Galahad - 'Beyond The Realms Of Euphoria' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 23, 2013    
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Far-reaching, outward looking music of the highest calibre.

Releasing two albums as closely together as ‘Battle Scars’ (April 2012) and ‘Beyond The Realms Of Euphoria’ (September 2012) could raise accusations of self-indulgence. In the case of Galahad it isn’t a charge that sticks, with the abundance of material emanating from a hugely productive period bassist Neil Pepper experienced during a battle with cancer, which he sadly lost late in 2011.

‘Battle Scars’ saw a gloriously executed keyboard/guitar stand-off resulting in a furthering of the Galahad sound, combining their individual take on prog and Neo with hugely diverse influences from outside the prog genres. ‘Beyond...’ expands on that journey, exploring more keyboard oriented music, while allowing the guitars to challenge at every turn. Huge and I do mean HUGE keyboard passages positively pulsate from the speakers, rearranging your furniture with their sheer power, edging into dance-techno themes through thumping bass drum blasts. However when you add in grating, edgy guitars, pummelling bass and the threatening, storytelling voice of Stuart Nicholson, then the end results morph between Jean Michel Jarre, Arena, Threshold, Muse and dance-floor anthem, while still sounding like one band - Galahad. It is an amazing skill to be able to take musical influences that shouldn’t mix and some which should usually be avoided like the plague and transform them into enigmatic, memorable songs that deliver melody, aggression, emotion, introspection and exuberance, not just equally, but simultaneously.

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‘Salvation I - Overture’ kicks in as an immediate keyboard anthem, half dance hit, half neo-prog-electro-heaven, before a smarting smack of snare-drum takes the focus. Segueing into ‘Salvation II - Judgement Day?’ the theme is nurtured further with darting keys, bristling riffs and trademark “in character” vocal. Then running at over 10 minutes, ‘Guardian Angel’ should be an impregnable epic, but Galahad make their own rules, serving up the most memorable chorus on the whole album - although via stunning guitar work from Roy Keyworth, killer keys from Dean Baker and dead-eye drums from Spencer Luckman. With a production and mix courtesy of Threshold’s Karl Groom, the album sounds magnificent, and at volume really becomes a thing of vicious beauty. Something the staccato burst of ‘Secret Kingdom...’ and Muse like guitaring, piano duel ‘...And Secret Worlds’ confirm, the latter via a stunning, phased vocal and soaring guitar howl. The keyboards finally win the battle for supremacy on ‘All In The Name Of Progress’ (OK, the guitar solo and off kilter drum bursts don’t hurt either!), before ‘Guardian Angel - Reprise’ reinvents the earlier song in a church organ meets demonic choir manner - stunning!

Galahad singer Stuart Nicholson promised that ‘Beyond The Realms Of Euphoria’ would offer more colour than its uncompromising sister album. Personally I’m not sure about that, as both show a huge breadth of outlooks and ideas. However one thing is for sure and certain and that is if you are a lover of far-reaching, outward looking music of the highest calibre, then you need to have ‘Beyond The Realms Of Euphoria’ and ‘Battle Scars’. Both are quite magnificent!

Steven Reid

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