Saturday, May 7, 2016

Happy The Man - 1999 - Death's Crown

Happy The Man 
Death's Crown

01. Death's Crown (38:00)
02. New York Dream's Suite (8:45)
03. Merlin Of The High Places (7:10)

- Dan Owen / vocals, classical guitar, percussion, additional bass on "New York Dreams Suite"
- Frank Wyatt / electric piano, recorder
- Kit Watkins / organ, Moog, string ensemble, clavinet, flute, recorder, sound effects
- Stanley Whitaker / guitar, recorder
- Rick Kennell / bass
- Mike Beck / drums and percuss

It is amazing to see that some twenty years after their latest studio release, there was still the will to release whatever pieces the band had produced in their early days.
"Beginnings" was already such a work of "unreleased" songs and now, almost ten years later, this album saw the light.

After six incredibly poor and useless minutes of noisy and unbearable jamming, the centre piece of this album, the long "Death's Crown Suite", turns into a very attractive track. Vocals which were always scarce in their songs are incredibly melodic and the instrumental parts are much more structured than during the initial part.

Even if improvisation is widely experimented, this is a good epic. A mix of pastoral and jazzy sections, which is going to be their style during their short career. The closing part is somewhat more bombastic and "organized". An interesting piece of work. But difficult to apprehend and complex to get into.

The second song featured is the original version of "New York Dream's Suite". The band had already released a version of this one on their debut album. It was not my fave out of it, but if you are into jazzy material, you might feel alright. But I have more problems to appreciate this one.

The band was also influenced with the early "Genesis" sounds, for my greatest pleasure. The last song of this album fully reflects the atmosphere of the "Trespass" recordings. Tranquil music, nice fluting combined here and there with a more jazz-oriented section. A typical HTM song.

This album is interesting in many aspect. Not a masterpiece but a good piece of work IMO.

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