Title - 'The Red Planet'
Artist - Rick Wakeman
For those not in the know, Rick Wakeman, best known as keyboard player in progressive rock band Yes, has just released The Red Planet - a serious return to "Wakeman Prog" (out now via Madfish Records).
Harking back to Wakeman's critically acclaimed 1973 debut The Six Wives of Henry VIII, The Red Planet features eight newly composed pieces based around a central subject matter.
Indeed, Rick's blown the dust off his favorite analog keyboards and along with his latest keys has used the same formula he devised when making his debut album and the equally legendary Criminal Record.
Upon being asked about the expectations of his prog fans, that they are hoping he will have shoved the "Prog Fader" up to 11, he replied, "That could be a problem ... as it's already at 14!"
1. 'Ascraeus Mons' (5:52)
2. 'Tharsis Tholus' (6:16)
3. 'Arsia Mons' (6:10)
4. 'Olympus Mons' (5:20)
5. 'The North Plain' (6:53)
6. 'Pavonis Mons' (7:13)
7. 'South Pole' (7:35)
8. 'Valles Marineris' (10:02)
Without a shadow of a doubt, The Red Planet - complete with his backing band The English Rock Ensemble - showcases Rick’s aforementioned return to his heavier keyboard sounds that he made famous during The Six Wives–era.
Proving that as much as you may well be able to still teach an old dog news tricks, that the dog itself might well be able to still show you the life it once had as a puppy, The Red Planet also shows us that Rick himself is not showing any signs of slowing down.
Furthermore, and not just for my money, trust me, but this brand new, and absolutely stellar and sonically charged new album is still quite the journey for Rick to have invited us all along on.
Returning to his roots with his orchestral and harder approach, The Red Planet sums up the spatial ambiance of where all the prog rock fans once came to worship at the feet of their keyboard master ("Oh Rick, take us to the 'Centre of the Earth' again, let us go to 'Close to the Edge' and sail the 'Topographic Ocean' once more!").
Listening to this new album reminds me of Return to the Centre of the Earth, with the Moog played throughout the album one that transports you back to his glory days.
Perhaps more so, this new album is very '70s sounding, complete with lots of time signature changes of his expansive prog rock era. A joy to behold from start to finish, there is also a lovely 10-page color inlay booklet that reveals facts about the making of the album and the planet itself, Mars.
- Rick Wakeman / keyboards
- Dave Colquhoun / guitars
- Lee Pomeroy / bass
- Ash Soan / drums
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