[ SHORT REVIEWS - LIST | DETAILED REVIEWS
(97:19; Nightkeeper Productions)
It’s time to head back to Cogtopolis, for a double CD set which is being promoted by the band as an “expansion pack” to the last album, the triple CD ‘The Clockwork Fable’. As before, I find myself comparing this to both Hibernal and Clive Nolan, as what we have here is much more than just a musical release, as the words and story are intertwined with the music. This is a theatrical presentation, with different people playing their part, and I found myself thinking that there must surely be a book in here somewhere as the storyline is complex, convoluted, and with so much depth that there is certainly enough framework for it to work on that level as well. Regarding the rationale behind this, Gandalf’s Fist frontman, Dean Marsh commented: “I’ve loved playing video games since the 80’s and the idea of creating a musical expansion-pack, in the same way game manufactures introduce new levels and new quests has been an undertaking we’ve all enjoyed immensely. It’s been a great opportunity to finish all the wonderful ideas we couldn’t even fit into a triple album in 2016 as well as been a fantastic way of collaborating on new material with our own ‘upgraded’ line-up with Ben and Keri. The whole thing sounds fantastic and without question has some of our finest songs to date!” Ben is Ben Bell (Broken Parachute) on keyboards, bass, guitar and various vocal efforts (it isn’t often that someone can be credited with being a deranged steam conveyor) and singer Keri Farish. Musically this is an amalgam of folk, prog, rock and theatre, with violin making a welcome presence here, acoustic guitars there, but it is more about having music which is right for whatever theme is being portrayed as opposed to attempting to stick within one particular area. It is almost impossible to pick between the songs and the narrative, as they are closely interlinked, yet both are capable of working without the other. It would be interesting indeed to hear the complete five CD set cut so that the songs were taken away from the music and one could play the story on its own, or the songs. I have only one problem with the album, and that is whenever I play it I get dragged into Cogtopolis, so much so that I need to put aside 97 minutes of concentration each time I want to listen to it. I didn’t think Gandalf’s Fist would again be able to match the journey they put me through last time, but they have. This isn’t a progressive rock album in its normal sense, but possibly it is in its truest sense as the band refuse to be bound by the usual thoughts of what an album should be comprised of. The different styles and melodies are bound by the storyline, which in turn is brought to life by the music in a wonderful symbiotic relationship. Superb.
[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]