From the pastoral openings of the first song all the way through this oft called rock opera, there can be no denying that "The Eye Of Wendor" was a minor classic just waiting for reissue on CD. Oozing with warmth, clever arrangements, plenty of variety thanks to the diverse background and musical influences of those involved with the song writing, gorgeous melodies and some very memorable songs, they don't make them like this in the new millennium anywhere near often enough.
Sporting an all-star cast of thousands; all right, then, billions, the inclusion of highly talented musicians such as Maddy Prior, Noel Redding, Justin Hayward, Barclay James Harvest, 10cc, and others makes this is a brilliant journey of rediscovery.
This album was conceived by producer, David Rohl and was recorded at Strawberry Studios between 1976 and 1977. Although originally reissued on CD in 1992, this version has undergone a proper digital remastering process resulting in an outstanding sound that still holds up exceptionally well. Instrumentally, the sound is so fresh and alive, you would swear you were inside the recording studio; such is the accuracy of the remastering process on this disc. Needless to say, the enormous variety of instrumentation used allows each musician to contribute their respective songs without any of them sounding alike. There can be no denying the hallmark qualities of the singers assembled here, whose other work may be familiar to traditional symphonic progressive rock fans. 10cc, Maddy Prior, Wooly Wolstenholme and Justin Hayward never sounded so good.
Maddy Prior contributes the ethereal sounding "Like The Wind" while Justin Hayward contributes a brilliant song right out of "The Moody Blues" scrap book of classics that never managed to grace one of their own albums. "Witch of Waldow Wood" is probably the most accessible song presented here as its anthemic style embraces plenty of catchy hooks and some great fuzz guitar throughout. "Aenord's Lament" features some inspired piano sections with violin accompaniment and although beginning softly, runs the full gamut of styles and includes some great sax work to introduce the final song of the original album, "Coronation Of Damien".
How lucky can one be when you are sent the very same disc to review as the one you had included in a long list of titles that you had proposed to upgrade from vinyl to CD.? It looks like I've been saved the trouble. Along with the debut, self titled disc I recently traded, my Mandalaband CD collection is finally complete. If you have yet to discover this band and enjoy works from some of the aforementioned bands and singers, this reissue serves as a meaningful reminder that the well trodden musical styles so often used to great effect in the 70's will never lose their overall popularity.
1. The Eye Of Wendor (Feat BJH)
2. Florian's Song (Feat 10cc)
3. Ride To The City (Feat Noel Redding)
4. Almar's Tower
5. Like The Wind (Feat Maddy Prior)
6. The Tempest
7. Dawn Of A New Day (Feat Justin Hayward)
8. Departure From Carthilias
9. Elsethea (Feat 10cc)
10. Witch Of Waldow Wood (Feat 10cc & BJH)
11. Silesandre (Feat Sad Café)
12. Aenord's Lament
13. Funeral For A King (Feat Noel Redding)
14. Coronation Of Damien
Previously Unreleased Bonus Track:
15. Dawn Of A New Day (Alternate Mix)