ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages


The Morrigan (UK)
Overall View


1985/1999 - "Spirit of the Soup" (50 min, "Hi-Note")

1990/1997 - "Rides Out" (45 min, 'The Morrigan' / "Hi-Note")

1996 - "Wreckers" (58 min, "Hi-Note")

1998 - "Masque" (60 min, "Hi-Note")

2002 - "Hidden Agenda" (52 min, "English Garden", a division of "Hi-Note Music")

Note: Colin Masson has a Solo album "Isle of Eight" (1999/2001)

Overall prologue. A very obscure English band, The Morrigan, was formed precisely twenty years ago, yet the creation of this wonderful band remained unnoticed up to the middle of the 1990s, when the excellent UK Prog-label Hi-Note was formed. (For the majority of prog-heads, The Morrigan went unnoticed until now, though.) The people at Hi-Note immediately recognized that there was more than enough value in the music of The Morrigan to consider this band essential to the international Progressive Rock movement. Without any doubts concerning the band's status (in limbo) in the world of contemporary Progressive Music, English Garden, one of the four divisions of Hi-Note, released all four albums by The Morrigan in the second half of the 1990s. It must be said that two of them (especially the first one), these real pearls of Progressive, could be lost to us forever. Spirit of the Soup was recorded in 1985, yet it was not released until 1999, when Hi-Note was able to restore the album's master tape using special equipment. As for the second album, the band members were able to release only a few hundred copies of their Rides Out LP in 1990 at their own expense.

1985/1999 - "Spirit of the Soup" (50 min, "Hi-Note")


 1 Cold Haily Windy Night
   (trad. arr. The Morrigan)
 2 Spirit of the Soup (Fingals Cave)
   (trad. / The Morrigan)
 3 Turtle Dove
   (trad. arr. The Morrigan)
 4 ExecutionersSong
 5 Off the Rails
 6 Agincourt
 7 The Unquiet Grave
   (trad. arr. The Morrigan)
 8 SilentSeasons
 9 Johnny Get Brose
   (trad. arr. The Morrigan)
10 The Great Sun
   (The Morrigan)

Colin Masson - vocals,
               electric & acoustic guitars,
Cathy Alexander - vocals, 12-string guitar,
                  keyboards, recorders, autoharp
Cliff Eastabrook - vocals,
                   bass guitar & pedals

Recorded on Tascam 244 & 246
portative studios during 1985.
Engineered by Cliff Eastabrook & Colin Masson.
Produced by The Morrigan.
Digitally restored and remastered
in 1999 by Colin Masson & Denis Blackham. 
Artwork & graphics by Colin Masson & Dave Chivers.

The Album. Did you notice that there is no drummer on Spirit of the Soup (fortunately), unlike the three remaining The Morrigan albums? I feel you'd be happy to collar me and ask how the absence of the drummer could be fortunate, especially since there is now a permanent drummer in the band? Just wait a bit and I'll explain. The absence of the drummer is (if not turned out to be) the main trump of the Spirit of the Soup album. You can't even imagine how unusual yet wonderful your typical powerful "heavy" arrangements sound without a drummer. These fantastic surprises are awaiting your ears (as well as your whole being) on tracks 1, 2, 4, 6, 8 & 9. Long songs Agincourt (penned by Masson), Silent Seasons (by Alexander), and the two-minute instrumental piece, Dribbles of Brandy, are especially rich in heavy sound. Quite aggressive and, at the same time, tense bass guitar moves, and heavy electric guitar riffs and solos, are essential parts of these compositions, as they play more than a prominent role in all of the arrangements - especially on the first two of these tracks. Note that both these songs are not band versions of already written folk songs, but originals tunes written by The Morrigan members themselves. Rife with numerous diverse arrangements that are full of solos and passages played by a wide-variety of instruments (electric, acoustic and bass guitars, keyboards, various recorders - wood flutes), as well as interplays between the soloing woodwinds, keyboards and guitars, Agincourt and Silent Seasons are the most complex and intriguing tracks on the album. The main thing is that there are no chords behind the beautiful vocals of Cathy Alexander. Truly progressive musical backgrounds support her singing, even on the band's arrangements of their folk song-like tunes. So, despite the fact that most of the folk songs (almost all of which have actually just the remote resemblance to real folk songs, though) are quite accessible to these experimented ears, it's clear to me that the way they were arranged is typical of performers from the Classic (not Neo!) Progressive Rock camp. While there are only two instrumentals on the album (the title-track and Dribbles of Brandy) Cathy has enough space to shine with her wonderful vocals. Three songs that are more mellow than all the others (Turtle Dove, The Unquiet Grave, and The Great Sun) are better than any of the best Rock-ballads I have ever heard. With "risings-to-the-heights-of-dramatic-emotions" and "fallings-to-the-soft-grasses-of-gentle- singing", Cathy's vocals on these three songs are so diverse that she is solely responsible for making them sound like real progressive ballads. Cathy's voice is pure magic, but her pseudo-polymorphous singing is especially impressive. The only song that, in my view, doesn't blend with the monolithic musical palette of the album is the short (2-minute) Off the Rails. With the irony of fate this one turned to be the only track here that sounds like a typical folk (country, more precisely) song from the first to the last note. That's probably why Off the Rails is also the only song on the album that was sung by Colin Masson, and not by Cathy. This song existing in "Spirit" has dropped one of my rating stars into "the soup". (By the way, Colin's Executors Song, featured simply fantastic vocals by Cathy, is my favorite on this album, although it is less progressive than Agincourt and Silent Seasons.) It is more or less clear to me now why The Morrigan, who have such distinctly original music, full of magic vocals, warm melodies and rich arrangements, weren't noticed back in the middle of the 1980s. Perhaps the problem is in those (progressive) arrangements that are behind the vocal parts? Meanwhile, it's obvious that The Morrigan is one of the most undeservedly (criminally? all right!) unnoticed and underrated Progressive Rock bands that has ever existed. P.S. Heads-up, brothers and sisters in (progressive) mind! I am letting you know in advance: I have already listened to all of the four albums by The Morrigan, so now I know that there are only two really progressive folk bands in the UK (I know): The Morrigan and Skyclad, though I've heard! a lot of Britain's folk rock bands in general, beginning with Steeleye Span, Fairport Convention and Roy Harper. Well, most likely you've heard of Skyclad, at least. Never heard of The Morrigan? It's not too late! P.P.S. It's always curious to hear that some artists, who have never read and seen my Overall Views, prefer that I'd review their albums separately, owing to the fact that they feel I might slight the contents of the individual albums this way. While I am always trying to do my work with enough specificity to create a review with integrity, I really think that materials devoted to describing an artist's creation / discography as a whole must be published as Overall Views. I believe this helps the readers to be able to quickly get an overall view of an artist, and enables them not to have to browse the site searching for a review of another album by the same artist. In this way, they can find all the information they need in once place. We want to help the readers out in this way because, afterall, the readers of these and any other virtual and paper progressive pages are the would-be purchasers of the artists' ProGductions. These readers form the main driving force for further development of any separate progressive artist's creation and of the whole Progressive Music movement as well.

VM. August 5, 2001

1990/1997 - "Rides Out" (45 min, 'The Morrigan' / "Hi-Note")

1. The Morrigan Rides Out (Masson)
2. Night Comes Closer (Masson)
3. The Rakes of Kildare / Bedtime Stories
   (trad. arr. The Morrigan) / (Alexander, Eastabrook)
4. The Black Nag (playford arr. The Morrigan)
5. Girls Will You Take Him / Four Times Over
   (trad. arr. The Morrigan) / (Alexander, Eastabrook)
6. The Well Below the Valley*
   (trad. arr. The Morrigan)
7. Busketts Folly (Eastabrook)
8. Corpus Christi (trad. arr. The Morrigan)
9. Tom O- Bedlam / Allemande
   (trad.) / (Claude Gervaise)

Colin Masson - lead electric & acoustic
guitars, vocals

Cathy Alexander - lead vocals, keyboards,
wind-synth, recorder

Cliff Eastabrook - bass guitar & pedals,

Melanie Byfield - keyboards,
vocals (lead vocals on 8)

Archie - drums & percussion

The songs 1, 2, 7 & 9 (part 2)
are arranged by The Morrigan.

Recorded mainly at the Dark Sisters studio, 
Teffont Magna, England, in 1990. Engineered by Cliff Eastabrook. Mixed by Martin Nicholls at Whitehouse Studios. Produced by The Morrigan.

The album was privately issued on LP in 1990, except: * (previously unreleased). Digitally remastered by Denis Blackham in 1997. Artwork & typography by Colin Masson & Dave Chivers.

The Album. Five years after The Morrigan debut album was created, having got a free bassist and, which is especially significant, a drummer, the band is back with the second album in 1990. Of course, with a full-blooded line-up now completed, The Morrigan got a strong presence of the traditional Rock "formula" in their music's structures. Along with getting a real Rock sound, the band, this time around, have brought in a lot more of Irish folk music, either original or a la original, being composed by the band members in full accordance to its canons, in their second 'movement' in comparison with the "Spirit of the Soup" debut album. But despite the fact that there are only three compositions (out of nine) on "Rides Out" in a musical palette of which folk motives don't play a prominent part, the band's main passion is very well blended with progressive forms in three other songs. Back to the "only three" compositions that I mention above, the first of them, Night Comes Closer, is replete with diverse arrangements that are entirely characteristic for Classic Art (Symphonic) Rock. Instrumental parts represent a mighty joint performance that demonstrates, first of all, a thorough knowledge of the laws of Harmony whose folk-ish roots were systematized in the process of the development of European Classical Music. This way, interplays between different instrumentalists, when each of them plays his very own part within a given, united harmonic scheme, look incredibly clever, though the newcomers, the Envoys of It's Majesty Rhythm-Section, both Cliff (bass) and Archie (drums) work a very diverse way, too. Only keyboard parts have a slight folk-ish feel in these wonderful arrangements, while Cathy uses her charming, as always, vocals way too diverse for the folk music traditional vocal parts. The Well Below the Valley is compositionally slightly variegated and characterized with more frequent changes of different themes and moods. Instrumental arrangements of this song differ from those in Night Comes Closer in many ways. Here, they develop on a heavier side of Classic Progressive with a steady rise of power closer to the finishing part. Also, they are totally free of folk-ish elements and the latter are heard only in a few mixed choruses (female and male: by Cathy and Melanie, Colin and Cliff, respectively). The third song of this category, Corpus Christi (lat.: Celebration of The Body of Christ), is also the only song on "Rides Out" that, musically, stands out in some ways from quite a monolithic palette of the album (though, it goes nice here, unlike the country music-alike Off the Rails from the band's debut album). There is no traditional instrumental background in this song and a wonderful (kind of) polymorphous female singing (this time with Melanie on lead vocals) is as if in a soaring flight up over the roulades of chimes and a flat sound of tambourine. Here are those tracks that represent a very well balanced mix of both Irish folk melodies and Classic Progressive arrangements: The Rakes of Kildare /Bedtime Stories, Girls Will You Take Him /Four Times Over, and Tom O' Bedlam /Allemande. Actually, all instrumental parts of these songs, including those behind the vocal parts, are equal to those in songs described in the 'first category' at least in the quality. Thus, already two third of the "Rides Out" album fully correspond to my conception of high-quality Progressive Folk Rock, though that's far from all. While three of the remaining tracks are based on folk-ish structures almost entirely, two of them are just short instrumentals (The Black Nag and Busketts Folly). What's more, one of these instrumentals is just wonderful. Although The Black Nag is a kind of folk music, too, this is by no means a rollicking Irish Folk typical for Busketts Folly and especially for The Morrigan Rides Out. The Black Nag is full of a medieval spirit: as if two lonely minstrels play the flute and harpsichord, and their solos, like laces, cross each other in the most beautiful ways. A few bass lines by the end aren't too noticeable t

VM. August 10, 2001

1996 - "Wreckers" (58 min, "Hi-Note")

1. The Miller Dance (trad. arr. The Morrigan)
2. Yarrow (=)
3. The Wreckers (Masson, Alexander)
4. Banks of Green Willow (trad. arr. The Morrigan)
5. Drowsy Maggie (=) 
6. The Agincourt Carol / La Rotta (=) / (=)
7. Cold Blows the Wind (=)
8. Wheels Turning (The Morrigan)
9. When the Rain Comes Down (Masson, Alexander)
10.Dark Girl Dressed In Blue / The Doubting Page
   (trad. arr. The Morrigan) / (Masson, arr. TM)


Cathy Alexander - vocals, keyboards, recorders
Colin Masson - electric & acoustic guitars,
               bass guitar, keyboards, vocals
Archie - drums & percussion
Dave Lodder - electric & acoustic guitars
Mervyn B - vocals, flute

Engineered & mixed at Greenacres Farm studios
by C. Masson & C. Alexander in 1995/1996.
Produced by Colin Masson & The Morrigan.
Artwork by Colin Masson & Dave Chivers.

The Album. It is absolutely amazing to listen to the first album The Morrigan have released within the precincts of Hi-Note - once again five years after the band had produced the previous full-length album (there is also an EP in The Morrigan back catalogue). Now it's obvious to me that the regular changes of stylistics within the frame of the band's very own and distinctly original style, that The Morrigan demonstrate with each new album of theirs, is a phenomenon that is equal to the task of only the mightiest progressive bands. And "Wreckers", in my view, is especially rich in stylistic diversity within the framework of the band's own style. Unfortunately, talented bass guitar player Cliff Eastabrook decided to discontinue his musical activity a few years earlier, but with two new members, Dave Lodder and Mervyn B, the band became as strong as never before. More progressive and diverse than any of the band's previous albums, "Wreckers" can be divided into five parts consisting of songs with similar characters (while there are ten songs in all). Frankly, I regard the songs composed by The Morrigan members themselves as more interesting, on the whole (with few exceptions), than folk songs that were just arranged by the band and The Wreckers, Wheels Turning, and When the Rain Comes Down (tracks 3, 8, & 9, respectively) just reinforce me in that opinion. These three quite long songs are outstanding progressive killers, one way or another. Structurally quite comparable to the three best compositions of "Rides Out" (Night Comes Closer, The Well Below the Valley, and Corpus Christi), the best songs on this album have, however, more diverse, prolific and interesting arrangements (thanks in part to a larger line-up this time around). Another set of the songs of "Wreckers", that have practically the same characters as The Rakes of Kildare / Bedtime Stories, Girls Will You Take Him / Four Times Over, and Tom O' Bedlam / Allemande from said "Rides Out" album, are The Miller Dance, Drowsy Maggie, and The Agincourt Carol / La Rotta. At least the last two of these three songs (tracks 1, 5 & 6), that represent a blend of progressive and folk structures, are also in many ways better than their 'sisters' from the band's second album. The last track Dark Girl Dressed In Blue / The Doubting Page, represent another kind of purely progressive specimen that embellish the "Wreckers" album. This is a long instrumental filled with exceptionally good arrangements that, with just a few yet "real folk heroes" on a progressive" battlefield", become winners mainly thanks to their unexpected appearances in the most intense episodes of the "battle". Yarrow, Banks of Green Willow, and Cold Blows the Wind (tracks 2, 4 & 7) are simply beautiful progressive ballads - in the true meaning of the word "progressive". These relatively long almost completely acoustic minstrel-alike pieces with guitar's unique medieval-alike roulades, a joint performance of two guitars, flute and harpsichord, each playing different medieval-alike roulades yet in the same wonderful harmony, are crowned by beautiful (as always) and uniquely diverse vocals and voices by Cathy. There is only one song on the album with lead vocals done by Mervin B (and he has a nice voice, too), though Cathy is here as well - in harmony vocals along the band's other back-singing men Colin and Arch. Most often as additions to Cathy's lead singing, male harmony vocals sound on "Wreckers" also improved and confident. All in all, the "Wreckers" album shows a giant leap forward (in all progressive senses, including compositional skill, musicianship of each member and their joint performance as well) the band made since the Renaissance of real Progressive Rock raised its banner in the very beginning of the 1990s. Less folk-ish than any of the band's other works, "Wreckers", nevertheless, has become the first masterpiece in The Morrigan discography.

VM. August 14, 2001

1998 - "Masque" (60 min, "Hi-Note")

1. Masque:
a) When the Winter Came (The Morrigan)
b) Always Winter, Never Christmas (Masson)
c) The Boar's Head Carol
   (trad. arr. The Morrigan)
d) Bransles
   (Tielman Suzzato / arr. The Morrigan)
2. Dever the Dancer (Masson, Alexander)
3. Blarney Pilgrim:
a) Young Ryan's (Alexander)
b) Blarney Pilgrim (trad. arr. The Morrigan)
c) Donnybrook Fair (trad. arr. The Morrigan)
d) Blarney Pilgrim - Reprise 
   (trad. arr. The Morrigan)
4. Moonghost (Lodder / The Morrigan)
5. Merrily Kissed the Quaker's Wife
   (trad. arr. The Morrigan)
6. The Traveller (Alexander)
7. Dribbles of Brandy:
a) Dribbles of Brandy (trad. arr. The Morrigan)
b) The Cyberdance (Alexander)
8. The Lykewake Dirge (trad. arr. The Morrigan)
9. The Demon Lover (Masson, Alexander)
10.She Moved Through the Fair
   (trad. arr. The Morrigan)


Cathy Alexander - vocals, keyboards, recorders,
                  wind-synth, 12-string guitar
Colin Masson - bass guitar, electric & classical guitars,
               keyboards, vocals, trombone
Archie - drums & percussion, tambourine, vocals
Dave Lodder - electric & acoustic guitars,
              keyboards, bass guitar
Mervin B - vocals, flute, bass guitar

Guest musicians:

Cliff Eastabrook - acoustic & electric basses
Simon Baggs - violin
Steve Lightfoot - accordion
Matt Carter - banjo

Recorded at 'Fridge Door' studio,
Greenacres Farm, England, 1997 to 1998.
Mixed & mastered by Denis Blackham.
Artwork by Colin Masson & Dave Chivers.
Produced by Colin Masson & The Morrigan.

The Album. I must admit... I was wrong when I was talking of The Morrigan previous album "Wreckers" as of the most diverse in their discography because after a few listens to "Masque" I've found it even more variegated - in all senses, as almost all songs here contain a lot of various themes, arrangements, etc already within themselves. (Thus, once again I am back to the thought that repeated listens to any Classic Progressive Rock album should be a law to all reviewers without exceptions.) Only the album's closing song She Moved Through the Fair brings the listener the only, on the whole, mood, full of some placatory wisdom. You'll find, however, a few different themes even on this very special track, apart from Cathy's beautiful and charming vocals whose parts here are as diverse as always. I can't even imagine a more wonderful ending for this album than She Moved Through the Fair, and Cathy, in my view, is the best female singer of all time - ever since Progressive Rock was born way back in the beginning of the second half of the 1960s. All the other tracks (1 to 9) of "Masque" are incredibly tasteful and highly complex music that is nothing short of a true Confluence of Classic Progressive Rock and Progressive Folk Rock. I use the word "progressive" twice in this definition of the music of The Morrigan's latest album by no means in the usual manner. This music reflects such an exact sense itself and, this way, another new term in the classification system of Progressive Rock's manifestations has just popped up. Despite the fact that there are no (or at least too few) musically similar compositions on "Masque", this album looks as the most integral in The Morrigan discography. Although there are more folk-ish episodes on "Masque" than on "Wreckers", the band's latest album is evidently more progressive than the previous one. Also, both the musicianship of each member of The Morrigan and their joint performance as well have reached their peak on "Masque". So this album is not only a winner in comparison with "Wreckers", which is a masterpiece too, but the best album The Morrigan have ever created. Now I only wish that this wonderful band return to make us fans happy with another new album before long.

Summary. To me, the unique creation of The Morrigan came as a real great discovery in a time when it seems obvious there are no blank spots already on the map of Progressive Rock. It's really hard nowadays to come across a band whose music would be more or less drastically different from anything I've heard before, but the UK's The Morrigan music is so distinctly original that I just wonder why it dwells in obscurity for the majority of prog-heads of the world. While regarding the first two albums of The Morrigan I can say they remind of some unusual Symphonic counterpoints to the creation of another great UK band Skyclad - the only outfit (this writer knows) that plays Progressive Folk-Metal (and such a comparison already sounds quite revolutionary), the two latest ones are free of any comparisons in general, even if they were as flattering as the latter. Originality, however, is by no means the only trump of the band. You should listen to this music to let all the wonderful magic that it brings along with outstanding Progressiveness dawn on you. Add to this already incredible picture the great lyrics by Cathy and Colin's (additional) brilliant talent of a painter (his paintings are artworks that feature all The Morrigan CDs booklets) and you'll have that Golden Trinity of Arts in one face: in the face of The Morrigan creation as a whole.

P.S. If you still aren't familiar with the "Hi-Note" catalogue, consisting of CD reissues of rarities filled with unique music, and didn't get anything of the label's wonderful production, I highly recommend you do it as soon as possible. You may not believe me, but the number of CD reissues made by "Hi-Note" was just a little greater than the number of original copies. Also don't forget to look into the Gibraltar EPR from time to time: more than a dozen of the "Hi-Note"-related materials have actually been placed there a pretty long time ago. Just check it out:

VM. August 17, 2001

2002 - "Hidden Agenda" (52 min, "English Garden"/"Hi-Note Music")

1. Swallow's Tail 3:56 (traditional; arr. by The Morrigan)
2. In The End 6:02 (The MORRIGAN)
3. Volta & Balta Danse 5:37
(Praetorious & Susato; arr. by The Morrigan)
4. Roaring Forties 4:12 (Masson)
5. A Night To Remember 9:50 (The MORRIGAN)
6. The March Hare 5:22 (traditional; arr. by The Morrigan)
7. The Other 6:53 (Alexander)
8. Joe Cooley's Reel 6:30 (traditional; arr. by The Morrigan)
9. The Parting Glass 4:07 (traditional, arr. by Alexander)


Cathy Alexander - vocals; lead keyboards;
recorders; acoustic guitar
Colin Masson - acoustic, electric, & bass guitars;
keyboards; vocals
Dave Lodder - electric, acoustic, & bass guitars;
Mervin B - vocals; flute; bass guitar; percussion
Arch - drums & percussion; vocals

Matt Carter - mandolin & banjo (on a couple of tracks)

Produced by Colin Masson.
Engineered by C. Masson,
C. Alexander, Luke Handy, & Chas Pinder.
Cover artwork by C. Masson & Dave Chivers.

Prologue. The Morrigan's debut, "The Spirit of the Soup", was an original, unique, and truly excellent album. So, how great it is to be familiar with the creation of a band, of which, each new album is better than its predecessor. Read the other reviews of the Overall View on The Morrigan's creation, as well as the interview that the founders of the band, Cathy Alexander and Colin Masson, gave exclusively for ProgressoR.

The Album. The music that is presented on this album is filled with the whirlwind-like arrangements that are so intensive, expressive, and impressive that I was listening to them feeling slightly (I am, nevertheless, an old progress-sea-dog), dumbfounded. Unlike the earlier albums by the band, there is only one ballad on "Hidden Agenda", - the closing track of it, The Parting Glass. Though even here, all the instrumental and vocal arrangements are clearly of a classic character. However, let's begin talking about the album from the very beginning. Four out of the nine tracks on the album are instrumental pieces: Swallow's Tail, Volta & Balta Dance, The March Hare, and Joe Cooley's Reel (1, 3, 6, & 8). However, each of the five songs on "Hidden Agenda": In the End, Roaring Forties, A Night To Remember, The Other, and The Parting Glass (2, 4, 5, 7, & 9), features the arrangements that are diverse, large-scaled, and very intriguing. Furthermore, these arrangements remain intensive regardless whether there are vocals or not. On the other hand, most of the parts of vocals that are present on the album are not only wonderful by all means (which is typical for The Morrigan), but also outstandingly diverse and inventive. As you can see above, four out of the band's five musicians are, in addition, the singers, and please believe me, - all of them are excellent vocalists. Cathy sings alone on The Other and The Parting Glass, and Mervin take the duties of a lead singer on In the End and Roaring Forties. Cathy is a lead vocalist also on A Night To Remember, though there also are Mervin's vocals in the end of it (don't confuse with the aforementioned In the End :)). Each of these songs, however, contains also a few of the parts of wonderful choir. It must be noted that the instrumental arrangements are often intensive and truly hard-edged on almost all of the tracks on the album (the only exception being the aforementioned The Parting Glass, which is wonderful in its own way), - stylistically, they're by no means radically different among themselves. The longest track on the album, A Night To Remember (5), which I find the most intricate (i.e. the best) composition here, consists of a unique blend of Classic Symphonic Art-Rock and Prog-Metal. The best definition of the music that is featured on Swallow's Tail, In the End, The March Hare, The Other, and Joe Cooley's Reel (1, 2, 6, 7, & 8) would probably be Classic Symphonic Art-Rock with elements of Prog-Metal and a few of the folksy tunes. The latter were presented with solos of either synthesizers (on tracks 1 & 7) or woodwinds (on 2, 6 & 8). Both of the remaining tracks, Volta & Balta Danse and Roaring Forties (3 & 4), are the bright representatives of Progressive Folk Rock, or, to be more precise, English folk music, which was arranged and performed according to the laws of Symphonic Progressive. Both of them, nevertheless, contain a few of the elements of Prog-Metal as well. Generally, it must be said that the arranging and performing contributions to the music of The Morrigan by guitarist Dave Lodder, who joined the band in the second half of the 1990s, are, in my honest opinion, very significant. Everything is brilliant on this album: compositions, arrangements, and the joint performance by the band, and the musicianship of each of its members as well. The parts of various synthesizers, woodwinds (flute and recorder), electric & bass guitars, and drums and interplay between these instruments dominate in the arrangements throughout the album. Though the album's closing track does not contain the parts of drums and electric guitar. Six out of the eight compositions on the album are rich also in solos and passages of acoustic guitar. Only the parts of organ, acoustic piano, hand percussion, cello, and accordion appear on the album episodically. In that way, it's not that difficult to imagine how "Hidden Agenda" is rich in sound. Should I mention that a wide-variety of essential progressive ingredients are 'scattered' like a stream-gold everywhere on this album, which, in its turn, just shin

Summary. In my honest opinion, "Hidden Agenda" is the most complex, intriguing, and... simply the best album by this English band and by all means (though, of course, its compositional and performing characteristics are especially impressive). Overall, it has more a heavy, dense, and (what's central) coherent sound than even the band's previous masterpiece "Masque". Also, the new brand album by the world's premier Progressive Folk Rock band, The Morrigan, is one of only a few of the really strong albums of Symphonic Progressive that I've heard this year. Honest. I believe some of you have already arrived at a correct conclusion.

VM. September 12, 2002

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