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Galahad: The Last Great Adventurer

One of the most consistent bands to evolve out of the 80s neo-prog revival, Galahad have grown into an act now refreshingly difficult to squeeze into any one genre slot. There’s no doubt that what they do still falls firmly into the world of ‘prog’, but with strong electronic flavours, big bold rock beats and a willingness to experiment, the band’s more recent output has seen an ever widening scope of ideas being corralled into a sound that’s still resolutely Galahad. Their latest album is The Last Great Adventurer, a release with a name inspired by and featuring singer Stu Nicholson’s father proudly on its cover.

Arguably the song that also shares that title is the centre point of this album, with a truly loving and involving lyric allowing Stu to regale us with the reasons he finds (and quite rightly judging by what we hear) his father to be so inspirational. A man of action, of practicality and of quiet, determined character proving to be an explorer, problem solver and sharer of love and knowledge. It’s to Stu and his band’s credit that they’ve crafted a song that lives up to such a billing - a swirling opening building through layered vocals and ever growing keyboards (a real theme of this album) - into a mighty swathe of guitars and a driving beat. Unsurprisingly, all of this is bolstered by a quite thrilling, heartfelt and yet powerful vocal.

The rest of the album, however, isn’t overshadowed, “Blood, Skin And Bone” a deep, muscular beast where a growling riff from Lee Abraham locks in tight with superb keyboard work courtesy of Dean Baker, who may well put in his finest Galahad performance on this album. The arrangement here is superb, room given for every element to breathe naturally rather than having to compete for its time in the spotlight - Abraham’s guitar solo, which is aligned to spacey/dance keyboards that almost remind of rock-rap crossover act Senser, really is something to behold. Between his work within this band and as a prolific solo artist, Abraham must be a contender for the most underusing guitarist of recent times. And yet, that said, I’d suggest that through the Jarre-like keys that run through the powering opener “Alive” and the atmospheric “Omega Lights”, this is maybe Galahad’s most keyboard driven album to date.

The final track not yet mentioned is the excellent, and poignant adaptation of an 18th century nursery rhyme, “Enclosure 1764”. A piece that shines a light on the accepted inequalities we face on a daily basis in a really quite beautiful, stark manner that somehow manages to combine those elements on an album that’s grand, proud and bold, without ever losing a step. However, for those buying on CD there are a further two tracks to revel in, “Normality Of Distance” highlighting Stu’s wonderful storytelling qualities on a song that’s a little more stripped down and bare. Whereas “Another Life Not Lived”, originally written by the late and much missed Neil Pepper and Stu back in 2009, originally featured as a bonus demo on 2012’s Battle Scars album, but here the band have fully completed the piece. As tributes go to Pepper from his bandmates, this is a truly magnificent gesture but just as importantly, it’s also a beautiful, insightful experience that proves to be an album highlight.

Now some 37 years into their time together Galahad have released an album to rival any other in their impressive catalogue. The Last Great Adventurer being a stunning achievement and one capable of stirring the senses and emotions on a whole host of levels.

Track Listing
1. Alive
2. Omega Lights
3. Blood, Skin And Bone
4. Enclosure
5. The Last Great Adventurer
CD Bonus Tracks
6. Normality Of Distance
7. Another Life not Lived

Added: October 23rd 2022
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Galahad online
Hits: 1054
Language: english

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