tisdag 11 oktober 2016

Gnidrolog - in Spite of Harry's Noe-Nail (Bra Progressiv Rock UK 1972)

240:- (24-Bit Limited Remaster Edition, original textur utvikomslag. Är nu utgången sedan länge och mkt svår att hitta.)

A minute or two into Gnidrolog's debut album, chances are you will realise that you have stumbled upon a sensational group. It's one hell of an entertaining ride that doesn't just continue steadily through Harry's Toe-nail, but even manages to accelerate on the follow-up Lady Lake. This killer one-two combination is a real treat for classic prog fans, and puts Gnidrolog really high on the list for those willing to strike out and discover something new.

When describing the band's music, it's tempting to make references to Gentle Giant, King Crimson and Van Der Graaf Generator and at some points, even Amazing Blondel, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Wishbond Ash, but I prefer to waffle on at length about the Gnidrolog sound, cos it's unique. 

There is a real note of desperation in Colin Goldring's vocals, a powerful occasionally even eerie atmosphere envelopes the music, and the band's sound is both rich and unusual ... probably because for large portions of their album, the guitar is sidelined and the keyboards are non-existent, while bassist Peter Cowling doubles up on cello and drummer Nigel Pegrum is often to be found playing the flute or oboe!. It's also notable that despite quite obviously being brilliant musicians, Gnidrolog generally eschew the "solo".

The multi-dimensional opener Long Live Man Dead is probably the best way for the band to throw down the gauntlet, for while it is certainly an animated, occasionally bewildering offering that will draw you in if not through the frantic vocal melody, then surely through the flute-led mid section or the ominious deliberately disjointed ending ... and it probably isn't even Gnidrolog's most daring composition!

The intensity never lets up ... the medieval ballad that is Peter begins with a delightful instrumental passage and its sparse instrumentation carries the lead melody superbly. Snails is one of those eerie pieces I mentioned earlier ... it can be hypnotic and vicious and towards the end descends into the most beligerent of cacophonies with Stewart Goldring's visceral guitar lines sharing the spotlight with avant-garde brass work in a manner that would have brought a smile to Robert Fripp's face.

Time And Space starts off life as a exquisite Tudor-era companion to Peter, but soon evolves into a jarring beast and closes with a feeding frenzy of a solo. The lyrics, by the way, are full of poetic expressions of fear and confusion.

 Who Spoke is another almost Baroque acoustic piece, although this one stays delicate and concise (as one would expect with a running time of just over 2 minutes). The concluding title track is probably my favourite piece is a superb album, using the flute and bass to set the scene before massed vocals lead the band to a emotionally charged solo that leads into the blistering jazz-rock finale.

When you first discover Gnidrolog, you might be caught wondering if it really is as special as everyone else seems to claim it is. I can assure that this is one album that grows with time and like its successor, helps establish the identity of a unique group of music makers. In Spite Of Harry's Toe-nail is an essential stop for the adventurous. ... 90% on the MPV scale.

 Peter Cowling - Bass, Cello

 Colin Goldring - Guitar, Vocals, Sax
 Steward Goldring – Guitar
 Nigel Pegrum - Drums, Flute, Oboe
 John Earle - Vocals, Wind
 Charlotte French – Piano

01. Long Live Man Dead (9:43)
02. Peter (3:26)
03. Snails (7:14)
04. Time And Space (7:30)
05. Who Spoke (2:22)
06. In Spite Of Harry's Toenail (9:23)