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Back Against The Wall - 2005 - "A Tribute to Pink Floyd"

(83 min 2CD, Musea)

TRACK LIST:                             
Disc 1 (41 min): 

1.  In the Flesh 3:19
2.  The Thin Ice 2:30
3.  Another Brick In the Wall-1 3:15
4.  The Happiest Days of Our Lives 1:43
5.  Another Brick In the Wall-2 4:02
6.  Mother 5:59
7.  Goodbye Blue Sky 2:44
8.  Empty Spaces 2:09
9.  Young Lust 4:18
10. One of My Turns 3:35
11. Don't Leave Me Now 4:38
12. Another Brick In the Wall-3 1:39
13. Goodbye Cruel World 1:00

Disc 2 (42 min): 

1.  Hey You 4:43
2.  Is There Anybody Out There 2:39
3.  Nobody Home 3:11
4.  Vera 1:23
5.  Bring the Boys Back Home 1:05
6.  Comfortably Numb 6:51
7.  The Show Must Go On 1:40
8.  In the Flesh 4:19
9.  Run Like Hell 5:09
10. Waiting for the Worms 4:00
11. Stop 0:33
12. The Trial 5:19
13. Outside the Wall 1:47


Billy Sherwood - keyboards; guitars; bass; vocals
Adrian Belew - guitars; vocals
Chris Squire - bass; vocals
Ian Anderson - flute; vocals
Alan White - drums
Many other famous musicians

Prolusion. When Cleopatra Records approached Billy Sherwood about remaking Pink Floyd's classical and commercially most successful album, "The Wall", he offered some of his colleagues the opportunity to participate in the project. All of them, but Steve Hackett, accepted the invitation. Here is the result of their collective effort.

Analysis. Billy Sherwood is a well-known producer, musician and singer; his experiences with such formations as Yes, Conspiracy and some others came in handy while arranging, playing and recording the material for the tribute to Pink Floyd, entitled "Back Against the Wall". The modern treatment of the legend's work sounds heavier than the original, the atmosphere being more saturated, also. There are even some Doom-metal oriented strokes in the musical texture of this release. But despite the stylistic changes it is necessary to note the careful attitude that all the involved participants have demonstrated throughout the program's score, trying to keep an emotional coloration and a spirituality of the original version unchanged. I think it would be irrational to enumerate all the musicians, who were introduced into the project. The members of Yes, King Crimson, Jethro Tull, ELP, Doors, Toto and other famous bands are the persons, who made this release possible. One of the essential virtues of the album lies in its integrity. Almost all the compositions sound forcefully and exquisitely as a single monolithic suite, without excessive eclecticism. In my opinion, only two tracks in the program, Another Brick in the Wall Part 2 and Young Lust, fall out of the general concept. The rhythm section on the former isn't enough volumetric and vivid; the arrangements are overloaded with guitar passages, without a sense of moderation. The latter is a little bit discordant with the other songs, because of its vocal part. Glenn Hughes is a brilliant singer with a wide-ranged and vigorous voice, but in case of Young Lust his manner isn't suitable stylistically. The introduction of Ian Anderson's flute into both of The Thin Ice and especially Is There Anybody Out There has become an evident fortune. It enhances the music's emotionality and versatility. The analogous words must be said about the arrangement of Nobody Home, with Rick Wakeman's grand piano as well. The final part of Comfortably Numb brings a sense of astonishment and admiration because of its Far-Eastern flavor. It sounds fresh and original. There are many other interesting and pleasant nuances in the program, but to make a long story short, I must say "Back Against The Wall" is a very creative and worthy album, which can be distinctly rated as one of the most successful tribute albums in general.

Conclusion. This release, naturally, can't be analyzed as an original program (I mean the compositional constructions, melodic diversity, etc), because any experienced music connoisseur knows it by heart. I'd like only to note the inspiration and mastery that the Prog veterans have demonstrated throughout the work. Stylistically the final result of their efforts might be defined as doomy-sympho-progressive-rock and comes recommended to all those who are interested in experiments with remakes of the classic rock's different manifestations.

VF: January 6, 2006

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