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TRACK LIST: Part I - Songs From "In the Following Half-light" (LP) 1. Too Hard to Forget 5:14 2. Son of Sam 6:08 3. Straight Into Infinity 5:47 4. Maybe If They Burn Me 4:31 5. Isle of Man 6:53 6. A Matter of Time 7:44 7. Sargasso 7:58 Part II - Cumulo Nimbus Instrumentals (bonus tracks) 8. The Approaching Storm 3:59 9. In the Mist 2:01 10. Among the Clouds 3:38 All music & lyrics: by Netherworld. LINE-UP: Scott Stacy - guitars; backing vocals Randy Wilson - keyboards; backing vocals Pete Yarbrough - basses; (+ cello - on a few tracks) Denny Gorden - lead vocals Thayne Bolin - drums Kirk Long - guitars With: Greg Schoppe - drums (on 1, 4, & 8) Robin Belvin - oboe (on 3 & 9) Pete Delevoryas - vibes (on 7) Produced by R. Nebel & Stacy / Netherworld. Engineered by R. Nebel & P. Carlson.
Preamble. This CD reissue of Netherworld's only album, "In the Following Half-light", includes all the songs from the original LP, and also three extra instrumental pieces, all of which were recorded the same year (1981).
The Album. While listening to the album's opening song, Too Hard to Forget, I had the impression that I was hearing another version of such Marillion hits as Incommunicado, Hooks In You, and the likes (all of which are in many ways similar among themselves), though with a different singer. Furthermore, some of the instrumental and vocal arrangements on most of the following tracks on "Netherworld" remind me of those in the classic Marillion albums. What's especially interesting is that the music of Netherworld is for the most part distinctly original, and the arrangements that I imply don't feature Genesis's influences (these are notable only once here). Unless you hear the CD it may sound quite absurd for you, but it doesn't seem impossible to me that apart from the most influential Art-Rock band, the 'pioneers'* of Neo Progressive have thoroughly listened to Netherworld as well. (*In fact, the band that pioneered Neo is Saga, isn't it?) Back to the hero of this review, all of the following tracks on the CD turned out to be much more diverse and progressive than the opening one, which, as I guess, was made by 'the laws of single and all the related subsequent events'. The music on each of the following three songs: Son of Sam, Straight Into Infinity, and Maybe If They Burn Me (2, 3, & 4) is of a moderate complexity and represents something average between Classic and Neo Symphonic Art-Rock with the pronounced elements of Prog-Metal. (It must be mentioned that the elements of Prog-Metal are more than merely evident on all of the songs here.) All three of the remaining songs on the CD: Isle of Man, A Matter of Time, and Sargasso, and these are the longest tracks here, are brilliant by all means. The arsenal of instruments used on these songs is much larger than that on any of the previous ones, and the arrangements here are really intricate, diverse, and large-scaled. The appearance of piano, violoncello, and acoustic guitar, the parts of which flow here both separately and being intermixed with those of Rock instruments, makes the sound of these three songs especially impressive. Two of the three instrumental compositions that are presented on "Netherworld": The Approaching Storm and Among the Clouds (8 & 10) are stylistically in the vein of the songs that I was just talking about and represent a highly diverse and complex Symphonic Art-Rock with elements of Prog-Metal (too). The latter of them is the only instrumental that features passages and solos of acoustic guitar, while those of piano and strings are present on all of them. Finally, In the Mist (9), consisting of constantly developing interplay between passages of piano and strings and solos of oboe, is about Classical Music.
Summary. Most, if not all, of the instrumental and vocal arrangements on this album are very, very tasteful and are exclusively theatrical and dramatic in character. Despite the fact that the first song here is too simple to my taste, it is definitely original, so I think I should rate "Netherworld" as a masterpiece. I am wonder why this outstanding American outfit has disbanded after releasing the only album, especially since this album is, in my honest opinion, better than most of the progressive albums released in the very beginning of the 1980s.
VM: April 11, 2003
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