at the same time, too. This is dramatic art rock. There are some almost Bowie-like moments to this at times. The whole cut works through some dramatic changes. This is one of the more effective pieces of the whole set, really. The closing section brings back the symphonic elements along with a lot of synthesizer.
I love the bass sound as this groove gets going. There is a real funky edge to this as Brown screams in a rather creepy way. The cut just oozes cool as the groove builds.
Spirit Of Joy
There really is a joyous vibe to this number. It's so classy and cool with both prog and space rock elements merged into a rather mainstream cut.
Come Alive
A fairly driving rock sound is on display here. This definitely has a Hawkwind-like space rock feeling to it. This has some intriguing changes, getting into some cool hard rocking zones with a blues rock vibe further down the road. A mellower movement further down the road features some cool keyboard textures. I dig the blues rock groove merged with synthesizer later in the tune. This cut is very classy.
Bonus Tracks
Time Captives

I dig the solid groove of this alternate version of the tune. The Hawkwind like vibe of this is so classy here. I think I might prefer this take to the one on the album.

The spacey and dramatic concept on this is so cool on this alternate version of the piece.
Come Alive
I really dig the hard rocking groove of this version of the cut. It's tastefully strange, while also oddly mainstream. The vocals get pretty crazed at times. I really love the keyboard dominated movement at the end of this. That explodes out into a short burst of guitar soloing right at the end.
A & B Sides of single
Spirit Of Joy (Single Version)

Here we get a single version of the earlier cut. This has a great energy and space rock groove. It works well like this.

Slow Rock
This is not a slow song, despite the title. It has a cool rock groove to it, feeling a bit like Bowie mixed with Calvert. Of course, Bowie gets a name check in the song, so it seems an obvious comparison. This gets into some strange territory as it continues to explore the space.
CD Four
Jam: The First Sessions
Recorded 1970
Jungle Dreams

Some trippy world music styled sound gradually rises upward here. A percussive element enters and takes control of the musical arrangement. Distant sounding vocals join and gradually become more intense. There is a real bluesy kind of aspect that takes command of that voice. Then the track gets more instruments added and a different styled trippy vocal emerges. The cut becomes quite psychedelic from there. The track turns more rocking and driving, and the vocals get into almost James Brown zones.

Inconstant Wisdom
Percussion brings this into being. There is a spoken vocal that sounds like some crazed preacher, but it's echoey and trippy. The percussion gars crazed. This seems quite freeform and tastefully weird.
Coming in much like an extension of the previous piece, the vocals on this are more soulful. The cut gets some killer jazz added to the mix when piano and other instruments join. As it continues it drifts more toward spacey freeform psychedelia, and the vocals change. At times those vocals are spoken. At other points they are soaring psychedelically tinged stuff. Guitar comes upward in the arrangement, bringing the track into territory that seems to merge The Doors with King Crimson. There is a speeding up of the track around the three-quarters mark. The cut twists towards craziness before ending.
The Finger
Coming out of the previous number, this has a freeform jazz kind of vibe. As the vocals join, freeform psychedelia seems to take over.  Some blues rock based psychedelia takes control of the piece later. This is a powerhouse song. The instrumental movement later brings some killer proto-prog. I think this is arguably the strongest cut of this fourth disc. It's actually one of my favorites of the entire set.
Early Morning
There is a nearly acapella arrangement to the first portion of this cut. There are some sparse freeform bits of instrumentation, mostly piano later. As it approaches the halfway mark, some other voices are heard in a spoken way and the most gets even stranger. This really shifts into trippy psychedelic weirdness. The tune begins to resemble Hawkwind's "Sonic Attack" in some ways, but with a jazzy, more organic vibe and a lot stranger air to it. Weird ramblings and odd pieces of music take over from there. It becomes more driving, but no less strange.
More of a mainstream psychedelic rocker, this builds nicely. It has some powerful vocals and killer instrumental moments. This is another that makes me think of The Doors to some degree.
Jam band meets blues rock and more on this tasty number. It has some killer instrumental interplay and exploration. There is a couple parts of the track that include vocals, but overall this is mostly an instrumental. The psychedelic blues rock instrumental work makes this quite an effective tune. The stranger vocal section late brings it into Doors turned space rock zones.
Water Is My Friend
Largely feeling like an extension of the previous piece, Vanilla Fudge and Iron Butterfly are both valid comparisons to be made.
In some ways this isn't a big change, but the vocals feel rather crazed and perhaps a bit psychotic. The tune is another that calls to mind the more psychedelic, out there, side of The Doors.
CD Five
At The BBC 1971-1972
BBC Radio One "Top Gear"
No Time

Organ starts this cut. The number works out from there to driving, crazed jamming. I'm reminded to some degree of Deep Purple, think "Child In Time" on this piece of music. This does get stranger than that DP song ever does, though. The crazed stuff further down the road has some hints of James Brown and gospel preachers.

There a spoken introduction to this number, with all the members of the band getting name-checked. Keyboards serve as the background for the opening vocals. Again, "Child in Time" is a valid reference, but there are hints of early Uriah Heep here, too. It evolves into a powerhouse soulful blues rocker as it continues.
BBC Radio One Mike Harding Show
Eternal Messenger

After a spoken introduction from the announcer, some folk music styled sound brings this cut into being. The first couple minutes of the song work in a straight-line based on that folk music concept. Then synthesizer screams and hard rocking guitar joins. The tune coalesces into a harder rocking, driving jam that's on fire from there. It gets into some stranger zones at times, but is overall pretty straight-ahead and rocking. There is some killer guitar work further down the road. This has a real building energy and drama to it.

Galactic Zoo
Weirdness starts this cut. The number gradually pulls together and works out into spacey music with jazzy tendency. Strange vocals come in over the top. Crimsonian guitar craziness takes over later in the song as the cut drifts into freeform jazz turned spacey. There are definitely Crimsonian elements on the closing section.
Weirdness with spoken vocals is on display on the opening movement here. Combine King Crimson with Hawkwind and you'll be in the right zone. The cut grows outward from there to a killer jazz prog arrangement that really has some great energy and scope. It gets into some literally screaming zones.
BBC Radio One Alan Black Show
No Time

A high energy crazed screamer, this thing really rocks like crazy. There are some great shifts and turns, and this is decidedly progressive rock based.

Space Plucks / Creation
Space music with jazzy concepts drives this number in trippy ways. It gets into more grooving zones further down the road. I love the dropped back space meets prog arrangement later. It shifts to noisy space with spoken vocals as it twists into the next cut. Hawkwind is a valid reference.
Simple Man
Mellower proggy goodness is on display here. There is a classy groove to this. The trippy synthesizer solo is so cool. It works back out to the song proper to end eventually.
Metal Monster / Trouble
A noisy, almost metallic, groove starts this cut. The vocals come in over the top and the Hawkwind comparisons are valid. I dig the distorted, Dalek like sound of some of the vocals. There is a fast paced prog riff bridge to a new movement that is soaring, yet mellower, proto prog. The cut drifts toward psychedelic folk prog from there. It seems to fade out mid-song to end.
BBC Radio One John Peel Show
Slow Rock

Hard-edged guitar rock starts this number. The vocals come over with an echoey rock and roll kind of vibe. This gets rather weird at times, but stays sort of basic and rudimentary. The extended instrumental movement includes some killer interplay between the organ and the guitar. I don't really think this version of the song is as goad as the one we heard earlier, but it does have its charms. A later melodic movement makes me think of Procol Harum. There is a spoken portion from the announcer at the end of this.

Spirit Of Joy
Organ starts this cut. This works out to more of a mainstream prog rock cut that has some real magic at its core. There are some pretty powerful prog rocking zones built into this number. There is a short bit of talking at the end of this.
Slow moving and percussive, the keyboards bring intriguing flavors to this. This eventually makes its way to pretty crazed Crimsonian weirdness.



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