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Murdock, Mark: The Phoenix Has Risen

Having been a member of Empire alongside Peter Banks and then more recently The New Empire in collaboration with current prog hot property Fernando Perdomo, there’s no doubt that Mark Murdock, who has also worked with members of Brand X and is a respected music producer in his own right, carries some pedigree with him. The Phoenix Has Risen, which soared into life during the first quarter of 2021 (and which has already been followed by another album) is Murdock’s second solo venture and one which appears to be loosely conceptual. What that overarching theme really comes to I’m not so sure but there does seem to be a lot of ‘our current times’ in there, quite understandably.

Murdock, while having many strings to his bow comes from a drumming background and here, while synths and percussion are also added to his credits, if anything I’d say his work behind the kit remains much more in a supporting role. That isn’t actually a complaint, because on an album where the tone is gently progressive with a pop edge, it really has to be the songs that take on the main importance. That’s something that, along with the help of Perdomo on guitar, the likes of “Compromised” and “All Fools Fade Away” readily achieve. More akin to the 80s synth prog with an eye on the charts that many an established progressive act had during that era than the excesses of the 70s, don’t expect to be pushed and pulled in numerous directions by this album. “In The Future Of”, for example, is a smart example of hooks aplenty and memorable vocal lines courtesy of singer Tim Pepper, who has a voice that’s reminiscent of Gabriel or Fish at their less exuberant.

The Phoenix Has Risen is an enjoyable if sedate journey through some crafted songs. A little more obvious variance from track to track on an album that stretches to over an hour might have made for a more readily memorable experience, but this is still intriguing fare nonetheless.

Track Listing
1. The Phoenix Has Risen
2. Reoccurring Dreams
3. Heal My Wounded Soul
4. Compromised
5. Exit Door
6. The Starfish and the Four Phases of the Moon
7. When Thoughts Collide
8. Silence on Empty Streets
9. All Fools Fade Away
10. The Unknown Man
11. Set Your Heart On Fire
12. In The Future Of

Added: October 2nd 2021
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Mark Murdock @ bandcamp
Hits: 496
Language: english

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