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Glass Wolfe: Xotica

Glass Wolfe cannot be faulted for their ambition. The album art for Xotica features photos of both Glass and Wolfe (singer and keyboardist respectively) posing in full medieval garb in a series of exotic looking locations; like a personalised fantasy postcard. It's shame therefore, that the music isn't really anything to write home about.

Awful puns aside, it isn't all bad. Philip Wolfe can clearly play his keyboards (the guitar work isn't too shabby either), and the orchestral backing tracks do significantly add to the experience, sometimes providing very deftly considered touches. But the real meat of the album, the vaguely Maidenesq metal backing an operatic style female vocal, doesn't really come together, and is at times plainly awkward. The songs are often plodding and uninspired, and Maria Glass' powerful but imprecise voice sometimes tries to sculpture with a sledgehammer. It doesn't really help that the production manages to be both thin and a little muddy.

Oddly, the band are rather more successful when they alter their usual course. On "Queen of Tragedy's" sprawling theatrical hard rock, more focused on groves that pyrotechnics, Glass' voice comes into it's own as it veers closer to blues than Verdi. The slightly loony "Helen of Troy", with traces of ELP in their pomp, is also more successful, as are a couple of the more sparsely instrumented numbers.

Overall however, too many of the tracks on Xotica miss the mark. It's a shame, because the band don't lack talent, but they would perhaps be better off moving in a direction that better suits their sound.

Track Listing

  1. Xotica Overture
  2. Emerald Lady
  3. Rise Above
  4. Queen of Tragedy
  5. Rubicon
  6. Second Sight
  7. Reflections
  8. Caught in the Crossfire
  9. Free to Fly
  10. 1,000 Ships
  11. Helen of Troy
  12. Calm Before the Storm
  13. The Tempest
  14. The Voyage Home

Added: September 18th 2009
Reviewer: Richard Wheelhouse
Related Link: Band's MySpace Page
Hits: 1753
Language: english

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