One more time Clive Nolan and Oliver Wakeman have mobilized the progressive scene for another ambiguous work. This time, the chosen musicians are the veterans Tony Fernández (many years since his first collaboration drumming with R.Wakeman in 1976 in "No Early Connection" album!), Peter Banks (I think I don´t have to introduce you Yes founder guitar player) and Asley Holt (who also collaborated in the following R.Wakeman´s albums: "The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table", "Journey to the Centre of the Earth" and "No Early Connection"); the unrelenting Arjen "Ayreon" Lucassen (guitars), the loyal Peter Gee (Pendragon bassist) and a long list of collaborators like Bob Catley -Magnum-, Tracy Hitchings -Landmarq-, Paul Allison, IQ´s bassist John Jowitt, and less known musicians I´m sure you´ll relate with the bands they come from; I´m talking about Ewa Albering (former Quidam´s flutist), Michelle Young (Glasshammer´s vocalist), Ian Gould (who toured with Landmarq), Karl Groom (Threshold´s guitarist) y Jo Greenland (violin).
The concept of the CD is inspired by Conan Doyle´s famous novel "The hound of the Baskervilles". C. Nolan, in an interview for Lunar Waves magazine, confessed : "I´m a big fan of Sherlock Holmes tales..., books, TV series, films,... I love this character, I think the best stories have a fantastic progression, and this one has indeed a fantastic progression too". These are the tracks:
"The Curse Of The Baskervilles" (6:13)
"Three Broken Threads" (4:36)
"Shadows Of Fate" (7:01)
"At Home In The Mire" (4:52)
"Run For Your Life" (4:51)
"Picture Of A Lady" (3:40)
"The Argument" (4:47)
"Second Light" (2:00)
"Death On The Moor" (6:13)
"By Your Side" (3:31)
"Chasing The Hound" (4:33)
This CD follows the line of "Jabberwocky", with a style inherited from "Journey to the centre of the earth". The narrator is Robert Powel, -who worked with daddy Rick in the wonderful "Elegy" from the surprising "Cost Of Living" album in 1983- who narrates the story and introduces its musical moments. The CD maintains all the great things of the first CD... or we could say that it is very similar than "Jabberwocky". I think, using that old sentence: "if something works... don´t change it", they are right on the money. I know this is not the ideal if we are talking about progressive music, but when you find such well done works you are so satisfied you want to repeat.
Although the CD, as a good conceptual CD, maintains a great balance of quality from the beginning until the end, I would like to remark the following songs: "Shadows Of Fate" where Bob Catley does a great work in one of the best built compositions, one of those catchy songs that you can´t get out of your head in days. Another golden seed is "Picture Of A Lady" a short ballad followed by the best song of the CD "The Argument", another song where Bob Catley sings a great melody. Then the rest of the vocalists join the melody and the song has beautiful moments. Later on, we can live strong emotions with the up-tempo "Seldon", with the unmistakable Arjen Lucassen´s guitar flying over the keyboards.
Almost at the end of the CD we find another ballad with piano, "By Your Side", and with Michelle Young unfolding the beauty of her voice, followed by "Waiting" a song with duets and trios sung by almost all the vocalists over a wonderful rhythm section. If you love exaggerated symphonic rock with orchestras, omnipresent keyboards, close to opera rock style, you´ll enjoy as a child with this album and you´ll want to know who will be the prog-fortunate guests for the forthcoming CD And you´ll wish that Nolan and Wakeman don´t delay the next work as much as this.