Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Goodies from GFreedom's Music Collection # 23

CLIVE NOLAN: ALCHEMY (2013). A Prog-Rock Musical
  Clive Nolan is one of the most charismatic, talented and hard-working musicians/composers of the music sub-genre named as Neo-Prog. During the last decades, he participated in many bands and projects, such as: Arena, Pendragon, Shadowlands, Casino etc. 
During this last decade, he tried something very different, and rather challenging; to compose a Rock musical. His first effort was the musical 'She', which was released in 2008. And 5 years later, he returned with a second musical, named 'Alchemy'.
  (To be honest, I had no idea about this album, until a couple of weeks ago, but from the moment I discovered it I can't stop listening to it! Dealing with music as a hobby and profesionally for almost 30+ years, I must say that I'm not easily impressed anymore. But this album blew my mind!)
  But, what is 'Alchemy'?  Is it a Rock opera? Well, not exactly. Is it a Prog Rock album? Hmmm not exactly. Is it an ordinary musical? Again, not exactly. The truth is that 'Alchemy' is a combination of all those things I mentioned above.
  But wait a sec, let's go back and take it from the start:
  'Alchemy' is the name of the rather ambitious Prog-Rock musical by Clive Nolan, which was released on February 2013 as a 2-CD set. It includes 27 songs, and has a total running time of almost 2 hours. Clive Nolan wrote the lyrics & the music, and he is also singing and playing the keyboards. For the needs of the album, 10 more singers and 6 musicians were employed, including present or ex-members from bands like IQ and Arena.
  Let's get a closer look at the album now: As I wrote above, it includes 27 songs, all of them really good ones. Seriously, there's not a bad song in this album! The melodies are all wonderful and got stuck in my head constantly. The way that Mr. Nolan has built up the tension in various songs, the way he leads one melody into another, the way he piles things happening on top of each other - they are all so damn good to listen to. The vocalists all do a wonderful job, minus some poor acting in a couple of places. Musical ideas are reprised and used to build upon ideas, improve the drama, etc... 
  As for the story, it is a Victorian adventure set in 1842, with a sense of the dark and mysterious. Some people might find the story kind of boring or flawed, especially after repeated listenings. But the first time through, the pacing, drama, and exposition, suck you into the story and carries you along on a great adventure. So in the sense of considering the story as a journey, one can't complain. But re- listening to songs and knowing where they are leading the story to, one starts to find imperfections. I'm not going to get into details here, because I don't want to reveal information that may spoil the enjoyment of listening to this story for the first time.
 Personaly, I don’t have any problem with the lyrics or the story, and I really enjoy this dark and gloomy atmosphere that the music - in combination with the lyrics - is creating throughout the album.
  Despite the fact that I like all the songs of the album, I have of course some favorite ones, which are: ‘Amelia’, ‘Quarternary Plan’ and ‘The Tide of Wealth’. These 3 songs are the highlights of the album. (Always in my opinion).
  I totally recommend this album to everybody! Liking Rock music is the only thing required. (To be honest, I'm not even sure if we can characterise this album as 'Rock' music.). You like musicals? Then go for it! You don’t like musicals? No problem, me neither, but I loved this one! You are a Prog-Rock or Neo-Prog fan? No way you should miss that! You are not? Try this, and you’ll find it interesting to say the least.
You can buy the album at the usual online shops, at a fair price. The only thing I’m sad about, is that there is not a vinyl version available. I just hope that it will be one in the future.
                   My Rating: 4.5 out of 5.00 stars.
I hope you found this piece interesting and helpful.
Thank you... :-)