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Grey Lady Down - Forces

Artist: Grey Lady Down
Title: Forces
Label: Cyclops CYCL 020
Length(s): 73 minutes
Year(s) of release: 1995
Month of review: 06/1995

Line up

Louis David - keyboards
Julian Hunt - guitars
Mark Robotham - drums
Sean Spear - bass
Martin Wilson - vocals

Tracks

1) Paradise Lost 7.20
2) The Nail 6.03
3) Battlefields Of Counterpane 11.37
4) Without A Trace 6.56
5) The Cold Stage 9.58
6) I Believe 5.24
7) The Flyer 13.06

Summary

You might remember this band from a review of their debut CD The Crime with which I was relatively pleased. I also got a reaction from the band on my review and fortunately for me they thought that the criticism I had wasn't far from the mark.

The music

This new album accompanied by the never tiring anagrammatic newsletter containing some delightful anagrams of 'Afraid of sunlight' such as 'Guardians of Filth' and also based on Arena's 'Songs from the Lion's Cage' like 'Clashing Monsters of Ego' or 'Gosh! Forces Meaning Lots'. Be sure to write them at: Grey Lady Down PO Box 207 BANBURY Oxon OX16 7TY England. to be put on their mailing enabling you to get hold of all kinds of merchandise like live tapes, videos and more and of course, to enjoy the thousand and one anagram.

Having fulfilled one my duties, all I now have to do is write a review of their new album, Forces. At first listen this band sounds more and more like Pallas. The first two songs are very up-tempo with an occasional quiet interlude, but mostly the energy comes spilling out the loudspeakers. The vocals of the singer are also very Pallas like and maybe those are to blame for the large similarities. On the other hand, in the longer songs this is less evident and this is where the power of the band is very well exemplified: the epic that is a song.

As it is, GLD have two sides: the up-tempo side that is more apparent in the shorter songs (track 1, 2 and 6), these songs ought to be great live songs, because of their energy. The other songs tell a story, but are not always that long. They are more varied and thus more interesting. The built up is always good and never boring, never freaky, never just for the sake of it.

The best track on the album is the closer The Flyer. This song contains all the ingredients of GLD and as always the melodies are very good. An accomplished song.

At the end of the last track, it actually continues past the 19 minute mark, where the music starts again. What we have there is actually a joke, as it combines Mull of Kintyre and a death metal variant of progressive rock. This takes a few minutes and just before the 24 minute mark, they START AGAIN. This time with something that is comparable to the Glenn Miller Medley of IQ. It also shows mucisians at their most humourous. Maybe a good idea for a single?

Conclusion

A must for Pallas fans and worth a try for anyone having a friendly disposition towards neo-prog. Music that is driven, has some Marillion influences in the more epic songs, that are very well built and executed, containing a number of different moods. Overall impression: very good neo-prog. No criticism? Well, I might say now that I'm not overly fond of those Pallas like songs, but I think that they do manage to do one thing: because they are not overly varied, they bring variation into the album. Lots of bands are satisfied with writing complex epics and filling up albums with it, but these epics do sound a like making the album as a whole less. GLD have managed to avoid is by including some less interesting songs, and thus making the album more interesting. Maybe this is a little over your head, but don't worry, just listen.


© Jurriaan Hage