Album Reviews

Gandalf’s Fist – Road To Darkness Review

Released By : Self Released

Genre : Progressive Rock, Progressive Folk

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1. No Place Cyclone

2. Emerald Eyes

3. Conjurer Of CheapTricks

4. Into The Dark

5. Twilight At The Gates Of The Prism Moon

6. The Sulfer Highways of Io

7. Untrodden Ways

8. Road To Darkness

9. The Counsel Of Anderson

10. Assorted Lunatics

With a band name like GANDALF’S FIST, and an album title like ROAD TO DARKNESS it would be easy to dismiss this release as just another generic album in the flooded power metal field, but it would be a shame to do that because if you did you would miss out on one of the best progressive rock albums of 2011. ROAD TO DARKNESS is a concept album that takes the tale of THE WIZARD OF OZ and re-imagines it into a dark tale of a scared girl that is unwillingly whisked away into a fantastical dark world.

This isn’t your talking tin-man and lion type of fairy-tale though, no this tale is much, much darker and actually plays out more like a horror story than anything else. But enough of the story hey, I mean after all this is a website about music is it not? Okay then, gladly the musical aspect of this album is also something pretty special. It’s minimalistic in places, coming out more like a hybrid of progressive rock and neo-folk music but it is totally haunting and captivating the entire time. Little additions like a couple of sections that have a Celtic-folk vibe also add plenty of surprises.  I do feel a strong love for PINK FLOYD coming from this album and there’s a couple of tunes that could have easily sat somewhere amongst the tracklist on DARK SIDE OF THE MOON or WISH YOU WERE HERE. It’s a good thing though that the music side of things is so well done as there is plenty of time to absorb it due to the fact that large chunks of this album are purely instrumental.

While the actual production of the physical product itself was obviously done on a strict budget there is one special little touch that deserves a mention here… Inside the booklet is a sort of separate mini-book that serves as a lyrics compendium, but in the centre of it is an awesomely draw map that shows the world the story is based in. For an idea on what this map looks like, it reminded a LOT of those old cloth maps you used to get in PC role-playing games, or the kind of maps that are visible in pause menus of modern day RPG games.

All I can say is if you are a fan of slower progressive rock or enjoy following a story throughout an album, ROAD TO DARKNESS should definitely be on your radar. GADALF’S FIST may prove to be a little too mellow for a lot of people, but this album is of a very high quality and certainly deserves a look in.

Written By ZeeZee

Rating : 9/10

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