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Jerusalem: Black Horses

You might remember the name Jerusalem, a British rock act who released one hard rock/proto-metal gem back in 1972 on the Deram Records label, and produced by Deep Purple's lead singer Ian Gillan. The band split not long after, eventually morphing into the hard rock/punk act Pussy, who went nowhere. In 2008 Jerusalem reformed, and released their long awaited sophomore album Escalator, with original members Lynden Williams (vocals) and Bob Cooke (guitars) on board. Unfortunately, Cooke has been ill, and unable to contribute musically to this latest release Black Horses, but he has helped write a few songs. Helping out here are guitarist Ollie Hannifan, bassist Ashley Cutler, keyboard player Ray Drury, violinist Rachel Hall, Asia/Yes keyboard player Geoff Downes, and former Spock's Beard drummer Nick D'Virgilio. Though not the dark, proto-metal powerhouse that Jerusalem was back in 1972 as they rampaged throughout Europe opening for bands such as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, and Status Quo, this version of the band still rocks fairly hard, but they've also developed serious progressive rock side that should greatly interest fans of that genre.

"Puppet King" clearly shows off their prog tendencies, with Drury laying down plenty of synth & organ tones alongside Hannifan's blistering riffs. Williams still has a great voice, lending a bluesy touch to the title track and "Leopard Skin Pie" (complete with some soaring violin from Hall), almost sounding a bit like Jethro Tull legend Ian Anderson. "Shades of Blue" is like a meeting of Deep Purple & Kansas, as Downes' heavy Hammond organ saddles up next to Hannifan's heavy riffs and Hall's majestic violin in fine fashion, and "The Albatross" is a thumping blues rocker, reminiscent of Tull's early '90s material. Back to hard charging prog on the excellent "Surfing From Sydney to Marrakech", as Hannifan's crisp riffs provide the punch and Downes' Mellotron & Hammond the majesty, with Williams' catchy vocal melodies drawing the listener in even further. Easily one of the highlights of the album. "Smokestack Ammunition" is a thunderous heavy rocker in the Deep Purple/Uriah Heep vein, and another must hear track on Black Horses, and the lush, meditative "Eternity" takes things out in tranquil fashion, with Williams' gentle vocals supported by layers of keyboards and crisp drums from D'Virgilio.

Black Horses is indeed a very fine release, and even if you've never heard their heavy rocking 1972 debut, chances are if you like modern prog and '70s styled hard rock you'll get a lot of mileage out of this one. One miss here is the drab CD booklet design, which seems more geared towards an album for children than a hard rock & prog audience.


Track Listing
1. Puppet King
2. Let Me
3. Black Horses
4. Leopard Skin Pie
5. Shades Of Blue
6. The Albatross
7. It's All Over Now
8. Surfing From Sydney To Marrakech
9. Smokestack Ammunition
10. Eternity

Added: March 1st 2015
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score:
Related Link: Angel Air Records
Hits: 3664
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Jerusalem: Black Horses
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2015-03-01 13:02:55
My Score:

Jerusalem formed in the early '70s and released their self-titled debut in 1972. There appears to be some controversy regarding the recent reformation of the band which I will not comment on as this review will strictly adhere to their latest album Black Horses, the follow up to Escalator, released in 2009.

The players are Lynden Williams (lead and backing vocals, percussion), Ollie Hannifan (guitars), Nick D'Virgilio (drums and percussion), Ashley Cutler (bass guitar, backing vocals), Geoff Downes (keyboards), Rachael Hawnt (backing vocals), Rachel Hall (violin), Will Wilde (blues harp) and a few other special guests.

Songs like "Puppet King" and "Let Me" have the '70s heavy rock sound down pat with some scorching guitar work and delicious organ fills. "Puppet King", especially, is a real barn burner. The title track has a moody psychedelic sound with edgy guitar with plenty of bite while "Leopardskin Pie" has a Dire Straits feel at times with its clean guitar and more laid back approach. The violin is an added bonus and sounds really good. More '70s inspired rock can be heard in the Deep Purple-esque "Shades Of Blue" while the psychedelic/blues tinged "The Albatross" is more gentle with outstanding vocals and organ filled rhythms. The rest of the album is equally as rewarding.

For those of you with a fondness of '70s flavoured rock and roll Black Horses is an album you will want to hear. Excellent lead vocals, solid musicianship and strong melodies make Black Horses a very enjoyable listen.


» Reader Comments:

Jerusalem: Black Horses
Posted by Paul Dean on 2014-10-23 00:39:55
My Score:

I would just like to bring your attention to the fact that this album musically has absolutely nothing to do whatsoever with the legendary Jerusalem band managed and produced by Ian Gillan. Like the previous release Escalator on Mausoleum, Lynden has just used the name under false pretenses to try and get sales. Even Bob Cooke who appeared on Escalator was against Lynden using the name, which I have in writing. Ray Sparrow and myself were the founding members, we then pulled in Bill Hinde and later on Bob Cooke. Lynden was brought in at a much later date after auditions in London. Lynden's musical contributions to the Jerusalem album were only the lyrics on 3 songs, the music of which I wrote. He was also tutored how to sing the songs. Bob Cooke recently warned me that Lynden was once again going to use the Jerusalem name even though the music bears no relevance to Jerusalem and Bob didn't even perform on it musically. I'm also surprised that a highly professional company like Angel Air Records would have allowed Lynden to use the name and support such a release under that name. If Lynden is not capable and confident enough of releasing music under his own name, but would rather use and abuse the name of a well respected band from 43 years ago that he was fortunate to be part of for a short time, then he shouldn't be releasing music. I am also surprised that he has done it again after Escalator considering the number of fans and followers of the real Jerusalem who found it insulting. Very disappointed.

Paul Dean - Leader and founding member of Jerusalem




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