Battle Scars (Avalon Records, 2012)
British progressive rock band Galahad is one of the survivors of the second wave of British progressive rock bands of the 1980s. This was the era that some call neoprog. Galahad is known for taking risks and going in new directions in every new album.
I have mixed feelings about this release. The vocals and keyboards are outstanding throughout the album. However, the band seems to have been infected with the prog metal bug and has added hard rock and heavy metal guitar riffs, making the music less attractive for a progressive rock audience.
Battle Scars opens with beautiful symphonic keyboards, whispered vocals and mellotron. At around minute 3:30, the band switches to hard rock guitars that are of little interest.
Track 2, ‘Reach for the Sun,’ brings more of the hard rocking guitars, although you can also find superb keyboard and electronic music work.
‘Singularity’ uses captivating electronic beats and string synths as well as the same old hard rock riffs. However, at a certain point, guitarist Roy Keyworth breaks away from prog metal slavery and treats the listener to fine solo guitar work.
Track 4, ‘Bitter and Twisted’, sticks to you. It has a catchy hard rock feel with some interesting synth moments.
Some of the best vocal work appears on ‘Suspended Animation’, where you can also find notable organ passages and guitar melodies.
The highlight of the album is ‘Beyond the Barbed Wire,’ where once more we find outstanding keyboard dexterity and where the electric guitar breaks away from the hard rock mold.
Keyboards and guitars fight it out on track 7, ‘Seize the Day.’
The album concludes with the remake of one of the band’s classic tunes, titled ‘Sleepers 2012.’
“I hope you like what we have come up with, and if you know us well you’ll realize that we try and make each album different from the previous one, but still include certain Galahad traits,” says vocalist Stuart Nicholson. “Plus, I’d like to thank all those who have shown patience and stuck with us – it is greatly appreciated by the band.”
The 2012 lineup of Galahad includes Stuart Nicholson on vocals; Roy Keyworth on guitars; Spenser Luckman on drums; Neil Pepper on bass, guitar & keyboards; Dean Baker on keyboards.
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