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Telergy: The Legend of Goody Cole

In March of last year, I was surprised and grateful to receive Telergy's The Exodus. I gave it high marks in my review. I also mentioned I'd add the group to my watch list. Well, they must have remembered me on their watch list as well. I was happy to receive the follow-up album The Legend of Goody Cole recently.

This band is not afraid to write about deep and controversial subjects that delve into famous historical landmarks in time. The last album followed Moses' famous Exodus, and this album tells the sad story of, The Legend of Goody Cole. Unice "Goody" Cole, was convicted of witchcraft in New Hampshire in 1656. William and Unice Cole were amongst the first wave of British colonist to settle in America, trying to escape religious persecution in England. I will not reveal the entire story since it is so integral to the entire concept of the album. But it is one of those great stories of history which we all can learn from in hopes of preventing historical repetition.

The story, narration, music and lyrical content are all well developed to present the story in an almost theatrical form set to music. It would be interesting to see the album performed on stage live in its entirety.

"Rumors" is a ten minute epic instrumental track, which helps dive the listener deep into the storyline's time period, only this time with modern instruments. After two great opening tracks of narration and surrounding effects, this instrumental extravaganza welcomes you head first into the power this band can display. All the effects help build the suspense and drama for the dark story line. Bell towers ring, power bass, eerie keys, heavy drums, and that choir of warning spinning its wary web of sound. The heavy electric guitar and sinister keys are a definite change from Exodus, but such is the tempo and feeling of recreating the New England of 1656. Those drum patterns and that almost symphony powered supporting orchestration truly brings forth power. A solid foundation of ripping guitar, heavy bass and fantastic drum patterns all surrounded by lightning bolt keys and orchestration help ignite this album.

"Scene Two" is the narrated prelude to "Accusations", another over nine minute symphonic extravaganza. However, they open with eerie piano and soft flute, before the thundering lead electric guitars soar behind the support of heavy bass and solid drums. The guitar soloing here is some of the best I've heard this year. Your ears are then surrounded by solar guitar launches before a whirlwind of fast paced keys, bass, and thumping drums joins in. Two big epic instrumental tracks which showcase the amazing jamming capacity of Telergy for anyone who may have doubted their ability. Later, they attack your senses with Pink Floyd level sax playing from Nik Taylor. You keep thinking, "Can they make this any better?"

"Meeting House Green – Parts 2 – 4" brings the album's first vocals as the story develops further. The strings on the mid-section of this track are dreamy and wonderful.

"The Verdict" roars forward with punching drums, heavy bass, lightning keys and gripping lead electric guitar. Just what you'd expect after a verdict such as this. The drama and power of the sentence can be felt in the emotions of that solid organ playing.

Then, more of the drama and narration take over from "Scene 4", through "Incarceration", with its tear dripping, 'room full of violins' sound.

"Scene 5" includes Unice recalling her "Voyage" and the reason she fled England for "New" England, complete with the sounds of the ocean and some nice ole English folk music accentuated by accordion.

"Meeting House Green – Part 5" opens the "Ghost" section of the mystery and story of "Goody" Cole. Jenna Greene's narration is soft and wonderful at this juncture of the album. The flute and piano are perfect to re-create a ghostly flight and appearance. The orchestral horns, violins, choir, and those powerful drums all help add to the mystery and deep emotional feeling of the track. The lightning lead electric guitars return in spurts to step up the rhythm before they are unleashed in full force.

"Exoneration" is an instrumental dirge-like track full of the heavy lament of cello and soft plucked acoustic guitar.

The Legend of Goody Cole is a well-developed concept album built around an actual historic reality that will make any fan of progressive rock, and at times heavy metal, happy to strap on the headphones and drift back in time. The cast of characters and musicians is deep with too much talent to mention here. Ear candy that will satisfy your love of heavy guitar, bass, keys, orchestral choirs and instrumentation…and oh…did I mention the drums. Yah, your ear walls or the walls of your favorite entertainment room will rock. Take the journey…if you dare!

Track Listing:

1. Meeting House Green, Pt. 1 (1:22)
2. Scene 1 (0:29)
3. Rumors (10:09)
4. Scene 2 (0:47)
5. Accusations (9:18)
6. Meeting House Green, Pt. 2 - 4 (5:23)
7. Scene 3 (0:28)
8. Verdict (3:04)
9. Scene 4 (0:30)
10. Incarceration (2:36)
11. Scene 5 (0:23)
12. Voyage (2:58)
13. Meeting House Green, Pt. 5 (0:28)
14. Ghost (10:26)
15. Scene 6 (0:55)
16. Exoneration (4:50)

Added: August 5th 2014
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
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Language: english

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Telergy: The Legend of Goody Cole
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2014-08-05 17:50:27
My Score:

Telergy is a project fronted by multi-instrumentalist Robert McClung. The list of instruments he is credited for is impressive and includes: guitar, bass, violin, viola, mandolin, ukulele, lap steel, piano, organ, keyboards, flute, balalaika, bodhran, percussion and choir vocals. That said he doesn't do it alone and adds some big name guests like Ryo Okumoto (Spock's Beard), Trent Gardner (Magellan), Ty Tabor (King's X) and Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree). There are over forty musicians reminding me a little of Ayreon in that respect.

McClung's first album under the Telergy moniker was The Exodus, released in 2011. The Legend of Goody Cole was released in 2013 and is the subject of this review. For those of you who appreciate concept albums you are in luck. The story involves one Eunice "Goody" Cole who was accused and convicted of witchcraft in 1656 in the town of Hampton, New Hampshire. After spending fifteen years in prison she returned to Hampton only to be exiled to a small shack outside of town. There have been numerous accounts of her ghost wandering the area, presumably searching for her gravestone. It is an intriguing story and the music behind it is even better.

The album's ten tracks are broken up by a series of narratives used to propel the story along. McClung also provides the narrative. This is heavy symphonic prog rock/metal played exceptionally well by all involved. Great solos, huge crunchy riffs and delightful orchestrations serve to heighten the drama. It is tough to pick highlights as all these tracks have something to offer but the three long tracks stand out in particular. "Rumors" starts with the tolling of a bell and the music builds from there. The drums are excellent, love the tone, and the instrumentation has a lush symphonic sound. The song soon ventures into progressive metal territory with dynamic guitar riffs and adventurous synth lines. In "Accusations" the progressive metal beginning quickly quiets down with more somber tones and lovely piano and flute. As the music gets heavier once again a soaring guitar solo takes center stage recalling mid '70s Pink Floyd. "Ghost" is the longest track having an atmospheric beginning with stellar flute and gentle piano. The choir vocals and heavy riffs increase the dramatic effect but my favourite part is the cool psych inspired guitar solo near song's end.

Although this is not the most original symphonic rock and metal you will hear, I will give McClung leniency as the musicianship and craftsmanship is outstanding. The Legend of Goody Cole is an excellent album and I whole heartedly look forward to the next.

Telergy: The Legend of Goody Cole
Posted by Jordan Blum, SoT Staff Writer on 2013-07-11 14:51:42
My Score:

Truth be told, I'm not nearly as enthusiastic about The Legend of Goody Cole as my fellow SOT writers. Yes, it's a highly ambitious, technical, and, all things considered, intelligent effort, but in the end it feels entirely too formulaic, as well slightly corny. If you're a fan of progressive metal with overblown theatrics, cryptic folklore (albeit based on historical events), and portentous narration, you'll likely adore what Telergy has to offer here. On the other hand, if you find this subgenre too common and monotonous, you'll grow tired of it quickly.

Essentially, The Legend of Goody Cole recalls the witchcraft panic of the 1600s. We're given the story of Goody Cole, a woman who was convicted of and killed for being a witch. As you'd expect, she apparently still haunts the grounds. Of course, you probably guessed that last part before I said it, which is why the clichéd narrative of this LP isn't very interesting, nor are the overly dramatic performances of its actors. Again, the ambition is notable, but the execution feels more like a bombastic high school play than anything else.

Musically, the album is tight and powerful technically, with genre veterans like bassist Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree), keyboardist Ryo Okumoto (Spock's Beard), and guitarist Ty Tabor (King's X) performing at their usual caliber. Unfortunately, they aren't given a whole lot of remarkable or diverse arrangements; instead, they're given pieces that merely emulate bigger bands, such as Symphony X, Vanden Plas, and Kamelot. To be fair, there are some nice moments, such as the Celtic break in "Voyage," the flute treatment in "Ghost," and the emotionally rich atmosphere in "Exoneration." However, an album that's so majorly and shamelessly derivative can't survive on only a few glimpses of intrigue.

Again, The Legend of Goody Cole is as complex and powerful as anything else in the genre, but it's severely lacking when it comes to songwriting, originality, and variety. In fact, the level of redundancy here is almost insulting. Do yourself a favor and ignore this one; there's plenty of progressive metal out there, and most of it is exponentially more worthwhile than this.

Telergy: The Legend of Goody Cole
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2013-06-27 16:54:13
My Score:

The Legend Of Goody Cole is the second progressive metal offering from Robert McClung and his Telergy project, coming reasonably hot on the heels of the band's debut effort Exodus (reviewed elsewhere on SoT). Musically that first offering was a muscular journey through bristling riffs, classy keyboards and pummelling beats, although always infused with melody. For me however the whole effect of a more than convincing musical excursion was completely negated by cumbersome, clunky, amateur dramatic acting and dialogue which interspersed the songs as the album told the story of Moses and the plight of his people. In truth it was a real shame and in my opinion (Robert gently and most good humouredly took me to task on my thoughts, so he obviously didn't agree) something which spoiled an otherwise good album.

So for offering number two from Telergy, we are headed to a completely different point in history, with 1656 New Hampshire visited for the tale of Goody Cole, a lady accused and convicted of being a witch. Her fate is covered from song to song and indeed through some spoken dialogue. However this time interjections are fewer and further between and also less wooden in structure, allowing the mix of instrumental tracks and a few vocal led selections to stand on their own merits. What a difference it makes. TLOGC flows wonderfully, illustrating the skills of McClung as both a composer/arranger and also as a musician, with him handling everything from guitar and bass to bodhran, flute and balalaika!

Albums of this sort always seem to have a "guest list" these days, however in the case of this release, it does have to be said that both the quality and diversity of musician involved on The Legend Of Goody Cole is impressive to say the least. Members of Porcupine Tree, Spock's Beard, Kings X and Night Ranger (amongst others) all present and correct, while the inclusion of Dee Snider of Twisted Sister narrating the part of "The Judge" in the trial of Goody, is a master stroke. This time, unlike the debut Telergy offering, the dialogue is fairly convincing, moving the story along as part of the tale, rather than telling it through hindsight. Therefore it feels much more intrinsic to the whole experience – making, crucially, the most important aspect of this album, the music, become a success from start to finish. "Meeting House Green Pt. 2, 3, 4" is a wonderful slow paced lament, while "Rumors" surges and spirals through a mix of atmospheric, scene setting sounds and effects, before choir chants and drums thunder into life. From there a galloping riff and prancing keyboard-break scythes through the gloom taking you on a completely convincing prog metal romp. "Ghost" brings an altogether dreamier, yet poised and reflective tone, while "Voyage" comes across as some kind of demented metalised sea-shanty! However the crowning achievement is the full on aggression of "Verdict", with choir chants, churning riffs and a skull crushing beat laying the foundations for the central point of both the story and the album.

I have to be honest and say that my heart sank a little before I listened to The Legend Of Goody Cole, with the realisation that this album was another narration sprinkled, historical, conceptual effort. However I have to take my hat off to Robert McClung and all involved with Telergy, not only is this album a captivating musical experience, but as a record looking to take you on a journey and involve you in its story, it is also a complete success.

I'm not sure which period in history Telergy are headed for next, but if the growth in theatrical maturity between albums one and two (the music was never in question) can be replicated, we may well have something quite spectacular on our hands. The Legend Of Goody Cole isn't quite that outstanding, but neither is it that far away!

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