Netherworld - Netherworld

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Musea
Catalog Number: FGBG 4466.AR
Format: CD
Total Time: 54:29:00

Way back in 1981 a vinyl album appeared by the American band Netherworld. Entitled In The Following Half-light it was only known to a few people and was never made commercially available outside the States. After the actual recordings had been cleaned up by means of a Macintosh computer and appropriate software, suddenly the release of this long forgotten work on CD seemed possible. To make things even more interesting, the band found the original recordings for the instrumental "Cumulo," which seemed to be a firm live favourite around the beginning of the eighties.

During the opening track especially, the backing vocals remind us of the band Boston. With a strong emphasis on the word "rock," the band did indeed add a lot of prog elements but mainly remained loyal to the rock format. In a way, lead singer Denny Gorden sometimes reminds me of the late Geoff Mann. Some of the atmosphere of "Straight Into Infinity" contains kind of a baroque feel featuring high pitched guitars and piano. As the album goes on, resemblances to Twelfth Night go even further. The weird "Maybe If They Burn Me" really goes towards that particular era. Fantastic interventions on synth colour the furious "Isle Of Man," which also contains authentic Mellotron to give the song even more authenticity and depth. "A Matter Of Time" probably is the best composition of the bunch, alternating between once again superb keyboard interventions and guitar outbursts. Although each musician obviously plays an important role in this band, it has to be said it's mainly the quality of keyboard player Randy Wilson that shines. "Sargasso" is a vocal tour-de-force which is almost like a theatrical piece and way too ambitious to be featured on an album like this!

As said before, we are treated to a bonus in the form of the instrumental "Cumulo," which exists of three movements. Totalling to well over nine minutes, it's full of breaks and rhythm changes the way we all want it to be. Especially the second part "In The Mist" is a beautiful piece with nice piano and stunning orchestration. Does this album justify a re-release on CD so many years later? When I see the number of inferior tapes being mastered and cleaned up to be given a CD release then most certainly this album merits to be issued on CD. However I do think that initially in 1981 the band should have been more severe, going over its own material in order to finally deliver an album that was perfect from start to finish. As it is right now, it does contain some good moments but sadly also some weaker passages. However, enough people will most certainly like what they hear. Personally I'm very interested to know what has happened to keyboard player Randy Wilson, as he surely was the main man in the line-up.

Too Hard To Forget (5:14) / Son Of Am (6:53) / Straight Into Infinity (5:47) / Maybe If They Burn Me (3:59) / Isle Of Man (6:08) / A Matter Of Time (7:58) / Sargasso (7:44) / The Approaching Storm (4:32) / In The Mist (1:56) / Among The Clouds (3:42)

Thayne Bolin - drums
Denny Gorden - lead vocals
Kirk Long - guitars, bass pedals
Greg Schoppe - drums
Scott Stacy - guitars, vocal harmonies
Randy Wilson - keyboards, vocal harmonies
Pete Yarbrough - bass, cello, bass pedals

In The Following Half-light (1981)
Various Artists - Past Present Future (1992)
Netherworld (2003)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: October 5th 2003
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 893
Language: english


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