Fans of Uriah Heep and Magnum listen up, here’s a band from Italy called Blind Golem who are a doppelganger for those two, returning organ-based classic rock to the masses
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Blind Golem
ALBUM: A Dream Of Fantasy
LABEL: Andromeda Relix/Maracash Records
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Andrea Vilardo – lead vocals * Silvano Zago – guitars * Francesco Della Riva – lead and backing vocals, bass, guitar * Simone Bistaffa – organ, piano, synthesizer * Walter Mantovanelli – drums
Additional Musicians: Fabio Serra – backing vocals, production * Ken Hensley – hammond b3, slide guitar
TRACK LISTING: 01 Devil In A Dream * 02 Sunbreaker * 03 Screaming At The Stars * 04 Scarlet Eyes * 05 Bright Light * 06 The Day Is Gone (feat Ken Hensley) * 07 The Ghost Of Eveline * 08 Night Of Broken Dreams * 09 Pegasus * 10 The Gathering * 11 Star Of The Darkest Night * 12 Carousel * 13 Living And Dying * 14 A Spell And A Charm
Fans of Uriah Heep and Magnum listen up. Here’s a band from Italy called Blind Golem who are a doppelganger for those two, returning organ-based classic rock to the masses.
The origins of the band included a few years as Forever Heep, a UH tribute band, plus they were the late Ken Hensley‘s backing band on occasion, hence his connection to this album. Sure, the music is hardly original, and it’s only if you look hard enough that you’ll see bands with albums like this hidden behind the choices of what is today’s poor excuse for popular music.
Yes, Glory Daze is late getting to this review as the album was released at the front end of 2021 (Jan 4th). Sorry about that. ‘A Dream Of Fantasy’ might have a few too many tracks onboard, maybe 9 or 10 could’ve been a better total to aim for instead of 14, especially if they wanted the listener to retain a decent attention span. Instead, it is what it is, better to have ‘more than less’ seems to work on this occasion.
‘Devil In A Dream’ opens up with raw organ work and half-open wah guitar effect made familiar by Mick Box. Yes, it is very Heep flavoured. ‘Sunbreaker’ is an attempt by Blind Golem to break the shackles, a solid hard rocker, where lead singer Andrea Vilardo goes for the throat in true David Byron fashion.
‘Screaming At The Stars’ doubles down on a slower grinding style, not quite Black Sabbath at their doomiest, but you get the picture hopefully. ‘Scarlet Eyes’ must surely be the offspring of ‘Look At Yourself’, the reference points are everywhere on this one. ‘Bright Light’ is the second slower track we encounter, and at 6 mins plus, it has an early Magnum vibe to it.
‘The Day Is Gone’ features Ken Hensley who provides the slide guitar intro and B3 Hammond in what would be one of his last ever performances. The song itself contains a haunting quality, not unlike that Heep classic ‘July Morning’. For something unusual, check out the sound of the theremin on ‘The Ghost Of Eveline’, an instrument you don’t hear too often in rock music.
‘Night Of Broken Dreams’ is the first notable ballad on the album, its only a short excursion at a touch on 3 minutes. Again, the chorus is straight out of the Magnum songbook. Guitar riffs kick in on ‘Pegasus’ as things toughen up, while there is more slide guitar permeating the intro on ‘The Gathering’, it’s mostly acoustic though.
‘Star Of The Darkest Night’ returns Blind Golem to Magnum territory once again, a bit stronger in delivery too. ‘Carousel’ is a flowing acoustic piece which BG seem to excel at. ‘Living And Dying’ is an intense affair at a touch under 6 minutes, however it takes all of 2 minutes 40 seconds before it comes to life. Many references could be applied to this one song. ‘A Spell And A Charm’ concludes the album, a poignant acoustic ballad in the vein of prog giants
Blind Golem deliver an album that is true to its prog meets classic rock roots and does so unashamedly. A promising future is anticipated for these time-displaced Italians, who by the way, deserve some kudos for bringing Ken Hensley in as a guest some weeks before he passed away during November 2020.
Another standout is the Rodney Matthews designed album cover, which has a lot in common with past efforts like the Praying Mantis cover for their 1981 debut ‘Time Tells No Lies’, or the Bitches Sin album ‘Predator’. I’m sure there are some other examples too. If by reading this review you find yourself curious about the band and album, dive in and take a chance. I reckon you won’t be disappointed.
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