Life Is All About Music

A personal view on music, all kinds of music.

The Minstrel’s Ghost – The Road To Avalon (2012)


the-road-to-avalon-2012

Artist: The Minstrel’s Ghost
Album: The Road To Avalon
Year: 2012
Label: Melodic Revolution

Review: Diego Camargo

Thoughts: 

 The Minstrel’s Ghost is in fact a one-man project by the North American musician Blake Carpenter (vocals, keyboards and guitars), and The Road To Avalon (2012) is his second album. It was released by Melodic Revolution Records in December 2012.

The Road To Avalon (2012) has Colin Tench (Corvus Stone & Bunchakeze) on lead guitars, Marco Chiappini (Gandalfs’s Project) on lead keyboards, Troy James Martin (LeeAnne Savage) on bass and Zoltan Csörsz Jr. (The Flower Kings & Karmakanic) on drums and it’s a conceptual album.

Unfortunatelly, Blake Carpenter had chosen a poor theme to write about. Not that the King Arthur story is not rich and full of details, because it is. But how many conceptual albums with this theme have been recorded since the most famous one by Rick Wakeman in 1975?

I can understand the passion of a musician that becomes the final procuct (in this case a CD), but is so cliché when you look at the final material and the tracklist: ‘Merlin’, ‘Lady Of The Lake’, ‘Excalibur’, ‘Camelot’, etc.
The Road To Avalon (2012) is wrapped in a beautiful digipack with art by Ed Unitsky (The Tangent, The Flower Kings, Guy Manning, Unitopia, Moongarden and many others) but I cannot say the same about the pictures of the band, which are poor, softly speaking, and again, full of clichés with the band dressed in medieval gear with swords and all.

 

Musically speaking The Minstrel’s Ghost and The Road To Avalon (2012) are linked to Neo Prog in some way. Saying that you’ll know that keyboards and guitars are the rulers here. You have a lot of nice moments with Marco Chiappini keyboards and several interesting moments with Colin Tench guitars.
But when it comes to the basses and drums case they are very often forgotten.

The album production, by Blake himself, is weird and poor. The album is divided into two parts: The Design and The Life and it’s like two completely different albums when it comes to production. The former seems to be dead and has no shine at all, and the latter is live and full of sound.
Zoltan Csörsz Jr. is a good drummer, but here you can barely hear him, his drums are so in the background in the first part of the album that you can only hear the snare, a little bit of the hit-hat and occasional plates. Troy James Martin basses play their part nicely but too low in most of the album and mainly only following melodies without any really clever lines.
On top of everything we have Blake Carpenter vocals, which for me, don’t work at all. He doesn’t really have a good singing voice.
The Part I is a bit dull for me. We have some nice moments here and there with vocalizations and some good songs like ‘Excalibur’, but all in all it doesn’t convince.
The part II is a bit better, in sound quality and with compositions. It starts very well with ‘A Love Betrayed’ and its Pink Floydian style. Here the instruments are alive and right on your face. ‘The Son’ is a bit heavier and it’s one of the best tracks.

The Road To Avalon (2012) span over 60 minutes which is an ok running time for a CD. But if you count the Bonus track that carries the name of the album and its almost 16 minutes long the album jumps to 76 minutes which is way too much for this kind of Prog.

All in all, it’s an ok album, but lacks in a good production, originality and unity. Too many highs and lows that makes the listening really tiring.

You can preview the song ‘Camelot’ on our Podcast #8 HERE.

Tracklist: Part I – The Design: 1. The Journey Begins (The Avalon Overture) – 7’22 / 2. Avalon Part I – 4’04 / 3. Merlin – 5’18 / 4. Lady Of The Lake – 5’51 / 5. Excalibur – 4’02 / 6. Avalon Part II – 5’01 / Part II – The Life: 7. Camelot – 7’26 / 8. A Love Betrayed – 7’02 / 9. The Son – 4’30 / 10. Avalon Part III – 4’34 / 11. Le Morte d’Arthur – 3’07 / 12. The End – 2’25 / 13. The Road To Avalon (Bonus) – 15’50
Originally reviwed for: http://www.progshine.net
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This entry was posted on 15/04/2013 by in Reviews and tagged , , , .

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