Galahad - Year Zero

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Avalon Records
Catalog Number: GHCD8
Format: CD
Total Time: 56:05:00

Where to begin? I've stretched and moved and rearranged elements of this review because I wasn't quite sure which elements to emphasize. Year Zero sees Galahad pushing themselves again, moving further beyond their "neo-prog" beginnings and yet retaining more than a few vestiges of the progressive rock sound they're known for. If your impression of the band begins and ends with In A Moment Of Complete Madness, then you will find Year Zero quite a bit different from what you'd expect. This new direction began with Following Ghosts, continued with Deconstructing Ghosts, an album that featured remixes of material from Following Ghosts, and has come to fruition with Year Zero. Yes, you will hear a strong Pink Floyd influence in the music, and a bit of Yes, too, but they also bring quite a more to it as well. On this album you get a mix of space rock, classical, metal, rock, ambient... Saying it is any one thing leaves out a whole lot of other things.

I just can't get enough of listening to this CD. Not just because I'm enjoying every moment of listening to it, but because there are so many little things going on that you have to listen to it a lot just to capture everything. Galahad are still progressive rock, but are taking what that means in new directions.

Listening to the first few moments of the album ("Year Zeroverture") or the 9-plus minute "Democracy" you'd swear this was the soundtrack to some laser-light show at your local planetarium. "World Watching," which comes near the end of the album has a scope worthy of a film score. They do rock as well, just listen to "Baroque And Roll Dementia," for example, or the acidically metallic portion of "Democracy." Throw in some jazz ("Jazz Suite") and some classical ("Hindsight 1 - Piano And Clarinet," which, for the most part, is just that), too. While "Haunted" begins as a very intimate sounding, mellow piece, where Nicholson's vocals a very upfront, from there, the throbbing bass that comes in will recall Pink Floyd's The Wall... and here Nicholson has a bit of southern twang in his voice that me think of, um, Garth Brooks. Now, I like Brooks, so this is not a dig, just unexpected, sort of. And yet, it's also very much evident that it's Nicholson. There is a nice bit of Hammond in there, too, that suggests neither. The guitar solos in "Ever The Optimist" also have a Floydian feel. More Floydian hints in "Democracy" as both "Another Brick In The Wall" and "Time" come to mind during the intro before Galahad mix it up with some acidic metal guitar, bloopy effects and digital percussion. It's otherworldly... and bit like Styx's "To Much Time On My Hands." That Yes thing appears in "A Deeper Understanding"... - and it isn't just Nicholson's Jon Anderson like vocals, but also in the cheerful, light Steve Howe-like guitar phrases and the lyrics, too. Even the title suggests Yes, no?

"The Jazz Suite" is jazzy, as the title suggests, but also upbeat and cheerful, as sax is added to the delightful mix. This leads into the darker "Take A Deep Breath And Hold On Tight." "Hindsight 1 - Piano And Clarinet" is a beautiful, gentle passage, that leads into "Hindsight 2 - A Very Clever Guy Indeed" a mid-tempo, reflective piece that falls more into the Adult Contemporary category -- I thought a bit of Little River Band, actually, and of Al Stewart ("Year Of The Cat") but that doesn't... quite capture it all.

I'll say it again, Year Zero is a terrific release that I'm thoroughly enjoying listening to. A review can only capture a part of the whole listening experience. I heartily encourage you too seek this release out and listen for yourself. It may not be perfect, but there?s nothing on here that I'm complaining about.

I. Year Zeroverture (4:45) / II. Belt Up (3:47) / III. Ever The Optimist (3:43) / IV. The Charlotte Suite (1:06) / V. Dementia (2:26) / VIII. A Deeper Understanding? (3:51) / IX. The Jazz Suite (1:42) / X. Take A Deep Breath And Hold On Tight (1:35) / XI i. Hindsight 1 ? Piano And Clarinet (2:14) / XI ii. Hindsight 2 - A Very Clever Guy Indeed (5:40) / XII. The September Suite (3:45) / XIII. World Watching (2:25) / XIV. Deceptive Vistas/Postscript ? Perspective (4:44)

Roy Keyworth - electric and acoustic guitars, bass (VI), noisy effects and ding dong
Stuart Nicholson - most of the main singing, lots of background singing, ethereal choiry stuff, all the words and a teeny weenie amount of keyboard mayhem
Spencer Luckman - drums and all manner of strange percussive interludes
Dean Baker - an old but perfectly formed Fender Rhodes piano, steam driven Mellotron, reasonably stable Mini Moog, Taurus bass pedals, assorted modern digital synthesizers and rack mounted trickery, sampling, programming, wedding and 'glamour' photography (e-mail for prices)...we jest not!!!
Neil Pepper - bass guitar and Lord Lucan impersonation

In A Moment of Complete Madness (1993)
Nothing Is Written (1991)
Other Crimes And Misdemeanours (1992, cass.)
Sleepers (1995)
Classic Rock Live (1996)
Other Crimes and Misdemeanours II (1995/1997)
Decade (Best of) (1997)
Following Ghosts (1998)
De-constructing Ghosts (1999)
Other Crimes and Misdemeanours III (2001)
Year Zero (2002)
Empires Never Last (2007)
Battle Scars (2012)
Beyond The Realms Of Euphoria (2012)

Resonance - Live In Poland (2006)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: June 23rd 2003
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1355
Language: english


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