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Tracklist: 1. A Winter's Tale 5:06 2. Snake 2:55 3. Dark River 6:26 (inst.) 4. Joanne 2:50 5. Obedience 3:12 (inst.) 6. Morning Hymn 3:36 7. May Queen 5:22 8. The Demon Trucker 2:34 9. Lady of the Lake 3:17 10. Born On the Solar Wind 3:02 (inst.) All tracks: written, arranged, & produced by Tony Duhig, John Field, & Glyn Haward. Line-up: Tony Duhig - electric guitars John Field - flutes, various percussion instruments, piano, acoustic guitar Glyn Haward - bass & acoustic guitars, vocals Alan Price - drums With: David Duhig - electric guitar (on 2) Mastered from original master-tapes by David Burrows at "Hi-Note" in 2001.
Prologue. Originally, the first three Jade Warrior albums were released by ('swirl') "Vertigo", which buried by no means only two of the following albums by this band, and which, IMHO, is the worst Prog label in the history of the genre. (On this matter, you can read the review of Clear Blue Sky's self-titled album.) On CD, all three of these albums have been reissued twice. The sound quality of the first reissue done by the German "Line" label is terrible. Fortunately, last year, the UK's premier Prog label "Hi-Note Music" reissued them on CD once again and did it masterfully. Here, in addition, the light of day saw the fifth Jade Warrior album "Fifth Element". Yes, it was the second of those two albums that had been rejected by "Vertigo". To read the review of it, click here.
The Album. Until now, "Last Autumn's Dream" was the only early Jade Warrior album that I haven't heard. As well as all of the band's albums in general, this is a distinctly original and in many ways unique ProGduction. Musically, though, its contents are rather different among themselves and by various parameters. In that way, to describe the album more or less properly, first I need to divide it into two parts. Then, stylistically, these parts will contain the compositions that are based on either the Art- or Hard Rock structures. Classic Art-Rock with the distinct Jade Warrior sound is presented on half of the tracks that are featured on the album: A Winter's Tale, Morning Hymn, May Queen, Lady of the Lake, and Born On the Solar Wind (tracks 1, 6, 7, 9, and 10). Each of these compositions contains excellent and truly Jade Warrior arrangements created by very tasteful and diverse interplay between solos of electric and bass guitars, and passages of acoustic guitar and various flutes. Most of the best tracks on the album feature parts of both drums as well as hand percussion instruments. May Queen (which I find the most interesting piece on the album) and Born On the Solar Wind are marked with distinctly Japanese colours. A very tasteful Progressive Hard Rock is heard only on Joanne (track 4), whereas both of the other 'heavy' compositions, Snake and The Demon Trucker (tracks 2 & 8), are merely traditional, straightforward Hard Rock songs. Both of the remaining pieces, Dark River and Obedience (tracks 3 & 5) represents typical "ambient" music with just a few Art-Rock arrangements. (Most readers well know that the term "Symphonic Progressive" is hardly applicable to the music of Jade Warrior in general.)
Summary. Widely regarded as the best of the early Jade Warrior albums, "Last Autumn's Dream" is, in my view, only a bit better than their debut album. Overall, I find it a very good album, though the band's previous work "Release", as well as "Fifth Element", are way better, at least for these ears. Which, of course, can't diminish this album's role in the development of Progressive and especially in the widening of the stylistic borders of it.
VM. March 4, 2002
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