International power trio grow up to swing rock-solid and supply wild.
If this band’s debut, "Never Pet A Burning Dog", packed more threat in its title rather than the music, their second offering, recorded more than a year before its release is a different beast. Having shed off the erstwhile sensual vagueness of Canterbury ilk, still looming in the piano fog of “Rising Upon Clouds”, now there’s a riff machine in action so the beautifully heavy “No More Quarrel With The Devil” brokers no peace outside its delicate prog interludes, after “There Is A War Going On” has set an angry agenda with Alex Maguire’s organ’s rage under a politician’s speech.
Reprises of “Devil” and “War” hold it all together tightly, yet “The Human Abstract” dissolves the melody without losing its emotional grip, and then serenity descends with the delicate picking and elegiac ivory glide of “The Invitation”, a sort of introduction to the 12-minute title composition. This piece takes its thematic lead from William Blake’s mystique vision and translate it into sonic adventure of high, if riveting, disorder where the band demonstrates all the facets of their magical interplay, alternately angular and elegant here and in the spicy space of “Tears Before Bedtime”.
The tension may ebb high and low in “Jalal”, as keyboards weave in and our of the fusion tangle with Michel Delville’s guitar, and in the crystal anxiety of “Mercury”, but the cover of “Purple Haze”, in which Tony Bianco’s drums wage a psychedelic battle, fathoms the trio’s freshly framed fury. And if it dies down for the closer “Goodbye My Fellow Soldier”, its prog rock buzz doesn’t let go off the overall enigmatic flow: rather fitting for the contrast between the album’s title and today’s actuality.