Beyond the Realms of Euphoria - Reviews
A positive review on Progressive Ears..
I find myself very surprised by this most excellent album. I have tried to listen to both BATTLE SCARS and EMPIRES NEVER LAST, but they did not hit me with the same force as BEYOND THE REALMS OF EUPHORIA. I get the "Pet Shop Boys" comments, but you know what? I don't care! I love this and have been playing it over and over since I got it last month. There is not a poor moment on the entire disc and the first 4 tunes that basically run together are pure bliss. I guess it is hard to say why it is prog- but it just IS! Great vocals, great lyrics, great playing...I much prefer this kind of neo-prog to that which reminds me too much of Marillion or other bands. Along with PASSION by Pendragon, this is the best Neo-Prog of the last 5 years. My opinion, of course. If you like bombastic music and loud/quiet/loud melodies this is it. 5 stars. Best album of 2012 along with Big Big Train's ENGLISH ELECTRIC.
Another wonderful review by Pedro Bekkers on the Background Magazine website
Back in the sixties and seventies many bands succeeded in recording two albums a year, equally high-levelled and filled with great compositions. Nowadays - also a result of the possibility to put more music on a CD - bands stick to a maximum of one album a year and even that's an exception. Most artists need more time between albums in order to meet the same high level of musicality. So, after the highly acclaimed album Battle Scars (see review), the British neo-prog band Galahad surprised me with a second album within a year.
Musically Beyond The Realms Of Euphoria continues where Battle Scars ended, combining impressive progressive rock with a diversity of other musical styles like trance, dance and metal, just to name a few. So, please don't switch off the CD player during the opener Salvation I - Overture! This piece tries to pull your leg with a techno start, which works remarkably well with Dean Baker's piano and the heavy guitars that take over after approximately two and a half minutes. This little surprise gently segues into the second part Salvation II - Judgement Day, where the vocals appear. With a Rammstein influenced guitar riff in the background, the melodic vocals work perfectly with the modern ambient keyboard and (perhaps) programmed parts. Neil Pepper's rumbling bass leads to a change of direction: background vocals appear and Stuart Nicholson's voice creates a kind of Muse atmosphere. The end has a Threshold touch, which could be influenced by Karl Groom, who was involved in the recording process.
On Battle Scars I already noticed contemporary musical influences in Galahad's music, but this time around those influences are even stronger embedded. Guardian Angel is the perfect example to prove this for the musicality has even increased since Battle Scars. Beyond The Realms Of Euphoria sounds more coherent; the diversity of styles now sounds very natural together. However, I must admit that I normally have an urge to vomit when I hear the kind of music that Galahad plays around the eighth minute on a regular radio station! Strangely enough it doesn't annoy me too much in this majestic composition. Secret Kingdoms... starts nice and retro with Roy Keyworth's stunning guitar parts. Here the fine old fashioned progressive rock, including the ohh's and ahh's in the background, are blended with a more metal-like style. Towards the end this piece has an eighties feel, with a sort of computerized drums and vocals that are gently mixed in an early Marillion style.
Like the three dots already indicated, the second part of the song is ...And Secret Worlds, which starts with a relaxing piano preparing for a heavier middle section, with a prefect groove provided by drummer Spencer Luckman and a typical neo-progressive and emotional guitar solo. A combination of seventies keyboards and modern sounds lead to All In The Name Of Progress. In my opinion this is a perfect title for this song where all the aforementioned musical styles come together. Impressive keyboards cooperate with powerful vocals and the ultimate riff of this album. Basically this is still a strong neo-progressive piece, but if you dig deeper and with an open mind, you may enjoy the heavy guitars, the subtle programming and a singer who's is capable to affect you by switching from soft and emotional to rough, aggressive and even a grunt...
Guardian Angel - Reprise returns to the earlier song. A strong piano part paves the way for Nicholson's sensitive vocals; this reprise pushes the song back to neo-prog, with which Galahad once started. It contains a great mixture of pompous keyboards, clear vocals and prominent choir vocals. Normally the album should end by now, but as a bonus we get a reissue of Richelieu's Prayer, one of Galahad's classic compositions. This piece first appeared on Nothing Is Written (1991), the band's debut album. For this reissue Galahad invited Mark Andrews, former band member and writer of this song, to play some additional keyboards. Regarding the compositions they have written in recent years, the changes the band went through music wise are evident. However, Richelieu's Prayer is still a great song with splendid solos, but the early Marillion is never far away.
Galahad have recorded two brilliant albums within a year. I was happily surprised while listening and reviewing Battle Scars, but twice a year such a big surprise by the same act is quite exceptional. Just like Battle Scars, Beyond The Realms Of Euphoria is an excellent album and even more coherent than the penultimate CD. Therefore I have to add half a star and by doing so I judged this album to be a masterpiece...
***** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
Almost perfect review by the Progulator (loving it!) Galahad – Beyond the Realms of Euphoria
Well, I must say that the last Galahad album left me really pleased, so I was excited to see what Beyond the Realms of Euphoria would offer. From the first electronic drenched seconds of their latest efforts, I was pretty much sold, knowing that I was going to once again get a unique album offered by a great band. Their blend of neo-prog, electronic, and heavy riffs, is at it’s finest. Songs like “Guardian Angel” present epic riffs, strong melodies, brilliant layers of electronics and choirs. The intro to “Secret Kingdoms” gives off a sort of mix of Iron Maiden with loads of cool keyboard ambiance and quickly moves on to a very narrative feel in their composition which is completely engaging. There is one song though that I thought was terrible: “All in the Name of Progress.” The verse has some really annoying rapping like vocals that drove me insane, although the track isn’t without its redeeming qualities, and it hardly gives you a good reason to not buy this splendid record. All in all, Galahad offers great variety and a fresh sound, two things which are very hard to find in music, but which are essential for a memorable album; Beynd the Realms of Euphoria fits that category perfectly.
A positive review of 'Euphoria' by Ralf Koch, though it is in German!
Für KW 4: Galahad - Beyond the Realms of Euphoria (Avalon Records)
Fragt mich nicht, wie es passieren konnte, aber dieses Album ist zur VÖ am 1.10.2012 nicht entsprechend gewürdigt worden. Kann man aber ja nachholen, oder?
Galahad waren eine der Bands, die Anfang der 90er zum zweiten ProgRock-Revival gehörten, als Prog sich langsam wieder in den Medien etablieren konnte und wieder für voll genommen wurde. Unsterblich machten sie sich mit ihrem 1991er Debüt(!)Album „Nothing is written“, seitdem sind 7 weitere (offizielle Studioalben, daneben noch Liveaufnahmen und diverse „Rarities“-Alben) erschienen, das letzte davon – „Battle Scars“ – gerade einmal ein halbes Jahr vor diesem! Dass „Euphoria” trotzdem auf demselben, hohen Niveau liegt, erklärt sich durch die Tatsache, dass beide Alben gleichzeitig entstanden sind.
Darum ist auch nicht überraschend, dass „Euphoria“ aus dem gleichen Holz geschnitzt ist: Typischer Galahad-Sound, der sehr abwechslungsreich neue Elemente mit einbaut. „Judgement day“ ist dabei relativ hart durch crunchige Gitarren, „Guardian Angel“ spielt gekonnt mit elektronischen Elementen, beginnt als eher softe Hitnummer, erwächst dann aber noch zu einem zehnminütigen Prog-Knaller. Apropos Highlight: Das folgende „Secret Kingdoms… beginnt mit harter (Dream Theater-)Kante, bevor es melodisch wird und übergeht in das fast klassische „…and secret World“ (klassisch in zweifacher hinsicht, sprich im Sinne von Klassik, als auch in referenz an ihren Klassiker „Richelieu’s Prayer“!), das wiederum zum Ende den Bogen zurück spannt zum harten Beginn des Doppels. Selbst ein relativ harmloses Stück wie „All in the name..“ besitzt ein paar nette „Extras“ und Track 7 ist schließlich eine schöne Reprise des „neuen Klassikers“ „Guardian Angel“. Ein tolles Finale für ein Top-Album! Trotzdem damit nicht genug, denn gut zwanzig Jahre nach seiner Originalveröffentlichung auf dem o.g. Debüt stellen Galahad ihren Klassiker „Richelieu’s Prayer“ noch einmal in neuer Version vor. Braucht es noch mehr gute Argumente für ein Album, um hier noch einmal (verspätet) vorgestellt zu werden?
Just had to put this review up from Prog Archives, thank you Peter:
One of my top three purchases of 2012, along with Rush's "Clockwork Angels" and Wobbler's "Rites at Dawn" and ahead of Opeth's "Heritage", Astra's "The Black Chord" and the Flower Kings' "Banks of Eden", I almost didn't get to listen to the album through until January 23, 2013. The original copy I got just before my two-week holiday break in December would not play on my computer and I always take a new CD home, throw it on iTunes, and dump it into my iPhone for my listening pleasure during my commute to and from work. The disc played on any CD player and in my car but my computer didn't accept it. I exchanged the disc for another copy but not before taking it with me on a one-day road trip. It was accompanied by four other CDs by artists the Flower Kings, Kaipa, Mystery, and IQ but "Beyond the Realms of Euphoria" hogged the CD player most of the time. I played it through three times before giving "Space Revolver" a chance. On the way back, I played it two more times and then listened to four of the songs a sixth time, and "Richelieu's Prayer 2012" a seventh time. I liked the album that much!
So what does this album have that appeals to my humble tastes so much? Let's see:
Heavy guitars. Check. The guitar sound here is freakin' wonderful to an old metalhead like me. The intro to "Guardian Angel" could have come straight off of a Dream Theater or Fates Warning album. It's heavy with one of those weird time signatures that would make Honda's Asimo trip over itself and short-circuit if it tried to walk to the beat. Some songs tread shamelessly into progressive metal territory in parts, and I was thrilled by the sudden break into speed metal near the end of "All in the Name of Progress", though sadly the machinegun fire riffs didn't last long (and a most out-of-place death growl rumbles menacingly at the conclusion of the song). The only thing missing from this amazing bombastic and heavy distortion is a killer riff like you'd find on an album by Wolfmother or the Sword. Nevertheless, I love it, especially in contrast with all the atmospheric keyboard work.
Atmospheric keyboards. Check. Right from the album's opening I was amazed and delighted by the techno electronica sound. Looking at the cover and listening to the beginning of "Salvation I ? Overture", you'd be perfectly excused for believing that you'd purchased a Euro/electronica techno dance album. Actually, I am not a fan of this style of music but I do like the electronic sounds, and on this album here in minimal doses and backed by more traditional neo-prog keyboards and heavy guitar I gladly welcome it in my ears. And how about those traditional neo-prog synthesizers? There are wonderful atmospheric sections, spacy journeys, beautiful passages both modern and classically influenced. There are times when only the keyboards carry the music or they are supported by bass and drums but no vocals or guitar. You'd almost think that was a Dean Baker (keyboards) solo album or Galahad featuring Dean Baker. The guy is so darn good at composing and mixing sounds that each solo section is a musical journey.
Classical piano. Check. Mr. Baker proves his ability goes beyond cosmic journeys and techno dance grooves. In songs like "and Secret Kingdoms" and "Richelieu's Prayer 2012" there are some breath-taking classical piano passages, and in the case of "Richelieu's Prayer", electric guitar plays in tandem with the piano to create a kind of Genesisian classical rock music. Incredibly tight and a sheer joy to absorb between the ears.
Great vocals and lyrics. Check. Alright, I admit, I rarely pay much attention to the lyrics but some parts catch my attention and I think they are at least good if not rather usual in a good way. "Richelieu's Prayer 2012" in particular has my attention because, though I know nothing about the song other than it is a re-recording of one of the band's old classics, I surmise that it relates to some social unrest that led to violence and I feel that occurred very near to the homes or hearts of the band. Stuart Nicholson's vocals are wonderfully smooth and effective at conveying the moods of the lyrics and music. Sometimes the singing reminds me a bit of IQ or Pallas but Nicholson manages to stand apart from his peers to his credit. Once again, the impassioned vocals of "Richelieu's Prayer 2012" really touch a chord with me, though Nicholson's good throughout the album.
Multi-part songs. Check. The songs average between 7 and 8 minutes in length and although there's a commonality they all share (heavy guitars, techno synth or classical piano, atmospheric instrumentals, etc.) each song stands apart from the others in composition. The thing I love most here on this album is that you never know which way a song will turn as it runs its course. Take for example "and Secret Kingdoms". Here are the notes I prepared for this review: "Classical piano intro. Such a keyboardist! Reminds me of Renaissance. Vocalese oohs and ahhs to piano. Heavy guitar rock band over piano. Bass solo section and piano joins. Classical piano with bass. Next dramatic rock. Begins to sound a bit like Pallas from "XXV". Heavy rock and classical piano. Great stuff! Vocals return. 'Secret Worlds' reprise. Perhaps first real guitar solo, melodic. Music fades leaving only piano to finish the song." Each song is like a musical journey but one that takes you back home again. The songs tend to wind up near their beginnings, unlike many songs by, say, the Flower Kings which I feel are more like musical migrations that leave you in a different place than you began.
Repeat Plays. Check. About five of the eight tracks get repeat plays apart from the album in my listening devices but much of the time I just let the album play all the way through. I did the same with "Clockwork Angels" frequently. Usually, I pick out a few songs that I really enjoy and listen mostly to those. But with "BtRoE" I am content to and even desirous of listening to the album from start to finish.
In some ways, I can hear that Galahad come from the same musical mould as IQ, Pallas, and Pendragon, but at least on this album ? my first Galahad purchase ? the band has defined their differences from their neo-prog peers. Regarding the techno sound in their music, reading reviews of older albums it seems that this addition came with the boarding of Dean Baker on the Galahad train, and this sound is something that the other class of the 80's neo-prog bands don't have. Sometimes after listening to this album I feel like listening to IQ's "Frequency". But then "Beyond the Realms of Euphoria" ends up getting played again.
I understand that 5 stars is a very generous rating but 4 stars just seems too low and there's no 4.5 option. In any case, 4.5 seems too low too. How about 93/100? Five stars.
A very positive review by Christian on the French Metal Integral website - www.metal-integral.com/fr/chroniques/3648/galahad/chronique-beyond-the-realms-of-euphoria.html
A wonderful review on the Prognaut site by Joseph Shingler - prognaut.com/reviews/galahad4.html
....And another positive review by Christoph Lintermans on 'Da Music' Belgian website - www.damusic.be/cd/galahad/beyond-the-realms-of-euphoria
Another great review by Eef on the Belgian Ashladan site - ashladan.be/metal-reviews/galahad-beyond-the-realms-of-euphoria
Another great review by Dan at Rock Regeneration - www.rock-regeneration.co.uk/wordpress/2012/11/cd-beyond-the-realms-of-euphoria-by-galahad/
Another positive review from Tonny Larsen at Progplanet - www.progplanet.com/index.php
Can you say trance, dance and prog in the same sentence?! Well Galahad can and it even works wonders on the new outing (their second release within´ same year) right in the heels of their excellent "Battle Scars". I realize the intro line here could put many off as I guess many of my readers and friends hate dance and trance as much as I do!? But fear not, this is first and foremost Galahad at their most powerful, with thunderous riffs, killer chords & lead guitars, choir vocals, keyboard washes, concrete shattering bass and drums and Stu Nicholsons clear & solid lead vocals. Spiced with the aforementioned electronics, samples etc. a magic formula to these trained ears. Fellow reviewers have mentioned resemblance to Muse, Radiohead & Coldplay!? I agree with the Muse connection, but Coldplay & Radiohead..hmmmm?..that is quite far fetched me thinks, maybe its because I don't like Coldplay and it doesn't even get close to the sound of Radiohead! Nevermind, this is about Galahad and they sure have grown in the past years, from their "Empires Never Last" 2007 to this day. Mind you, album vise it started way back in 1991 with debut album " Nothing Is Written" from which, the bonus track here " Richelieu´s Prayer" is taken! Back then Galahad were tagged Neo-progsters and copies of Marillion, IQ, Twelfth Night etc.! Now Galahad really is the superior Knight of the round table (Turntable) in the court of King Prog. Great musicianship, fine production, excellent album!
I really really like this album, it has grown and grown for every spin and believe you me, there have been many! If you liked "Battle Scars" you will go bananas over this, promise! So almost top rating from me, I will leave the last half star for the next Galahad album!! Euphoria...indeed!!
A very insightful review on the Sea of Tranquility website by the ever eloquent Steven Reid - www.seaoftranquility.org/reviews.php
A wonderful review by Rok on the Polish progresovarium page - progresovarium.wordpress.com/2012/11/06/galahad-beyond-the-realms-of-euphoria-recenzja/
A great review on the Dutch Yourmusicblog by Peter - yourmusicblog.nl/
Another splendid review on the Dutch Progwereld site, cheers guys - www.progwereld.org/cms/recensies/album/galahad-%e2%80%93-beyond-the-realms-of-euphoria/
A very positive reeview, in German, from Harald Schmidt at Babyblaue - www.babyblaue-seiten.de/index.php
A wonderful review, in French, on the NEOPROG web site - www.neoprog.eu/critique/galahad/beyond_the_realms_of_euphoria
A great review by Ken Foster on Strummerlive.net - www.strummerlive.net/reviews-cd-video-single-demo/galahad-beyond-the-realms-of-euphoria-avalon-sep-2012
A very positive review from Martin Hudson, founder of the Classic Rock Society:
A bit like London buses, Galahad albums are absent for a long while and then two turn up at once. That turns out to be a real bonus as the Dorset band continue to stamp their own mark on progressive rock in the 21st century. The last album, Battle Scars, is only moments old but the band have not been phased at the thought of over exposure. That is in their limited field. This could be the way to go for bands'; forget the double album and release your music in two packages and then the fans will actually listen to both CD's.
Of all the prog bands' of today it appears that only Galahad truly want to progress as they, yet again, blend prog, metal, ambient and even dance while still keeping their reputation in place. As a group of musicians they are better now than they have ever been seemingly adapting to this new age. The opening salvo of Salvation I - Overture sets a relentless pace before Salvation II - Judgement Day lays the lytical intent. I have said it previously and say it again that vocalist Stuart Nicholson really has come of age and now holds his own with any of the rock vocalists, mainstream and not-so mainstream.
Play it very loud it says on the cover, where a further nod to the late Neil Pepper is emblazoned, and the louder the better I say so the big bass man gets a blast wherever he lays today. Another fine album from a band that remain a worldly secret to the mainstream, sadly.
A great review (German) on Proggies.ch by Daniel Eggenberger - www.proggies.ch/magazine/index.php
Here is a great review on the Polish MLWZ site by Artur Chachlowski - www.mlwz.ceti.pl/index.php
A rather lovely review by Kev Rowland from Prog Archives
Whichever way you look at it, this has been an incredible twelve months for Galahad, with the release of this their second new studio album within that period, as well as a tenth anniversary reissue of 'Year Zero' and a double CD set of Whitchurch adventures from the Nineties. But on top of all of that is the loss of Neil Pepper, who passed away from cancer not long after the recording sessions for the album was completed. To say that everyone involved with the band has been on an emotional rollercoaster is something of an understatement, and yet they have kept it together and here is the latest part of the story.
Dean Baker has had a huge impact on the overall sound of the band since he joined, and nowhere is this more obvious than on the first number, 'Salvation I Overture'. It is totally keyboard driven, with elements coming in from dance as well as Jean Michel Jarre, yet when Neil and Spencer join it takes on a new life and when Roy starts riffing it becomes obvious that this was a beat driven rock number all along. If ever there was a song that hearkens back to 'Deconstructing Ghosts' then this is it. If anyone may be concerned that the band has decided to become Pet Shop Boys (and it has to be said that there are elements of that on 'Salvation II Judgement Day') then don't worry as in many ways this is the heaviest I have ever heard the band, although part of that heaviness is due I'm sure to the lack of guitars in places so when they come crunching back they really hit home. I'm sure that Karl Groom must have had a smile on his face as he turned the faders up and allowed Roy room to breathe. What makes this song (and in fact the album) is the interplay between the guys. They are so tight that you feel that they are a multiheaded progbeast. There are times when Neil and Roy are providing incredibly quick complex runs that one just can't believe that this is two guys and not one, the note structures are immaculate.
Galahad have moved a long way musically over the years, but they still don't forget their roots. Today's prog test is what Genesis number is alluded to near the end of 'Guardian Angel'? The song starts with a classic Roy riff, with Neil and Spencer driving it along until Dean takes control and moves it into another direction. Just near the end is the musical nod, which apparently was accidental on the part of Dean but Stu and Karl heard the sound and knew here was an opportunity to bring a smile to the face of progheads. It only lasts a few seconds, but you'll know it when you hear it, not a steal at all, but a homage to one of the band's musical influences.
I love this album, from start to finish, but something very special is the closing number. To celebrate their 25th anniversary Galahad decided to rerecord a 'classic' for each album, so 'Sleepers' appeared on 'Battle Scars' and here we have 'Richeleiu's Prayer'. What makes this special is that Mark Andrews makes a recorded appearance with Galahad for the first time since 'Nothing Is Written', and the first time with Neil in Galahad. Mark originally wrote the song, and was great friends with Neil and although they had played with each other in certain projects, they hadn't recorded together in Galahad as Neil joined after Mark had left. Stu pointed out to me that they had never played together in Galahad, but actually he's wrong as at Stu's wedding reception it was the first (maybe not last?) time that Galahad performed with two keyboard players (Mark and Karl Garrett). There is some extremely delicate piano on this, and they have managed to move it to a new level while retaining some of the original feel from 20+ years ago. This is a song that I always associate with a gig at King Arthur's Court (somewhere in another lifetime) where Stu passed out some party poppers to the usual suspects who he knew would be in the front row and asked us to all release at the same time when he sang 'like a timebomb'. It has always been one of my favourite songs and Stu shows that all these years on he has lost none of his range and his power and note control if anything have improved.
So, to sum up. This is one of the finest prog albums that you will ever hear, no matter what name is on the cover, and is certainly Galahad's finest work to date. The guys are all on top form, and Karl Groom has captured the very essence of the band and distinguished the instruments so that even when everything is blasting away there is still perfect clarity of what is taking place. I have been an advocate for the band for 20 years, and know that I am always going to be biased. But I dare anyone to play this and not honestly give it top marks. Album of the year? I should bloody well think so. www.galahadonline.com
Battle Scars - Reviews
Here is a link to the 'Classic Rock Magazine' web page which includes a round up of current releases including some very kind words about 'Battle Scars' which we think sums up the album perfectly - www.classicrockmagazine.com/news/classic-rocks-ew-releases-round-up/
Or here is the review text:
With Battle Scars, veteran English progsters Galahad (Avalon Records) have produced a thoroughly modern release that embraces a myriad of styles, veering into techno, ambient and dance territories at times. Echoes of Riverside, Oceansize and even System Of A Down also resound in an album of breathtaking ambition. Beginning with the highly orchestrated title song, this isn’t a relaxing listen. Each track has numerous twists and turns, and the overall ambience is unnerving, jagged and challenging. Standouts include Singularity, which recalls Finnish experimentalists Pharoah Overlörd; Bitter And Twisted, full of mysterious intensity; and Seize The Day, which begins in elegiac fashion and then goes techno crazy. It’s a fitting tribute to bassist Neil Pepper, who died of cancer last year aged just 44. He managed to play all his parts on Battle Scars although he had to sit down to play because of the discomfort.
Quote from Ole Svela, editor of Blackmoon Magazine.
"Battle Scars - the title track is absolutely brilliant!"
Email from Will Mangold - PRM Radio www.ProgRockandMetal.net
"Wow, I'm really excited here with what I hear on Battle Scars. What a great add to the station and an awesome follow-on release to Empires Never Last.
BEAUTIFUL -- and I say that sincerely. I'm not much for the flashy and colorful adjectives/adverbs when describing the music, but hey -- this PROX and has my 10 out of 10 seal of approval.
I've added it to my high rotation group. I even combined a couple tracks together (as additional tracks) so when it plays, it counts as one BUT two songs are played! I love epic prog (good prog that is)."
I thank you dearly
Here is a great review of 'Battle Scars' by Tonny Larson on the Prog Planet website - www.progplanet.com/index.php
Here is a review by Harald Schmidt - translated from German hence a few oddities but I've included the German version below too - Just For Kicks Review
Galahad is a since their 1995 album sleepers that prog bands, which are constantly in search for new sounds and consistently integrate them into their sound-Cosmos, which last 2006 to empires never led to the previous peak of her career. On battle scars Galahad continue for the first time quite similar to the way of the previous album in her career. This is also because that again Karl groom has caused an extremely precise, clear and powerful production - this is the elixir of life for the modern sound of Galahads. A mixture of sampled orchestral parts, hard guitars, trance elements, synth bass, electronic play and alienations determines the album and underlines once again Galahads penchant for gloomy atmosphere and sublime arrangements. The whole thing is so clean that it in some places - in particular fails the drum slightly sterile. Rhythmically, the pieces fall out rather straight - one lives from gestures and the impact of the overall sound less of filigree escapades as a major. In this very modern, tough and bulky form of progs they make neo-prog-days forget their early now especially since it completely renounces keyboard solos and guitar solos are reduced to a minimum.
Felt the band arrived thus at a similar point of development like the colleagues of Pallas, Pendragon or arena. This proves at the end of the album an impressive remake of the title piece by "Sleepers" - significantly modernized and still more radical than the original version. It is the most beautiful piece of the album, because it brings together the past and present of Galahad gracefully.
Never, despite the hard guitars, one gets the impression that a metal fan could win off something this sound. Galahad have namely plain and simple no metal setting. It is not dirty, but elegant, not freaks out, but ecstatic is controlled and has integrated into the pieces also sufficient tempo change and registered passages.
In terms of production and arrangements, the guys have become incredibly clever, but so much its character has changed since the 1990s, the vocal lines by Stuart Nicholson are always be and remain typical Galahad.
The album appears as a beautiful digipack with a similarly provocative cover such as 1995 "sleepers"-as well as vinyl version limited to 300 copies (with CD as a supplement). A chic thing, even if Galahads sound may fit much better with the digital formats than the analog vinyl. Good for the progressive rock and the entire scene that there are courageous bands such as Galahad, who bring so uncompromising and consistent new sounds.
And who - like Galahad-want to be modern, must live so that you cannot retro or neo and must be proven ingredients in the cupboard. Galahad do so with grace and glamour. Courageous band, powerful album and within the original progressive rock! Harald Schmidt/BBS - 12 / 15 points
Galahad sind seit ihrem Album Sleepers von 1995 eine jener Prog-Bands, die konstant auf der Suche nach neuen Sounds sind und diese konsequent in ihren Klangkosmos integrieren, was auf Empires Never Last 2006 zum bisherigen Höhepunkt ihrer Karriere führte. Auf Battle Scars setzen Galahad erstmals in ihrer Karriere den Weg des Vorgängeralbums recht ähnlich fort. Das liegt auch daran, dass erneut Karl Groom für eine äußerst präzise, klare und druckvolle Produktion gesorgt hat - das ist für den modernen Sound Galahads das Lebenselixier. Eine Mischung aus gesampelten Orchesterparts, harten Gitarren, Trance-Elementen, Synthie-Bässen, Elektronikspielereien und Verfremdungen bestimmt das Album und unterstreicht einmal mehr Galahads Hang zu düsterer Atmosphäre und erhabenen Arrangements.
Das Ganze ist so clean, dass es an manchen Stellen –insbesondere das Schlagzeug- etwas steril ausfällt. Rhythmisch fallen die Stücke eher geradlinig aus – man lebt weniger von filigranen Eskapaden als von großen, ausladenden Gesten und der Wucht des Gesamtklangs. In dieser sehr modernen, harten und voluminösen Form des Progs machen sie nun ihre frühen Neo-Prog-Tage vergessen, zumal man auf Keyboardsoli komplett verzichtet und Gitarrensoli auf ein Minimum reduziert sind.
Gefühlt ist die Band damit an einem ähnlichen Entwicklungspunkt angekommen wie die Kollegen von Pallas, Pendragon oder Arena. Das belegt zum Abschluss des Albums eindrucksvoll das Remake des Titelstücks von „Sleepers“ – deutlich modernisiert und noch radikaler als die Originalversion. Damit ist es das schönste Stück des Albums, denn es vereint graziös die Vergangenheit und Gegenwart von Galahad. Trotz der harten Gitarren hat man nie den Eindruck, dass ein Metal-Fan diesem Sound etwas abgewinnen könnte.
Galahad haben nämlich schlicht und einfach keine Metal-Einstellung. Man ist nicht dreckig, sondern elegant, man flippt nicht aus, sondern ist kontrolliert ekstatisch und hat zudem ausreichend Tempowechsel und getragene Passagen in die Stücke integriert. In Sachen Produktion und Arrangements sind die Jungs unglaublich clever geworden, doch so sehr sich ihr Klangcharakter seit den 90ern verändert hat, die Gesangslinien von Stuart Nicholson sind stets erkennbar und bleiben typisch Galahad. Das Album erscheint als schönes Digipack –mit einem ähnlich provokanten Cover wie 1995 „Sleepers“- aber auch als auf 300 Exemplare limitierte Vinyl-Version (mit CD als Dreingabe). Eine schicke Sache, auch wenn Galahads Sound viel besser zu den Digitalformaten passen mag als zum analogen Vinyl. Gut für den Progressive Rock und die gesamte Szene, dass es mutige Bands wie Galahad gibt, die so kompromisslos und stimmig neue Klänge einbringen.
Und wer –wie Galahad- modern sein möchte, muss damit leben, dass man nicht mehr retro oder neo ist und bewährte Zutaten im Schrank lassen muss. Galahad tun das mit Grazie und Glanz. Mutige Band, kraftvolles Album und im ursprünglichen Sinne Progressive Rock!
Harald Schmidt/BBS - 12/15 Punkten
Review by Uli Leopold - Magic Dragon Music - http://stores.ebay.de/Magic-Dragon-Music
Battle Scars: Galahad‘s best album ever - full of power, energy and dynamics
Five years after the success album “Empires Never Last“ the seventh studio album by Galahad has just been released. Its production was overshadowed by Neil Pepper’s death of cancer. Galahad desribe this work as their music for the 21st century and further write about it: “In fact we all feel that is easily the best studio album we have ever recorded in terms of songwriting, performances, mixing, arrangements and pure sonic quality! Neil is an integral part of this recording and we are sure he would be very proud of what we have achieved with 'Battle Scars'.“
Also for me this is Galahad’s best album ever. With their new work Galahad continue their new musical course from “Empires Never Last“ und have enriched their magnificent sound with further musical elements. “Battle Scars“ is a compact, versatile and exciting album. The music is modern, powerful, dynamic and full of energy. The CD offers an excellent band performance with first class and expressive vocals by Stuart Nicholson and a very strong instrumentation with great guitar and synthesizer sounds.
Whether it’s the bombastic title song with many changes in mood and tempo, the power tracks “Reach for the Sun“ and “Bitter and Twisted“, the epic “Singularity“ or the gorgeous new recorging of the classic “Sleepers“: this is a very strong album from the beginning till the end.
The album was recorded, engineered and mixed by Karl Groom (Shadowland/Threshold) at Thin Ice Studios, on the well-known high quality level for this studio.
This CD is released as digipak with 16 page booklet. You can listen to sound clips on galahadonline.com and to the album trailer on YouTube.
For me this album belongs to the great progressive rock highlights of this year and I can highly recommend it.
Here is a rather lovely review from Martin Kitcher which sums up the essence of what Galahad is about rather well, we think... - martinkitcher.blogspot.co.uk/
Actually, here's the text:
GALAHAD “BATTLE SCARS”
A & R development over the years. Oh yes this is the key-let the band breathe and grow on masses of record company loans, make sure the public want to have the beautifully crafted product at least for Christmas, the look and sound must be essential...
The album I`m playing here at the moment, you could have turned down to barely audible volume at a dinner table and passed it off as an offering from the nightmarish but sadly true stabling illustrated above, heavens! -=it even features progressive music, but I can tell you that I have not heard a delivery like this from a band of this genre, well- ever really, but GALAHAD have not fallen down any holes lately nore ever gotten stuck into a cliched prog groove of cloning any other act in their class.
They don`t actually sound like anyone but themselves and its a sound comforted by being happy with knowing what they are and furthering that knowledge with a passion and longevity that is just so rare in any form of entertainment that is presented with such authority, with dignity and ,now, after 25 years or so doing what they do, such experience. These guys were doing DIY when anyone else except the indie punk labels were too busy sneering at it-it certainly wasn’t`t a “prog thing” to do-well one would have thought...
None of the songs on BATTLE SCARS have been tugged and pulled in a direction to which they might prove to be better for “that territory” or “that market”, the beauty and integrity of the song-crafting is coming from none of the usual places out of the speakers and thrills in the perfection of mix and exactly enough playing ,unlike many of the acts that they no doubt would have been listening too in a bedroom away from spiky haired, skinny legged pogoers that were their contemporaries.
This album is a film, but I don’t want it to be-I want it to be a record. From the opening power and dignity of the title track itself we are sucked into this aural movie and its only when we get to “BITTER AND TWISTED” that we realise that the album is such an absorbing work that nothing else is actually getting done.
Prog Rock didn’t of course go away, to many people, it just painted itself in a shade that was not as popular as it thought it would be-GALAHAD without a doubt carried on listening to themselves and what their loyal and indeed lifelong followers, in many cases, wanted from the music that they create.
Surely, that is the best A+R crew in the world and to be able to have the strength in work and deed to turn around and face a new crowd in 2012 and say-“hey people-heres our new record-you might like this as well..”, is an unchallenged gift that acts would pay a great deal of money to have. (they cant of course-it takes too much dedication, work and time!)
And-in case anyone has not mentioned it to you, with the excellent “SIEZE THE DAY”, the prog ship and dance floor have been immaculately fused by a band for the first time and not a computer programmer.
Galahad/Battle Scars Avalon Records 2012 9.5/10
Great review by 'Duckylips' on ProgArchives, thank yoooou! - www.progarchives.com/Review.asp
Opening with the title track this album gets off to a majestic start. Deep rumbling bass leads into a symphonic overture and whispered, menacing vocals. You get the feel something big, bold and beautiful is coming and when the song kicks in with its bounce-along hook you certainly get that. This is a great power-opener and sets the tone for the rest of the album.
Battle Scars is a very different Galahad album ? still recognisable, but finally unleashing their true power and potential that has been so desperately bursting to get out. The production work by Karl Groom is superb ? everything is in its proper place, the levels are perfect and for an album with such a huge sound, nothing is lost in the mix.
Battle Scars powers on into Reach For The Sun ? you'll need to watch the CD player to spot the join ? a fast, power prog track with plenty of subtle Mellotron, some spikey keys and a thumping drum sound.
Singularity opens with swirling synths and very spacey percussion, moving into a solid prog beat. The chorus, when it arrives, is beautiful, Stu's vocals are on top form with wonderful haunting choral backing and a spine tingling melody ? ending with some cleverly underplayed fast guitar work from Roy.
Back to power-prog with Bitter and Twisted. With great patterns from Spence on the drums, massive guitar chords and snarling lyrics again with choral backing vocals ? there's a lot of venom in this song.
Suspended Animation is my current favourite track ? one of three written by the late, great bassist Neil Pepper who sadly died before the album was released. It's a true prog epic, loads of Hammond, intricate time-signatures, Mellotron, swirly stuff, great big bass it's got the lot!
A gentle start on Beyond the Barbed Wire doesn't stay gentle for long as it kicks into some more snarling vocals and another thumping beat. These are powerful tracks on CD, I can't wait to hear them live.
The last proper album track ? there's a bonus of Sleepers 2012 ? Seize The Day is a real surprise. Listen to the piano and vocals at the start ? very Gabrielesque ? then we are hit with what I would describe as trance! On a Prog album?! But wait it works, as everything else kicks back in, it suddenly all feels right. It's fast, it's slow again?.. It's small, it's big, then suddenly it's frigging huge ? what a finish!
A seminal album was once released with the tag, 'Expect the Unexpected' and the definitely applies here. Love it!
Another great 5 star review on Amazon by Andy H from Northampton, thank you Andy!
Back in 2007, Galahad came top in the Classic Rock Society Awards for best album with "Empires Never Last". Five years later they are back with an even stronger offering, Battle Scars is a high energy album (best played loud !) that doesn't let up from start to finish. There are some common elements with ENL but Galahad have pushed the envelope with some new ideas, even including a slice of Techno in places. Apparently there is another album already recorded and planned for release later this year, really looking forward to that but will be tough to top this one !
A lovely review by MARTIN HUDSON for the May/June edition of Rock Society...
Galahad Battle Scars Avalon Records
With age comes maturity and after 27 years as a unit Dorset based Galahad have produced the almost perfect progressive rock album. From the opening classical moments of the title track and its build to quintessential prog-rock through to the re-recording of Sleepers at its close this is mint!
The album lends a nod to the likes of Rush on Suspended Animation, Muse on Singularity while the band melds heavy rock with pure Galahad (Bitter and
Twisted) and there's dance themes (Seize The Day) - all on the one album.
Sadly big bass man Neil Pepper (a total gentleman) is not around to reap the benefits, but if you're up their Neil looking down upon us you and the guys have got it spot on.
Vocalist Stu Nicholson is outstanding and when it comes to the instrumentals the rest of the lads seem to be at their peak. The Pepper penned Beyond The Barbed Wire is a stunner. Yet another superb rock album that won't see the time of day on mainstream radio. What a bloody shame! Highly recommended! MH
Here is a link to another great review by Kev Rowland on Silhobbit, cheers Kev! - www.silhobbit.com/mambo/content/view/1014/109/
Another review in German by Ruard Veltmaat - www.progwereld.org/cms/recensies/album/galahad-battle-scars/
A couple of reviews on French site 'Music Waves' - 188.8.131.52/search/srpcache
A great review by Rok on the Rocktoloigist website - www.therocktologist.com/galahad---battle-scars.html
Link to Amazon.de containing another five star review, in German - Amazon
Link to a great review on the Rock Regeneration website - www.rock-regeneration.co.uk/wordpress/
Another positive review on the 'Music in Belgium' website - www.musicinbelgium.net/pl/modules.php
A positive (So I'm told!) review in German on the Metal Glory website -www.metalglory.de/reviews_neu.php
A link to a wonderful review from Natalia Kubacka and Marek Toma on the Polish Rock Area site, thanks guys! - www.rockarea.eu/articles.php
A great review on the Dutch 'Background' site:
The English progressive rock band Galahad, founded in 1985, might be considered to be one of the well-established bands in the prog rock genre. At first I had hardly any interest in Galahad. I thought they didn't take themselves that seriously being a neo-prog rock band, but they have evolved into a gem. From the moment guitarist Karl Groom (Threshold) got interfered in the mixing and production process of their albums, the sound got a bit more guitar orientated with a slight metal edge. So I'm glad to notice that on Battle Scars, the latest Galahad album, Groom is credited as producer alongside the band. The album was recorded in Karl's Thin Ice Studio's. It's the last album on which bass player Neil Pepper (44) can be heard. He sadly passed away in September 2011 after losing his battle with cancer...
The title track opens the album with a neo-classical instrumental piece in the vein of the old Galahad. Then the song gradually gains power and segues into a more metal-like atmosphere. However, the vocals remain nice and melodic and sometimes Stuart Nicolson's vocals remind me a bit of those of Dutch band Casual Silence. Reach For The Sun is powerful too; it even comes near to the sound of progressive metal band Queensrÿche, purely due to the majestic guitar work of Roy Keyworth. With Singularity you can relax in your seat with fine atmospheric keyboard sounds. When the guitar and Nicholson's vocals join in the resemblance with their fellow neo-prog rockers of IQ is obvious, but the outcome is more relaxed and traditional. Bitter And Twisted starts out with some keyboard sounds that immediately reminded me of Rammstein, but as soon as the vocals join in, the song moves in another direction. Sylvan crossed my mind, but this song also contains the first attempts of incorporating modern music, upon which 'other' people like to dance. This danceable part in combination with the heavy guitars reveals a whole new area for Galahad. Suspended Animation is a prog song that takes you to the edges of hard rock or even alternative rock, with a few twists along the way to confuse your senses. These parts are really strong and are the icing on this progressive cake.
Beyond The Barbed Wire is a more airy piece with strong vocals, steady drums of Spencer Luckman, nice atmospheric keyboards by Dean Baker, but still heavy rock parts in the chorus. Seize The Day finishes the album perfectly with more stunning arrangements. It starts with a quiet U2 sounding part; then the keyboards almost turn the song into a kind of house party bringing the danceable parts back to the front. At first you might think that this is an odd combination, but for me it worked right from the first notes: an interesting combination for future releases. This is in fact what progressive rock is all about: merge whatever you like and make something new out of it without any restrictions. As a bonus we can enjoy a new version of Sleepers, one of the band's classic pieces. Sleepers 2012 is more powerful than the original 1995-version: fourteen minutes of impressive music with a nostalgic touch.
I'm very impressed by Battle Scars. Galahad have evolved from the beginning until now. For me personally they reached their height from the moment the guitars got a more prominent role and the arrangements slightly turned to metal. Now Galahad has written a new page in the big book of progressive music by carefully incorporating dance and bits of house music into some of their songs. I appreciate this new step since it sounds awesome. Despite the loss of one of the band members I think Galahad have set the standards a bit higher for other bands in the genre.
****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
Galahad - Battle Scars (GHCD11) ****
Galahad originally formed back in 1985, and they were many of the progressive bands coming out in England. The band continued, releasing records, playing shows, doing what they do best. Over the years their following grew, but can still be considered very underground in some parts of the world.
"Battle Scars" is a very solid effort by a band with a vast amount of experience. Galahad certainly developed a style over these years, that's certainly visible throughout their music. The songs on this record are well crafted. Despite at times lengthy passages, one almost want the tune to continue a little bit longer. Galahad has really cool groves, and they don't mind putting some good melody, and twist things around. Many of the songs have very heavy overtones, others tend to be more experimental.
When listening to Galahad one easily gets the impression this band has influences from the last four decades of progressive rock. Now that the movement is more popular than ever, many bands come up front showing what they've been doing for years. Only getting more attention these days. Galahad is very easy to follow, and their style will definitely prompt many followers. "Battle Scars" is a great record, it will make you think.
Mark Kadzielawa - 69 Faces of Rock, Poland
A great review on Bill Copp's music blog - blog.musoscribe.com/
A wonderful review by Steven Reid on the Sea of Tranquility page which encapsulates almost perfectly what Galahad were trying to achieve with Battle Scars - www.seaoftranquility.org/reviews.php
It is a real skill for a band to be able to continually evolve, while still retaining a recognisable signature sound that keeps fans coming back for more - accepting, and being enthused that their favourite band will never be exactly the same from album to album. This is a skill that not only do Galahad have in their armoury, it is something they've mastered and thrive because of. The band's last album, 2007's Empires Never Last was a perfect example, with the winding storytelling style for which Galahad have always been known, being beefed up by a harsher, heavier attack that added a forceful, threatening bite to the more intricate style of previous albums. Battle Scars, the first of two new offerings we can expect from Galahad this year (Beyond The Realms Of Euphoria is slated for release towards the end of 2012) follows along similar lines, while, as expected, expanding the range of colours from which Galahad have to choose.
The five years between Empires and Battle Scars haven't all been plain sailing for Galahad, with the sad death of Neil Pepper coming at the end of the bassist's battle with cancer. Fittingly, not only does Pepper's bass playing feature throughout Battle Scars, but his fantastic songwriting is one of the key cogs that makes for Galahad's strongest album to date and the best CD I've plopped in the player so far this year.
Sliding into view via a beautifully arranged classical/medieval/keyboard introduction, the album's title track is classic Galahad. Brooding, hook laden, threatening, playful and downright catchy, "Battle Scars" sums up exactly what makes this such a captivating album - the ability to wrap intricate, expansive music round punchy, unforgettable choruses. Singer Stuart Nicholson, immediately draws you in with a whispered beginning, before the keys weave their way towards a bristling riff that smacks you between the eyes, before the insistent chorus chant of the two words that make up the song and album title, transfix you, making you repeat the refrain over and over for weeks to come. Eerie, aggressive and memorable, it is a mighty introduction to the album. "Reach For The Sun" continues the vibe with expansive keyboards and towering drums, alongside staccato riffs and vocals, highlighting the stunning sound the album possesses, courtesy of the band, along with Threshold mainman Karl Groom. Cleverly "Singularity" calms what has been a frenetic, aggressive beginning to the album, with a Jarre like keyboard wash and an intentionally narrow sounding stab of guitars, bursting into full bloom as the song progresses. Already, by this stage it is obvious that, as ever, Galahad intend to challenge the listener to keep up, promising glorious rewards for those willing to invest their time in getting to know the music and involving, uncompromising lyrics. In fact the whole album feels thematically linked, both musically and conceptually, with a deep dark despair, being contradicted with an inner strength that always offers up glimpses of light through the, at times, weighty themes.
A spiralling keyboard and busy drum beat offers up an almost dance-like feel to "Bitter And Twisted", although Nicholson's meandering vocals and the wonderful combination of Roy Keyworth's intricate guitar playing and Dean Baker's layers of keyboards actually makes this the song most reminiscent of Empires Never Last. Before the dense riff and layered vocals of "Suspended Animation" brings to mind latter day Rush. Pepper's bass comes right to the fore during this song, throbbing with intent alongside the ever busy drumming from Spencer Luckman. Another catchy chorus comes wrapped in a thoughtful challenging lyric, with "Beyond The Barbed Wire" conjuring up images of prison camps, oppression and closed confused minds, although again the excellent fret work rivals the amazingly varied vocals for supremacy. The album proper closes out with the contradiction of styles that is "Seize The Day", building like an atmospheric track from the catalogue of Fish, before an amazingly bright, yet deeply melancholic keyboard melody is coupled with a huge chorus and bouncing beat to make what in truth is prog-dance. As someone with no affiliation to the latter of those genres, take it from me that the results are nothing short of wonderfully and surprisingly uplifting! In a just world, this song would be not only a prog anthem, but a mainstream hit.
As if those phenomenal seven tracks aren't enough, a fantastic, updated and extended version of the title track to the 1995 Galahad album Sleepers is added to Battle Scars as a bonus. As one of the most interesting songs from the band's catalogue, there was always a risk that revisiting such a strong song would prove unwise. Instead it again highlights just how stunning this disc sounds, with the expansive, explosive production, mixing and mastering making a great song even better.
Put simply Battle Scars is a triumph. Bring on Beyond The Realms Of Euphoria!
A great review on the Grande Rock site by Thanos. A - www.grande-rock.com/reviews/galahad_-_battle_scars
Another review of Battle Scars, this time by Ken Foster on the Aurovine site - www.strummerlive.net/
Galahad are sometimes described as veterans of the UK prog rock scene, having released 7 studio albums and 3 live albums since 1985. Often mentioned in the same breath as IQ and Pendragon, they rode on the stunted new wave of prog during the Eighties and Nineties.
Battle Scars acknowledges this evolution with the odd nod to techno (Bitter & Twisted), much as IQ still do. Traditional prog fans may be slightly alienated by these themes but I believe we should embrace them. Throwing the odd curve ball is always useful to keep things fresh.
The Battle Scars theme running throughout the album is catchy and the press release claims of an epic album aren't at all pretentious. Suspended Animations's non straightforward time signature is particularly appealing to my ears but don't get the impression that this album is difficult to listen to. Far from it infact. It's an album that grabs you on first play and has enough nuances to keep you hooked for considerable repeat listens.
Singularity is just sublime and develops into a choppy riff (again anything but 4/4) and is perhaps the track most remiscent of IQ here. The 8:32 Seize The Day rounds off the album proper and again ventures into electro/dance territory - a powerful and fitting end to a fine album.
But that's not all... as a very welcome bonus the band have included a 25th anniversary treat in the shape of a new recording of their classic track Sleepers. It's a stunning and very welcome addition to a very fine album. I'd go so far as to say this track is worthy of the price of the album on its own!
A couple of very postive reviews by Alison Henderson and Geoff Feakes on the Dutch DPRP site - www.dprp.net/reviews/201222.php#galahad
A great review from Peter, a Galahad virgin on Your Music Blog - www.yourmusicblog.nl/
Another one of those bands that were on my “to discover” list and on behalf of Progstreaming (thanks Markwin) I am finally able to tell you about this band! And I must say, I did not regret it for a moment. The band turned out a bit heavier then expected. And yet, they have enough neo prog in them, so plenty of keyboards as well. Nice touch with those is that they sometimes incorporate elements from Dance (check Bitter and Twisted). May sound odd, but it actually works very well.
Okay, back to the album. Opening with the title track, we are treated with a suspense ambient feel that quickly evolves into a classical sounding overture, before turning into a driven prog track. Reach For The Sun is an uptempo work out with some fine rhythmic ideas and energetic riffing. It is lyrically a kind of epilogue to the first track, that is, the few lines that are used. I really like how the keyboards are used here. Atmosphere, arpeggios, quirky blips and beeps. Nice. Singularity opens with a processed drum track accompanied by atmospheric synthesisers. When the guitar kicks in, you know you are in for a treat.
It becomes obvious we are dealing with an experienced band here. Clever arrangements, good production, they hold the listeners attention with ease. The actual album is pretty short, but the bonus track on this beautiful designed digibook is a 2012 version of Sleepers, that with it´s 14 minutes lifts the album to 57 minutes. I obviously don´t know the original but think the fans will know it well.
If you, like me, knew Galahad by name only, I strongly recommend checking this out. Great listen!
Fantastic review by Thomas Szirmay on Progarchives.com, thank you Thomas.
Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Specialist
If there ever was a band that has clearly progressed, it must be said that British group Galahad is definitely a top contender for the prize. Starting out with early albums that were really nothing more than baby steps, their first real leap forward was the charming Galahad Acoustic Quartet -Not All There release back in 1994, which proposed a stripped down, very dark folk series of beautiful songs, a platform for Stu to really put his original voice up- front and center. I still adore that CD to this day, as the medieval/melancholic vibe is precious and vibrant. Next came Sleepers in 1995 , which was standard neo-prog of the times, with simple ballads (Julie Anne and Pictures of Bliss) as well as some extended 10 minute + workouts (title track, Exorcizing Demons , Live and Learn and Amaranth) but was not particularly liked by the stubborn critics , a judgment that was even more scathing on the follow-up, 1999's "Following Ghosts", a seemingly heady mixture of what was before but salted with some harder pieces such as 'Imago' and 'Myopia'. This was , in my humble opinion where the tide turned as new keyboardist Dean Baker exercised his melodic influence by injecting strong electronic-tinged sweeps into the fold, though preferring bubbling Tangerine Dream style synthesizers to the usual formulaic organ/synth style as espoused by Clive Nolan, Martin Orford or Mark Kelly. And that's where Galahad's fortunes veered towards a future style that was all theirs. No more copycats, we are Galahad! In 2002, the aptly-titled "Year Zero" - that certainly proves that they were starting fresh and new- introduced a whopping symphonic element, structurally first as the album is a 15 part suite that is one massive piece of mellotron-driven, synth-swept extravaganza, courtesy of Mr. Baker but also a rejuvenated Roy Keyworth who now began a rougher, raspier attitude to his guitar style. With a monster bassist in Neil Pepper and a powerful drummer in Spencer Luckman, Stuart now just needed some material to really blow fans away for good. They took 5 years to sculpt one of the most bewildering recordings ever in prog , the hissy, angry and devastatingly sparkling "Empires Never Last " , one of 2007 top albums, almost universally adopted by those who trashed the band in the past as well as fans who stood the test of time. Stuart Nicholson proved his vocal mettle and if you add the visually stunning DVD Resonance (which gustily actually pre-dated the album), the conclusion ?the only one- is that these lads have come a long, long way! This was a difficult period though as long time bassist Neil Pepper was struggling mightily with health issues, replaced by the talented Lee Abraham.
So the long waited follow up 2012 had Pepper back for an artistic swansong, as he went to prog heaven in September 2011. "Battle Scars" is the first of 2 albums to be released in 2012, the second set for later this year. The overt rockier edge is still there with more trance/electronica grooves as well as lush symphonics with furious mellotron cascades. The mixture is a bright one and very original. I like to call it power-prog, powerful music that hits the nodes with passion and class.
The ultra-classical overture (they like to start their concerts the same way) is a fine prelude for the title track to kick mightily into gear, with Stuart flexing his pipes with voluptuous engagement, the lyrical material not quite pretty and clean, soft pain emanating from his trembling lips, as the evoked brutality becomes overpowering. The pummeling drummed onslaught is fast and furious; while Roy rasps hard on his fretboard and Dean waves his mellotron drenched hands. "Reach for the Sun" is a brief moment of rage, as the pace remains frisky and raw, powerful riffs and more battle scars are revealed. Synths bleep and bloop amok, the mighty 'tron howls and the axe grinds, what a delightful arsenal of sound!
"Singularity" is a highlight spool of glittering noise, buzzed by a sublime melody and expert guitar finger painting. The expressive vocal is luxuriant, the pace somberly energetic, the guitar on slow burn fire , a delightful combination of sounds that hit the mark and make this a Galahad standard to come for evermore "You can't touch me now", he sings. The harmony vocal work is sublime and the result is utter poignancy. A delicate piano settles the score.
When Stuart snarls, he gets it right, as per the nasty "Bitter and Twisted" , a fine account of our hyper-judgmental society whose priorities lie with the ability to hate via electronic messages and general ethereal inhumanity. No more values, no more dedication and no more resolve. Spencer accentuates the dysfunction with syncopated percussive mayhem, fueled by a violent guitar smack and whistling synth slaps. "You are just a little piece of... nothing at all" has got to be the lyric of the decade!
The Pepper-penned "Suspended Animation" is pure prog bliss, growling bass pangs devour a swirling swarm of organs, synths and guitars with ogre-like fascination. It's almost the funkiest piece from the Galahad catalogue and a definite keeper.
"Beyond the Barbed Wire" is desperate, cold and unrelenting, possessing an exhilarating impulse of pain and cold, as the contrast between gentle surrender clashes with the impossible desire for freedom and salvation. Tremendous modern beats and mellotron choirs collide with aggressive and repetitive guitar riffs and vocal refrain of the title. Roy's guitar solo soars and sears brightly, hot electric fission into the cold, frigid night.
The pulsating "Seize the Day" is a complete stunner, Gabriel-like piano and vocal intro (think 'Here Comes the Flood') that quickly colors the trance-like electronic melody. Even if you are not a fan of trance, this is truly uplifting stuff, brilliantly played when the bullying drums, thumping bass and the massive guitars enter the fray! You have to admire the band's courage and determination to not be swayed by anything other than their inner muse. This piece is proof of their commitment to bend the rules and define modern prog. Bravo, ballsy guys!
To be treated to a reworking of 'Sleepers' is an unparalleled joy to behold, not just a nostalgic wink to their past but an outright genius track that not only proves Stuart's undeniable talent but the seemingly stellar work of all the instrumentalists is better than ever. Both Dean and Roy really flesh out the sound, making it more vibrant and edgy than ever before. We as fans, thank you deeply!
Galahad is meritorious of the highest accolades, as they persisted with their vision and like them or not, they are a force to be reckoned with for the future. I actually prefer this new offering over Empires, a feat I would never had thought possible.
5 combat wounds
Another great review from Wilco Barg on his Rissan Blogspot web site - rissan.blogspot.nl/2012/06/galahad-battle-scars.html
Another reasonable review in German Heavy Metal site Metal.de - metal.de/index.php
And another great review on the German Musikreviews.de website - www.musikreviews.de/reviews/2012/Galahad/Battle-Scars/
And another positive review on German site Home of rock. Big thanks to our friends at Just For Kicks for bringing these reviews to our attention - www.home-of-rock.de/CD-Reviews3/Galahad/Battle_Scars.html
Another review on French site Chromatique.Net - www.microsofttranslator.com/BV.aspx
A great track by track review by Gary Hill on the Music Street Journal site, some interesting comparisons! - www.musicstreetjournal.com/index_cdreviews_display.cfm
A great review from a Hungarian site Hardrock Magazine - www.hardrock.hu/
A very positive review on the French NEOPROG site by Jean-Christophe Le Brun - neoprog.eu/critique/galahad/battle_scars
Good review on Esquizofrenia by Ricardo Hernández - www.portalesquizofrenia.com/galahad-battle-scars-2012/2012/06/
An 'okay' review on the German Neckbreaker rock and metal website - neckbreaker.de/cd-reviews/5049-galahad-battle-scars
A very positive review by Alan Jones on the Get ready to rock website - www.getreadytorock.com/reviews2012/galahad.htm
Afterglow album of the week and a fine review - www.progopinion.blogspot.co.uk/
Review in Highlands French Prog Magazine in French:
Aparu durant la 2ème vague du néo-prog anglais, GALAHAD a d'abord commencé en 1985 comme tribute band. L'influence du quintette
MARILLION, IQ, TWELFTH NIGHT PALLAS, ou PENDRAGON qui a dominé la scène anglaise de ce style musical aux débuts des années 80 se fait
forcément sentir. Petit à petit, l'idée d'exister en tant que vrai groupe a germé et ils ont fini par sortir leur 1er album NOTHING IS WRITTEN en 1991
autofinancé et autoproduit. 20 ans et quelques albums plus tard, le groupe fait coup double, nous proposant 2 nouveaux. Le 1er à nous parvenir est
BATTLE SCARS. Le 2ème BEYOND THE REALMS OF EUPHORIA sort plus tard cette année.
Le line-up du groupe a souvent évolué durant ces 20 ans. Seule la figure de proue, l'emblématique et excellent chanteur Stuart NICHOLSON
et le batteur Spencer LUCKMAN ont traversé toutes les tempêtes. Ils sont ici accompagnés par le guitariste Roy KEYWORTH, le claviériste DEAN BAKER
et le bassiste Neil PEPPER. Ce dernier, qui a participé à l'enregistrement des 2 albums, est depuis décédé d'un cancer. Paix à son âme.
Ce nouvel album comprend 7 titres et un nouvel enregistrement en bonus d'un des classiques du groupe, Sleepers initialement paru sur l'album
du même nom en 1995.
La présence de cette version 2012 apporte un certain contraste entre celui-ci et l'album. L'épique Sleepers, long de 14’, vraie réussite
dans le genre, est l'archétype du néoprog, long morceau, claviers symphoniques, guitares chatoyantes avec long soli et chant très théâtral.
Par rapport à l'originale, cette version gagne surtout au niveau de la production, signée Karl GROOM, excellente sur l'ensemble de l'album.
Les nouveaux morceaux de BATTLE SCARS s'éloignent quelque peu du néo-prog tout en gardant certaines racines en adoptant un style plus direct
Les rythmiques sont souvent beaucoup plus appuyées et le duobasse batterie est très présent. Le plus flagrant est l'utilisation des synthés et
claviers, très variée et proposant des styles parfois étonnants. Des claviers symphoniques introduisent Battle Scars (7'04) rapidement accompagné
du chant murmuré. Le refrain est beaucoup plus rythmé et le chant beaucoup plus appuyé. Il est suivi par le court, dense et puissant Reach for the sun (3'54)
enrobé par des synthés spatiaux. Le registre musical est plus néo sur Singularity (7'32) qui rappelle par moment IQ même au niveau du chant.
Un long solo de guitare termine le morceau. Retour de l'artillerie lourde et des claviers space-trance sur Bitter And Twisted (6'58) qui alterne avec un
refrain plus calme. Avant le refrain final, le groupe nous propose un beau passage instrumental atmosphérique. Suspended animation (4'05) est très
groove et rock. Beyond The Barbed Wire (5'30) débute calmement avec une guitare acoustique et un chant doux avant de s'accélérer avec le refrain. Celui ci est
un peu répétitif. Le dernier titre, Seize the Day (8'34), risque d'être le plus controversé. Après une introduction très atmosphérique, qui associée au
chant rappelle quelque peu Peter GABRIEL, des éléments trance ou dance apparaissent, rapidement rejoints par une rythmique et une
guitare très rock pour le refrain. Des parties plus atmosphé-riques avec notamment de superbes lignes de basse s'intercalent entre les refrains. Il
fallait oser mais je trouve cela très réussi.
GALAHAD propose avec BATTLE SCARS un excellent cru, en espérant que son successeur soit du même
Jean-Noël DEL CASTILLO
Another postive review by Christoph Lintermans on the the Belgian DA MUSIC site - www2.damusic.be/cd/galahad/battle-scars
Another great review by Boris Theobold on the German Rock Times web site - www.rocktimes.de/gesamt/g/galahad/battle_scars.html
A short and succinct resume of Battle Scars in the Seattle PI - And now, for something completely different. Galahad are back with their Battle Scars release. This is an odd amalgam of electronica that borders on techno and heavy prog rock. The first listen you could be forgiven for wondering if you got the wrong album in the player. There is no denying the quality of the musicianship here, so if you don't mind a variety of styles in your prog release, this might be for you.
The Galahad Christmas Lecture - A Review
Empires Never Last - Reviews
A 4 star review of Empires Never Last in Japanese! Honest....
5つ星のうち 4.0 重厚なドラマ, 2007/9/6
By 緑川 とうせい "冬星" (さいたま市) - レビューをすべて見る
(VINEメンバー) (トップ500レビュアー) レビュー対象商品: Empires Never Last (CD)
Through this album Galahad invited the contribution of Karl Groom, guitarist of Threshold. No wonder that this album has some flavor of progressive metal especially in the use of riffs. Karl is also credited with co-production and engineering and the overall sound of the album.
The album starts with an amazing angelic acappella Part 1 of "De-Fi-Ance". This really sets the tone of the overall album beautifully. It moves in great mood to the screaming male vocal which remarks the intro of Part 2 of "De-Fi-Ance". What happen is then the follow-up music which comprises heavy riffs by bass guitar overlain beautifully by a long sustain keyboard work. It is then that you realise you have stumbled on a very special recording indeed. It does remind me of ARENA, and a little like the latest CREDO CD, but has their very own style, and what style...they stand head and shoulders above any other band. Classy, well thought out, musically amazing with top-notch vocals....you can't hope for more.
"I Could Be God" is a long track (13:58) with multiple styles starting with a great keyboard effects followed by dynamic drumming and heavy guitar riffs. It's really an excellent opening. "I could be God.. I could be the devil..." the vocal enters nicely while the keyboard still producing nice repeated notes at background. At 5:12, after the high tone music, it suddenly turns into silent break with ambient keyboard work in spacey nuance. The vocal line enters beautifully in mellow style with no drumming, only keyboard at background.
The remaining tracks are all excellent tracks with "Sidewinder" (11:00), "Memories From An African Twin" (4:02), "Empires Never Last" (9:05), and "This Life Could Be My Last" (10:23). The compositions are really tight.
If you like ARENA, Early Marillion, CREDO, Pallas, etc....you MUST own this wonderfully crafted album. The cd production is also excellent.
Other bands [such as Marillion] should really sit up and take notice of this band. Galahad are the future kings of Neo-prog.
Also check out their other albums 'FOLLOWING GHOSTS' and 'YEAR 0'
Galahad put everything into their music, which takes you on a journey, they are simply one of the greatest bands of modern times. This CD will not be a dust collector, and in time people will realise that GALAHAD is all they need to listen to. Buy this...and be blown away.!!!!!!!!
I have to admit I'd never heard of Galahad until recently. Having read a review (on another website) of their new album and the reviewer mentioning fans of Arena and Threshold would probably enjoy Galahad's latest offering, I thought I'd give it a spin.
Let's say I wasn't left disappointed. To my very pleasant surprise I'd stumbled across one of my favourite albums of the year. And in what has been a good year of prog rock albums this is saying something.
It wasn't love at first listen. However, like most goods albums it takes two or three listens for the melodies and hooks to sink into the old cerebrum.
What is very noticeable is that the production is very good. Though this comes as no surprise considering that Karl Groom (Threshold) was involved with co-production and engineering. He also lends his expert guitar hands to some of the tracks.
If you are fans of the two bands above then I would thoroughly recommend this offering. But this should appeal to anyone who like their prog symphonic and/or on the slightly heavy, prog metal side.
Amazon Review (2)
ENL review on a Spanish language site - Somos Pacifistas