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Clive Nolan & Oliver Wakeman - "The Hound Of Baskervilles"
Verlag Music 2002

I must immediately mention that we are facing a concept based on another Sherlock's case. A story about unpleasant giant hound of Baskervilles. It comes out on the moor late at night, and brings certain death, if you're taking a risk of being in a wrong place on a wrong time.

Some well known musicians helped Clive Nolan (Arena) and Oliver Wakeman in working on this project. "Flying (and hipercreative) Dutchman" Arjen Anthony Lucassen (Ayreon), Peter Banks (ex-Yes) and Karl Groom (Threshold) did all guitar work. Also a great vocalist Bob Catley (Magnum) and Jon Jowitt on bass guitar (IQ) joined the project.

Keyboards are playing the main role on the record. The sound is very familiar to the bands like Marillion, Pendragon, Pallas, Arena or IQ. There is perfect balance between all instruments and vocals. Those of you who like more hard and heavy stuff must be patient till the chorus of the second piece. Heavy rhythm riffs are used brave, thus mean very clever, always when the whole atmosphere of songs should be raised, especially when the story comes to a dramatic conclusion. These songs are "The Curse Of Baskervilles", "Shadows Of Fate" (with very melancholic chorus), a wild song called "Seldon" with supreme incorporated solo of A.A. Lucassen (well done Arjen) in it. The story ends with "Chasing The Hound",...mmm, feels like a voodoo ritual. A great dramatic end.

Well, we can also hear violin played by Jo Greenland on "Three Broken Threats". It is instrumental song with continuous changing of melody and rhythm. "Picture Of A Lady" includes some flute by Eva Albering. This song is a love ballad. And the flute gives a ballad some dynamics.

"The Argument" is song with three vocals in it. The emotions are erupting from everywhere. "At Home In The Mire" is a very special song. There is chord in first riff which reminds me very much of Pink Floyd or Marillion, with Paul Allison (as Stapleton, a negative character) expressing "evil" vocals in it. "Waiting" is another great challenge, the most dramatic part of a story, with supreme performed vocals. A great choir singing is keeping the atmosphere real high. All vocalists as characters did their job fantastic, bringing us the story of a giant hound alive. You can feel yourself as a part of the story.

Of course we are not talking about some kind of new revolution in music. Fine combination of diverse work on keyboards by authors, heavy chords in background, even some fretless bass and with vocals as an characters high on emotions, gave as again a great product to enjoy.

I almost forgot to mention something. We have narratives through entire record in straight "law and order" English language. Narratives by Robert Powell (as dr. J. Watson) telling us the story. Maybe it is funny that someone tells you everything. You don't even have to read a book about it. But these narratives fit perfectly into the whole thing. Just try it!

Author:   Aleš

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