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Hobbit: All For The One

Blind Guardian certainly isn't the only band that can successfully base an entire album on a J.R.R. Tolkien novel. Aptly named Hobbit the little band that could from Texas invokes practically everyone except Blind Guardian on All For The One, a musical retelling of Tolkien's famed trilogy The Lord of the Rings. All For The One is the group's fourth album since its inception in the Seventies and its first batch of original recordings since 1985. There's Styx ("Everywhere"), Led Zeppelin ("Hey Bombadil"), Yes ("There and Back Again"), Kansas (the brief instrumental "Grand Departure"), Dio ("Nazgul"), Black Sabbath ("Echoes in Mirkwood"), NWOBHM ("Mines of Durin"), Pink Floyd ("Wind and the Way"), Sergei Rachmaninoff ("Thoughts of Frodo"), Felix Mendelssohn ("Farewells") and Crosby, Stills & Nash ("Last to the Havens") all bound by a persistently retro progressive-AOR vibe that's as warm and friendly as it is technical and foreboding, with light and dark themes dancing with mystical and mainstream melodies.

The voice of lead singer, guitarist and keyboard player Gene Fields blends magically with that of bassist and guitarist Paul "Turk" Henry, who also provides the dramatic bits of dialogue that are interspersed throughout the album's songs. All told, there are 32 tracks, making for an album almost 74 minutes long. Given the subject matter, it all gets a bit heady (and occasionally tedious). But the music's sheer diversity will keep your ears on their toes. That said, this aural journey through Middle Earth would have been a lot more sonically satisfying with stronger and more effective production, especially considering the vast musical flexibility of the four players in this mysterious yet engaging band.

Track Listing:
In the Shire
There and Back Again
Wind and the Way
One More Time
Hey Bombadil
Echoes in Mirkwood
Grand Departure
Mines of Durin
Whispers of Gollum
Beyond the River
Destiny Chaser
Thoughts of Frodo
In Mordor
Last to the Havens

Added: April 15th 2004
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Hobbit Web Site
Hits: 3283
Language: english

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