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Grey Lady Down - Fear

Artist: Grey Lady Down
Title: Fear
Label: Cyclops CYCL 053
Length(s): 59 minutes
Year(s) of release: 1997
Month of review: 09/1997

Line up

Steve Anderson - guitars, backing vocals
Mark Robotham - drums
Sean Spear - bass
Mark Westworth - keyboards
Martin Wilson - vocals

Tracks

1) And Finally 10.17
2) Roller Coaster 9.17
3) A Modern Day Cavalier 7.56
4) Final Decree 4.36
5) Sliding 10.33
6) Usurper 7.55
7) Paper Chains (the Crime Part 3) 8.43

Summary

After two line-up changes (Julian Hunt and Louis David left the band), the band is back with their third studio album. Earlier on I had heard that the band had taken to a darker sound in the vein of a band like Anekdoten.

The music

What can I say about this new album by GLD? Going over the tracks one by one I find that the first track is a good one. After an intro similar to that of Genesis Watcher of the Skies we come to a dissonant part with more tempo. The guitar sound is kind of shrill on the album giving the music a more sinister edge. However in this song there is a part on guitar that for me does not fit in with the rest. The chorus however is quite nice and manages to captivate. At the end the guitars of the intro return.

Roller Coaster is not that strong a track IMO. The keys sound a little dated going back to Banks, while the drumming is not so varied in the first part of the track. The next part with double vocals is better and after the tempo gets higher, the "release" follows. The song has something manic in it.

A Modern Day Cavalier is a bit boring in the beginning, but certainly picks up at the end. It seems the song is about someone who died. The busy ending works like a climax. Final Decree is an aggresive track with Mark Kelly on the keyboards and a nice break into another melody after "Sucker".

Sliding is a rather atypical piece with distorted vocals that works quite well to enhance the sliding aspect of the main person of this song. It's full of atmosphere and has a good chorus. After some dissonance we get a more typical Grey Lady Down passage.

Usurper has something of One for the Vine in it. Not just the lyrics, but the entire track reeks of Genesis in both the guitar as well as the synth parts. The greek melody that is woven into it however is distinctly not like Genesis, but my comment stands.

Best track on the album is the third part of the Crime. Either the criminal is now in jail and his presence there bothers the persons who were involved with him or it just bothers some people that he still exists and can haunt them. lyrically, but it seems that our criminal is now in jail. Anyway, musically the epic is typical of GLD (the way I like them). The song is rather dark and threatening with a heavy pumping sound, and driven playing.

Conclusion

The band seems to have brought its weakest album to date to light. IMO only a few of the songs can be regarded as good: And Finally, Sliding and Crime Part III. The other tracks cannot in their entirety manage to captivate me, although they all contain their good parts, like the ending of A Modern Day Cavalier. Maybe the advent of the darker guitar parts, the shriller sound to them, should have introduced a more Anekdoten-like sound (and personally I am very fond of this band) as was promised by the band, but I'm not sure that it has been done well. A next album will show in what direction the band will go and I have a feeling that then we can describe this album as a transient, but not very satisfying, one as a whole.
© Jurriaan Hage