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Hotz, Jimmy: Beyond the Crystal Sea

This album escaped me in 1980 and it wasn't until after I'd heard it a couple of times prior to review, when reading the promo notes, that I understood it to be seen as one of the Christian progressive art-rock albums. This is, in fact, how this re-release is being promoted by "Born Twice Records". Let me say straight away that it is more than possible to enjoy this music without the encumbrance of Christian conversion, if you wish to avoid that. Sure, when you focus on or read the lyrics then there is some Christian imagery, but this is nothing as strong as, say, Neal Morse's solo work. On the other hand, if you are interested precisely because it is a Christian album, then you won't be disappointed. In summary, the content of the lyrics should not dissuade anyone from enjoying this music.

As for the music itself, it is undeniably enjoyable, being symphonic progressive rock in a style not dissimilar to that of the classic bands of the seventies, although I'm thinking that by the time of its original release it must have sounded a bit anachronistic. This 30th anniversary edition is digitally remastered and comes complete with two extra bonus tracks. The synthesizers/keys are gorgeous, the vocal is good and the composition is strong on melody.

The problem I have with this album now is that of finding a market for it. If you are into Christian rock, then you may want to purchase it for the historical value alone; and the music will be a bonus. If you are not into Christian rock but you loved this album all the same then, again, you will want the remastered version. However, if you missed it and Christian rock collection is not your thing then, frankly - and despite Beyond the Crystal Sea's qualities - there is plenty of modern music which is more impressive than this and should be ahead on your shopping list.

Track Listing:-
1) Observations of a Larger Reality
A. March of the Dead Souls
B. Hand of the Most High
2) Night Passage
3) The Vision Ship
4) Teton
5) Beyond the Blues
6) Alpine Magic
7) From Love Life Did Begin

Long, Long Ago
The Gates of Time

Added: September 25th 2010
Reviewer: Alex Torres
Related Link: Artist's Website
Hits: 2114
Language: english

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