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(44:09, Garden Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. The Pharmacist 4:53 2. Road to Jazz 4:55 3. 43rd November 6:41 4. Another Sun 5:09 5. Eyes of the Fox 6:41 6. Riding the Great Fantastic 5:24 7. Shiver 10:26 LINEUP: Jon Buxton - vocals, guitars Jez Nutbean - vocals, keyboards Andy Cooke - bass Colin Edwards - guitars Ashley Buxton - drums.
Prolusion. English band HERONIMUS FIN has a history going back more than a quarter of a century, and have released music in irregular intervals along the way. If I have managed to track down the correct information, "The Pharmacist" from 2018 is their fifth studio album, and was released through their own label Garden Records at the end of the summer that year.
Analysis. Heronimus Fin isn't a band that will ever have a standing as a purebred progressive rock band I imagine. They are too down to Earth in their exploits for that for starters, or streetwise perhaps, as they strike me very much as a working man band. Be it by plan or accident. In some ways the remind me ever so slightly about The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, entering the world of progressive rock a bit sideways and eccentric, and dipping their toes in the waters rather than having a swim. For the title track they borrow a riff from vintage era Black Sabbath, and offsets it with music of a more careful and elegant manner. Road to Jazz does feature some details here and there emphasizing the title of the track, without it ever becoming even close to being referenced in that context as such, but with psychedelic details here (as elsewhere), on this occasion with a touch of both hard rock and progressive rock. Other cuts have more of a classic rock feel to them, and both garage rock and the occasional nod to punk have their place here as well. Just about always with room for a sharp, psychedelic guitar solo mind you. Riding the Great Fantastic see the band tipping their hats to good, old Hawkwind too, and then to the more punk-tinged exploits of that particular band. A good track, and unless they have written a new song with this title this is also one of their older tracks being revisited for the occasion. It's a tight and enjoyable one nonetheless, and as most of their previous albums are out of print, new listeners deserve to enjoy this fine number anyhow. The concluding epic length Shiver is perhaps the closest the band comes to progressive rock, a multiple section affair that twists and turns it's way into a progressive rock oriented structure in a similar manner to the late Alex Harvey's Tale of the Giant Stone Eater: Doing all the right things, but in a somewhat unconventional manner. Otherwise I note that the recurring guitar solo on Eyes of the Fox gave me some vibes in the direction of Grieg and Hall of the Mountain King. Or at least a similar type of classical music theme with a folk music tinge to it. If planned or accidental I can't tell, but at least the folk music touches by way of tones and scales strikes me as a planned feature there.
Conclusion. Heronimus Fin isn't a progressive rock band as such. but more an amalgam of many things where progressive rock is but one of many ingredients into a stew of multiple flavors. My best shot at defining a possible key audience for this album would be to suggest that fans of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band gives this band a listen. The music is different, and not so out there and eccentric, but I dare say that those who like one most certainly will have a good chance to also enjoy the other.
Progmessor: February 24th, 2019
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