Galahad – Battle Scars

2012 (Avalon Records)

Tracks:
1: Battle Scars (7:04)
2: Reach For The Sun (3:54)
3: Singularity (7:32)
4: Bitter And Twisted (6:58)
5: Suspended Animation (4:05)
6: Beyond The Barbed Wire (5:30)
7: Seize The Day (8:34)
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Bonustrack:
8: Sleepers 2012 (14:07)

As far as I am concerned British band Galahad doesn’t have a weak album on their resume. Since 1991 their output level is good, better, best. The here reviewed “Battle Scars” from 2012 is the absolute highlight. The fully controlled creativity and exuberance that is displayed here is what makes it so good. Within a sound quality that is fingerlicking good (read as: really heavy) Galahad isn’t afraid to mix powerful guitarchords and rousing dance-orientated keyboards with their melodic neo-prog.

This album, a twin-release with the later that year released “Beyond The Realms Of Euphoria”, marks the decease of bass player Neil Pepper to cancer. He has written three songs on “Battle Scars” in which he was active as a musician. On the rest of the album Lee Abraham is pulling the thick strings.

The regular album has seven tracks that seems to burst from grief and hope. You can say that personal drama almost always leads to creative greatness. “Battle Scars” is certainly no exception on that rule.

The album starts impressive with the titletrack. Well considered it opens its gates twice. First keyboard player Dean Baker lets you float for over three minutes on an orchestral intro of unknown beauty. When the song actually starts you can hear the bombastic chords make room for a smooth Galahad song with rhythmic en melodic vocals that are extraordinary original. The following Reach For The Sun serves gothic rock like Within Temptation. The band really beats everything and that’s due to its own craftsmanship. The heart of the album contains the Neil Pepper songs Singularity, Suspended Animation and Beyond The Barbed Wire. It’s these intense songs that exactly display the essential Galahad. Then the sound drags, then it reminds you of Threshold. Bitter And Twisted and Seize The day are the most interesting songs by far when it comes to quirkiness. The features mentioned in the first paragraph can best be heard here. On Bitter And Twisted that is based on a stoic propelling keyboard pattern you’ll hear the guitar lovely mingles with the keyboards. On Seize The day the band brings a tribute to life, designed in a grand piece of dancemusic musically like Tïësto and Arena. Awesome beauty.

After the regular “Battle Scars” the album really closes with a new recorded version of the old song Sleepers. About 15 minutes of genuine neo-prog. There are two good reasons to embrace this bonus track. First of all this song has a strong composition that, despite it has been written in the nineties, really impresses in its new version. Secondly it is really nice to relax a little after the heavy “Battle Scars”-lyrics.

I would say “Battle Scars” is absolutely great. Remember that.

Musicians:
Lee Abraham: bass, backing vocals
Dean Baker: keyboards
Roy Keyworth: guitar
Spencer Luckman: drums, percussion
Stuart Nicholson: vocals
Neil Pepper: bass, guitar, keyboards