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Red Jasper: The Great And Secret Show

U.K. progressive rock band Red Jasper formed back in 1987 and released their debut album Sting in the Tale in 1990. The band broke up shortly after the release of their 1997 album Anagramary. After their catalogue was redone by Angel Air Records the band reformed which brings us to the recently released The Great And Secret Show.

The band consists of David Clifford (vocals), Robin Harrison (guitars), Jon Thornton (bass), Lloyd George (keyboards/arrangements) and Nick Harradence (drums).

Having never heard Red Jasper before, the cover art had me more than a little intrigued. There certainly is a mysterious element conveyed in the cover imagery (an English side show perhaps from the 1800s), so was looking forward to hearing what was held within. I can honestly say that after only one listen I was hooked. The Great And Secret Show is plum full of deliciously symphonic keys and synths, soaring guitar work and great lead vocals. The press release denotes a Jethro Tull/Marillion influence which I agree with (especially the Marillion reference) but this album is much more than that. There is certainly a folk element present but mostly this is very enjoyable symphonic rock music with a slight melancholic feel. The guitar and keys are equally shared and beautifully complement each other creating some irresistible melodies along the way.

The album begins with the title track, a lovely symphonic prog tune with scintillating keyboard sounds and melodic guitar lines. The slow to mid tempo "An Hour of Time" has a moodier tone with edgy guitar riffs and soaring lead guitar while "The Time is Right" features great use of saxophone, courtesy of guest musician Pat D'Arcy, adding a Floyd-like element to the dreamily textured sound. Background guitar rumblings resonate through the soundscape and as the music subtly builds, melodic sax and guitar solos are unleashed before the song ends on an outro of gentle keys. The moody rock ballads "Ray of Darkness" and "New Man" are also excellent with the latter featuring darker electronic elements and dramatically crashing rhythms. The two remaining tunes are of equal quality with guest singer Soheila Clifford providing an angelic lead voice to go along with Clifford's richer tones on the heavier "Bonds Beyond Reason".

The Great And Secret Show is an excellent symphonic prog album that completely came out of left field. Fans of melodic progressive rock should love this.

Track Listing:
1. The Great and Secret Show
2. An Hour of Time
3. The Time is Right
4. Ray of Darkness
5. New Man
6. Bonds Beyond Reason
7. Living the Life

Added: March 1st 2015
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 2219
Language: english

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