Grey Lady Down - Fear

Year of Release: 1997
Label: Cyclops
Catalog Number: CYCL 070
Format: CD
Total Time: 58:07:00

After three albums Grey Lady Down called it quits as a band. Fear is their last release. And I think that's a shame.

My first thought as I sat down to review this, after having listened to it several times previously, was of Saga. I don't recall if I made this comparison when listening to their previous releases, but I am now. Certainly there is a Fish influence here, too, lyrically, and in some of the ways vocalist Martin Wilson phrases things. To be honest, one can make a lot of "there are hints of" comments here, and while accurate, don't really tell the whole story.

While this may be a sentence to turn away progressive purists, the songs here are catchy enough to make you pause to listen. Like their contemporaries, Grey Lady Down have (had) a fine sense of the melodic line. For anyone who likes the usual suspects - yeh, I mean Marillion, Pendragon, et al - you'll like this as well. Despite many commonalities with their brethren, there is a sense of freshness, an energy of a band striving to break free of the comparisons I just made.

The guitars, keys, and vocals are up front for most of the album. Every once in a while, the drums (Mark Robotham) come to the fore, often with some interesting timbres.

In most reviews, I point out songs that I liked particularly, or were particularly effective. That is rather difficult here, because I find something to recommend about each track. This is far from a perfect album, mind you. Does such a thing exist beyond a Platonian concept? Never mind a perfect album, a perfect anything?

But, what it does mean is that there is something of value over the course of the entire album. In some tracks, it is beautifully lyrical lines - dry on paper but given life by Wilson's vocals. On others, it is a guitar passage by Steve Anderson.

No, Grey Lady Down weren't particularly challenging, say in the way King Crimson are, but then again, sometimes a poetic track gets a meaning or idea across more effectively.

Don't let the fact that this band is now defunct deter you from adding this to your shopping list.

And Finally (10:27) / Roller Coaster (9:17) / A Modern Day Cavalier (7:56) / Final Decree (4:36) / Sliding (10:33) / Usurper (7:55) / Paper Chains (The Crime Part Three) (8:43)

Steve Anderson - guitars, backing vocals
Mark Robotham - drums
Sean Spear - bass
Mark Westworth - keyboards
Martin Wilson - vocals

The Crime (1994)
Forces (1995)
Fear (1997)
The Time Of Our Lives (1998)
Star-Crossed (2001)

Genre: Neo Prog

Origin UK

Added: January 1st 1999
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1447
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]